Town of Essex NY
Unofficial Town Board Public Hearing and Regular Monthly Meeting Minutes
December 16, 2014
Supervisor: Ed Gardner
Harold MacDougal (absent)
Town Clerk: W. Morgan
Members of Public: Jim and Colleen Van Hoven, Anita Shapiro, Jim LaForest, Sharon Boisen, Lauren Murphy, Tina Gardner, Kevin DeLaughter, Olive Alexander, Cathy DeWolff
Supervisor Gardner opened the Public Hearing and led those present in a Salute to the Flag. The Town Clerk was asked to read the Legal Notice, which he did but this was for the original date advertised (Original date was cancelled by the Storm). Supervisor Gardner asked the Town Clerk for the notice of the change of date. The Town Clerk said he didn’t do the notice of change, thought might have been put on cable.
The floor was opened for public comments on water rate increase. Question asked about status of Water Project by Anita Shapiro. Supervisor stated there was a conference call between George Mallett, AES, Hydrologist and Close, and Supervisor Gardner on use of the Close property. No agreement was reached, pending discussion among Close family members.
Supervisor Gardner reminded the Hearing was for Public Comment. Jim VanHoven said it was difficult to ask questions when we are unaware of the status. He also asked what our deadline is. Supervisor Gardner replied the way it was explained to me: July 16, 2016 is when we have to close on the grant. Money spent would have to be repaid at that time. Jim VanHoven asked: so have until 2016 to access these monies? Supervisor Gardner: Yes, we will then know how much we have to borrow. Sharon Boisen asked how water rates would be affected at that time. Supervisor Gardner replied that we get $47K a year generated by the rental by telecom companies (Sprint and Verizon) or use of the water tower, so I don’t believe there will be an impact to rates.
Colleen VanHoven asked if don’t find water by 2016 will Department of Health shut off the water? No they will not. Supervisor Gardner stated that Susan Kennedy and I or he had directed AES to develop a plan to join with Willsboro or use the lake in the event we could not find a viable well. Anita Shapiro asked if Willsboro water was from the lake or well. Supervisor Gardner stated that Willsboro is also having problems with water. Sharon Boisen asked if the Department of Health had said that Willsboro wasn’t option at one of the meetings. Supervisor Gardner said: Yes, but they also asked AES to develop 2 plans (lake and Willsboro).
Supervisor Gardner said a 5% increase was approved last October but never enacted. Anita Shapiro confirmed sewer rates are now going up 30%. Supervisor confirmed rates will increase 30% in 30 days. Sharon Boisen asked what will happen in 30 days. Supervisor Gardner replied there will be a permissive referendum and has to be advertised. Jim Van Hoven requested confirmation that within the 30 day period a resident of the sewer district could circulate a petition in favor of or not in favor of the rate increase. Providing enough signatures were legally confirmed, a vote on the increase will be necessary. Claire LaPine told those present that the State must also approve the Sewer rate increase. Permissive Referendum is voted on only by those in the Sewer District. Jim Van Hoven asked what if they didn’t approve. (There was no answer to this question). We are in the red and have been since the Sewer District began have to pay bills and we have to borrow from General Fund. Supervisor Gardner: The reason we are in the red and have been since we began the project is because we didn’t begin charging for sewer when construction of the sewer plant began. Sharon Boisen stated that the Project was submitted with 151 users when Supervisor Jackson applied for the Grant. Today there are 138 users.
Project was planned for 151 users and we voted on rates based on 151. Nothing was charged first year work began. The first year we paid Tina (Gardner) during her training and a lot of other things. Jim Van Hoven asked what if we had been charged the first year. Supervisor stated about 100K in revenue would have been received. At the end of the first year when the project it began we were in the hole 100K. Tina (Gardner) and I are looking at taking other sewerage and don’t know if will be able to do it. Sewerage has to go into another tank to make compatible before enters our plant. Supervisor Gardner stated cost of the tank is 150K. If that works out rates would be lowered. Cannot dump raw sewage into our plant it has to be treated first. Without that I assume 30% is to get us to even. Supervisor Gardner – Once deficit is cleared I believe rates may decrease. Look at what electricity did last year, everybody’s rates have gone up. Tina (Gardner) is doing a great job, you are lucky to have her, for what she is paid. We also have to pay Kerrie Wade (new Assistant Wastewater Treatment Operator) while she is in training, as well as another Certified Assistant Operator (Tracey), until Kerrie completes her training. We still have to pay our bills. Rate increase is less than 50 cents a day. Have to go through the permissive referendum first and then go to the state for approval. They will look over the figures and then they would come back and say okay.
Principle on water loan due in September but we have the money from the rental.
Claire LaPine asked if anyone on the lakeshore was having problems (if they have line from lake) with water to low levels of the lake. Unknown if any. Willsboro is concerned since they pump huge amounts of water from the lake.
Jim Van Hoven offered his thanks to Supervisor Gardner for all if the effort he (Ed) had put in working on all of these problems.
Supervisor Gardner: DEC wants us to have a couple of extra pumps up there and they are 10K a piece. System is nearly five years old and things will begin to need to be replaced.
A ten minute break is taken at this point.
Regular Monthly Town Board Meeting Unofficial Minutes
Supervisor Gardner called the meeting to order and requested a moment of silence for two residents: Phoebe Sweatt and Mike Demar
Roll Call: Supervisor Gardner and all Councilmen present, except Councilman McDougal
Privilege of floor offered to Louis Comeau: Community Garden was all funded by the Essex County Public Health Department. Last summer 9 of the 12 beds were occupied. All of the seeds were donated, pepper and tomato plants. Great Project, I want to thank the Town Board for letting us do this.
Supervisor Gardner added we selected raised beds so could they also could be be used for handicapped. (Jim VanHoven added – also helps if you are old.) Louis stated we have donation of a large pile of horse manure for next year. Thank the Board for allowing the Garden
Colleen Van Hoven asked we commend Susie Smith and Ken Hughes for the wonderful job on Christmas in Essex
Minutes Nov 13 were verbalized by the Town Clerk and approved by the Board.
Supervisor Gardner asked we begin with Resolution to rescind the Resolution to override the tax cap. #89 per Town Clerk to do same (previous resolution #82?). Supervisor Gardner stated this resolution goes to the OSC to initiate any taxpayer refunds for staying under the tax cap. Approved by all present.
Per Town Clerk have a Resolution to amend the November abstract $270. (Forgot to pay). Believe for Alicia Kelly. Approved by all present.
Town Clerk Morgan: We have 3 residents we would like to thank for their contribution to the Town
Resolution 90: Louis Comeau for Community Garden.
Resolution 91: Francisco Irvin for her many years of service as Chair of the Essex Community Fund, among other leadership contributions.
Resolution 92: James Morgan for 29 years of service to the Town of Essex.
Above 3 Resolutions were approved by all Board Members present
Resolution 93: Set a Public Hearing for December 29 at 11AM for Comments on Zoning Law for Revisions. The Town EOY Meeting to immediately follow. Copies of the Revisions are available on at least one or possibly 2 websites per James Van Hoven. All Board Members approved this Resolution.
Resolution to acknowledge the Wage increases of 1 1/2% that are included on the 2015 Budget. (OSC stated a Resolution required any time wages increased per Supervisor Gardner.) All Board Members present approved.
Resolution to authorize the Supervisor to sign the 2015 Snow and Ice Contract (Salt increased to 5K). Approved by all Board Members present.
At this point recording was interrupted by people leaving and talking loudly on their way out the door.
Per Supervisor Gardner – SLIC (St. Lawrence County Internet Service) will be doing a mapping of Essex and Willsboro and Essex, where electricity runs, in advance of Broad Band/Fiber Optic consideration. No cost to any taxpayers here yet, spearheaded by Willsboro Development Corporation. There will also be a survey of interest taken. May be able to supply up to 100mg. Rates will be comparable to Time Warner. Potentially 4 to 5 years down the road.
Organizational Meeting – Scheduled for January 2, 2015 at 10:00 AM. Date and Time approved by all Board Members present.
Reports by Department Heads: Copies of Zoning/Code Officer and Waste Water Treatment Operator reports follow. No other reports were not available to the Public.
Discussion of Highway Superintendent Report – there were increases on the expenses associated with the new Gasoline Storage tank that exceeded the previously authorized amount. $10,706. 00 appears to be total spent. Motion to pay Abstracts – Approved by all Board Members present.
Motion to approve Town Clerk Report: Sewer/Water asked why funds don’t go directly to Sewer/Water, but go into General Fund. It is then parsed out to the appropriate Sewer/Water Fund.
Supervisor Report, Water Report, Sewer Report, Highway Report, Town Clerk Report, Wastewater Treatment Report, Zoning/Code Officer. Reports approved by all Board Members present.