TOWN OF NORTH HARMONY
TOWN BOARD MEETING
MONDAY, 03/08/2021 7:00PM
ROBERT YATES, SUPERVISOR PRESENT
DICK SENA, COUNCIL PRESENT
LOUISE ORTMAN, COUNCIL PRESENT
STEVE SENSKE, COUNCIL PRESENT
OTHERS PRESENT: Howard Peacock, Justice; Brad Lawson, Zoning C.E.O.; Anne Golley, Assessor; Pierre Chagnon, Legislator; Clayton & Helen Emick; Dan Strickland, Highway Sup’t.; Robin Miller, Bookkeeper; Dale Robbins & Kelly Johnson, Attorney; Nancy Thomas, Town Clerk
- PLEDGE & MOMENT OF SILENCE
- MINUTES: 2/08/21
- MOTION # 27 OF 2021
MRS. ORTMAN MOTIONED TO ADOPT THE MINUTES OF THE 2/8/2021 BOARD MEETING AS PRESENTED BY THE CLERK. MR. SENA SECONDED. YES (4): SENA, ORTMAN, SENSKE, YATES. NO (0). THE MOTION WAS CARRIED.
- PUBLIC COMMENT:
Mr. Emick asked Mr. Chagnon why Chautauqua County is 59th out of 62 counties in the state for health.
Mr. Chagnon said that health outcomes in Chautauqua County are very poor. He said the number of residents who smoke is high and we also have air pollutants from Coal Fired Energy Plants that take a toll.
- Robert Yates on Public Comment:
Mr. Yates said going forward the board will adhere to the 3-minute limit during Public Comment. He said the board will not entertain questions/comments during the rest of the meeting as it is reserved for conducting the business of the town.
- CORRESPONDENCE: The following correspondence has been received by the Supervisor and is available for review:
- Sewer Update
Mr. Yates said we are still gathering easements from property owners and the Clerk has been helping with notarizing those. He said we are doing well on collecting phone numbers for contact purposes. He said they have still not established the number of easements necessary before they can go to bid (hopefully March – April), but they are getting close. He said the hope is to break ground in late summer.
- Town of North Harmony Water District Project
Mr. Yates said he, Mr. Chagnon, and Clark, Patterson Engineers, Don Emhardt, Kenny Shearer, and representatives from Chautauqua Institution had met about the grant funded water study. He said it was a good informational meeting and there are some maps available for the board to review. He said they do not have any cost figures yet.
There was discussion and Mr. Chagnon said the other towns and entities are aware that the Town of Chautauqua cannot create a water district; it has to come through the Town of North Harmony, so this is just the first step. He said if North Harmony moves forward with the district, he thinks there will be more excitement because it will be a real possibility.
Mr. Sena said North Harmony already has a water district that extends to Sunrise Cove. He said we had recently signed renewal agreements with the BPU and there is plenty of volume available to feed a large portion of North Harmony with what is already there. He said if other entities are not interested in furtherance of a district, we can still feed North Harmony if we need to.
There was further discussion of some towns having as many as 5-6 different districts and how that occurs.
Mr. Chagnon said that if North Harmony proceeds with a water district and Chautauqua then wants to be an extension, it would make sense for that to become a County district, but that would not be the case if it were just North Harmony. He said the County would like to see a District around the lake.
- Town of Ellery – Notice of Proposed Zoning Change
Mrs. Thomas said the Town of Ellery will hold a Public Hearing on a Local Law establishing a 6-month Moratorium on the construction, installation and/or permitting of wind farms/wind turbines and solar farms in the town.
- Todd Button – Chautauqua County Finance – Sales Tax
Mr. Button’s email indicated that the county has received the first 3 distributions of this quarter (Feb.-April) to be distributed in April 2021. The payments QTD are 10.80% LESS than last year.
- OLD BUSINESS:
- TIMBERLAND APPRAISALS ON TOWN AND AFD PROPERTIES
Mr. Yates said he had received the following appraisals from Timberland and market analysis from 2 other companies on town properties.
- Gravel Pit on CR33 – Timberland $101 – 105,000.00 (approx. $1,525/acre)
- Mitchell’s Rt. 394 – appraisal for 2 acres Commercial $97,000.00 (reserving rear acreage for town use)
- AFD South Maple – $70-75,000
- Old Community Building (all 3 lots) $177,000.00
Mr. Yates said he has all the appraisal and analysis documents for anyone who wished to review them.
- Resolution on the Audit performed of the Court books – Board Resolution for a satisfactory conclusion to the audit of the 2020 Justice Court Books. Further noting that the records have been duly examined and that the fines therein collected have been turned over to the proper officials of the town as required by law.
- MOTION # 28 OF 2021
- SENA MOTIONED FOR A RESOLUTION OF SATISFACTORY CONCLUSION TO THE AUDIT OF THE 2020 JUSTICE COURT BOOKS. FURTHER NOTING THAT THE RECORDS HAVE BEEN DULY EXAMINED AND THAT THE FINES THEREIN COLLECTED HAVE BEEN TURNED OVER TO THE PROPER OFFICIALS OF THE TOWN AS REQUIRED BY LAW. MR. SENSKE SECONDED. YES (4): SENA, ORTMAN, SENSKE, YATES. NO (0). THE MOTION WAS CARRIED.
- Dick Sena – Resolution on Authorization to Submit Aquatic Pesticide Permit Application to DEC
Mr. Sena said in order to even submit the application for herbicide treatment it requires a resolution from the board. He said it was brought to his attention after the last meeting that North Harmony has not submitted theirs. He said they are asking for a resolution to authorize the submission of the Aquatic Pesticide Permit to the DEC.
- MOTION # 29 OF 2021
- SENA MOTIONED TO AUTHORIZE THE SUBMITTAL OF THE AQUATIC PESTICIDE PERMIT APPLICATION TO THE NYS-DEC. MR. SENSKE SECONDED.
Mr. Sena said this application does not authorize the application of a pesticide; it is just for the permit. The treatment is only for Eurasian Milfoil and the area suggested for treatment is about 25 acres.
YATES: NO; ORTMAN: NO; SENA: YES; SENSKE: YES. THE MOTION WAS DENIED.
- Dumpster for old Town Hall Clean-up
Mr. Yates said he hoped to have the old building cleaned out by the end of the Month. He said if anyone wished to help this weekend please let him know.
- Ball Creek Stabilization Project
Mr. Yates said there are not enough funds to do all three creek banks. He said in talking with Eco-Strategies, they agree that the first area to be addressed should be the by the county road. He said we may be able to get the county to help with shared services and at least complete that section. He said this might provide some leverage in receiving further grant funding for the stabilization project. He said the next step would be the Tri-James portion which is large and then the Caster portion.
- NEW BUSINESS:
- Resolution adopting the NYSLRS Standard Work Day and Reporting Resolution of Robin Miller, Bookkeeper
- MOTION # 30 OF 2021
- SENA MOTIONED TO ADOPT THE NYSLRS STANDARD WORK DAY AND REPORTING RESOLUTION OF ROBIN MILLER, BOOKKEEPER AS SUBMITTED, WITH A COPY OF THAT RESOLUTION BEING APPENDED TO THESE MINUTES. MRS. ORTMAN SECONDED. YES (4): SENA, ORTMAN, SENSKE, YATES. NO (0). THE MOTION WAS CARRIED.
- Charter/Spectrum Cable Franchise Agreement
Mr. Robbins said the TONH has 2 contracts with Charter Communications/Spectrum (previously Time Warner); one is for 2/3 of the north part of town and one for a south 1/3 of the town. He said the contracts vary in that the town receives 3% franchise fees in one part and 5% in the other. He said last year the town collected $27,300.00 in franchise fees. He said we cannot request fee increases of more than 5% but we can try to get the 3% up to 5% which would increase fees by about $7,300.00. If we decrease them all to 3%, we will collect about $6,000 less. He said Charter has presented a boiler plate proposal to the town. He said one of the town contracts expired about 2 years ago and the other contract will expire in April. He said the town should ask for the fee that they want to collect.
Mr. Yates said when it is executed there will be only one Cable/Franchise agreement for the town. He said he had asked our attorney’s if only asking for the 3% would result in any savings for the public and they indicated probably not.
Mr. Robbins said the proposed contract is for 5 years.
- MOTION # 31 OF 2021
MRS. ORTMAN MOTIONED TO AUTHORIZE THE SUPERVISOR TO EXECUTE THE CHARTER/SPECTRUM CONTRACT FOR EXPIRED/EXPIRING FRANCHISE FEE RENEWALS AT 5%. MR. SENA SECONDED. YES (4): SENA, ORTMAN, SENSKE, YATES. NO (0). THE MOTION WAS CARRIED.
- Dick Sena – Snow Report
Mr. Sena said we are on track for having one of the lowest snowfall seasons at 110” as of today. He said our lowest was 131 ½ “. He also said he has a 17-year chart that he will provide.
DAN STRICKLAND, HIGHWAY SUPERINTENDENT
- HIGHWAY PURCHASE OF NEW EXCAVATOR
Mr. Strickland said regarding the purchase of a new Excavator, he would like to purchase it from Milton Cat through a Caterpillar Lease. He said payments would be $85,685/year at 2.99% fixed rate, with a $1 buyout at the end.
Mr. Robbins said they had checked the interest rate through M&T Bank, and they could only offer a renewable BAN at 2.79% with no guarantee of what the renewal interest rates would be in the future.
- MOTION # 32 OF 2021
- SENA MOTIONED TO AUTHORIZE THE SUPERVISOR TO SIGN A LEASE AGREEMENT WITH CATERPILLAR FINANCIAL SERVICES CORP. FOR AN EXCAVATOR AS FOLLOWS: MODEL: CATERPILLAR M3108-07; SALE PRICE $251,777.00 (PAYMENTS WILL BE $$65,856.85/YR); 4 YEAR FIXED INTEREST RATE OF 2.99%; BUYOUT AT END OF LEASE OF $1. MRS. ORTMAN SECONDED. YES (4): SENA, ORTMAN, SENSKE, YATES. NO (0). THE MOTION WAS CARRIED.
PIERRE CHAGNON, LEGISLATOR
Mr. Chagnon said the following occurred at the February Legislature meeting:
- At the February meeting of the Chautauqua County Legislature, we presented a commendation to John Griffith as he retired as Director of Emergency Services.
- We approved numerous appointments and re-appointments to boards, councils, and commissions, including my re-appointment to the Southern Tier West Regional Planning Board.
- We approved numerous year-end reconciliations to the 2020 Budget. The preliminary financial results for 2020 show a $4.6 M surplus to Budget. This resulted because we proactively reduced Budget expenses by $4.1 M in May in anticipation of lower sales tax revenue, and expenses came in even lower than that, while sales tax actually came in very close to Budget.
- Kim Meleen was appointed Acting Director of Real Property Tax Services.
Marijuana Legalization Opt-Out
- We have begun discussing the Governor’s proposed law legalizing marijuana and the potential for counties to “opt-out”. Under the proposed law counties would not be able to prohibit the use of cannabis within their borders – counties would only be able to prohibit the establishment within their borders of one or more of the cannabis business licenses that would be available if the law were passed. Those business licenses are as follows:
- An adult-use cultivator’s license shall authorize the acquisition, possession, cultivation, and sale of cannabis from the licensed premises to duly licensed processors in this state.
- A processor’s license shall authorize the acquisition, possession, processing, and sale of cannabis from the licensed premises to duly licensed distributors.
- A cooperative license shall authorize the acquisition, possession, cultivation, processing or sale from the licensed premises to duly licensed distributors and/or retail dispensaries, but not directly to cannabis consumers.
- A distributor’s license shall authorize the acquisition, possession, distribution and sale of cannabis from the licensed premises, microbusiness cultivator, adult-use cooperative, or registered organization authorized to sell adult-use cannabis, or any other person licensed, registered or permitted by the office to sell or transfer cannabis to or within the state, to duly licensed retail dispensaries.
- A retail dispensary license shall authorize the acquisition, possession and sale of cannabis from the licensed premises of the retail dispensary by such licensee to cannabis consumers.
- Under the proposed law, counties have until the end of this year to “opt-out” of any licenses.
- Counties, cities, towns and villages, as applicable, may pass ordinances or regulations governing the hours of operation and location of licensed adult-use cannabis retail dispensaries, provided such ordinances or regulations do not make the operation of such licensed retail dispensaries unreasonably impracticable. These shall not require an applicant, licensee or permittee to enter into a community host agreement or pay any consideration to the municipality other than reasonable zoning and permitting fees. Also, adult-use cannabis, medical cannabis and cannabinoid hemp farming and farm operations, on land located within an agricultural district, shall be deemed an approved activity under the relevant county, city, town, or village land use or zoning ordinances, rules, or regulations, inclusive of all necessary ancillary farm operations as permitted by license.
ANNE GOLLEY, ASSESSOR
Mrs. Golley read the following report into the record.
TOWN OF NORTH HARMONY
Work continues for the valuation for new construction and demolition. All properties will be valued for the May release of the new assessments.
The appropriate legal notice for assessment inventory required by the State of New York Real Property Tax Law was filed with the Post Journal for publication on March 1, 2021.
Grievance Day for the 2021 assessment roll will be Wednesday, May 26th by appointment at the Town of Chautauqua.
As always, thank you for your continued support of the Assessor’s Office.
HOWARD PEACOCK, JUSTICE
Mr. Peacock said he does not have a written report for this month as Katie has been under the weather. He said the court took in $26,249.00 for the month of February 2021. He said they have still not heard anything about Courts reopening from the state. He said he had done some research on a sound system for the courtroom, and it is basically a speaker and a microphone. He said you would need to purchase about 6 of them.
Mr. Yates said he had checked, and each speaker was about $600 and basically by the time you finished it would cost about $5,000.
Mr. Peacock said he thinks maybe we should look at a small 6 channel PA system and run a microphone to each table and the podium.
BRAD LAWSON, ZONING C.E.O. (Copy of Report in Minute Book)
Mr. Lawson reviewed his written report for those present. There was discussion of the Loomis Bay C1 District and possibly changing that to R1 to alleviate some of the existing issues there.
JOHN STOW, DCO
No report submitted.
NANCY THOMAS, TOWN CLERK (Copy of Report in Minute Book)
Mrs. Thomas said she had nothing further to add to her written report. She gave a Tax Collection Report: Warrant Amount $3,819,713.66
Total Payments $3,496,781.75
Unpaid Taxes $ 324,370.93 (8.49%)
Payment in the amount of $2,000,000.00 was made on the Warrant to Chautauqua County Finance on 3/2/2021.
- MOTION # 33 OF 2021
- SENA MOTIONED TO ACCEPT THE TOWN CLERKS REPORT AS SUBMITTED. MRS. ORTMAN SECONDED. YES (4): SENA, ORTMAN, SENSKE, YATES. NO (0). THE MOTION WAS CARRIED.
ROBERT YATES, SUPERVISOR (Copy of Report in Minute Book)
Mr. Yates said he had nothing further to add to his written report.
- MOTION # 34 OF 2021
- SENA MOTIONED TO ACCEPT THE SUPERVISORS REPORT AS SUBMITTED. MRS. ORTMAN SECONDED. YES (4): SENA, ORTMAN, SENSKE, YATES. NO (0). THE MOTION WAS CARRIED.
- MOTION # 35 OF 2021
MRS. ORTMAN MOTIONED TO AUTHORIZE PAYMENT ON THE FOLLOWING VOUCHERS AS REVIEWED AND AUDITED EARLIER:
GENERAL FUND $25,766.13
HIGHWAY FUND $141,381.42
SPECIAL DISTRICT FUND $ 8,137.94
- SENA SECONDED. YES (4): SENA, ORTMAN, SENSKE, YATES. NO (0). THE MOTION WAS CARRIED.
- Executive Session if necessary
- MOTION # 36 OF 2021
MRS. ORTMAN MOTIONED TO ADJOURN THE MEETING AT 8:05 PM AND ENTER INTO EXECUTIVE SESSION. MR. SENSKE SECONDED. YES (4): SENA, ORTMAN, SENSKE, YATES. NO (0). THE MOTION WAS CARRIED.
- MOTION # 37 OF 2021
MRS. ORTMAN MOTIONED TO RECONVENE THE MEETING AT 8:27 PM. MR. SENSKE SECONDED. YES (4): SENA, ORTMAN, SENSKE, YATES. NO (0). THE MOTION WAS CARRIED.
- MOTION # 38 OF 2021
ON A MOTION MADE BY MR. SENA, SECONDED BY MR. SENSKE AND NONE BEING OPPOSED, THE MEETING WAS ADJOURNED AT 8:30 PM.
Nancy M. Thomas