TOWN OF NORTH HARMONY
TOWN BOARD MEETING
ROBERT YATES, SUPERVISOR PRESENT
DICK SENA, COUNCIL PRESENT
LOUISE ORTMAN, COUNCIL PRESENT
STEVE SENSKE, COUNCIL PRESENT
MIKE PFEIL, COUNCIL PRESENT
OTHERS PRESENT: Brad Lawson, Zoning C.E.O.; Howard Peacock, Justice; Gayle Martin; Robin Miller, Bookkeeper; Benjamin Karlson, Deputy Highway Superintendent; Jonathan Henck;
Dale Robbins & Kelly Johnson, Attorneys; Nancy Thomas, Town Clerk
- PLEDGE & Moment of silence in remembrance
- MINUTES: 8/9/2021 & 08/26/21 Changes are necessary
Mr. Yates said the amount of American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds documented in the 8/9/21 minutes as $409,552.40 needs to be changed on page 8. Supervisors Report to $109,552.40. He said this is the amount we have currently received, and we will have another payment in the same amount in 2022 which will bring the total ARPA funds received to $219,999.36 (this figure includes an amendment on 8/23/21 which adds $447.28 to each of the 2 planned payments of $109,552.40).
- MOTION # 137 OF 2021
MR. SENA MOTIONED TO REVISE THE 8/9/21 MINUTES PAGE 8. ARPA FUNDS RECEIVED TO $109,552.40 AS OUTLINED ABOVE. MRS. ORTMAN SECONDED. YES (5): SENA, ORTMAN, SENSKE, PFEIL, YATES. NO (0). THE MOTION WAS CARRIED.
- MOTION # 138 OF 2021
MR. SENA MOTIONED TO ADOPT THE MINUTES OF THE 8/8/2021 TOWN BOARD MINUTES AS SUBMITTED BY THE TOWN CLERK AND REVISED IN MOTION # 137. MRS. ORTMAN SECONDED. YES (5): SENA, ORTMAN, SENSKE, PFEIL, YATES. NO (0). THE MOTION WAS CARRIED.
- MOTION # 139 OF 2021
MR. SENA MOTIONED TO ADOPT THE MINUTES OF THE 8/26/2021 TOWN BOARD MINUTES AS SUBMITTED BY THE CLERK. MR. PFEIL SECONDED. YES (5): SENA, ORTMAN, SENSKE, PFEIL, YATES. NO (0). THE MOTION WAS CARRIED.
- Harmony Historical Folk Fair scheduled for Saturday 9/18/21 has been cancelled
- Chautauqua Hometown Heroes Veteran Memorial dedication Tuesday, 10/05/21 at 1:00 PM
at the Mayville Village Cemetery
- PUBLIC COMMENT:
- CORRESPONDENCE: The following correspondence has been received by the Supervisor and is available for review:
- Sewer Extension up-date – Starting 9/20
Mr. Yates said the groundbreaking ceremony for the Westside Sewer Extension had been held at BOCES with Council Members Ortman, Sena and Pfeil present. He said he believes Northrup will be using the former Hadley Bay Restaurant as their offices and staging area for supplies/pipe storage. He said construction will begin this Fall with the grinder pumps being installed in the bay areas. He said the NYS-DOT does not allow construction on Rt. 394 during the winter months. He said this is good because it will mean less intrusion on residents and less traffic issues. He said there is also a lot of positive information coming on the Grant for Phase II.
- Chautauqua County Land Bank
Mr. Yates said we had received a letter from the Land Bank which looks for delinquent properties in the state and county that are abandoned by tax roll and provide ways to mitigate. He said he is not aware of any at this time in our town, but we will contact them and use their resources if needed.
- Letter from Charlie Smith College St. resident
Mr. Yates said he had received a letter from Mr. Smith regarding issues with his neighbor. He said he has given the letter to Mr. Lawson for response. He said Mr. Smith indicated that he had sent a letter to the PJ which appeared on 8/24/21. He said Mr. Smith feels there is a zoning violation and has threatened to sue the town. He said Mr. Lawson has been in contact with the neighbor in question and things are under control.
- Bug Sprayed the building (outside)
Mr. Yates said they sprayed the outside of the building last week and he plans to address the issue on the inside of the building by spraying when there will be no employees present (weekend).
- Parking lot to be sealed by Lake Shore
Mr. Yates said we have received a quote from Lake Shore to seal and do striping of the parking lot at a cost of $1,900.00. He said Lake Shore was the lowest quote and Kingsview was the highest at approximately $2,300.00.
- Aflac will offer a presentation for extra insurance
Mr. Yates said Mrs. Miller is our Human Relations person and she said she would schedule it for October 2021.
- Assessor – Property transfers 7/2021: Total Assessed Value $2,284,300; Sale Price $$4,058,500 (+1,774,200)
- OLD BUSINESS:
- ECO Strategies With County to begin Restoration to Ball Creek (Stow Rd. Bank ) first week of October
Mr. Yates said that Andy Johnson, ECO Strategies has contacted the County and they feel this project is a good one and will provide a backhoe and skid steer on tracks with forks with operators for each to assist. He said he had asked Mr. Karlson if the Highway could provide 2 employees for flagging as the backhoe will be right on the side of Rt. 394. He said this will be a good show and tell project.
- Review bid on 3445 Old Bridge Rd. Town Building
Mr. Yates said the town has received 3 bids on the Old Building:
- verbal from Tim Rice $ 80,000
- Equity Trust Co. Custodian FBO James M. Hojnacki IRA $110,000
- Michael Giarrizzo $118,000
Mr. Yates said one interested party wanted to tear it down; one wanted it for investment purposes; and Mr. Giarrizzo wants to turn it into a hunting/sports shop.
Mr. Pfeil asked if there was any contingency on the sale.
Mr. Yates said no, it is a cash deal, and they will claim and take all responsibility for water/sewer.
He said all bidders were aware of the time constraints because of the requirement of permissive referendum. He said we had also received a cash offer (with survey contingent) on the Mitchell property 3 acres from Mr. Hojnacki in the amount of $101,000. Mr. Yates asked the board if they wished to accept the Giarrizzo’s offer of $118,000.
Mr. Pfeil said he would like to speak. He asked if the Giarrizzo’s are local.
Mr. Lawson said they are from Ohio, but they have homes and businesses in the town.
There was further discussion of the Giarrizzo’s and their ideas for the business and ties to the community.
Mr. Senske said the board and attorney should review the contract prior to any decision.
Mr. Sena suggested that the board approve the contract contingent on the attorney’s review. All board members and the attorney’s agreed to that.
Mr. Yates said he could provide a copy of the contract tonight.
- MOTION # 140 OF 2021
MR. SENA MOTIONED TO ACCEPT THE BID/CONTRACT SUBMITTED BY MIKE GIARRIZZO TO PURCHASE THE OLD TOWN BUILDING LOCATED AT 3445 OLD BRIDGE ROAD, STOW IN THE AMOUNT OF $118,000.00 CONTINGENT ON REVIEW OF ATTORNEY AND SUBJECT TO PERMISSIVE REFERENDUM. MR SENSKE SECONDED. YES (5): SENA, ORTMAN, SENSKE, PFEIL, YATES. NO (0). THE MOTION WAS CARRIED.
- BAN Renewal – New Building Debt is now Half !!
- Reverie Wine Shop Inc. – Letter of support from town (no consumption on site) to NYS Liquor Authority
- NYS-DOS – Local Law #2-2021 (Height in AG District) has been filed with NYS-DOS
- NEW BUSINESS:
- Schedule Budget Work Session – Employee request – Tuesday 9/21/21 at 6:30 PM
Mr. Yates said the board needed to have a couple of budget work session meetings. He said the highway employees have also requested a meeting to discuss a 3.5% increase which does not seem out of line for all employees considering there were no raises last year. He asked if the board could schedule a meeting with them and then have a budget session after. After discussion it was decided that the meeting
would be Tuesday 9/21/21 at 6:30 PM.
Mrs. Ortman asked if the highway employees were invited, all the employees should be allowed to address the board.
Mr. Yates said that was a very good idea.
- Amend Highway Budget
Mrs. Miller said due to the sale of 3 pieces of equipment (snow blower; 1999 dump truck; excavator at $36,970) the Highway budget needs to be amended in the amount of $54,880.00.
- MOTION # 141 OF 2021
MR. SENA MOTIONED TO AMEND THE 2021 HIGHWAY BUDGET AS FOLLOWS:
SALE OF EQUIPMENT REVENUE DA-2665 IN THE AMOUNT OF $54,880.00 TO EXPENDITURE DR5110.4. MRS. ORTMAN SECONDED. YES (5): SENA, ORTMAN, SENSKE, PFEIL, YATES. NO (0). THE MOTION WAS CARRIED.
- ARPA Increase
Mrs. Miller said on 8/23/21 there was an amendment to our ARPA funds with an increase of $447.28 received and to be added to the initial amount received (total 2021 of $109,999.68). This amount will also be included in our 2022 ARPA payment.
Mr. Sena asked if there were any guidelines yet for the expenditure of those funds.
Mrs. Miller said the County has indicated some areas they can spend those funds but as yet there are no guidelines for local governments.
Mr. Robbins said he believes there are some time limitations on the expenditure of those funds.
Mr. Yates said he had discussed with Mr. Chagnon the use of some of those funds on infrastructure as it relates to residents having financial difficulty hooking up to the new sewer.
Mrs. Miller said there have been several publications issued but there still seems to be a lot of gray area.
Mr. Senske said there was an article in the PJ listing about 20 uses the County plans for the ARPA funds and their criteria shouldn’t be that much different from the towns. He suggested asking Mr. Chagnon for his input.
It was agreed that those were planned uses and not necessarily approved yet.
- Reimburse Check from NYMIR for claim on town truck
Mr. Yates said we have received a check in the amount of approximately $7,500.00 for the claim on the town truck which was damaged when Mr. Strickland backed into a trailer. The repair is scheduled for October.
- Bulletin Board needed or not. Where?
Mr. Yates said Town Law indicates that a bulletin board should be in the building on the Town Clerks wall for posting of important information, meetings, etc.
Mrs. Thomas said she had spoken to Geer-Dunn regarding ordering one and indicated she would prefer to have it in the vestibule where you enter the building so that it is visible to all on entering.
Mr. Yates said he had received quotes from Geer-Dunn ranging from $60 – $250.00.
Mr. Pfeil asked who is responsible for updating the website.
Mr. Yates said Elizabeth Gleason, Tint Press is our contractor, and Mrs. Thomas and Mrs. Gibbs put the minutes up from the various boards.
Mrs. Thomas said Mr. Yates is also a website administrator as indicated in the 4/12/21 minutes.
Mr. Pfeil said the website indicates we are still not open on Thursday evenings and asked why.
Mrs. Thomas said because Court is still not in regular session on Thursday evenings.
Mr. Peacock said there have been some Thursday calendar calls held.
Mr. Pfeil said he is concerned that if there is no one here on Thursdays how will they get their dog licenses, trash stickers, pay taxes, etc. if they work.
Mrs. Thomas said those functions are taken care of by mail and we also installed a drop box for the public to use. She said until the court has regular Thursday evening hours, and a court officer is present, she does not feel safe about the possibility of being alone at night in the building.
There was further discussion of when the court will be open again for regular hours. Mr. Peacock said as far as regular vehicle and traffic court the OCA does not want that to be held at this time.
- Chautauqua Lake Partnership (CLP)
Mr. Sena said he was contacted by the CLP asking if the town will participate in grant applications for herbicide treatment in 2022. He said they indicated that last year they had spent $700 to apply for the grant and if the town has no intent to apply in 2022, they had rather spend the funds elsewhere.
Mr. Yates said he had reminded the CLP that the town had given them $2,500 from lake funds this year and we are in good standing. Hesaid the CLP is working on their grant to put forth to the Alliance at this time and there is no timeline. Mr. Yates said he had received a letter from Chris Stork on Watson Road concerning the horrible conditions of the lake this summer. He said he had responded in a lengthy email and told him that it will certainly be a budget item for the town to consider but no decision on the amount will be made tonight. He said if the board feels they want to move forward on herbicide treatment this is the time to do it. He said everyone knows how he feels about herbicides. He said after the grant is applied for that will be the time for the permitting process and that is what takes Solitude time and expense in application.
Mr. Sena said he thinks the CLP is interested in the grant money they must apply for now through the Alliance and not herbicide applications.
Mr. Senske said there is no harm in applying as we are not indicating at this time we will actually request the permit for treatment.
Mr. Yates said last year we did the same thing and when it went to a vote for application the board voted it down.
It was discussed that we make the application and if the grant is approved then we go forward and can vote on the grant and permit application with the DEC.
Mr. Yates said we will contact Mike Latone and let him know that the town is interested in being a part of the grant application through the Alliance.
Mr. Sena said we should confirm with Mr. Latone that the application to the Alliance will not cost $700.00.
There was discussion that there is much information from the studies and data that still need to be reviewed prior to any action.
Mr. Yates said there were several loads of weeds received at his farm that he was not happy with, and they are not decomposing.
- MOTION # 142 OF 2021
MRS. ORTMAN MOTIONED TO REQUEST TOWN OF NORTH HARMONY INCLUSION IN AN APPLICATION TO APPLY FOR GRANT FUNDING THROUGH THE ALLIANCE (CLWMA) FOR POSSIBLE HERBICIDE TREATMENT IN 2022. MR. SENSKE SECONDED.
YES (5): SENA, ORTMAN, SENSKE, PFEIL, YATES. NO (0). THE MOTION WAS CARRIED.
- Cannabis Opt Out Law
Ms. Johnson said she wanted to remind the board that time is ticking on the Cannabis Opt Out Local Law (12/31/21 deadline). She said this requires a public hearing.
There was discussion that NYS is still not very clear on their regulations and that is why so many towns are opting out. Towns are not sure what they are agreeing to. There was discussion that NYS may be extending the deadline but that is not fact.
Mr. Robbins said a Local Law must be presented on this and then a Public Hearing held on that local law.
- MOTION # 143 OF 2021
MRS. ORTMAN MOTIONED TO HOLD A PUBLIC HEARING ON PROPOSED LOCAL LAW #3-2021 CANNABIS OPT OUT LAW ON TUESDAY 10/12/21 AT 6:00 PM AT THE TOWN OFFICES LOCATED AT 5350 STOW ROAD. MR. SENSKE SECONDED. YES (5): SENA, ORTMAN, SENSKE, PFEIL, YATES. NO (0). THE MOTION WAS CARRIED.
There was discussion of where cannabis can be smoked outside.
Mr. Peacock said he understands that if smoking is allowed in an area, smoking cannabis is also allowed (except in a car).
Attorney Johnson said the details of this have not been worked out.
Mr. Pfeil said he was thinking of areas like town parks, etc.
Mrs. Ortman said what if the town said there is no smoking on any town property.
Ms. Johnson said that is where the confusion comes in because NYS has not established what is too restrictive or not. She said that information will come later and does not affect the passage of the opt out law which concerns distribution centers and smoking parlors. Other issues can be addressed in Zoning.
Mr. Robbins also noted that the Law is subject to a permissive referendum period of 45 days.
Ms. Johnson said even if you opt out now, you may be allowed to opt back in later but there is no information as to whether you will receive any of the tax benefits.
Mr. Yates suggested that the board pass a resolution to prohibit smoking of any type on any town property.
Ms. Johnson said she would check into that because NYS says if there are not any existing laws on smoking that may affect the validity of the law.
Mr. Pheil asked if you could allow dispensing cannabis and not allow smoking parlors. He said he feels this is worth discussing going forward and we should know what our options are.
Mr. Yates said there is currently no on-premises liquor consumption in the town and maybe it would be better to allow purchase of cannabis and not smoking parlors. He said there are on premise sales of alcohol but not consumption.
Ms. Johnson said if the town is allowed to separate whether to opt out of one and allow the other, it has to be understood that a distribution site may not be a smoking lounge but there will be plenty of intake in front of the distribution center.
PIERRE CHAGNON, LEGISLATOR
ANNE GOLLEY, ASSESSOR
In September the office has been fielding phone calls and walk-ins regarding the school tax bills. Property owners always have questions every year about their taxes. Also, we have been providing apportionments to the school tax collector when owners split their parcels.
Thank you for your continued support of the Assessor’s Office.
HOWARD PEACOCK, JUSTICE
Mr. Peacock read the following report into the record.
COURT REPORT FOR MONTH OF AUGUST 2021
September 13, 2021 Board Meeting
$32,862.00 in fines, fees, and surcharges was collected by the Court and was given to the Town of North Harmony CFO for the court cases reported to the NYS Comptroller for August 2021. We opened 368 new cases and closed 278 cases.
Mr. Peacock said these Justice reports may be coming to an end. He said he would find about more about this at the Magistrates conference in September. He said there may be some issue with the judicial ethics committee. He said the town has been providing these reports for more than 50 years.
BRAD LAWSON, ZONING C.E.O. (Copy of Report in Minute Book)
Mr. Lawson reviewed his report for those present. 5 permits were issued in August with a valuation of $455,000 with permit fees totaling $260.00.
JOHN STOW, DCO – August 2021 Report
I had several calls this month. The first call was for a beagle found on Fardink Road in Ashville. The owners were not answering the door, so the dog was remanded to the Humane Society. They explained later that the dog had a habit of jumping out of the window. I suggested that perhaps they could close the window.
The second call was for dogs in the Diffley Rd. area running in the road. This issue is ongoing and will be addressed in the near future.
The third call was for a resident of Harmony. They have a neighbor who habitually lets his dog poop on their property, as well as other neighbors. He has been confronted on numerous occasions, which led to him picking up the poop bare handed and threatening to shove it in this woman’s face. I recommended she call the DCO for the Town of Harmony to take care of the issue legally.
BENNY KARLSON, DEPUTY HIGHWAY SUPERINTENDENT
Mr. Karlson said since he started as deputy on 8/27/21 we have had a storm that caused damage on Diffley, Erickson, Baker and Gesaman Roads. He said for the most part the pipes have been repaired. He said there was a brine situation at the town and after a couple of phone calls to PPP Future Development, they have agreed to pump out the 5 brine tanks at the highway. He said they have continued shared services with the towns of Busti, Ellery, Kiantone, and Chautauqua. He said they continue to do ditching, black top, driveway aprons and shoulders. He said there are mechanical issues with one truck, so they are down to one truck for shoulder work. He said truck #10 that is used for bays and is at Boyles for repair.
Mr. Yates said generally the employees have been supportive and things are working well.
NANCY THOMAS, TOWN CLERK (Copy of Report in Minute Book)
Mrs. Thomas said the Department of Planning and Development has advised of new executive orders from Governor Hochul regarding open meetings and authorization to use non personal meetings (i.e. Zoom) for public meetings. She said ongoing we may want to be prepared for that. She also said the Independent Redistricting Commission will hold a meeting on Wednesday 9/15/21 regarding the creation of maps for redefining the various districts using Census 2020 information. Will we be part of Erie County and Buffalo or the more rural Southern Tier?
- MOTION # 144 OF 2021
MR. SENA MOTIONED TO ACCEPT THE TOWN CLERKS AUGUST 2021 REPORT AS SUBMITTED. MR. SENSKE SECONDED. YES (5): SENA, ORTMAN, SENSKE, PFEIL, YATES. NO (0). THE MOTION WAS CARRIED.
ROBERT YATES, SUPERVISOR (Copy of Report in Minute Book)
MOTION # 145 OF 2021
MR. SENA MOTIONED TO ACCEPT THE SUPERVISORS AUGUST 2021 REPORT AS SUBMITTED. MR. PFEIL SECONDED. YES (5): SENA, ORTMAN, SENSKE, PFEIL, YATES. NO (0). THE MOTION WAS CARRIED.
MOTION # 146 OF 2021
MRS. ORTMAN MOTIONED TO AUTHORIZE PAYMENT OF THE FOLLOWING VOUCHERS AS REVIEWED AND AUDITED EARLIER:
GENERAL FUND $356,570.37
HIGHWAY FUND $295,455.08
SPECIAL DISTRICT $ 448.60
MR. SENSKE SECONDED. YES (5): SENA, ORTMAN, SENSKE, PFEIL, YATES. NO (0). THE MOTION WAS CARRIED.
CHECK TO MIDLAND ASPHALT
Mr. Yates said we have a voucher for a large amount from Midland Asphalt that needs clarification and asked that the board authorize him to issue the check when clarification is made.
MOTION # 147 OF 2021
MRS. ORTMAN MOTIONED TO AUTHORIZE THE SUPERVISOR TO ISSUE PAYMENT TO MIDLAND ASPHALT ON A VOUCHER RECEIVED WHEN FURTHER CLARIFICATION OF THE AMOUNT IS MADE. MR. PFEIL SECONDED. YES (5): SENA, ORTMAN, SENSKE, PFEIL, YATES. NO (0). THE MOTION WAS CARRIED.
MOTION # 148 OF 2021
MR. SENSKE MOTIONED TO ADJOURN THE REGULAR MEETING AT 8:25 AND ENTER INTO EXECUTIVE SESSION TO DISCUSS A PARTICULAR PERSON’S EMPLOYMENT HISTORY. MRS. ORTMAN SECONDED. YES (5): SENA, ORTMAN, SENSKE, PFEIL, YATES. NO (0). THE MOTION WAS CARRIED.
MOTION # 149 OF 2021
MR. SENA MOTIONED TO CONCLUDE THE EXECUTIVE SESSION AT 8:53 PM. MR. PFEIL SECONDED. YES (5): SENA, ORTMAN, SENSKE, PFEIL, YATES. NO (0). THE MOTION WAS CARRIED.
MOTION # 150 OF 2021
MR. SENSKE MOTIONED TO READJOURN THE REGULAR MEETING AT 8:54 PM. MR. SENA SECONDED. YES (5): SENA, ORTMAN, SENSKE, PFEIL, YATES. NO (0). THE MOTION WAS CARRIED.
BENJAMIN KARLSON – APPOINTMENT AS DEPUTY HIGHWAY SUPERINTENDENT
MOTION # 151 OF 2021
MRS. ORTMAN MOTIONED TO APPOINT BENJAMIN KARLSON AS DEPUTY HIGHWAY SUPERINTENDENT EFFECTIVE 8/28/2021. MR. PFEIL SECONDED. YES (5): SENA, ORTMAN, SENSKE, PFEIL, YATES. NO (0). THE MOTION WAS CARRIED.
MOTION # 152 OF 2021
MR. SENSKE MOTIONED TO INCREASE MR. KARLSON’S WAGES TO INCLUDE REGULAR M.E.O. PAY OF $24.00/HR + $1/HR DEPUTY PAY FOR A TOTAL OF $25/HR. RETROACTIVE TO 8/28/21. MR. PFEIL SECONDED. YES (5): SENA, ORTMAN, SENSKE, PFEIL, YATES. NO (0). THE MOTION WAS CARRIED.
TOWN CLERK – NYS-ERS ROA
Mr. Yates said the Town Clerk had not turned in a record of activities to the Town Board by way of the Retirement System. He said Mr. Robbins recommended that he call them tomorrow through the comp board. He said he would call and ask them to give us some time for her to get that record in order as they have not received one in 8 years.
Mrs. Thomas said she would get that done.
Mr. Yates said by recommendation of council he would call them tomorrow and beg for forgiveness. He said they may agree and they may not. He said the Retirement System wants this resolution passed tonight and they have not received the record of activities.
Mrs. Thomas asked why she had not been asked previously for this before it got to this point.
Mr. Yates said in 2019 he had asked for the ROA.
Mrs. Thomas said she would provide it to the Retirement System.
Mrs. Ortman asked if when other elected and appointed are looked at and they approve them, do they have to review again when Mrs. Thomas gets hers done.
Mr. Yates said if he could get an extension on her ROA and it is turned in to him they will review it.
Mr. Robbins said the towns position should be they will take an extension but if ERS does not allow one they will not pass the resolution. He said there is no reason to make things more difficult.
Mrs. Thomas asked if everyone else who needed to turn in one had.
Mr. Yates said Mrs. Zimmer had done hers and Mrs. Miller said she turned in one in the last 2 years. He said that every elected official was required to do them every 4 years.
Mrs. Thomas said she had thought it was every 8 years.
Mr. Yates said law is clear.
Subsequent to the meeting Mrs. Thomas submitted her ROA on 9/14/21 to Tiffany Fredericks, NYS-LRS Pension Integrity Bureau.
MOTION # 153 OF 2021
ON A MOTION MADE BY MR. SENSKE, SECONDED BY MR. SENA, AND NONE BEING OPPOSED, THE MEETING WAS ADJOURNED AT 9:15 PM.