Adirondack Town Of Franklin
Adirondack Town Of Franklin

Town of Franklin Board Newsletter

VOLUME 8 ISSUE 2 - The Franklin Flyer Our Town News - APRIL 2017

From the Supervisor

By Art Willman

Town Infrastructure Project Update

Lamoy's Produce

I hope this edition of the Franklin Flyer finds you all well. As we look at the last vestiges of winter, we see the emerging mud and the remaining piles of “snirt” and look forward to warming, longer days and, hopefully, a short mud season and greening grass. That being said, I would like to dedicate this issue to something we have been working on for a while, namely the Community Center Project. The usual regular features like the 55+ Club will be back in the next issue.

Looking back over the past 10 years or so, we see a major infrastructure project was proposed back around 2006, which included an addition to the Town Hall, a Garage addition and renovation, and a Community Center at Kate Mountain Park. The original price tag for all of this was somewhere in the neighborhood of $1.7 million dollars. As time passed and opposition mounted, the project was modified to first drop the Town Hall addition, then the $750,000 community center building, and finally the garage project which was defeated in a referendum when the price tag was $800,000 and finally dropped when it was dropped to $500,000 and a petition for a referendum was served to the town, canceling the project altogether.

Since we came into office in 2010, most if not all of the items listed in the Infrastructure Project have been addressed and taken care of within the normal annual budget. Over at the garage, we repaired the east end of the garage floor, replaced the heating system with radiant tube heaters, rebuilt both the front and rear entry ways, repaired and replaced the insulation and siding on the north side wall, brought the electrical system up to code, replaced existing lighting with lower wattage bulbs and ballasts, installed an alarm system, repaired the roof and gutters, and built a much-needed pole barn for equipment storage. I may have neglected to mention an item or two, but you can get the gist. Let’s proceed.

Over at the Town Hall, we removed the asbestos boarding from the furnace room, replaced the furnace and oil tank, replaced the windows and doors, brought the kitchen up to Health Dept. standards, including installing an ultraviolet water treatment system, found and extended the well casing above ground, installed a submersible pump and entry line. We redid the electrical system to bring it up to code including a new panel box and service entry, installed a standby generator, replaced bathroom toilets, and sealed and insulated the basement sills to stop air infiltration. As you can see, we haven’t exactly been idle, which brings us to the third piece of the infrastructure project, that is, a community center building at Kate Mountain Park.

Community Center to Provide for Town Hall Overflow

Carcuzzi's Car Care Center

You may ask why we need a community center building. The answer boils down to one main issue: space. Our Town has used the Town Hall for many decades for a variety of things including not only meetings and municipal functions, but as a hall for weddings, funeral receptions, parties, anniversaries, the Cub Scouts, martial arts training, dog training, and others too numerous to name. In fact, it is currently difficult to schedule an evening during the week because the place is booked. On weekends, especially during the Spring, Summer, and Fall, building use comes at a premium. Our kitchen, which we have worked hard to bring up to Health Dept. standards, provides space for food preparation for the 55+ Club, some fundraisers for the Park, and for food preparation and as a source of drinking water for our Summer Youth Program. However if more than 40 people are present for an event, things get very cramped. This was dramatically illustrated recently when we hosted a public comment session by the DEC, at which just over 40 people attended and the place was packed and overflowed into the kitchen. If you have an event, which requires tables and chairs, the capacity is further diminished.

Another, somewhat pressing issue is that of the Justice Court. Our Town Justice has a rather cramped office with which he has made do for over 30 years. During that time the Unified Court System has issued standards requiring additional space for a courtroom as well as a separated entry and exit for the judge. We are not even close to being in compliance with these standards and someday, we may be given an ultimatum to comply and a short time limit in which to do it. The answer to this could be one of three possibilities: we could build a separate court house dedicated to the court as many municipalities have done, we could build an addition onto the Town Hall, the issue would be where, or we could repurpose existing space for a courtroom. I think the third solution makes the most sense, but what space would we repurpose? This is where the community center building presents itself as a solution to our problems.

To begin with, a community center, constructed at Kate Mountain Park would provide a great deal of new available space. We would move and reinstall our kitchen in the new building; a hall would provide space for around 100 people plus tables, chairs, etc. The downstairs, walkout basement would provide valuable storage space for things we have to keep forever as well as a good sized space for messy things like arts and crafts and other activities, especially during our summer program. Importantly, it would provide a very safe place for our kids to go in the event of severe weather. The water system would provide potable water so that water wouldn’t have to be carted from the Town Hall as is currently done. The summer meals program would operate out of the kitchen, removing it entirely from the Town Hall. One thing it would provide is something we don’t have now and that is rest room access for people who use the Park. Whether it is for ball games, folks who use our trails for hiking, skiing, etc., or for people who love to come berry picking during the season, or hiking over on the State land which borders our park and, we have been assured, is coming soon, we plan to have a restroom feature, open from sunup to sundown to provide access. It would, I feel, greatly increase the use of our park, not only by Franklin residents, but also by folks from the surrounding region.

I mentioned repurposed space for the courtroom. By moving our kitchen to the community center, we can then use the vacated space to repurpose into a courtroom. This will make us compliant with the Unified Court System and we could cross that off a long-standing list.

I have heard it said that a new building would pose a burden to our taxpayers in the form of additional maintenance and upkeep. Although this is true to some extent, we plan on keeping both the maintenance and upkeep costs to a minimum by using low maintenance materials, using up-to-date construction practices, and energy efficient lighting and appliances. In the end, when all is considered and all the things we would gain factored in, we will find that the building would be an asset.

Home Energy Services

We have been working with the Adirondack North Country Association and NYSERDA to optimize our energy usage, not just for the new building, but also throughout all of our buildings. For one thing, we have been working on a Clean Energy Communities Project which, when complete, will make us eligible for a $100,000 energy grant. We are currently 75% complete with our requirements and closing fast. This money would have to be used for energy savings.

One of the very real possibilities would be to use this money to install a 33KW solar array at the Park. An array of this size would provide 130% of our current energy usage at the garage and town hall, leaving plenty of electricity for the new building. But wait, there’s more. We are also working with Smart Watt, an outfit that has contracted with National Grid to do energy efficiency upgrades. Smart Watt is going to help us to find money to replace all the lighting at the garage and Town Hall with super-efficient LED lighting, both indoors and outdoors. This would cut our energy usage by about half which means we could direct the savings into another account such as street lighting, which is our single greatest electrical cost. Also we plan to use all interior and exterior lighting in the new building right from the start, making this building super energy efficient and low cost.

So how are we, as a Town, going to accomplish all of this stuff? The answer lies in a 3-pronged approach to financing. Our best estimates, at this point, are that the community center building will cost about $500,000, excluding the solar component, which we will approach separately. In short, if we do not get the grant, we do not do the solar component. The cost of the building depends on a number of things, but suffice it to say for now we will use this figure.

First off, we would, with taxpayer approval, secure a Bond Anticipation Note in the total amount of $500,000. This would be distributed over time to cover the costs of constructing the building and other associated costs. When the building is complete, we will look to bond in the amount of $250,000 to pay off half of the BAN. The term of the bond would be 5 years. The remainder of the BAN would be paid off by a $100,000 grant from the Dormitory Authority of the State of NY, which we have been awarded with the help of Betty Little’s Office. The remainder would be paid off from funds the Town currently has. There is currently $65,000 in our Capital Projects Fund and $35, 000 in the Kate Mountain Park Special Reserve Fund. I am especially proud of the last two figures. When we first took office, there was $460 in the Capital Fund and the Kate Mountain Fund did not exist. The KMPSRF was started to set aside a place for donations and grant funds designated specifically for improvements at the park. These donations come from groups like the Republican and Democratic committees who sponsor our Founders’ Day Picnic. The Future is Now which sponsors our Autumn Leaves/Punkin’ Chunkin’ Festival and the delicious meals we have about four times a year. The Republican Committee, which sponsors our growing golf tournament. When you attend or participate in these events, it goes to the Park Fund. I would also like to thank our many donors who have made this possible as well. As I said, in 4 years, these groups have donated, with the help of many folks who volunteered to work these events, most of the $35, 000. As for the increase from $460 to $65,000, in the Capital Fund, we can chalk that up to sound fiscal management and lots of help. But I digress.

As you can see, we would be asking our taxpayers to enter into a Bond obligation for $250,000 for 5 years. Our history over the last decade regarding bonding shows a good deal of opposition to bonding. This is probably for a variety of reasons. If, after what I have explained here, this opposition still exists, I would like to hear from you now, not after this process gets too much farther down the road.

To accomplish this, I am scheduling three informal “conversations” so that anyone who wants to can air his or her grievances. I am looking at May 2nd, 16th, and 30th at 6pm. Lauren and I will make ourselves available to address all of your concerns. Since more complete information arrives every day, I should have some more solid numbers by then.

Rulfs Orchard

As it stands now, and by Dick Meagher’s best estimate, a $250,000 bond would cost taxpayers about $22 per $100,000 of assessed value for each year for 5 years. After that, the bond ends. I have heard some people comment that “taxes go up, they never to down.” First, the bond does not change the amount of your overall tax levy. Any increases in your levy would still have to be at or below the Tax Cap, so there would not be a significant increase out of the ordinary. We have strived for years to keep our levies at or below whatever is deemed to be the Tax Cap, usually below 1%. This will continue to be the case. Please remember that this applies only to Town taxes. County taxes, which appear on the same bill are separate, as are School Taxes which we all see in the Fall.

It is important to keep in mind what we stand to gain from this proposition. We would gain an energy efficient space that would lend itself to a variety of new possibilities in addition to things we currently do. It would provide additional space for the storage of a variety of materials. It would provide needed safe space for the children in the Summer Program. It would free up space at the Town Hall that would be repurposed as a bona fide courtroom, putting us finally in compliance with Unified Court System standards. In all, it is a small price to pay for so much.

I would like to hear from all of you, whether pro or con. The rubber is about to meet the road; so the sooner I get input, the better. There is a brief questionnaire in this edition for your convenience. You can also email us at the following: franklinsupervisor@roadrunner.com or franklinclerk@roadrunner.com. You can give us a call at the Town Hall at (518) 293-1383, or feel free to call me at home at (518) 293-1383. You can also send your thoughts via US Mail to PO Box 209, Vermontville, NY, 12989. Remember: Your input is important.

One other thought before I close: Please don’t forget our roast beef dinner on April 22nd from 4-7 pm. Takeouts are available from 3:30 at 891-2189/ All our proceeds to the Kate Mountain Park Special Reserve Fund. Hope to see you all there. That’s about it for now. Until next time, be well.


Community Center Questionnaire
Email:
Please take a few moments to answer these short questions.
The Town would benefit from a community center at Kate Mountain Park.
Strongly Agree
Agree
Disagree
Strongly Disagree
The Town may have to bond to secure part of the funding for a community center. I would support such a resolution.
Strongly Agree
Agree
Disagree
Strongly Disagree
Any bonding would have a term of 5 years. It would cost each tax payer approximately $19 per $100,000 of assessed value. I support such a commitment.
Agree
Disagree
Please enter the characters:

55+ Club Meetings

2nd and 4th Tuesdays of the Month(winter 12 noon; 6pm summer) at the Town Hall, Vermontville. Contact Mary Ellen Keith 891-1619


Town Board Meetings

5:30 p.m. (Winter), 2nd Wednesdays of the Month at the Town Hall, Vermontville

St. Paul's Food Pantry

Building behind Town Hall.
Distribution one day a month and as needed...
Make out donations to St. Paul's Food Pantry
C/o Mary Ellen Keith, 9 Tyler Rd, Vermontville, NY

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