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Minutes of a Town Board Meeting held Wednesday, September 26, 2018

State of New York
County of Fulton
Town of Caroga

Minutes of a Caroga Town Board workshop meeting on the budget held Wednesday September 26, 2018 at the municipal building located at 1840 State Highway #10 at 7:00 pm with the following persons in attendance by Roll Call:

Supervisor James K. Selmser – Here
Council Member John Glenn – Here
Council Member Jeremy Manning – Here
Council Member James Long – Here
Council Member Kent Kirch – Here

Other town department representatives in attendance were: Steve Jennings – Golf Manager, Steve Putman – Highway Superintendent, Gene Cent – Lakes Management, and Joanne Young – Budget Director. There were 3 members of the public in attendance.

The Tentative Budget was presented to the town Board.

The supervisor wanted to mainly look at expenses to start with if they get through that then they would look at revenue, lastly they would look at payroll and benefits. They started with the golf and lake areas first.

Council Member Glenn asked how much money do we have. According to the end of August general fund reports there are 2 reserves weed harvester and a capitol reserve totaling $85,000.00. It is not touchable for 2019. In the saving (cash on hand) there is $526,000.00, Golf $59,000 and in the Caroga Book checking $2,175.00. The main checking account has about $400,000.00. With the reserves there is a little over a million dollars. The available fund balance at the end of 2017 was a little over $400,000.00. Mrs. Young confirmed the town was in a positive fiscal state.

Changes made to the Tentative Budget during the meeting:

Personal Services = P.S. (salary) Equipment = E.Q. Contractual Expenses = C.E. (supplies)

Last January Supervisor Selmser looked at the actual fund balance at the end of the year vs what our projections were. He has those numbers and he will bring those out for the board to look at. He noted the transfers of $135,000.00 in February to set up new accounts could have an effect on the budget. He does not know if that was factored into the fund balance and the impact for this year.

We have an accurate representation of what the town has Mrs. Young stated. “You can plan long term on that.”

Supervisor Selmser noted the one area in revenue that can impact our budget is the sales tax.

This evening the board reviewed the Special Recreational Facilities with Steve Jennings. He does want to purchase a piece of equipment (a mower) on state contract for about $7,500.00. (See chart at the end for changes)

Gene Centi wants the line items broken down more specifically between weeds and lake stewards. Council Member Manning noted this was important for reimbursement of grant money. He saved money by hiring one tender per shift and used a diver. Next year he wants to increase the number of days worked by two weeks one week before Memorial Day and one week after Labor Day. Supervisor Selmser noted 60% more was spent this year than last year.

He has to allocate for working every day even though the weather may be bad. “Last year we had 69 days scheduled for work next year we have 85. Out of the 69 last year we only worked 52.” He budgeted for 85 days at 10 hours per day. The board knows that will not happen. The bookkeeper noted any unused line item money gets rolled over to the general fund it does not stay with one line item. Mr. Centi wants to purchase a dump trailer. He also put a 3% increase on the personal services line item. He believes the tender salary is too low at $13.00 per hour for the physical labor. The divers make $20.00 an hour. He also wants to make upgrades to the harvester. The numbers on the tentative budget for environmental control were put in by the bookkeeper – Mr. Centi just returned the budget sheets this evening.

The budget director suggested a meeting with her, the supervisor, Mr. Centi, and Mr. Harazin to separate out what is going to go where.

Council Member Long stated that Mike Durkee told him and Council Member Glenn that he has served for 5 years unpaid and he is retiring. A replacement will need to be found for Mr. Durkee and Council Member Long suggested budgeting $900.00. It was noted that Mr. Cent’s salary of $950.00 is under A8090.12. He stated the budget was submitted for $2,000.00. The budget director stated per the reorganizational meeting the weed director salary was set at $950.00. He wanted to discuss this with the board. If you figure the number of hours he put into the job the hourly rate would be about $1.50. He will not do it for $950.00 next year. He uses his own gas in his boat, and had wear and tear on his truck. It was suggested to have the directory salary broken out from the divers.

The board then reviewed the Highway Garage page 8 line items and then to page 16. Mr. Putman spoke to the supervisor and budget director earlier this week. He wanted an additional $50,000 for 2019 and 2020 on the general repairs summer line item to get rolling with fixing the S. Shore Roads that are a disaster. He noted he has to use the CHIPS money within a two year period. He doesn’t feel he can rob Peter to pay Paul. He has his accounts basically where they need to be. If a highway department uses all their money they have to shut down. He doesn’t want that to happen. He asked the board to not reduce any of his DA accounts for road work at all. He noted there are summer and winter funds. He can use the summer fund in the winter if he needs to. He absolutely tries not to do that. He asked the board not to touch his buffer. Last year he was afraid he would run out of sand. An extra $50,000 was added to the tentative budget on line item DA5110.4. He stated you have to go out to bid at a certain amount. The board reviewed the DA51 accounts.

Council Member Long asked if the DA5120.4 line item of $60,000 was for Nick Stock Road. He asked his fellow board members “Do we have to have Nick Stock open?” Mr. Putman stated if you lose roads you lose funding from CHIPS. He stated it was about ¾ of a mile. Council Member Manning noted it takes 6 years then its abandonment. Council Member Long stated you can come in from either end. Council Member Kirch thought it was important to get started on the S. Shore Road. He wondered if the box culvert (bridge) project could wait. Mr. Putman agreed it could, he would never agree with shutting it down. He noted an engineer has done some work on it.

The budget director noted to balance the budget for next year you would have to have over $300,000 in fund balance to balance the budget as is. We don’t have that. She also noted the payments coming up on the two trucks. She advised that at the end of August there were $257,000 in savings and $256,000 in checking in DA and $50,000 in equipment reserve which is off limits for fund balance. We have to 4 months of payroll (overtime?) and fuel to get through. So the town will not have a huge fund balance. Mrs. Young stated just because you have it in the budget doesn’t mean you have to spend it.

Council Member Kirch asked “if we get to December and we have plenty of cash balance, Steve buys a (pickup) truck spends $45,000 and we budgeted for $50,000 for next year as well. Then that money is in the budget for next year can go towards a truck. Contrary if we get to December and we don’t have a good fund balance and we want to be conservative and not order the truck this year we cannot order it and he has $50,000 for next year to order it.” Several board members noted the trucks have been ordered. The budget director noted she has to verify on the revenue side that we have a way to cover it. If we don’t have the sales tax coming in and property tax we don’t have the fund balance to cover that $50,000. So no you can’t budget for it because we don’t have a way of balancing it on the revenue side.

The Town Clerk mentioned to the Budget Director something to be brought to the board’s attention. On the summary page for the taxable assessed value the number Joanne got from the county for this year’s taxable assessed value went down from last year’s budget by over a million dollars of taxable assessed value to build the budget off of. She stated the town can only raise $22,000 more and stay under the tax cap. This is all based on last year’s assessment and expenses. Mrs. Young did state it is tentative.

Mr. Putman stated he has to buy a sander for the new truck. He also stated that the residents on the S. Shore Roads are already complaining about what they are doing in trying to fix the road. Just like on East Shore Road now that it is nice people speed along the road. The same thing will happen once these roads are paved.

The PS for snow removal was discussed and changed. (See chart at the end for changes)

The employee benefits were reviewed. Mrs. Young noted retirement line item has gone up. Last December when she was working on the budget the amount for the highway was well under budgeted. She was building off inaccurate figures. In order to correct going into 2019…. There is a reduction in the A9010.8 account and an increase in the DA9010.8 account. Workers Comp. has gone up. We get that figure from the county.

Health Insurance – there is a slight increase in the tentative budget because last year’s numbers were not being split out for the actual usage of the HRA account.

The board then went back to page one. A lot of the changes in the A accounts are raises in personnel. There were skipped over for tonight and the largest items to impact the budget were to be discussed for example the building and legal fees. Council Member Long noted the potential for legal fees in 2019. Council Member Manning noted the number of outstanding lawsuits.

The budget director noted the other large expense which wasn’t highlighted or changed is the contractual expense for the town hall building -A1620.4. Roof repairs will be done this year. Council Member Long stated “one of the reservoirs of mold and mildew in this building is that carpet out in the hallway. We can’t get rid of the carpet because it covers up asbestos tiles.”

Supervisor Selmser noted the need and cost for a generator.

Nothing more was planned for Sherman’s next year.

Council Member Long asked if there were other buildings Mr. Duesler was going to declare unsafe.

The budget director stated we have already used up the contingency line item.

Council Member Long noted the town has not heard from National Grid about the streetlights.

A big change was on page 11 garbage removal. This year the budget will need to be amended. Next year the highway department is getting a 2% step up. The highest paid worker will be at $19.25 and the lowest will be at $16.33.

The museum was cut last year due to the budget situation. They and the snowmobile club have requested their previously requested amounts. Council Member Kirch thought they should be treated somewhat equally. These two organizations do so much for our community.

Supervisor Selmser stated we are going to be way over the tax cap.

The fire contract will be raised 2% for the next 5 years. It was noted that the state mandates worker’s comp. for firemen. It is a rate of $250 - $300 per eligible member. The town board still has to vote on their contract.

The board discussed training expenses for the town board members. The contractual expenses for the town justices. The budget director suggested lowering it because the SEI program used to have to be purchased. Now the state is providing it to the justice’s courts for free. She further stated that all of the justice court training is free from the state.

The board continued to review the equipment and contractual expenses of the various line items.

The Assessor Clerk was not used much this year.

Longevity on town clerk was to be discussed.

Council Members Glenn and Kirch discussed the engineer line item as it pertained to a sewer district. To move forward with a formal study in 2019 the cost would be $12,000. The cost should/could be reimbursable through a grant.

Election figures came from the county.

The building equipment line has not been used for 2 years. Everything has been charged to contractual.

Sherman’s – Council Members Long and Manning discussed this line item. Council Member Long stated Sherman’s is getting more dilapidated, the money on the line item was not going to get anything. Council Member Long stated “as long as that building is in our hands we have an obligation to keep it safe. It may come down to just putting up a fence to keep people away from something that is falling apart.” The insurance was not broken out it is all under one insurance line item for the whole town.

Council Member Kirch and Manning discussed the roof project. Council Member Kirch hopes that the repair job lasts 3 – 5 years. Expenses for the building were again discussed. Council Member Long stated the membrane is shot. Do we want to commit to more money for the building? Supervisor Selmser thought we needed to do more than just patch what we have. He stated we might get credit from street lighting program. They could be linked together with energy savings.

Mrs. Barrett noted the need for a new door for the clinic and replacement of the ramp. That would come out of buildings. It was not known where the clinic will be in five years. Supervisor Selmser wanted a commitment from them. The clerk asked if the town could negotiate with the hospital for a new ramp.

The new phones could come out of Central Communications or Buildings CE.

Golf Course Central Printing was changed.

Supervisor Selmser asked for justification to continue spending money on signs. Council Member Glenn wanted to move forward with the summer signage on East Shore Road. Mr. Putman also stated at a previous meeting that he wanted speed control signs. Supervisor Selmser thought there could be some grants available for them.

The budget director knows we are not discussing personal services but Mr. Duesler wants $5,000 less on the code clerk and that amount added to Code PS.

The Beautification Grant line item was used for the bike trail. Joanne will look up the correct account number. No expenses were planned for next year.

BTI – included a slight increase for the techs PS.

Council Member Kirch asked why we don’t use the publicity line item. It is vital to the town to get people in here. This line A6410.4 may be used to pay for the hiking maps.

The celebrations line item has been used in the past for fireworks.

Planning Clerk A8020.1 was changed.

Landfill testing was discussed. They hope to get the required number of tests to one a year.

(The following chart shows the changes made tonight on the tentative budget)

Label Type Code Proposed Amended to
Legislative CE A1010.4 2,500 1,500
Court PS A1110.1 16,000 15,500
Court Clerk PS A1010.11 3,800 3,300
Court CE A1110.41 2,600 1,500
Engineers CE A14440.4 1,000 12,000
Buildings CE A1620.2 2,500 0
Central Printing CE A1670.41 1,000 0
Traffic Control CE A3310.4 6,000 5,000
Safety Insp. PS A3620.1 30,000 35,000
Code Clerk PS A3620.11 18,000 13,000
Demo Bldgs. CE A3650.4 3,000 20,000
Spec. Rec. golf CE A7180.4 28,000 25,000
Planning Board PS A8020.1 1,000 0
Planning CE A8020.4 1,200 1.000
Comp. Plan CE A8020.41 1,000 0
Env. Divers PS A8090.12 93,378 91,850
Env. Control EQ A8090.2 1,200 5,000
Env. Control CE A8090.4 4,000 5,000
Lake Weed CE A8090.41 5,000 6,000
Landfill tests CE A8160.41 2,000 4,000
Nick Stoner Trailers A8989.41 1,500 3,000
Roads CE DA5120.4 60,000 15,000
Machine & Equip EQ DA5130.2 50.000 15,000
Snow removal PS DA5121.1 145,656 150,000

At 9:27 pm Council Member Long made a motion to adjourn. Council Member Glenn seconded the motion.

Respectfully Submitted,

Linda M. Gilbert, RMC, CMC

Town Clerk

Copyright © James McMartin Long 2017–2021