Town of Franklin Board Meetings

June 11, 2007 - 7:00 pm

The Town Board of the Town of Franklin held a regularly scheduled Board meeting on Monday, June 11, 2007 at 7:00 pm at the Vermontville Town Hall.

Board members present:

    Supervisor Mary Ellen Keith
    Councilman Gene Goff
    Councilman Tim Goff
    Councilman Walt Kretser

Board members absent:

    Councilperson Janet Ordway

Others Present:

    Highway Superintendent James Rascoe
    Town Clerk Sandra Oliver

Resident's & Others Present:

    Ellen Goff, Bruce Goff, Keith Silliman, Sandy Hayes, Al Berg, Brad Merrill, K. Tuthill, B. Huggins, Karen Potts, Bryon Tuthill, Amy Tuthill, Holly Huggins, Joe Rupp, Ellen Beberman, Vincent Fallica, Shir Filler, Jean Baltzly

CALL TO ORDER

    Supervisor Keith called the meeting to order; the Pledge of Allegiance was recited; the Town Clerk called the roll, and announced a quorum was present. Supervisor Keith welcomed all present. She stated the agenda was full, and requested those present to refrain from commenting until the appropriate times.

AUDIT OF BILLS

    The following claims were presented and reviewed by the Board::
    GeneralWarrant #6Claims 94 - 114$3,437.97
    HighwayWarrant #6Claim 93 - 115$14,261.99
    Prepay GeneralWarrant #5Claims 33 - 36$1,218.61

    Motion to approve bills and pay same (T.Goff-W.Kretserf m/s/p) ALL AYE

SUPERVISOR'S REPORT

    Balances on hand at May 1, 2007

    General FundCK$17,675.40
    SV$35,285.19
    CLASS$227,296.20
    Highway FundCK$29,514.20
    SV$76,066.12
    CLASS$467,742.40
    Cap Proj Hwy$24,089.08
    LandfillCK$2,576.78
    CLASS$63,468.06
    FireCK$10,249.72
    CLASS$4,669.22
    Cap. BuildingCLASS$144,141.42

    Motion to accept Supervisor's Report (W.Kretser-G.Goff m/s/p) ALL AYE

SCHOLARSHIP AWARDS

    The Franklin Scholarship Committee, an independent organization, awarded scholarships to the following students who were present:

      B. Huggins
      K. Tuthill
      Sarah Brown
      Bruce Goff

      Generous applause was had in acknowledgement of the accomplishments of the students.

HIGHWAY REPORT

Highway Superintendent James Rascoe presented his report

    1. HIGHWAY SCHOOL attended by the Superintendent and Deputy Eric Merrill, with lectures on
    • a. Staying ahead of the weather
    • b. Road signs
    • c. Fuel management. DEC will be stricter in enforcing testing tanks. Mr. Rascoe will be talking to Griffith Energy about testing twice per year.
    • d. Pothole patching
    • e. Working more efficiently with county
    • f. Updating road inventory for CHIPS funding
    • g. Planning for disasters
    • h. Ditch management
    • i. Guide rails. Mr. Rascoe indicated the Town needs more guide rails, and the Town of Minerva has a large supply, and will donate same to Town of Franklin.

    2. VEHICLE BREAKDOWNS.

    • a. a. New Holland Tractor. The new tractor broke down and was sent for warranty repair. The Town of Brighton loaned department their tractor, and Mr. Rascoe is very grateful to them.
    • b. Tow-Behind Sweeper. Department Mechanic Crowe repaired the tow-behind sweeper. Mr. Rascoe expressed appreciation to the Town of Saranac, which donated an engine for the sweeper.

    3. ROAD WORK

    • a. Rock Street - chipping in progress
    • b. All roads - almost finished grading and potholes are being patched
    • c. Alderbrook Park - washout on road necessitates installation of new culvert
    • d. Paye Road - chipped 3 1/2 poles on Paye Rd for Verizon. In addition, Verizon will raise lines on the road. In response to a question, Supt. Rascoe stated the road had never been ditched, so lines must be raised. Mr. LaHart of Verizon mentioned how pleased he is that no lines were cut or dug up last year.
    • e. Goldsmith Road - nearly all the crusher run has been delivered.

    4. LOON LAKE

    • Supt. Rascoe indicated Mr. Gilmore is in process of removing his constructed rock ledge; however, his neighbor, Mr. Gerwin threatened to sue the Town if the rocks in the Town's right-of-way were not removed. Mr. Rascoe opined the road should be surveyed.

    5. HIGHWAY COMMITTEE

    • a. DEPARTMENT PERFORMANCE. Coun. Gene Goff noted that the Garage is well organized and that he is pleased with the performance of the department.
    • b. LIGHT AT GARAGE. Supv. Keith will contact the electrician to repair the fixture.
    • c. TIMECLOCK DIFFICULTY There was a problem with the timeclock; Town ordered a new modem for same; problem was at Verizon substation.
    • d. ROAD SIGNS. Coun. Kretser stated Town must replace all metal road signs with “break-away” road signs. Coun. G. Goff stated Town should phase these replacements in.

    6. QUESTIONS AND COMMENTS RE HIGHWAY

    • a. Survey Map. Brad Merrill offered a survey map of Lake Terrace Rd to Supt. Rascoe
    • b. Trash on Town roads. Garbage is being dumped on Bigelow Road, so Supv. Keith telephoned DEC to report same. Supt. Rascoe noted that Mr. Dan Malone of DEC is able to trace ownership of illegally-disposed appliances back 15 years. Coun. G. Goff stated he's noticed trash on Tyler and Cold Brook Roads, and Karen Potts said County Rte 60 in Onchiota is in the same condition. Supv. Keith stated that the Town designated May 2007 as clean up month, and residents collected roadside trash on May 26th and brought it to a truck at the Town Hall. Supv. Keith noted large items of trash should be brought to the attention of DEC.
    • c. Speeding on Town roads. In response to complaints about speeding on all town roads, Supt. Rascoe indicated all town roads are by law 55 mph. The speed limit signs the Town posts are “suggestions”. The process of setting lower Town road speed limits is complicated: the Town and County Highway Superintendents must petition NYS Dept. of Transportation. This can take several years and is not always successful. He suggested telephoning NYS Police Safety Officer. Supervisor Keith indicated the Town should invite the NYS Police Safety Officer to attend a Town Board meeting. It was noted that Keene Valley has permanent lighted speed limit signs which are very effective.
    • d. Bigelow Road. Coun. Kretser stated Town should urge DEC to take this road over. The bridge belongs to the County, and there does not seem to be any urgency in replacing it.

OLD BUSINESS

    1. LOCAL GOVERNMENT EFFICIENCY AND COMPETITIVENESS COMMITTEE.

    Supv. Keith asked if the Board members had any additional suggestions for subject of Town of Franklin's concerns. Coun. Kretser had suggested sharing the cost of purchasing large vehicles (i.e., a paver), and Supv. Keith suggested the problem of ever-rising real property assessments. Since additional suggestions were not forthcoming, Supv. Keith will complete the questionnaire and mail it.

    2. PLANNING - KEITH SILLIMAN, ESQ.

    Mr. Silliman, a resident of Loon Lake, President of the Loon Lake Association, and Chair of the Town of Bethlehem Planning Board, explained the process taken by the Town of Bethlehem to create its subdivision regulations. Bethlehem is similar to the Town of Franklin in that it is a “bedroom community” with several working farms and virtually no business. The tax burden falls on property owners, but because of the town's location and excellent school system, Bethlehem experienced a boom in subdivision. Property owners felt the town was losing its character, so the town developed subdivision regulations. Because Bethlehem had working farms, regulations were developed in such a way that if a farmer retired from agriculture and decided to subdivide his land for his children, he could have a 4-house subdivision on an existing highway with water and sewer without having to go through the SEQR process. In addition, the farmer could also apply to the planning board once every two years for an additional subdivision.

    Coun. Kretser indicated the Town of Franklin was only interested in subdivision regulations, and that authority would reside with the Town Board. No planning or zoning board is contemplated. The Town Board intends to “keep it simple.” Coun. Kretser stated APA subdivision authority rests mainly in shoreline restrictions and setbacks. The Town should have the right to review proposed subdivisions so the character of the Town of Franklin will not change dramatically.

    Mr. Silliman stated the Town Board should have a vision of what it wants the Town to look like. He then offered his assistance and expertise to the Board in drafting a subdivision law, and it was gratefully accepted by the Board.

NEW BUSINESS

    1. DISASTER PLANNING.

    Supervisor Keith, Councilman Gene Goff, Highway Superintendent James Rascoe and Deputy Highway Superintendent Eric Merrill were trained and also designated as Town of Franklin contact persons for the National Incident Management System (“NIMS”). In the event of a disaster, FEMA funds would be contingent upon course certification. NIMS plan also includes ham radio operators transmitting and receiving under the County E911 emergency coordinates. The Board determined the same individuals would be designated as Town contacts.

    Motion to affirm contact persons (W.Kretser-G.Goff m/s/p) ALL AYE

    2. ASSOCIATION OF SENIOR CITIZENS OF FRANKLIN COUNTY.

    The Board concurred that Ruth and Roland Lapier should continue in their respective liaison positions.

    Motion to nominate Ruth and Roland Lapier (G.Goff-T.Goff m/s/p) ALL AYE

    3. LOON LAKE FIRE TOWER RESTORATION.

    An independent public information meeting held at the Town Hall (not sponsored by the Town) concerned the status of the Loon Lake Fire Tower. Sean Reynolds, Onchiota resident, and ranger for DEC, gave a very thorough presentation; the Adirondack Mountain Club will assist volunteers in raising funds to restore the Tower. DEC indicated the tower itself was in very good condition.

    4. TIME WARNER FRANCHISE HEARING

    A public information session will be held at 6:00 pm on July 9, prior to the monthly Town Board meeting. The public is invited to attend and comment on Time Warner service.

    5. FIRE/RESCUE UPDATE.

      a. Dry Hydrants. Coun. Gene Goff inspected the Sinkhole Road bridge; he will confer with the Bloomingdale Fire Dept. chief to ascertain whether the department will use a dry hydrant installed at that location.

      b. EMT Hire. The Saranac Lake Area Fire Advisory Board will hold its next meeting on June 20th. It anticipates the employment of one or possibly two paid EMTs. If this occurs, the recommendation of the Fire Advisory Board will be implemented, however, the cost of the contract with the Village of Saranac Lake will naturally increase.

COMMITTEE REPORTS

    1. BUILDING COMMITTEE.

      a. Infrastructure Project. Coun. Walt Kretser reported that he and Supervisor Keith met with three different engineers and toured the Garage, Town Hall and Kate Mountain Recreation Park. All the engineers opined the Town should proceed with the approach recommended by Yellow Wood Associates for repair, renovation and construction work on all three buildings at once. In this way the Town can guarantee the services of project managers and Clerk of the Works. The engineers, Aron Ovios of Sutherland, Plattsburgh, Doug Ferris of Willsboro and Tom Bombard of Keeseville will submit RFP's. Once the Town Board receives the RFP's, it will start making schedules.

      b. Building Committee. The Building Committee met with Terrie Martino of ANCA. Coun. Kretser stated the Town Board is happy with the Building Committee and would like the committee to continue; however, members need to commit to the infrastructure project.

    2. RECREATION COMMITTEE.

      a. Pavilion Enclosure. Coun. Tim Goff reported that the corrugated plastic proposed to be used as replacement for the plastic tarpaulin tends to break easily. Therefore, he proposes to use wooden beadboard to stop the wind and rain.

      b. Basketball Court. Coun. T. Goff will paint the basketball court as soon as a 2-day clear weather forecast is given.

      c. Summer Youth Program. The summer program will start on Monday, July 9, 2007 at 9:00 am and will continue each weekday for 6 weeks. Kathy Drake, Coordinator of the program and her two assistants are ready to start.

    3. CEMETERY COMMITTEE. Kuhn Memorials of Vermont did a wonderful job on headstone repair. The work was paid for out of an already-existing, non-taxpayer fund. Supervisor Keith plans to hold fundraisers so that money can be collected for work needed at the Merrillsville Cemetery.

    4. CELEBRATION COMMITTEE. On Saturday, July 21st Town Celebration Day will recognize the Underground Railroad.

CORRESPONDENCE

    1. NYS DEC TO JOHN HUTCHISON. Letter indicating that the cleanup of the dump site on Rock Street is in substantial compliance. 2. U.S. REPRESENTATIVE JOHN MCHUGH. In response to Town's Resolution No. 20, advocating mandatory funding of health care benefits to veterans, Rep. McHugh will be introducing a bill to that effect.

QUESTIONS AND COMMENTS.

  • Supervisor Keith responded to a question concerning progress with Adirondack Leadership Expeditions: legal opinion of James Maher, Esq., attorney for the town, is that the Town may not involve itself in matters of a private business.
  • On grievance day, the Board of Assessment Review only heard one grievance, which speaks well of Assessor Douglas Tichenor.

ADJOURNMENT

    There being no further business to discuss, the meeting adjourned at 8:48 pm (M.Keith-W.Kretser m/s/p) ALL AYE

Respectfully submitted, Sandra J. Oliver, Town Clerk

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Franklin, TOWN OF FRANKLIN

Town of Franklin
P.O. Box 209, Route 3, Vermontville, NY 12989
Tel: 518-891-2189 - Fax: 518-891-6389


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