Town of Franklin Board Meetings
June 13, 2018
Monthly Town Board Meeting
BOARD MEMBERS PRESENT:
Supervisor Art Willman, Councilman Cliff Smalley, Councilman Tom Bartiss, and Councilman Don Hamm
Councilman Pete Woodcock
Doris Hamm, Paul Blaine-Code Officer, Ed Martin, Leo Law, Karen Smalley, John Houghton, Rhonda and Liz Swinyer, Lora Couture, Brian Snickles, Alan Hadley, Doris Hamm, Melinda Ellis, Jim Murnane, Craig Donaldson, Shawn Snyder, Trent Fitzgerald, Paul Alexander, Dot Brown, Kathy Drake, Chris Reed, Roger LaBombard, Jacques DeMars-Highway Superintendent and Lauren LeFebvre-Town Clerk
CALL TO ORDER
Supervisor Willman called the meeting to order at 5:30pm. The Pledge of Allegiance was recited and the Town Clerk called the roll, noting a quorum was present.
FRANKLIN COUNTY LEGISLATOR MELINDA ELLIS
Leg. Ellis introduced herself to those present, as she has been appointed to serve in this position for the remainder of 2018. A Special Election will be held in November for this vacancy. Ms. Ellis intends to run for the office.
Mr. Murnane introduced himself as he intends to also run for Franklin County Legislator representing our district.
SARANAC LAKE YOUNG ARTS ASSOCIATION
On behalf of SLYAA, Lora Couture presented a check to the Town of Franklin in support of the Summer Youth Program. Through the years SLYAA has donated $6,691.79 to this program.
REVIEW/APPROVAL OF May 9, 2018 MEETING MINUTES
: Minutes approved as presented. (C.Smalley-T.Bartiss m/s/p) all aye
APPROVAL OF CLAIMS The board audited and approved payment of the following:
|General Fund||Abstract 6||Claims 92-114||$12,278.58|
|Highway Fund||Abstract 6||Claims 81-95||$38,270.80|
|Pre-Pay General||Abstract 6||Claims 27-31||$1,393.56|
(D.Hamm-T.Bartiss m/s/p) all aye
SUPERVISOR'S REPORT: Balances on hand as of May 31, 2018
|Kt. Mt SRF||$45,899.93|
|Cap Proj. HW||$47,343.31|
|Landfill Clos. CR|
|Capital Proj Bldg|
(Smalley-Hamm m/s/p) All Aye
HIGHWAY SUPERINTENDENT'S REPORT
Highway Superintendent, Jacques DeMars, read the following:
- Had men out numerous times for down trees, and cleaning up trees.
- Fixed a washout on Rock Street.
- Patched numerous potholes around town
- Continuing brooming of the paved roads and picked up much of it around house
- Once again Ricky Provost at Franklin County 911 regarding down phone lines and trees on the phone lines on Alder Brook Park Road and Alder Brook Road. This has been ongoing since last year and we have continued to try to get these problems fixed. Note: Councilman Bartiss is also currently doing what he can in regards to getting these hazardous trees removed through public service commission. I would like to thank Tom for his assistance.
- We installed a driveway culvert on Cold Brook road per owner's request. The bill has been given to the Town Clerk and once paid should be deposited in to the Highway fund.
- Note: There is a road closed sign at the intersection of Muzzy road and Oregon Plain road, we did not put it up and believe Essex County may have because they are replacing the bridge just inside Bloomingdale town line. We were not notified that this would be happening.
- All of the weight limit signs have now been taken down.
- Ongoing beaver activity around town.
- Gas, fuel and maintenance logs given to Highway Committee
On Tuesday May 15, 2018 I received a call from Tim Woodruff the Bloomingdale Fire Chief. Tim informed me that the membership had voted to have him go to the next Town of Franklin Board meeting and lodge a complaint about the Highway Department not helping the Fire Department during the windstorm. I asked Tim what storm he was referring to and he stated May 4th and 5th. I then asked Tim what was he talking about as I had men out 7-9PM on Friday night. Also I reminded him that he called me Friday night and requested men to assist the Fire Department at approximately 10:35PM. I further explained that I had 2 men out from 11PM until 3AMeven though I thought it was unsafe. Tim told me one of his members informed him that no one was out from the Town. I then told Tim that my men didn't see the Fire Department out. This is very possible on 68 miles of road.
Tim further went on to mention many trees on County roads. I informed Tim that County roads are not my concern during a windstorm of this magnitude and that Franklin County is responsible for trees and debris on County roads.
I explained to Tim that this immature activity from 1 or 2 members of his department is getting old. Tim understood and told me that it wasn't anyone that I have had any disagreements with.
I was at the Franklin Town Hall at the time of this call and I spoke to the Town Clerk about this matter. The Clerk informed me that she had just earlier received a call from Fireman John Houghton asking how to get on to the agenda.
This brings me to information that I have received from a few individuals regarding the problems from the Bloomingdale Fire Department. Fireman John Houghton is at the forefront of most negative allegations against the Town of Franklin Highway Department. These allegations though childish in nature have never been substantiated and can easily be proven to be untrue.
Case in point; on March 20th at an accident on County Route 26, Fireman John Houghton stated to my Deputy several time that the road needed sand. Not only were 2 of my men informed by the State Trooper on the scene that the road was safe but I had the chance to talk to said Trooper on that very day at the Vermontville Post Office. I had a very candid conversation with the Trooper that was at the scene and he informed me that an individual from the Bloomingdale Fire Department matching a description of Fireman John Houghton stated to him that my men didn't stop and further stated that the road was slippery. The Trooper informed me that he told that individual from the Fire Department that he did not find the road slippery at all.
Also keep in mind that when my men were on the scene, the Fire Department had not arrived as of yet.
Town of Franklin
Highway Superintendent, Jacques DeMars
March 20th 2018 accident on County Route 26
Deputy Highway Superintendent, Brian Snickles
On March 20th, 2018 at approximately7:30AM, I Deputy Highway Superintendent Brian Snickles was at my residence on County Route 26 when I heard on the scanner that there was an accident on County Route 26.
I found it hard to believe as I work 1-9PM and I was on County Route 26 and had sanded it lightly although it really didn't need it the night before.
I kept hearing the call on the scanner so I decided to take a ride up the road. As I drove towards the site I noticed one of the town pickups. I stopped and talked to 2 town employees: Shawn Snyder and Chris Reed. They informed me someone in a F150 had climbed the bank and hit a tree. I informed them that I had sanded this road last night even though it probably didn't need it. Chris and Shawn told me that the roads were fine. They further informed me that they had stopped and the man complained that the roads needed sand.
As I approached the area where the truck climbed the snow bank, I noticed Fireman John Houghton and Kevin Woodruff. They approached me and I said that the guy had to be speeding to climb that huge snowbank. John Houghton said that the road is slippery then Fireman Kevin Woodruff said yea the road is slippery. I immediately stated to both John Houghton and Kevin Woodruff that I was sick and tired of the childish games of the Fire Department. The reason I referenced childish games is because 2 members of the Fire Department were upset because one of their kids didn't get hired for a job. Furthermore an ex-employee who has 2 brothers in law on the Fire Department is upset with our Department and there have been other attempts at discrediting our Department. This is clearly small town politics and we have had enough.
Fireman John Houghton continued to harass me stating, what did Jacques do, send you in your own car to see what went on? I informed John Houghton that I live on the road and have a scanner. John Houghton then became more sarcastic and said, “yea right”. John Houghton then told me that the town truck didn't even stop to see if the person that hit the tree was OK. I told him that I found that hard to believe. John Houghton then said, you sure Jacques didn't send you up here in your own car? I told John Houghton no and that I was on my own time.
I drove back to my residence and called Highway Superintendent Jacques DeMars at the Highway Garage and informed him of my interaction with Fireman John Houghton and Kevin Woodruff. Jacques told me that John Houghton and Kevin Woodruff's claims are untrue as Shawn and Chris had already reported the situation to him and had informed him that the roads were still fine and that they did stop and asked if any assistance was needed, and furthermore when Chris and Shawn were at the site, the Fire Department had not arrived yet. How could these 2 men (John Houghton and Kevin Woodruff) make this claim?
I spoke directly to Shawn Snyder and Chris Reed and they informed me that they did stop at the site and there was no Fire Department at the site at the time they were there.
Deputy Highway Superintendent
March 20th 2018 accident on County Route 26
Chris Reed and Shawn Snyder's Report
On Tuesday March 20, 2018 I was assigned along with Shawn Snyder to flag bumps and dips on our roads. Earlier in the morning everyone checked their routes and it was determined that no action was necessary on all routes as it was hovering near 0 degrees and hadn't snowed at all.
Shawn and I were traveling on County Route 26 at approximately 8-8:30AM and came upon 2 pickups facing the same direction and 2 men outside talking. We continued on checking for dips and bumps. As we headed back on 26 from Inman towards Mensink road we saw damage on the truck in front. We believed it to be a F150. We stopped and at this time there was only one man near the trucks. Please note that the legal speed limit on this section of road is 40MPH and there is yellow suggested speed limit of 15MPH. We asked the man if he needed any assistance. The man raised his voice and said, “Yea put some fucking sand on the road”. Shawn and I looked down on the road and there was more than enough sand and we said “OK sir have a nice day”.
Shawn and I were heading back and saw the Fire Department approaching the site where the truck had climbed at least a 5 foot snow bank that was rock hard and struck a poplar tree that was next to the road. A short distance later we saw off duty Deputy Superintendent Brian Snickles approaching in our direction and we stopped to talk to him. Brian works 1PM to 9PM and he said that he heard it on the scanner and he was in disbelief that there could be an accident on that road as he had sanded the road the night before lightly as it hadn't snowed in the 3 previous days. (4 including this day in mention).
Shawn and I reported the situation as we know it to Superintendent DeMars as soon as we returned.
Shortly after we returned and reported the situation, Superintendent DeMars received a call from Deputy Superintendent Snickles and subsequently ordered us back to the site to speak to the Fire Department while the State Police were present. Superintendent DeMars informed us that Deputy Snickles was told by Fireman John Houghton and Kevin Woodruff that we did not stop to ask if assistance was needed and Fireman John Houghton and Kevin Woodruff had stated that the roads were slippery. Superintendent DeMars informed us that Deputy Superintendent Snickles told Fireman John Houghton and Kevin Woodruff that he was sick and tired of the childish games and that there was more than enough sand on the road than needed to be.
As Shawn and I returned to the site, we found that Fireman John Houghton and Kevin Woodruff were gone. There was a State Trooper at the site and the uncle of the man that damaged his vehicle. The uncle was removing fuel from the 200-250 gallon fuel cell. (Please note that we believe 115 gallons is the legal limit without a placard and there was no placard on the vehicle). Shawn and I talked to the State Trooper. The Trooper stated to us that the man complained that the road needed sand. The Trooper stated that he had traveled on the road between 45-50 MPH and he had no problem what so ever.
We asked if the man was OK and the Trooper informed us that if he didn't take the ambulance ride, he was going to ticket him for speeding as the roads were in great shape.
Respectfully Submitted, Chris Reed, Shawn Snyder
To Town of Franklin Highway Department and Town Board,
On Saturday morning May 5, 2018 at approximately 2AM I Leon Lester witnessed 2 Town of Franklin employees clearing trees from the roadway on Oregon Plains Road.
May 4th Windstorm
Report from: Shawn Snyder and Trent Fitzgerald
On Friday May 4, 2018 at approximately 6:30PM Superintendent DeMars called me and ordered me to work due to high winds and potential for downed trees. I asked him who I would be working with and he said Trent (Fitzgerald), I was informed to be in at 7PM.
Trent and I reported to work within a couple minutes of each other. We patrolled most town roads and some County roads and found few trees down. We did notice the Fire Department on Fletcher Farm Road standing by near a couple spots with trees on the lines.
At approximately 8:50-8:55PM I called Superintendent DeMars and informed him that we felt that it was OK to go home. Superintendent DeMars stated to us that it was OK as he hadn't received any 911 calls but informed us that we would be going back out in the morning (Saturday May 5th).
He thanked us and we left at 9PM.
Shawn Snyder, Trent Fitzgerald
May 4th Windstorm Callback
Trent Fitzgerald, Chris Reed and Shawn Snyder
On May 4, 2018 at approximately 10:40 PM I, Trent Fitzgerald received a call from Superintendent Jacques DeMars ordering to come back in to work. I asked him why we weren't waiting until morning because not only did I feel it was unsafe but he had informed me earlier that we would be going out in the morning during daylight hours and I was in bed because of that. Jacques apologized to me and informed me that he received a call from Bloomingdale Fire Chief Tim Woodruff and Tim requested some men. Jacques informed me that I would be working with Chris Reed and to look on the bright side of things that I wouldn't have to go out the next day. He asked me if I could make it by 11PM and I told him that I could. Note that I made it in to work at approximately 10:55PM. Chris pulled in about 1 minute after I did.
Note, I was out earlier with Shawn Snyder and all the necessary equipment was in our 350 pickup. I just pulled it out when Chris pulled in. We immediately went out and traveled over all our high traffic roads and most of the others as well as some of the County roads.
We worked from 11:00PM until 3:05AM. I had just fallen in a brook at approximately 2:50AM and was ready to call it a night. We cut 2 more trees and went home. I informed Jacques prior to leaving.
On Saturday May 5, 2018 at approximately 5:30PM I WAS WITH Shawn Snyder as Shawn received a call from Superintendent Jacques DeMars requesting both of us for Sunday morning. He informed us that he wanted us to cut trees in the ditch line back further.
On Sunday morning, Shawn and I met Jacques at the garage at approximately 7:55AM. We were assigned a vehicle, chain saws and pole saws and we went in different directions. I was on the south side of Route 3 and Shawn was on the North side. We found no trees blocking or impeding traffic however we did cut trees back farther as we were instructed to do so. Shawn and I met in Loon Lake area on Bass Pond road. At this point every road had been driven over and taken care of.
Furthermore we are appalled at the Bloomingdale Fire Department member that stated that we were not out on Friday night into Saturday morning.
May 4th Windstorm Callback
Chris Reed and Trent Fitzgerald
On Friday May 4 2018, I Chris Reed received a call from Superintendent Jacques DeMars at approximately 1040PM.
Jacques informed me that he had just received a call from Fire Chief Tim Woodruff requesting assistance on downed trees. Jacques apologized to me and told me that he had planned on calling us in the morning but did not want to disregard Tim's request. I was informed that I would be working with Trent (Fitzgerald) and asked if I could be in by 11PM. I said that I should be able to.
I made it to the Highway Garage slightly before 11PM, Trent had truck 6 ready to go with chainsaws, pole saws, mixed gas, oil, the toolbox and a tow chain. We immediately went out and checked roads. We found some trees down and took care of them. As we back tracked we found more trees down.
We worked from 11PM Friday night until 3:05AM Saturday morning. We traveled all of our heavily traveled roads and most of the others. We also traveled some of our County roads.
Please note that Trent fell in a brook on Swinyer road while we were taking care of some trees. This happened slightly before 3AM.
On Saturday morning at approximately 7:30AM I called Superintendent DeMars and asked him if he was going to need me as I wanted to go to Plattsburgh. Jacques informed me that he thought we should be good as he had not received any 911 calls whatsoever.
I asked him if he was sure and then volunteered to check roads on my way from Lake Clear i.e. County route 55, Oregon Plains road, County route 60, etc., I called Jacques back and informed that 3 small trees were partially blocking a lane on Oregon Plains road. Jacques asked if I would punch in and take care of them. I did work 8:30AM to 10:30AM and checked other roads and found no other trees down. I called Jacques and informed him that all appeared to be OK. He thanked me and I proceeded to Plattsburgh.
Respectfully Submitted, Chris Reed, Trent Fitzgerald
Superintendent DeMars stated the safety of his men is paramount. He further stated emergency services, such as the Bloomingdale Volunteer Fire Department, have legal authority in cases of emergency to remove dangerous trees from all roadways when necessary. The Town of Franklin has no authority to clear non-town roadways in cases of emergency or otherwise.
John Houghton, 2nd Chief BVFD - Chief Houghton, referring to the May 4th Wind Storm, while he did not see Town of Franklin Highway employees working on the night of the storm, there are numerous roads in the town. BVFD received many emergency calls that night. A safety plan, delineating responsibilities of TOFHD and BVFD, would be beneficial to both entities.
Councilman Tom Bartiss - Offered to provide safety training for dealing with downed trees, utilities, etc to TOFHD and BVFD. Superintendent DeMars stated he will contact BVFD Chief Tim Woodruff to facilitate implementation of a safety plan and training.
SHARED SERVICES AGREEMENT - As a yearly review is required, the board reviewed and acknowledged it.
CODE OFFICER'S MAY 2018 REPORT - Building Permits Issued-8, Violations-2, Certificates of Occupancy-0, Inspections-14, Fees Collected-$1592.15
A. Solar Project - No update
RESOLUTION #27 ACCEPTANCE OF MOU BY AND BETWEEN TEAMSTERS LOCAL 687 REGARDING GRIEVANCE 10891: On a motion by Councilman Cliff Smalley, second by Councilman Don Hamm, BE IT RESOLVED the Town of Franklin Town Board agrees to the MOU dated June 13, 2018 by and between the Town of Franklin and Teamsters Local 687 regrading the intention of the Town Board to eliminate the position of Buildings and Groundskeeper/Custodian/Maintenance/Laborer/General Fund Employee position in the 2019 Fiscal Budget for the Town of Franklin.
Those Voting Aye:
Those voting No: None
B. Waterfront and Hamlet Revitalization Grant - No Update
C. Community Building Update - The board discussed next steps. Councilman Bartiss suggested the board work with the architect Tisdel Associates, to rebid the project. Supervisor Willman suggested the Town of Franklin hire temporary skilled labor and the Town Board could coordinate construction thereby eliminating the cost of a General Contractor. No decision was made.
D. Teamster's Grievance - The board did not move to Executive Session to discuss the grievance. Supervisor Willman presented the following agreement, dated June 13, 2018 signed by Glenn Swinyer and Brian Hammond-President/PEO
Teamster's Local 687 for the board's consideration.
RESOLUTION #27 ACCEPTANCE OF MOU BY AND BETWEEN TEAMSTERS LOCAL 687 REGARDING GRIEVANCE 10891 - On a motion by Councilman Cliff Smalley, second by Councilman Don Hamm, BE IT RESOLVED the Town of Franklin Town Board agrees to the MOU dated June 13, 2018 by and between the Town of Franklin and Teamsters Local 687 regrading the intention of the Town Board to eliminate the position of Buildings and Groundskeeper/Custodian/Maintenance/Laborer/General Fund Employee position in the 2019 Fiscal Budget for the Town of Franklin.
Those Voting Aye:
Those voting No: None
E. Kate Mountain Special Reserve Fund -Supervisor Willman requested approval to open a CLASS account, which yields higher interest than the current account, and restrict fund's usage to construction of a community center. Discussion was held regarding the title of the proposed CLASS account. Councilman Smalley discussed the disadvantages of using “Community Center” in the title as this could be interpreted as limiting the funds to construct the building designed by Tisdel Associates. Councilman Smalley further stated no decision has been made by the board regarding how/if the Town will continue to pursue the project.
RESOLUTION #28 ESTABLISHING A COMMUNITY BUILDING CLASS ACCOUNT
On a motion by Supervisor Willman, second by Councilman Hamm, BE IT RESOLVED the Town of Franklin Town Board does hereby authorize Supervisor Willman to establish the Kate Mountain Community Building Fund CLASS account.
Those Voting Aye:
Those voting No: None
A. Cemetery- no report
B. Recreation- Summer Youth Program July 2-Aug 10. The feeding program will now be 6 weeks instead of 5 weeks. Supervisor Willman is working with Franklin County Legislator Andrea Dumas to secure funding for kitchen staff for the duration of the program.
C. Celebration- Lauren LeFebvre reported the Founder's Day Celebration will not be held in 2018 due to lack of volunteers. She encouraged anyone interested to volunteering to help with any event to contact her.
D. Facilities- The board authorized the Town Clerk to solicit RPF's for Landscaping/Grounds-keeping for all Town of Franklin properties and for cleaning of the Town Hall. Smalley-Bartiss m/s/p—All Aye
There being no further business to discuss, Supervisor Willman adjourned the meeting at 7:30pm.
Respectfully submitted, Lauren LeFebvre, Town Clerk