Town of Franklin Board Meeting

November 13, 2006 - 7:00 pm

The Town Board of the Town of Franklin held a duly noticed Special Board meeting on Monday, November 13, 2006 at 7:00 pm at the Vermontville Town Hall.

Board members present:

    Supervisor Mary Ellen Keith
    Councilman Gene Goff
    Councilperson Janet Ordway
    Councilman Walt Kretser
    Councilman Tim Goff

Other Officers present:

    Assessor Douglas Tichenor
    Highway Superintendent James Rascoe
    Deputy Highway Supt. Eric Merrill
    Town Clerk Sandra Oliver

Others present:

    Harrison Ewing, Sylvia Hough, Dean & Kim Carpenter,
    Allan Oliver, John & Carol Green, Jim & Nancy Hauber
    Al Berg, Kathy Fadden, Jean Baltzly, Hugh & Marie Law
    Richard & Karen Potts, Mark Daviau
    Mike Lynch, Reporter for the Adirondack Daily Enterprise

The Pledge of Allegiance was recited; the Town Clerk called the roll, and announced the full board was present.

AUDIT OF BILLS

    The following bills were presented for payment on Abstract 11:
    GeneralClaims 216 - 233$44,263.72
    HighwayClaims 121 - 146$102,489.16
    Prepay GeneralClaims 69 - 71$419.99
    The following bill was presented for payment on Abstract 6:
    Landfill Claim 8$350.22

    Motion to approve bills (W.Kretser-J.Ordway m/s/p) ALL AYE

MINUTES

    The minutes of the October 9, 2006 board meeting were amended as follows: Supervisor's Report

    Supervisor Keith set forth the method of payment for the 2007 International vehicle to M.A.Jerry. The Town issued Bond Anticipation Notes (See Resolution No. 41) through Tupper Lake National Bank in the amount of $110,000. This amount was deposited into the Highway Fund CLASS account, transferred to Highway Savings and then further transferred to Capital Project Highway. At the same time, the Town received $85,000 from Franklin County in payment of snow and ice removal. This amount was also deposited into Capital Project Highway for a total of $245,000. $160,000 was then paid to M.A. Jerry in full payment for the new vehicle. Sale of the 1999 International vehicle plus anticipated $103,000 from CHPS in December will repay the Bond Anticipation Notes.

    These minutes were accepted as amended

    The minutes of the October 10, 16 and 23, 2006 special board meetings were accepted as presented. (W.Kretser-T. Goff m/s/p) ALL AYE

SUPERVISOR'S REPORT

    Balances as of October 1, 2006

    General FundCK$15,308.60
    SV$34,357.20
    CLASS$171,524.29
    Highway FundCK$49,575.99
    SV$1,170.87
    CLASS$127,615.60
    Cap Proj Hwy$57,204.15
    LandfillCK$1,101.43
    CLASS$66,612.27
    FireCK$843.39
    CLASS$4,535.35
    Cap. BuildingCLASS$139,014.18

    Supervisor Keith noted the $45,000 received as a result of the sale of the 1999 International will be transferred into Capital Project Highway.

    Motion to accept Supervisor's Report (T.Goff-J.Ordway m/s/p) ALL AYE

GENERAL FUND BUDGET AMENDMENT #5

    To adjust the Town's bookkeeping, Supervisor Keith asked for a motion for a resolution amending the General Fund Budget.

    Motion for resolution (J.Ordway-G.Goff m/s/p) ALL AYE

    RESOLUTION 51: GENERAL FUND BUDGET AMENDMENT #5: WHEREAS, In order to maintain a balanced 2006 General Fund Budget, NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the following Budget Amendment is hereby adopted:

    FROM ACCOUNTAMOUNTTO ACCOUNTAMOUNT
    Contingent$2,500.00A1620.4 Buildings$2,500.00
    A8810 Cemeteries CE$612.00A8810.1 Cemeteries PS$612.00

    Those voting aye:

      Supervisor Mary Ellen Keith
      Councilman Gene Goff
      Councilperson Janet Ordway
      Councilman Walt Kretser
      Councilman Tim Goff

    Those Voting nay:

      None

HIGHWAY FUND BUDGET AMENDMENT #4

    To adjust the Town's bookkeeping, Supervisor Keith asked for a motion for a resolution amending the Highway Fund Budget.

    Motion for resolution (J.Ordway-T.Goff m/s/p) ALL AYE

    RESOLUTION 52: HIGHWAY FUND BUDGET AMENDMENT #4: WHEREAS, In order to maintain a balanced 2006 Highway Fund Budget, NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the following Budget Amendment is hereby adopted:

    FROM ACCOUNTAMOUNTTO ACCOUNTAMOUNT
    Unexpended Balance$11,944.00DA5110.1 Gen Repairs PS$4,249.00
    DA5140.1 Brush&Weeds PS$351.00
    DA5112.2 Capital Improve$3,344.00
    DA9080.8 Social Security$8,000.00

    Those voting aye:

      Supervisor Mary Ellen Keith
      Councilman Gene Goff
      Councilperson Janet Ordway
      Councilman Walt Kretser
      Councilman Tim Goff

    Those Voting nay:

      None

FUEL BIDS

    No bids were received in response to the Town's published request for bids. Supervisor Keith noted that other municipalities, as well as the State, had experienced the same lack of response mainly because of the uncertainties surrounding the cost of petroleum. In view of this circumstance, the Town is not obligated to readvertise the request. Supervisor Keith said the Town had received very good service from Griffith Energy and requested the Board to authorize her to continue with Griffith.

    Motion for resolution to contract with Griffith Energy for fuel (W.Kretser-G. Goff m/s/p) ALL AYE

    RESOLUTION NO. 53: AUTHORIZE SUPERVISOR TO CONTRACT WITH GRIFFITH ENERGY FOR FUEL: WHEREAS, the Town published request for bids for fuel; and WHEREAS, no responses to said published request were received, and WHEREAS, the Town has received good price and service from Griffith Energy; NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the Town Board hereby authorizes the Supervisor to continue purchase of fuel from Griffith Energy on the same terms and conditions.

    Those voting aye:

      Supervisor Mary Ellen Keith
      Councilman Gene Goff
      Councilperson Janet Ordway
      Councilman Walt Kretser
      Councilman Tim Goff

    Those Voting nay:

      None

HIGHWAY REPORT

Highway Superintendent James Rascoe gave the following report on progress of the Highway Dept.:

    1. Equipment readiness. All trucks are winterized and ready to plow. Summer equipment has been moved to the Merrillsville Garage.

    2. Raking completed on Goldsmith and French Roads

    3. Grading completed on Goldsmith Road

    4. First Snow. Department worked until midnight and reported back early the next day.

    Cost Increases: Supt. Rascoe noted the following increases in materials cost:

    ITEM20052006
    Salt$22,698.14$26,650.00
    Sand$51,237.07$62,880.00
    Road Binderincreased by$13.88/ton
    Road Top mixincreased by$15.05/ton
    Oil$315.95/barrel$439.95/barrel
    Hydraulic oil$279.95/barrel$359.98/barrel

    Personnel Changes

    Supt. Rascoe hired Russ Garrow from Saranac Lake to fill the position vacated by Wade. He also announced that long-term MEO Hubert Tyler will be leaving the Department and going on disability. Supervisor Keith requested a motion for a resolution commending Mr. Tyler on 30 years of loyal service to the Town.

    Motion for resolution (M.Keith-T. Goff m/s/p) ALL AYE

    RESOLUTION NO. 54: COMMENDATION FOR HUBERT TYLER FOR THIRTY (30) YEARS OF LOYAL SERVICE TO THE TOWN HIGHWAY DEPARTMENT: WHEREAS, Hubert Tyler began employment with the Town November 11, 1976, and WHEREAS, Hubert Tyler has chosen to change his employment and receive Disability, and WHEREAS, said Hubert Tyler has served the Town in various capacities for thirty years; and WHEREAS, the Town Board of the Town of Franklin wishes to recognize Mr. Tyler's many contributions to the Town; NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that Hubert Tyler is hereby commended for his 30 years of loyal service to the Town of Franklin; and BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Town of Franklin Town Board hereby expresses gratitude and appreciation for his competent and faithful service.

    Those voting aye:

      Supervisor Mary Ellen Keith
      Councilman Gene Goff
      Councilperson Janet Ordway
      Councilman Walt Kretser
      Councilman Tim Goff

    Those voting nay:

      None

HIGHWAY COMMITTEE

    1. Coun. Walt Kretser commented that the Highway Dept. performed wonderfully during the storm.

    2. Highway Dept. Infrastructure. Couns. W. Kretser and G. Goff commented on the poor condition of the garage building and the salt shed which must be repaired. The salt shed will be repaired Thanksgiving weekend. The Highway Dept. progresses very well with manpower management, but the infrastructure is in poor shape. Highway Supt. Rascoe noted that in addition to repairs, the garage should be enlarged. The garage is losing heat because of poor design and that is a waste of money. The outside lights around the garage have disintegrated and have been replaced. The Town is working with Yellow Wood Associates on environmentally friendly solutions to infrastructure problems. In that regard Supervisor Keith has been in communication with NYSERDA and is looking into grant money .

ASSESSOR DOUGLAS TICHENOR

    1. Local Waterfront Property Owners Associations. Supv. Keith recalled memoranda received from local waterfront property owners associations questioning methods used in the assessment process. The correspondence was addressed to local town boards but Assessor Tichenor was not copied on the correspondence. He was emailed a draft of the memo and responded to the Town. The waterfront associations requested they be placed on the agenda for the next town board meeting. Supervisor Keith replied to the associations' memos, but never heard from them again. Subsequently, a group of Harrietstown waterfront property owners filed suit against the Town of Harrietstown, its Assessor and the County of Franklin.

    2. 2007 Assessment Update. Assessor Tichenor opined the Town would benefit from postponing the assessment update scheduled for 2007 for another year. The current cycle for assessment updates is every 5 to 6 years. His reasons included the large number of building permits which have been issued in 2006 for residences which are not yet complete. Once these structures have been completed, it will be easier to assess them. (He expressed appreciation for the excellent records maintained by Edward Lagree, the Codes Officer.) Mr. Tichenor also thought the residential sales market will have leveled off or flattened by 2008. At a recent meeting of local assessors discussions took place with County and State officials concerning changes in the assessment process, including the revision of data currently being used this data was collected in the 1980's which assessors must continually modernize to current levels. The 1980's data was mandated by the State then and is used by NYS to calculate equalization rates. Each time the assessor performs an assessment update, he mails requests for clarification/correction and the property owner is to complete them and mail back. Currently this is the only method local assessors have of gathering accurate data. The local assessors associations recommended that the State develop a program to reimburse municipalities for cost of gathering new assessment data so the assessment process can be streamlined. Current data is needed to obtain accurate values on property because assessments track the market. Mr. Tichenor considered the recent gubernatorial election would bring changes in the manner in which property taxes are assessed. In order to calculate equalization rates, the State looks at valid sales (arm's-length transactions) in the area. ratio of overall value of town versus assessed value. The Town of Franklin's equalization rate now is at 77%. This ratio is used to translate into full value and so apportion taxes. Waterfront property in the Town is balanced with non-waterfront property. Assessor Tichenor also noted that the character of the Town is changing new people are building here and with these new sales, especially waterfront, residents can expect a 12% increase per year. Local assessors associations have also questioned the necessity for all the exemptions currently in place. The STAR exemption has become an enormous administrative burden for local assessors as well as the NYS Dept. of Taxation & Finance which issues checks. In addition, assessors raised the problem of agricultural and forest land exemptions, which eventually the municipality ends up paying for. Mr. Tichenor opined that if the State wishes to grant these exemptions, the State should fund them.

    Motion for resolution postponing assessment update (G.Goff-M.Keith m/s/p) ALL AYE

    RESOLUTION NO. 55: POSTPONE ASSESSMENT UPDATE UNTIL 2008: WHEREAS, in the opinion of the Town's Assessor, it would be wise to wait until calendar year 2008 to perform an assessment update for the real estate market to level off; and WHEREAS, no real damage will be done to taxpayers by the postponement; NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the Franklin Town Board hereby postpones the assessment update originally scheduled for 2007 until 2008.

    Those voting aye:

      Supervisor Mary Ellen Keith
      Councilman Gene Goff
      Councilperson Janet Ordway
      Councilman Walt Kretser
      Councilman Tim Goff

    Those voting nay:

      None

APA APPROVAL OF STICKNEY POINT SUBDIVISION

    Supervisor Keith attended 2 meetings of the Adirondack Park Agency on its final approval for the Hutchinson subdivision at Stickney Point, near Union Falls. The developers plan to build 21 residences at $300,000 to $400,000 each with guest houses (42 buildings in total), some of which will be on the Saranac Lake River Corridor and will impact an area containing bald eagles. The APA's final approval has been postponed until December 14, 2006. Area residents attending this Town Board meeting voiced their concerns over the impending development. Because the Town of Franklin does not have a planning board, site plan review or zoning, it has no standing to prevent such a large development; however, the APA will listen to concerns expressed by residents. The Town of Franklin has approached the Adirondack Association of Towns and will schedule a public information meeting with Mr. Wrisley and the Nature Conservancy. Residents who are concerned or opposed to the development should communicate directly with Dr. Ross Whaley, Adirondack Park Agency, P O Box 99, Ray Brook, NY 12977 and should reference APA Project Permit 2004-31.

    Assessor Tichenor indicated that the development will impact taxes in the Town because the tax burden flows to value, and 20 homes of 5,000 sq ft will add $10 million to the value of the town. It may reduce the Town tax portion but will increase taxpayer share of county tax burden and school tax burden.

    Mr. Tichenor noted he continues to receive telephone calls from out-of-state parties interested in purchasing waterfront property in the Town because of its low price and scenic beauty. This real estate market is drawing wealthy people, and the character of the Town will change.

    Supervisor Keith thanked the Assessor for his report and recommendations, and Mr. Tichenor then left the meeting.

    Hugh Law spoke in opposition to the development and recommended the Town create a planning board. Sylvia Hough asked that residents protect this area from further development.

2007 PRELIMINARY BUDGET

    Following comments received at the November 6, 2006 Public Hearing on the Town's 2007 Preliminary Budget, Coun. Gene Goff reported the preliminary budget had been cut by almost $65,000. The .4 accounts were reduced by $14,400, and capital project highway had been reduced $20,000. The Highway .1 accounts (personal services, or salary) were down $32,500 as one requested MEO had been dropped. In General Fund, the capital project building was reduced. Supervisor Keith stated the budget could not be reduced any further. Discussion was held among Board members concerning the Highway Superintendent's $9,000 raise. All agreed Mr. Rascoe had performed his job in an outstanding manner, and all agreed Mr. Rascoe was worth $40,000 per year; some questioned whether the increase was too much all at once. Coun. G. Goff read the salaries of highway superintendents in surrounding municipalities, and they were all in the $40,000 per year neighborhood. The Town of Franklin has a higher population and more miles of road. The problem is that most of the Highway Dept. employees earn more per year than the Highway Superintendent. Coun. Walt Kretser Janet Ordway proposed Mr. Rascoe be granted an increase to $38,500 this year and next year be raised to $40,000. Coun. Walt Kretser Janet Ordway concurred. (change per 12/11/2006 meeting.).

    Coun. Gene Goff asked for a motion for a resolution concerning the Highway Supt. salary in which Board members would be polled. (M.Keith-T. Goff m/s/p) ALL AYE

    RESOLUTION NO. 56: 2007 SALARY OF HIGHWAY SUPERINTENDENT WHEREAS, opinions of the members of the Town Board vary as to the amount of the Highway Superintendent's 2007 salary; and WHEREAS, determination of said salary is necessary in order to adopt the 2007 Budget; NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the poll of the Board will indicate the amount of the Highway Superintendent's 2007 salary:

    Those voting aye:

      Supervisor Mary Ellen Keith - $40,000
      Councilman Gene Goff - $40,000
      Councilman Tim Goff - $40,000

    Those voting nay:

      Councilman Walt Kretser - $38,500
      Councilperson Janet Ordway - $38,500

    Supervisor Keith requested a motion for a resolution adopting the 2007 Budget (G.Goff-T.Goff m/s/p) ALL AYE

    RESOLUTION NO. 57: ADOPT 2007 BUDGET WHEREAS, following deliberation and a duly publicized Public Hearing, NOW, THEREFORE, the Town Board of the Town of Franklin hereby adopts its 2007 Preliminary Budget as its 2007 Budget.

    Those voting aye:

      Supervisor Mary Ellen Keith
      Councilman Gene Goff
      Councilman Tim Goff

    Those voting nay:

      Councilman Walt Kretser
      Councilperson Janet Ordway

ASPEN GROUP

    Kathy Fadden, an Onchiota resident, expressed alarm over the most recent incident involving an inmate of the Aspen Group who broke into the house of her husband 92-yr-old grandmother, shouting Nazi epithets and demanding keys to the woman's car. Mrs. Fadden said the elderly woman had been emotionally traumatized by the incident. Aspen Group counselors appeared at the scene but were apparently not trained in the proper restraint of their out-of-control charge. Mrs. Fadden recalled that when Aspen opened its doors 2 years ago, it guaranteed Town residents that "no one would know we're here." Since then four incidents have occurred, and Onchiota residents are now concerned for their safety. Neighbors of Mrs. Fadden present at the meeting concurred. She and area residents want Aspen Group to become more involved in local affairs, such as granting scholarships for its services to local troubled youth and also to erect a fence around its property. They asked the Town Board to communicate same to Aspen Group and its landlord, Paul Smith's College. The Town Clerk will draft a letter and Supervisor Keith will consult James Maher, attorney for the Town.

IMPORTANT DATES

    Thurs., November 16th, 3:30-5:00: Food Pantry
    Friday, November 17th, 7:00 pm: Community Sing
    Thurs., November 23rd, 12:00-4:00 pm: Thanksgiving Dinner
    Wed. December 6th, 7:00 pm: Spec Bd Mtg and conf call Yellow Wood update
    Monday, December 11th, 7:00 pm: Regular Board meeting
    Monday, December 18th, 7:00 pm: Spec Bd Mtg Yellow Wood Final Report

ADJOURNMENT

    There being no further business to discuss the meeting adjourned at 9:40 pm (M.Keith-T.Goff 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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