town of franklin

Town of Franklin Board Meetings

Town Board Meeting
Monday, March 10, 2008 - 7:00 pm

The Town of Franklin Town Board held a Regular Town Board Meeting on Monday, March 10, 2008 at 7:00 pm at the Franklin Town Hall in Vermontville, NY.

Board members present:

    Supervisor Mary Ellen Keith
    Councilman Walt Kretser
    Councilman Allen Berg
    Councilman Clifford Smalley
    Councilwoman Janet Ordway

Others Present:

    Town Clerk Sandra J. Oliver, Vince & Susan Catlin, Bradley Merrill, James & Nancy Hauber, Wade Sullivan, Donald Vorrath, Sandy Hayes, David Whitson, Jonathan Gorgas

CALL TO ORDER

    Supervisor Keith called the meeting to order at 7:05 pm; the Pledge of Allegiance was recited, and the Town Clerk called the roll, stating the full board was present.

AUDIT OF BILLS

    The following claims were presented for payment on Abstract #3:
    GeneralClaims 48 - 72$33,279.44
    HighwayClaims 35 - 45$45,542.95

    The following claims were presented for payment on Abstract #2:
    Prepay GeneralClaims 7 - 13$7,030.34

    The following claims were presented for payment on Abstract #1:
    LandfillClaim 1$1,674.60
    Prepay HighwayClaim 1$33,242.00

    Coun. Al Berg had questioned the use of Town cell phones during the evening hours to one particular number and after investigation found the number was to M.A. Jerry. The cell phones in question are used by the Highway Superintendent and the Deputy Highway Superintendent.

MINUTES OF MEETINGS

The minutes of the February 11 regular board meeting and March 6 special board meeting were accepted as presented. Motion to accept minutes

(C.Smalley-A.Berg m/s/p) ALL AYE

The Town Clerk requested a resolution to allowing the substitution of language in October 15, 2007 Resolution No. 48 and amending said Resolution. The resolution adopted by the Board did not contain the same language as that required by Time Warner for submission to the Federal Communications Commission.

Motion for resolution (J.Ordway-C.Smalley m/s/p) ALL AYE

RESOLUTION NO. 14: AMEND 2007 RESOLUTION NO. 48 TO INCORPORATE LANGUAGE REQUIRED BY TIME WARNER.

WHEREAS, the 2007 Town Board accepted the terms of the Franchise Agreement with Time Warner Cable in Resolution No. 48; and WHEREAS, the language required by Time Warner Cable differs; NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that 2007 Resolution 48 is amended to read as follows:

    "STATE OF NEW YORK
    COUNTY OF FRANKLIN
    TOWN OF FRANKLIN

    ______________________________________________________

    In the Matter of the Renewal of the Cable Television Franchise Held by TIME WARNER NY CABLE LLC in the RESOLUTION Town of Franklin, County of Franklin, New York

    ______________________________________________________

    An application has been made to the Town Board of the Town of Franklin, County of Franklin, State of New York, by TIME WARNER NY CABLE LLC ("Time Warner"), a partnership organized under the laws of the State of New York doing business at 6005 Fair Lakes Road, East Syracuse, NY 13221, and holder of a cable television franchise in the Town of Franklin for the approval of an agreement to renew Time Warner's cable television franchise for an additional ten (10) years commencing _________________________________________. The Franchise Renewal Agreement would bring the franchise into conformity with certain provisions of the Federal Cable Communications Policy Act of 1984, as amended, and certain court rulings.

    A public hearing was held in the Town of Franklin, New York on Monday, October 15, 2007, at the Town Hall, Vermontville, NY, at 6:00 PM and notice was published in the Adirondack Daily Enterprise on June 15, October 5, 8 and 9, 2007.

    NOW, THEREFORE, the Board of the Town of Franklin finds that:

      1. Time Warner has substantially complied with the material terms and conditions of its existing franchise and with applicable law; and

      2. The quality of Time Warner service, including signal quality, response to customer complaints and billing practices has been in light of community needs; and

      3. Time Warner has the financial, legal and technical ability to provide these services, facilities and equipment as set forth in its proposal attached; and

      4. Time Warner can reasonably meet the future cable-related community needs and interests, taking into account the cost of meeting such needs and interests. BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Town Board of the Town of Franklin hereby renews the cable franchise of Time Warner in the Town of Franklin for ten (10) years commencing ________________ and expiring ___________________.

    The foregoing having received a unanimous vote was thereby declared adopted."

    THOSE VOTING AYE:

      Supervisor Mary Ellen Keith
      Councilman Walt Kretser
      Councilperson Janet Ordway
      Councilman Al Berg
      Councilman Cliff Smalley

    THOSE VOTING NAY:

      None

SUPERVISOR'S REPORT

    Balances as of February 1, 2008:

    General FundCK$33,279.44
    SV$45,542.95
    CLASS$273,668.60
    Highway FundCK$6,537.04
    SV$202,177.93
    CLASS$481,120.96
    Cap Proj Hwy$24,883.43
    LandfillCK$2,165.14
    CLASS$60,487.93
    FireCK$13,420.56
    CLASS$2,762.52
    Cap. BuildingCLASS$159,049.50

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

HIGHWAY REPORT

    1. HIGHWAY SUPERINTENDENT'S REPORT. James Perry, Highway Dept. Mechanic, has assumed a leadership position in the Department during absence of Superintendent Rascoe and Deputy Superintendent Merrill. Mr. Perry submitted the following written report:

      a. Department has plowed and sanded when needed.

      b. Cut and pushed back banks when and where possible

      c. Used grader several times in attempt to scrape ice buildup from roads.

      d. Franklin County Hwy. Dept. also used its crews and grader to scrape Co. Rts. 55 and 60.

      e. Department will continue grading when weather permits.

      f. NEW EQUIPMENT. Specifications and recommendations for tow-behind broom sweeper have been forwarded to Town Supervisor.

      g. REPAIR OF FUEL TANK METERS. Brad Perry, who calibrates meters for the County Highway Dept. has been contacted and will provide names of individuals who repair these meters.

      h. STATUS OF SUPERINTENDENT AND DEPUTY. Supv. Keith reported that Highway Supt. James Rascoe was on medical leave. Deputy Highway Supt. Eric Merrill is also on medical leave until Wednesday March 12th. In the meantime James Perry has taken a leadership role in the Department. The entire crew is working together and is putting forth a good team effort.

    2. HIGHWAY COMMITTEE

      a. Tow-Behind Sweeper Specifications. Coun. Kretser reported that he had received the recommendations for this proposed purchase from the Department and will review same with James Perry. Coun. Smalley asked how the requirements were determined, and Coun. Kretser replied that department personnel determined what they wanted in the proposed purchase.

      b. Rough Roads. Coun. Kretser reported a discussion with James Perry concerning the very rough roads in the Town. When the roads are plowed at a higher rate of speed, as was necessary in the past 2 months, the plow "chatters" and leaves a washboard effect on the road. Supv. Keith stated the County made its grader available for towns to use to remove the build up of ice from the roads. However, towns must wait to use this grader. The Town of Brighton used it just before the deep cold set in, and although the County's grader and crew attempted to remove the ice on Fletcher Farm Road, all recognized the ice was so solid, damage to the vehicle could have occurred, so it returned to Malone. Coun. Kretser opined the rough roads were a matter of unfortunate timing, but as soon as the temperature rises and the ice softens, the ice buildup would be removed.

    3. QUESTIONS AND COMMENTS

      a. Sand and Salt. Coun. Berg inquired as to the amount of salt and sand remaining. Wade Sullivan, a Highway Dept. employee, replied that no salt was left, and that the Department was using its old reserves of sand.

      b. Recycling Sand. Coun. Berg inquired about the possibility of recycling the sand, and a former employee of the Highway Dept. stated the Towns of Brunswick and Harrietstown recycle their sand. The Town of Franklin would not have to purchase screener to process the recycled sand as that equipment can be rented. Bethlehem owns two sweepers which it uses to sweep the old sand from driveways and lawns to the middle of the road, and then loads the old sand onto a truck. The sand is then put through a screener to remove debris and is reused. A current employee commented this would not save the town money as it would incur fuel and labor cost, but that it would be an environmentally friendly measure. Coun. Ordway stated the Town spent $92,000 on sand this year. The Board concurred the suggestion was very much worth investigating, and Coun. Kretser indicated the Highway Committee would review costs benefits carefully.

      c. Highway Superintendent. The board responded to several queries and comments concerning the Highway Superintendent:

      • Why was the December 2008 letter from Art Schneck which was full of allegations concerning acts by the Highway Supt. never addressed by the Board?
        • Supervisor Keith stated the matter was referred to the Ethics Committee, per Town policy, reviewed by the attorney for the Town, reported in the minutes of the November 14, 2007 meeting, and finally referred to the NYS Comptroller's Office for review. The Comptroller's Office indicated as there were no substantiated charges, it could do nothing.

      • Town trucks were seen replowing roads that had just been sanded. Was this just to keep the employees looking busy? Seems a waste of time and fuel.
        • Coun. Kretser replied he also noticed the replowing of roads, however, the need for replowing of roads is the Highway Superintendent's decision.

      • In addition, the Highway Dept. red pickup was seen plowing the Highway Supt.'s driveway and other private driveways.
        • Coun. Berg noted that allegations of private plowing will be investigated.

      • Why aren't there guidelines for the Highway Supt.?
        • Coun. Kretser held up a red book published by the NY Association of Towns which describes the duties of a highway superintendent and stated if a superintendent followed all the guidelines in the book, his job would be well performed.

      • Who gave the Highway Supt. permission to use the Town truck to plow his own driveway? People need to know.
        • Coun. Kretser indicated this and other allegations were being investigated. Supervisor Keith recommended that if people had witnessed any questionable activity by any elected official, they should report it to the Town Supervisor or the Town Clerk. For a complaint to be considered valid, a name and address must be included in the report.

      • If the Highway Supt. doesn't report for work, why can't the Board terminate his employment?
        • Supv. Keith explained that the Highway Superintendent is elected by the citizens of the Town, and the Board has no authority to remove an elected official from office due to absence from duty (especially in view of the fact that Mr. Rascoe is on medical leave). In fact, it is possible for an elected official never to report for duty. A decade or two ago a Board member was absent from Board meetings for almost a year and the Town was obliged to continue paying his salary.

NEW BUSINESS

    1. APA MAP AMENDMENT. The Adirondack Park Agency discovered an error in the Official Map and submitted a request to the Town Board to approve or disapprove a map amendment. A small parcel of land on Co. Rt. 55 was classified as Wild Forest, but APA determined the land is privately owned. The Board agreed with the map amendment.

    Motion to approve APA Map Amendment #2007-06 (A.Berg-C.Smalley m/s/p) ALL AYE

    2. ASSESSMENT MATTERS.

      a. Complaint on 2008 Tentative Assessment by Frontier Communications. Copies distributed to Town Board.

      b. 2009 Assessment Update - Briggs Appraisal Service. Contract for data collection and valuation which Assessor recommends be approved. Coun. Kretser stated he would like to discuss the proposed contract with the Assessor and requests the matter be tabled until the next special board meeting.

    3. ELECTION MATTERS. Supv. Keith requested authorization from the Board to execute an agreement with the Franklin County Board of Elections to use the Town's two polling sites for the upcoming elections, the September primary (if needed) and the November presidential.

    Motion for resolution authorizing Supervisor to sign agreement with Franklin County BOE (J.Ordway-C.Smalley m/s/p) ALL AYE

    RESOLUTION NO. 15: AUTHORIZATION FOR SUPERVISOR TO SIGN AGREEMENT PERMITTING FRANKLIN COUNTY TO USE TOWN'S POLLING SITES WHEREAS, Franklin County Board of Elections (BOE) assumed ownership of all voting machines in January 2006; and WHEREAS, BOE has requested the Town to store the voting machines currently used by the Town; and WHEREAS, BOE must have access to the polling sites in the Town; NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the Franklin County Board of Elections be and hereby is authorized access to the Town of Franklin handicapped accessible polling sites at the Vermontville Town Hall, 7 Cold Brook Road, Vermontville and the Merrillsville Town Hall, 55 Black Spruce Lane, Loon Lake, New York; and BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that BOE will recruit, train and pay Election Inspectors; and BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Town will furnish tables, chairs and the United States flag on Election Day; and BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Franklin County Board of Elections will access the buildings through the Town Clerk.

    THOSE VOTING AYE:

      Supervisor Mary Ellen Keith
      Councilman Walter Kretser
      Councilman Allen Berg
      Councilman Clifford Smalley
      Councilperson Janet Ordway

    THOSE VOTING NAY:

      None

    4. ADIRONDACK PARK LOCAL GOVERNMENT REVIEW BOARD. Supv. Keith referred to the email distributed to the Board concerning the Chautauqua County court ruling that all State payment of taxes be halted. The APLGRB requested a resolution be adopted by towns in the Adirondack Park supporting continued State tax payments on State-owned land in this area. The Board agreed with the resolution.

    Motion for resolution (M.Keith-A.Berg m/s/p) ALL AYE

    RESOLUTION NO. 16: SUPPORT OF CONTINUED STATE TAX PAYMENTS ON STATE-OWNED LAND IN THE ADIRONDACK PARK WHEREAS, the State Legislature first authorized New York State in 1886 to make payments to local governments for property taxes on state-owned land; and WHEREAS, since 1894, when the Adirondack Park Forest Preserve was established by Article 7 of the State Constitution, the state has been purchasing private lands in the Adirondack Park for inclusion in the Forest Preserve; and WHEREAS, the state's designation of millions of acres of land as Forest Preserve ha sharply reduced, and in some places, eliminated opportunities for most economic activity in Adirondack Park communities, in contrast with the broad opportunities for growth available in other communities across the state; and WHEREAS, state-owned Forest Preserve comprises a majority of all property - as much as 96 percent - in some communities in the Adirondacks; and WHEREAS, the State Legislature authorized acquisition of private lands in the Adirondacks as a benefit to all state residents, and as such bears the responsibility for sharing in the continuing costs associated with those properties, such as road maintenance and local emergency response protection, rather than imposing these costs on the declining number of local property taxpayers in Adirondack communities whose ability to pay taxes has been sharply restricted by the loss of economic growth associated with the acquisitions; and WHEREAS, Adirondack Park Agency ("APA") regulations have further reduced economic opportunities on the land remaining in private ownership, thereby further restricting job growth and economic opportunity in the region; and WHEREAS, the combination of vast state land ownership and heavy state regulation of private land has created an economy in many Adirondack communities that is largely dependent on local and state government and school districts as the major economic forces; and WHEREAS, New York State's determination to continue to convert more private land into Forest Preserve in the Adirondack Park, combined with increasing APA regulation, creates a perpetual cycle of slow economic decline that has been only minimally leavened by the state's payment of property taxes to local communities, which if withdrawn, as a consequence of recent court decision, would cause a catastrophic collapse of essential government services in some Adirondack communities; NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the Town of Franklin hereby calls on the Governor of the State of New York and the New York State Legislature to defer all future state acquisition of private land in the Adirondack Park until such time as the Governor and Legislature provide an irrevocable guarantee that there will be no interruption, reduction or loss of tax payments to local governments on Forest Preserve and other state-owned land and property on which the state holds conservation easements in the Adirondack Park, and that these payments continue in perpetuity; and BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Clerk shall send a copy of this resolution to the Governor of the State of New York, the State's legislative leaders and representatives of the Adirondack region; and BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that a copy of this resolution shall also be forwarded by the Clerk to the Adirondack Park Local Government Review Board.

    THOSE VOTING AYE:

      Supervisor Mary Ellen Keith
      Councilman Walter Kretser
      Councilman Allen Berg
      Councilman Clifford Smalley
      Councilperson Janet Ordway

    THOSE VOTING NAY:

      None

OLD BUSINESS

    1. DONATION OF PIANO In a very polite letter, FCI Ray Brook declined the Town's donation of one of its two pianos.

    2. FIRE/RESCUE UPDATE. Coun. Berg reported he had received a copy of the Fire Department's increased budget for the coming year, about which he had many questions. He also indicated no date had yet been scheduled for the Saranac Lake Area Fire Review Board next meeting. Supv. Keith stated a full-time EMT had not yet been hired. She hoped the Village would do so before the Town's next contract payment was due.

    3. INFRASTRUCTURE PROJECT UPDATE. Coun. Kretser stated members of the Committee would attend a meeting in Plattsburgh on March 27th to review the script for the video presentation on the infrastructure project. Supv. Keith stated she had spoken to an individual at Rural Resources concerning a loan at a reduced interest rate. The Town of Potsdam secured a loan for the construction of a new building, and a Rural Resources representative indicated he would like to address the Board on this issue.

    4. SUBDIVISION UPDATE. Coun. Kretser reported Richard Jarvis had agreed to chair the Subdivision Committee and a meeting will be held with Mr. Jarvis and Couns. Kretser and Smalley to review progress on the proposed regulations as well as and the Town of Johnsburg's subdivision law.

COMMITTEE REPORTS

    1. CELEBRATION.
      a. Franklin County Bicentennial. Supv. Keith asked if any on the Board were interested in participating with Franklin County in its 200th bicentennial celebration parade.

      b. Children's Easter Party. Nothing has been scheduled. Everyone leaves for vacation during the Easter school recess.

    2. CEMETERIES. Historian Bradley Merrill is continuing his research into the ownership of the Franklin Falls Cemetery; however, he will wait until the snow melts before visiting the site. Although title to the cemetery has not yet been determined and the issue has been ongoing for several years, no meeting could be scheduled with Mrs. Arnold before she passed away. Historian Merrill reported that the original parcel was located in the Town of Franklin and was quit-claimed to the Franklin Falls Cemetery Assn., and several years after that the Arnold Family re-deeded it to the same association. Mr. Merrill will gather all his findings for the Town Board to review and noted that under NYS law, any decision must be made by the Town Board.

    3. RECREATION. Coun. Berg spoke with Alan Oliver in order to continue plans for Kate Mountain Recreation Park. Several years ago a chain link fence was proposed.

QUESTIONS AND COMMENTS. None

EXECUTIVE SESSION - 8:43 PM

    Motion to enter Executive Session to discuss personnel matter (W.Kretser-J.Ordway m/s/p) ALL AYE

RESUME BOARD MEETING - 9:05 PM

    No action was been taken in Executive Session.

    Motion to resume Board meeting (W.Kretser-M.Keith m/s/p) ALL AYE

    Supervisor Keith stated the Board is in process of assembling data concerning allegations made about the Highway Superintendent and will forward to the attorney for the Town for review and recommendation as to proper procedure.

ADJOURNMENT

    There being no further business to discuss, the meeting adjourned at 9:10 pm. (J.Ordway-C.Smalley m/s/p) ALL AYE

Respectfully submitted, Sandra J. Oliver, Town Clerk

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