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State of New York
County of Fulton
Town of Caroga
Minutes of a Caroga Town Board work session meeting held Monday July 22, 2019 at the municipal building located at 1840 State Highway #10 at 9:00 am 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
There were 37 members of the public in attendance. Following the salute to the flag Supervisor Selmser stated “at our prior meeting of June 12, 2019 we passed a resolution for the property sale agreement to CAC to schedule a referendum, scheduled for August 20th. Referring to a couple of the laws there are a couple other particulars that were not stated in the prior resolution that are required and that is the main reason for being here today to clear that up. To make that correct and our attorney has given us a resolution.” Supervisor Selmser stated he had extra copies for the board members if they needed that and asked Council Member Long if he wanted to read it.
Council Member Glenn asked for a copy.
TOWN OF CAROGA
FULTON COUNTY, NEW YORK
Resolution Number 71 of 2019
Resolution to adopt the language and/or ballot question for and to establish date, time and place of referendum vote for approval of the Town of Caroga’s sale of the Sherman’s Amusement Park Property to The Caroga Arts Collective, Inc.
Resolution sponsored by Council Member Long and
Seconded by Council Member Manning
WHEREAS, after due deliberation the Town of Caroga Town Board desires to adopt certain language to be placed on the referendum ballot by the Fulton County Board of Elections for the upcoming referendum vote to be held at special election on August 20, 2019, concerning the resolution of the Town Board of the Town of Caroga to sell the Sherman’s Amusement Park Property to The Caroga Arts Collective, Inc.; and,
WHEREAS, the Town of Caroga desires to designate the specific time and place at which said referendum vote shall be held.
NOW THEREFORE, be it resolved by the Town Board of the Town of Caroga that the language and/or ballot question to be placed on the referendum ballot by the Fulton County Board of Elections for the upcoming referendum vote concerning the sale of the Sherman’s Amusement Park Property to The Caroga Arts Collective, Inc., shall be as follows:
“Do you approve of the Town of Caroga’s sale of the Sherman’s Amusement Park Property to The Caroga Arts Collective, Inc., upon the terms and conditions specified in their Property Sale Contract dated June 14, 2019?”
Be it further resolved by the Town Board of the Town of Caroga that the referendum vote shall take place at a Special Town Election to be held at the Town of Caroga Municipal Building, located at 1840 State Highway 10, Caroga Lake, NY 12032, on August 20, 2019, with the polls opening at 12:00 PM (noon) and closing at 9:00 PM.
Be it further resolved by the Town Board of the Town of Caroga that as soon as hereafter practicable the Town Clerk of the Town of Caroga shall publish/post legal notice of the date, time and place at which said referendum vote shall take place and shall include in said legal notice the specific ballot question to be voted upon.
Be it further resolved by the Town Board of the Town of Caroga that only qualified electors of the Town of Caroga may participate in the referendum vote.
Dated: July 22, 2019
Discussion: Council Member Glenn asked if Municipal Law required a public hearing concerning the sale of public property, and if so did we have it done. Supervisor Selmser replied not according to the law as interpreted by our attorney. Council Member Kirch stated we did have two informational meetings. Council Member Manning stated there is no public hearing required for it. Council Member Long stated we are sure we are under very close counsel from our attorney at every step. Council Member Manning thought one thing that he thought should be said is that only qualified electors in the Town of Caroga can participate in the election. He suggested adding be it further resolved by the Town Board of the Town of Caroga that only qualified electors of the Town of Caroga may participate in the referendum vote. Supervisor Selmser stated currently the Board of Elections is going to give us full records of registered voters. They are interpreting based on state law what is a registered voter.
The Clerk noted the first resolution included the wording “along with the right of first refusal be made part of this contract” why was that eliminated? Council Member Long stated the terms and conditions include that right of first refusal. “That’s redundant.” Council Member Long stated we can keep adding language until we completely excerpt the entire set of documents and put it all on the ballot. Council Member Kirch interpreted the comments of the attorney that the whole list of all the components of the agreement in the referendum would be confusing and overwhelming to people or simply state do you agree with selling it for the terms of that agreement, and the agreement is public, it is out there for everybody to see. One of the most important parts of this whole thing is the legal release from Abdella. That is the only reason we are sitting here talking about it. He came forward and said he would make an exception. It is up to the voter to look it up and understand what they are voting for.
Council Member Long stated the single strongest motivation is to go through this process it is the mess that Ralph Ottuso and Jack Glenn got us into. (laughing) It is to get us out from under a donation agreement that could bankrupt the town should at some point, in the future, Balboaa Land Development require us to build a sewer system just for that land behind the post office and Mead Creek area. Council Member Manning thought it was clear with just a yes or no thing.
A member of the public asked why the price was not listed. Council Member Long stated they were out of order.
The Clerk stated her point was in the first resolution that the board passed the language “along with the Right of First Refusal” was part of the previous resolution and she has not had time to read the property sales contract to see if it refers to exhibit A. If you satisfy that I am….
Council Member Manning stated the clerk was right…
Council Member Kirch stated, “I am sure Greg removed it because it is just one piece of the agreement.
Council Member Long stated the language under Article 7 Section 92 - the language of the ballot question must conform to the words of the resolution.
Council Member Kirch stated we have simplified the language a little bit. Supervisor Selmser stated the attorney is the expert he gave us the wording he felt was necessary.
Clerk stated if the board was happy with that it was fine.
Council Member Manning thought it would be helpful to if copies were printed of the terms and conditions and available at the actual ballot. He thought it was a question for the board of elections. Are we allowed to have the terms and conditions available for someone to reference as you cast your vote? The clerk stated she would ask that question and stated I am running this election not the board of elections. Supervisor Selmser agreed and said, “Normally you have what the people are voting on is posted outside the door. The clerk stated, “No you have simply the wording for the referendum.” There is not substantiating documentation. That is like having one side or the other stand outside the room handing out information. “That is not appropriate I don’t feel.” Information will be made available to the public up until noon in the clerk’s office. The question about placement of where the Property Sale Contract and Right of First Refusal documents may be posted during the election will be further researched.
Council Member Glenn asked if this was going to be posted in the newspaper. Supervisor Selmser replied yes it is a public announcement and is a requirement. The clerk stated the resolution will be posted in the legal section of the newspaper.
Council Member Glenn thought the entire body of the document should be published. Supervisor Selmser stated we can put an announcement in that the information is available online and in our town clerk’s office.
Several members of the public wanted to speak. The Supervisor stated this is not a public discussion it is a town board meeting. The public continues to voice their opinions to the board.
Roll Call Vote:
Supervisor Selmser Yes
Council Member Glenn Nay
Council Member Kirch Yes
Council Member Long Yes
Council Member Manning Yes
Adopted by a vote of 4 Ayes, Selmser, Kirch, Long, Manning and
1 Nay Glenn
Supervisor Selmser gave an update on the financing on the Plow Truck. The truck will be delivered the end of August. The best financing is through NBT Bank for a three year term with a coupon list at 2.7%. It will be $110,000.00 plus interest of $5,939.00. The other proposal is from Municipal Leasing Consultants (MLC) their interest rates were a little higher. The Clerk asked if the attorney would be drawing up the bond contract. Supervisor Selmser stated the attorney would be drawing up the bond contract. Conversely with MLC there was a filing fee vs an attorney fee. It was roughly $700.00 our attorney fee may be a little less than that.
Supervisor Selmser stated he was recommending that and he will present that as a resolution. Council Member Kirch seconded it.
RESOLUTION #2019-072 to finance the new plow truck through NBT Bank was offered by Supervisor Selmser at a work session held on July 22, 2019 at Caroga Town Hall at 9:00 am.
WHEREAS, the Town Board approved the purchase of a new plow truck with dump body at the August 28th 2018 work session, and
WHEREAS, the board discussed financing the truck at a prior meeting with Supervisor Selmser giving an update today on the financing rate he obtained from NBT Bank and compared them with rates from (MLC) Municipal Leasing Consultants, now therefore be it
RESOLVED, that Supervisor Selmser stated the best financing is with NBT Bank at 2.7% on $110,000.00 with interest amounting to $5,939.00 over the three year term.
Seconded by Council Member Kirch
Adopted by a vote of 5 Ayes, Selmser, Glenn, Manning, Long, Kirch
Supervisor Selmser noted the town has been without a custodian. It was brought up at the last meeting we did not desire to take any action but the supervisor thought we need to advertise as we don’t have a solution presently. The gentleman the board discussed prior is not interested in the job. The clerk read an ad previously run. “Custodian/Groundskeeper currently part time, flexible hours must live in Caroga, send a letter of interest to town of Caroga clerk” etc.
Council Member Long was concerned with the term flexible hours. He noted one of the jobs of the custodian is to clean the clinic and they can’t be doing that when they are seeing patients. The clerk stated they could clean in the evening. The wage rate of $13.25 was noted.
Council Member Kirch asked why the position is limited to Caroga residents. The clerk explained that in the winter during the day sometimes Caroga gets snow when surrounding areas – Gloversville for example do not. If the janitor lives elsewhere and doesn’t know it is snowing in Caroga I don’t want to be responsible for having to call someone to come up and take care of the building. The clerk suggested the wording Caroga resident preferred. The ad was read as:
Custodian/Groundskeeper currently part time, flexible hours, Caroga resident preferred, Rate of pay $13.25, send a letter of interest to Linda Gilbert Town Clerk PO Box 328 Caroga Lake NY 12032 by August 7. The ad cost was $120.00 for three days. Council Member Long suggested running the ad for a week. The clerk asked if a week was 5 or 7 days. The board agreed on 5 days.
RESOLUTION #2019-073 to advertise for the Custodian/Groundskeeper position was offered by Council Member Kirch at a work session held on July 22, 2019 at Caroga Town Hall at 9:00 am.
WHEREAS, the custodian/groundskeeper Don Travis retired effective July 4, 2019, and
WHEREAS, the board desires to advertise to fill the position, now therefore be it
RESOLVED, that the Caroga Town Board does hereby move to place the following ad in the Leader Herald newspaper to run for 5 days as follows: Custodian/Groundskeeper currently part time, flexible hours, Caroga resident preferred, rate of pay $13.25, send a letter of interest to Linda Gilbert Town Clerk PO Box 328 Caroga Lake NY 12032 by August 7.
Seconded by Council Member Long
Adopted by a vote of 5 Ayes, Selmser, Glenn, Manning, Long, Kirch
Supervisor Selmser asked if there was any other business to come before the board. A member of the public asked if the public could speak.
The clerk asked if the board wanted to revamp the solicitation bid for carpeting. The clerk did not have enough information from the resolution made at the July 10, meeting to go out to bid. Council Member Kirch asked if he could give the clerk additional information, with that resolution, to put it in. The clerk responded that the whole board has to approve the changes to the resolution. Council Member Kirch desires to amend resolution #2019-067. The board would like to have three (3) separate/individual quotes for the office areas, the Supervisors office, Code office and Clerk’s office. Supervisor Selmser noted the last time we solicited bids the hallway was broken down into two areas. Most like the board will only do part of the project to start.
RESOLUTION #2019-074 to amend resolution #2019-067 “to solicit bids for the removal of the carpet in the hallway and two offices” was offered by Council Member Kirch at a work session held on July 22, 2019 at Caroga Town Hall at 9:00 am.
WHEREAS, resolution #2019-067 was created on July 10, 2019, and
WHEREAS, the board desires to amend the resolution to solicit bids to replace carpeting in the hallway three offices and to have the areas quoted separately, now therefore be it
RESOLVED, that the Caroga Town Board does hereby move to solicit bids for the removal of the floor covering in the hallway which is in two sections, and to replace the Floor covering in three offices; the Supervisors’ office, Code Office and the Clerk’s office with separate bids being submitted for each area, and be it further RESOLVED that the estimate should also include the cost for replacing of the tile if needed.
Seconded by Council Member Long
Adopted by a vote of 5 Ayes, Selmser, Glenn, Manning, Long, Kirch
Council Member Glenn wanted to discuss the meeting held last Thursday with DOT, Sheriff Giardino, the Town Supervisor, and highway superintendent regarding the Sherman’s Road/East Shore Road. Supervisor Selmser stated they had a good meeting. It lasted ½ hour. There were 3 DOT representatives, the Sheriff, a state police officer who all agreed with what the Sheriff recommended. It was recommended that STOP signs be installed on at least two intersections, possibly three intersections. They felt this was the quickest solution. They hope it would slow traffic down if people abide by the STOP signs. The Supervisor stated Mr. Putman would install them later this week with DOT offering STOP signs or other signs that go along with those signs if needed. DOT will also give the town wording to put in a resolution for the legal action. The supervisor did not have the wording to make it a legal action so if violation were written by the police it would become more binding.
Mr. Putman stated if we just post the STOP signs now we would have no legal basis. He stated that DOT told them you have to have the laws in effect. Signs can be posted all over but the law is not going to honor them. He noted he has to go through the 811 process. We are not going to jump the gun here. The highway superintendent wanted to wait until the local law was in place. Otherwise the judge is not going to honor any tickets. You want to do it properly so it takes effect. He stated the STOP signs would be posted at Grove Ave., Lakeview and Chapel. There would be three way stops signs on all three of the intersections.
Mr. Putman did check out the speed bumps in Fultonville. One is at a STOP sign. It has no effect. He again noted the liability of speed bumps. Supervisor Selmser stated DOT said to check with our insurance agent prior to the use of speed bumps. The supervisor said it was good to have them (the signs) there even before we take some legal steps. It may slow traffic down. If the supervisor does not receive information from DOT in a few days he will call them back.
Supervisor Selmser opened the floor to the public for ten minutes.
Rick Sturgess read in the paper that George Abdella is suing the town. He asked at what meeting exactly did the attorney state about the declaratory judgement. Since we are going after Abdella with the declaratory judgement why are we pursuing the referendum? Council Member Manning stated if the referendum succeeds he might drop the judgement. Council Member Long stated we are trying to avoid legal costs and we are getting $50,000.00. Council Member Long stated George’s initiative is a request for a declaratory judgement our response is also a request for a declaratory judgement. Council Member Manning stated he has not technically sued the town yet. He may never file.
Tony Toskas stated normally he would be saying thank you for your service etc. etc.… “Today I am afraid I have to do something different. I have to say shame on you.” (Light applause)
Scott Horton stated he supported Council Member Manning’s support of putting the terms of the sales agreement posting them outside on the wall of the poling site. There is nothing illegal about that. He thought the sale price was the most important part of any sales agreement. If it were posted people would read it before they come in to vote. That means an informed voter. He believed the town clerk is running the special election and not the board of elections. He pointed out that the resolution states that the County Board of Elections is running it. “Does that jive?” Supervisor Selmser agreed with Mr. Horton.
John Delesky stated he was going to be out of town for the referendum vote and asked if there would be absentee ballots. A board member replied yes. The Town clerk replied no. The clerk spoke to association of towns... Council Member Long noted they do not provide legal counsel.
The clerk asked the board if they had set up the guidelines for the special election. Has the board stated who the electors are yet? Time is running short and that was part of your job and you haven’t done it. Council Member Manning mentioned the term qualified electors. The clerk noted that is supposed to be done 30 days prior to the election. The clerk will check into the question about absentee voting. Supervisor Selmser said the County Board of elections would provide a list of the absentees. The clerk stated as of right now you don’t even have a ballot printed. The supervisor stated that was being worked through the clerk’s office. The clerk noted that information comes from this board and there was missing information and they is why I couldn’t move forward as of June 14 to put this paperwork forward. Council Member Manning stated the deadline was August 1 according to the attorney. That is why we are here now ironing this out.
Supervisor Selmser stated Commissioner Hollenbeck was given the wording previously. The clerk responded that does not matter. Nobody can act until this board puts it on the record. The supervisor agreed. He noted the wording on the ballot is not going to change. The clerk apologized but noted per her conversation with the attorney, he said, “you know Linda it doesn’t matter if the time or place is not stated we’ll just confer and let you know.” I responded to the attorney by stating that we would not be doing this by phone or email making decisions by this board. It has to be done in a meeting. Council Member Long stated the clerk was misquoting the attorney. He also noted the language of the referendum had not changed. Council Member Manning stated the attorney advised the board to have the meeting to set the language and information to publish. The clerk agreed that was a good idea.
John Livingston asked why the board was trying to hide the terms. Council Member Manning noted there is a long list of terms. He noted you might disagree with putting the selling price in and someone else might agree with it. Putting any one point in and excluding any other point can be construed as being biased toward one opinion. Mr. Livingston stated he would put in a full page ad in the newspaper.
Tony Russitano wanted to have the document posted in the building. It has been posted on the website. Not everyone has access to a computer. Council Member Kirch offered to put together a one page executive summary of the purchase agreement that has the main points and have it available prior to the vote. (Applause)
The public portion of the meeting was closed at 9:40 am.
Council Member Kirch stated Council Member Glenn and the clerk came up with some simple wording that it is not the Board of Elections necessarily running it. He asked the board to look at the proposed resolution passed earlier today. The third paragraph where it says “ballot question to be placed on the referendum by the Fulton County Board of Election [inserting by special election] for the upcoming referendum vote concerning the sale of Sherman’s …..
Council Member Long asked Council Member Kirch if he was proposing to amend what we did. Council Member Kirch stated if it was going to make people feel better… Council Member Long noted there are both NYS Election Law and Town Law governing elections and you have to make sure that you are not in conflict with either one. Council Member Long stated that he believed it was probably unwise without additional council for our attorney to amend this. He also did not want to delay this process. Therefore he believed we should stay with what we have.
The supervisor stated the town clerk has to certify the election. They (Fulton County Board of Elections) are not certifying it. Council Member asked if they were essentially overseeing though – no not at all was the response from the clerk and supervisor. The supervisor stated that is where he thought the attorney was wrong. It was noted that the town will be using the election machine.
The clerk will be there from noon – to 9 overseeing the election.
Mr. Livingston stated he would be there too. The clerk responded if you have the proper poll watching certificate.
Supervisor Selmser asked Council Member Kirch if he was recommending changing the resolution. He thought if it is an error than it is an issue. The clerk noted the Board of Elections only hold elections for a primary and in November. The clerk stated she would actually like to do this in November. A member of the public asked how much this was going to cost. Council Member Long replied – out of order. Council Member Long stated it was under $1,000.00 the clerk stated it was over $1,000.00. Council Member Kirch and the supervisor discussed the wording of the resolution. Supervisor Selmser stated it needs to be amended.
RESOLUTION #2019-075 to amend the previous Resolution (#2019-071) regarding the referendum was offered by Council Member Kirch at a work session held on July 22, 2019 at Caroga Town Hall at 9:00 am.
WHEREAS, resolution #2019-071 was created on July 22, 2019 and
WHEREAS, the board desires to amend the third paragraph of the resolution to replace the words Fulton County Board of Elections with Caroga Town Clerk, Now therefore be it
RESOLVED, that the Caroga Town board does hereby move to change the wording of the paragraph to read:
“NOW THEREFORE, be it resolved by the Town Board of the Town of Caroga that the language and/or ballot question to be placed on the referendum ballot by the Town Clerk for the upcoming referendum vote concerning the sale of the Sherman’s Amusement Park Property to The Caroga Arts Collective, Inc., shall be as follows:”
Seconded by Council Member Glenn
Adopted by a vote of 4 Ayes, Selmser, Glenn, Manning, Kirch
1 Nay Long
A member of the public asked when the STOP signs would be put up. Council Member Kirch wondered if it was fair to say the Friday after the August 14 meeting. Highway Superintendent Putman responded when all of the paper work is in order... Council Member Long asked if this could be done by ordinance instead of law because a (local) Law will require a public hearing. Supervisor Selmser will talk to DOT and have something for the next meeting.
At 9:44 am Supervisor Selmser made a motion to adjourn. All board members were in favor of the motion.
Linda M. Gilbert, RMC, CMC
Caroga Town Clerk
Copyright © James McMartin Long 2017–2021