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State of New York
County of Fulton
Town of Caroga
Minutes of the Regular monthly Caroga Town Board meeting held Wednesday December 13, 2017 at the municipal building located at 1840 State Highway #10 at 7:00 pm with the following persons in attendance by roll call:
Supervisor Beth Y. Morris- Here
Council Member John Glenn – Here
Council Member Anthony Sturchio - Here
Council Member Jeremy Manning – Here
The flag salute followed. The reading of the minutes of the September 13, 2017 meeting
was waived by Supervisor Morris and seconded by Council Member Sturchio.
There were 21 members of the public in attendance which included Supervisor Elect James Selmser, Council Members Elect, James Long and Kent Kirch, Deputy Town Clerk Judy Aldinger, Deputy Highway Superintendent - Charles Wager, and Don Travis – Custodian.
Supervisor Morris opened the meeting at 7:02 pm. On behalf of the town board she wished everyone a very Merry Christmas, Happy Chanukah, and a healthy Happy New Year.
Supervisor Morris made a motion to waive the reading of the minutes of the November
8th, 2017 Town Board Meeting. Council Member Sturchio seconded the motion. All board members were in favor of the motion.
Supervisor Morris announced a change up the order of the meeting. She has some news she wants to share with all of us. She is thrilled beyond words to report that she has recovered over $345,000.00 for the town. (Applause) The supervisor wanted to be as transparent as she could possibly be. The best place to start is from the beginning. On November 9th, 2015 the supervisor at the time closed two CDs accounts totaling over $307,000.00. Fast forward to November of 2017 as you know the budget for 2018 was adopted last month. The amazing bookkeeper that she cannot say enough about is a true asset to the town. This recovery took place and was successful because of three people. The bookkeeper, the town clerk, and the effort she had to put in getting to the bottom of this. As of November 17th after the budget was adopted the bookkeeper said she had some bad news. She could not find $300,000.00. The supervisor began to do some research. She made phone calls to the company and an extensive amount of time going through papers – She could not find anything. Because she was not the supervisor at the time and didn’t have an account number a statement – Nothing. They could not release information to her. She again searched through paperwork in her office. During this time she also found some more funds that were due to the town. One check was found for $150.00 and she knows that pales to the check for $300,000.00. That check was made out to the golf course from 2001 attached to it was a $20.00 bill which was never deposited.
Over the summer with the help of Shannon Wager – the bookkeeper they found 6 checks that were issued to the town from the US Treasury they totaled almost $7,000.00. This is what she has been working with for the better part of 6 months. Last week when the supervisor knew she had to tell the town residents she couldn’t find this money and that taxes would have to go up next year probably 45% she knew the money had to be recovered. She was at her wits end. The supervisor took a break and walked down to the town clerk’s office. Supervisor Morris noted that Linda has been not just a friend and true asset knowing she would help with research or what have you. The clerk offered to take a look back in her records to see what she could find. She was lead to believe the check had been issued to the Town Supervisor at the time, not mailed out.
But it had been mailed out “and due to the efficiency of our town clerk – (she found) the date of the check, who it was from, the account numbers the check number and the amount.” She went back to her office got in touch with the company with the information now what could she do? The company stated they needed a certified copy of the resolution stating that she is a town supervisor. She would have to show them some identification and they issued her a new check. Because the $307,000 check was never deposited. We do not know where the check is. She has her suspicions as to where the check is but that's all they are suspicions. She had to sign an affidavit stopping the payment on that check. They issued her a new check and within 5 minutes of getting that check it was deposited it into our general fund.
Moving forward Council Member Glenn asked what the time frame was regarding the check. Supervisor Morris reiterated the check was issued to the supervisor in November of 2015 when he closed the account. He had every right to do that. He is the Chief Financial Officer. The problem was it was never taken off the books. The board at the time was working with that number. This board in 2017 was still working with that number on the books. She noted this is where accurate annual reports come in. This is how the bookkeeper found it was not in the year-end report. Credit has to go to my bookkeeper and to Linda because it took the effort of the three of us to recover this money. A couple of things happened over the many years here. When there is no accountability no sense of responsibility, extreme derelict of duty, and a betrayal of trust at a level that is incomprehensible and no oversight over certain periods of several administrations bad things happen and bad things did really happened to us. The Supervisor is so proud and thrilled to tell everyone that she has stopped the hemorrhaging that this town has been experiences for decades and now we are on the road to recovery and rebuilding. She thanked everyone for their patience with this. She stated that her board has been a good support system and she is thrilled we were able to recover this money. (Applause)
Supervisor Morris opened public speaking because this is such a huge issue and she is sure the public has some questions. She will allow some questions and asked that they be respectful. If there are comments now is the time.
Mr. Travis asked what about when the auditor came in to do an audit earlier this year to help... Supervisor Morris noted in 2014 the town was audited and it was not a good one. Back in February she's only been in office a few months and she knew we had issues. She called the state requesting an audit and was denied because we just had one in 2014. Our town has been fined heavily over the course of several years. She has not been able to get that money back. She still has a couple of weeks and is still hoping to recover some of that money. She does not know why they didn't say anything in February. This is why it's so important to stay in compliance with our annual reports that are due by the end of February. That’s the way the mistakes take place and go unnoticed. We were behind two years. Our 2015 report has been submitted and accepted. Our 2016 was submitted and we are waiting to hear if it will be accepted. Joanna's confident about it but until we get the word from the state… she hopes it is done by the end of the year that way she knows the new administration can come in and start where they should be. Then Joanne can get the 2017 done. The recovery of this money is very important. It means everything to this town but it also doesn't mean that our problems are over. We still have to be very careful. The new administration knows we have to rebuild. The Supervisor doesn't know what else is out there. She did not have enough time to get this totally cleaned up which is what she really wanted to do but she does have confidence in the new administration. She knows incoming Supervisor Selmser will make sure that any Monies that can be recovers will be.
Tony Toskas thanked the current administration for their service.
Incoming Supervisor Selmser also commended Supervisor Morris noting that she did not sign up for this. He noted this is a critical issue; He thanked her for following through and standing up for the people in town. In solving this problem he thought he was going to inherit this situation which would have put his administration in a complex situation. Now they are starting with a clean slate he thanked her for her efforts.
Incoming Council Member Long thanked Supervisor Morris not only for the work she's done for the past year but also for making sure the incoming board was up to speed for the transition.
Supervisor Morris began the department reports.
Assessor’s Report – Supervisor Morris read the written report submitted by Vicky Hayner. “Hard to believe but this month I will mark one year of coming out to this beautiful country and serving as your Assessor. It has been a pleasure and honor to serve the town board and the people of the town of Caroga!
I continue to update and maintain the 2018 assessment roll. Sales continue to be entered as they are received from the county. During the last couple of months we have had 11 valid sales and 10 not valid sales. These sales represent 15 residential sales, five vacant land sales and one commercial property. Building permits have been entered in the computer and have been coming in regularly. This will assist greatly in making sure we assessed properly appropriately for new construction happening in the Town.
Renewal applications for exemptions will be mailed the week of December 4th and need to be submitted to my office before March 1st 2018. I am in my office on Tuesdays between 8 a.m. and 2 p.m. if you have any questions or concerns please feel free to contact me my email address is firstname.lastname@example.org”
Council Member Sturchio asked what a non-valid sale was. A resident responded it is between related parties.
BTI – No Report
Clerk/Registrar – Mrs. Gilbert submitted the clerk monthly report. The credit card company notified me that they now accept American Express. If we wanted to we could accept it. The clerk does not think there is a need to add this card at this time.
The 2016 annual report is on file in the clerk’s office. It is also here this evening if anyone wants to examine it.
The clerk has ordered some public service flyers on energy conservation.
The town will not have to pay for the recent ad in the Leader Herald regarding the deadline for vouchers to be submitted to the town. It was not set up as requested.
Cindy Livingston from Fulton County Solid Waste has offered to make labels for the town for the County calendars they publish. The incoming board is thinking of changing the fee schedule for the transfer station. This would offset the cost to update the calendar.
Supervisor Morris discussed the cost to use the credit card machine at the golf course. The new administration will be given information on Value Payment, the company the clerk uses to process credit cards. The administrator for Value Payment reached out to the previous bookkeeper but never heard back from her. The clerk noted the fees are passed on to the consumer.
Code Enforcement & Sanitation – Mr. Duesler submitted a written report. Supervisor Morris stated he performed 35 inspections, 15 building permits and 2 sanitation permits were issued. The amount collected for the permits was $1,318.40.
Blight – No report
Dog Control – Mr. Dutcher reported to the clerk today that he had 5 calls for the month. The clerk sent him notification of delinquent dog owners -1 from May, 3 from June, 1 from August, and 2 from October. Tickets need to be issued. The Supervisor will call him.
Golf Course – No Report - It was noted cross country skiers are out enjoying the course.
Highway – Mr. Wager reported winter is here. He was thanked for getting out and taking care of the roads. He was down a couple of men this week. It was noted that NYS DOT added 4 semi-synthetic opioids to testing. An informational sheet will be in with the highway payroll checks tomorrow.
Lake Steward Program – No Report
Town Hall Building – Mr. Travis did not have a report.
Weeds – No Report
Youth – No Report
Supervisor Morris noted the need to amend resolution #2017-109 regarding the reorganizational meeting. The date needs to be changed to Wednesday January 3rd instead of January 2nd.
Resolution #2017 -113 to change the date of the reorganizational meeting was offered by Supervisor Morris at the regular monthly meeting of the Caroga Town Board held on Wednesday December 13th , 2017 at Caroga Town Hall 1840 State Highway 10.
WHEREAS, Supervisor Morris and the Caroga Town Board previously set the reorganizational meeting for Tuesday January 2nd 2018, now therefore be it RESOLVED, that the Caroga Town board does hereby move to set the year end reorganizational meeting for Wednesday January 3rd 2018 at 7 p.m. at Caroga Town Hall 1840 State Highway 10.
The motion was seconded by Council Member Glenn.
Adopted by a vote of 4 Ayes; Morris, Glenn Sturchio, Manning
Last week the board discussed a class the code officer needed to attend in March. He needed to reserve his spot as it does fill up fast. He will make the arrangements and then put in for reimbursement next month at the board meeting.
RESOLUTION #2017 114 authorizing the Code Officer to attend training was offered by Supervisor Morris at the regular monthly meeting at the Caroga Town Board held on Wednesday December 13th 20 17 at Caroga Town Hall 1840 State Highway 10.
WHEREAS; the Code Enforcement Officer John Duesler has indicated the need to attend an upcoming training in March of 2018 for the requirements he needs to remain our code officer, and
WHEREAS; the total amount to be submitted is $1,003.00 this includes the conference registration fee and the cost of the hotel. Now therefor be it RESOLVED that the Caroga Town Board does hereby move to authorize the Code Officer to sign up for the training.
The motion was seconded by Council Member Manning.
Adopted by a vote of 4 Ayes; Morris, Glenn Sturchio, Manning
1) Appolo Heating recommends an in depth review of our existing heating system.
Supervisor Morris stated she would leave this to Supervisor Elect Selmser and the new administration.
2) NYS Comptroller – Standard Work Day Reporting Discrepancies- Supervisor Morris stated she would look into this. She received the memo as did the Town Clerk.
3) The board opened and reviewed the three quotes they received for a propane generator.
JM Electric 141 Adirondack Hts. Johnstown NY 12095 (518) 281 6496 $18,870.07 signed by price was based on 25KW model. The non-collusion certificate was signed by Justin Melious.
Fulton County Electric 114 Water Street Johnstown NY 12095 (518)736-1130 $22,800.00 (35kw) $33,500.00 (65kw) the non-collusion certificate was signed James Senzio.
North Country Electrical LLC 133 County Highway 111 Caroga Lake NY 12032 (518) 774-5491 $8000.00 (20kw) 3 Phase. The non-collusion certificate was signed by Matt Hillock. The quotes submitted on 10/22/17 and 11/7/17 were the same.
Supervisor Morris is not sure at this time if there is money in the budget. She has to examine the transfers the bookkeeper is working on.
The issue was tabled. Council Member Sturchio stated that this is a big need. We need to have a place where generated power is. He recommended the board do this as soon as they can. The Clerk to the Highway Superintendent stated that the municipal building houses the repeater antenna that goes to the town truck radios. If power goes down, we have no communications with the highway trucks. This will be discussed at the meeting next week.
1) Fulton Co. Res. 381 to set public hearings relating to appointments of deputies.
2) WM. Biers, Inc. Albany NY (ad) New and used equipment/Heavy equipment sales.
3) The Transfer Station Holiday hours at the Caroga Transfer Station – closed Monday 12/25/17 and 1/1/18. The transfer station will be open 12/26/17 & 1/2/18 form 8 am – noon.
4)The Town received a permit application form the Dept. of Army for Ron Dygert, Peter and Paul Haschytz on Garlock Road.
Before Supervisor Morris made a motion to go into executive session - because this is her last regular meeting other than the year and meeting next week there are some people she would like to thank. Because it is so early only 7:30 she would like everyone to bear with her - she will try not to get too emotional. The first person I need to thank not only is my rock and my best friend is my husband. (Applause) “Ronnie you had to put up with an awful lot and I wouldn't been able to do this without you, thank you.” She also thanked her two daughters Samantha and Caitlin the two of them can always make her laugh when she's not feeling that great and her newly-acquired son-in-law Adam are the love of her life. My mom and dad are thrilled to get their daughter back and my sisters and my family they have just been amazing. She noted her sister's are completely opposite of her political views. The support they've given her has just been unbelievable. Supervisor Morris recognized two uncles and an aunt in the audience, Uncle Jim and Uncle Billy.
There are her true friends out there that need to be recognized. “You have been with me through the Good the Bad and the Ugly. I've always been able to depend on all of you.” Shannon and Chuck, Melanie and Mike, Shirley what can I say, Tony and Mary, and John & Lynne are not here – you have been a really good support system for me. Cindy and Jeff are not here Cindy has been amazing. She's always had my back. I also want to thank the Insogna family and Steven & Michelle. If I miss anybody I'm truly sorry there have been so many that have been so good to me and Ronnie over the last couple of years. I just want to thank you all.
The department heads have been wonderful to work with - they have given me an experience I'll never forget. I've been working with Steve Jennings a lot. He has showed me the golf course for the first time. I never realized what a gem we have. My highway supervisor, who believe it or not, we've had some pretty intense conversations at times. We don't always agree but
what I have loved about my relationship with Steve and I'm hoping that someday this can happen in our town, in our state and in our country - people can disagree but people should still be friends afterword. Judy not only are a ray of sunshine in this building you are a burst of sunshine and I love you to death and so does everybody else. My town clerk (with much emotion) the supervisor said thank you. Not only have you been my friend but you've been my teacher you told me right from the start you can do this. Whenever I needed anything you two girls did the digging for me for resolutions - you did anything I asked you to do. “I said I wasn't going to get emotional because some people think it's week. Well you're wrong it's a sign of strength just thank you we will forever be friends.”
The gentleman I work with - when you guys were called last week what did I say to you? Don't let anybody tell you that we didn't accomplish anything. Because the four of us as our supervisor elect said we had a lot to deal with. Some would say that it was unfair that we had to deal with this. But we all stood up and decided to take that challenge on.
Mr. Manning the work that you have put in writing policy for lifetime benefits they have protected this town forever. She noted the amount of work they had to do to reconstruct the youth program. She remembers the phone calls and the websites we had to get into but we got it done. At times got pretty intense because you're so darn persistent. You should be applauded for that.
Mr. Sturchio could always make her laugh even when she was mad. “You took on some pretty lightning rod issues with some residents that were very, very delicate and you did it with devotion and then you should be commended.”
Deputy Supervisor Glenn – “this guy here from the start said he had my back- even when he didn't agree with me.” Your passion for clean air clean water clean environment should be commended and appreciated by this town and don't stop but don't stop thank you so much.
And finally she I want to thank each and every one of you for the honor of serving as your Councilwoman and as your Supervisor over the past two years, and the privilege of being allowed to represent town that I love so much. To the new Administration coming our Supervisor Elect Jim, Jack, our Council Member Jeremy, Council Member James, and Council Member Kent I wish you all the best that you can achieve together. Because success for a town board means success for the town and you can all move forward together. Again she thanked everyone. (Applause)
At 7:39 pm Supervisor Morris made a motion to enter into an executive session to update pending litigation and the employment history of a town employee. Supervisor Morris invited the Supervisor Elect and Council Member Elects to the executive session. The motion was seconded by Council Member Sturchio. All board members were in favor of the motion.
At 9:11 pm Supervisor Morris made a motion to exit from the executive session. Council Member Sturchio second in the motion. All board members were in favor of the motion.
The following resolution was made as a result of the executive session. There were three people still in attendance.
RESOLUTION# 2017 – 115 authorizing the bookkeeper to receive the health benefit package for single coverage for the year 2018 was offered by Supervisor Morris at the regular monthly meeting at the Caroga Town board held on Wednesday December 13th 2017 at Caroga Town Hall.
WHEREAS, the board entered into an executive session earlier this evening, and
WHEREAS, the board will pay 100% of the premium for individual coverage, the employee is responsible for the cost for spouse or family coverage.
The motion was seconded by Council Member Sturchio.
Adopted by a vote of 4 Ayes; Morris, Glenn Sturchio, Manning
Hearing no other business to be discussed, Supervisor Morris made a motion to pay the bills as presented for audit, accept the minutes of the November meeting. The motion was seconded by Council Member Glenn. All board members were in favor of the motion.
At 9:15 pm the board made a motion to adjourn. All board members were in favor of the motion.
Linda M. Gilbert, RMC, CMC
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