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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 January 8, 2020 at the municipal building located at 1840 State Highway #10 at 7:00 pm with the following persons in attendance by roll call:

Supervisor Scott Horton - Here

Council Member John Glenn - Here

Council Member James Long - Here

Council Member Richard Sturgess - Here

Council Member Donald Travis - Here

Other town department representatives in attendance were: Highway Superintendent – Larry Voght. There were 26 members of the public in attendance.

Supervisor Horton thanked everyone for coming. He has been told he has a soft voice and will try to speak up if he can’t be heard let him know. Supervisor Horton suspended the reading of the minutes. Approval will be at next month’s meeting.

Public Speaking –

Al Kozakiewicz – Planning Board Chairman noted there is a lot of important business before them this year: Dollar General, the fire house and a business interested in opening in the former laundromat. These things, he stated, require some continuity from the prior year. To that end, he asked that the board consider reappointing Mr. (Council Member) Long as the Clerk.

Doug Purcell, Zoning Board of Appeals Chairman, has two items to discuss. The first is his request to attend the upcoming Saratoga Planning & Zoning Conference on Feb. 5th 2020. The courses are of interest to him. The fee is $70.00 by taking action today approval past Jan 15 would be $80.00. He asked the board for their consideration to have Matt Cooper attend also.

The second matter was to ask the board to seriously consider the reappointment of James Long in the position of secretary of the Zoning Board of Appeals. One of the courses at Saratoga deals with the duties of the Planning & Zoning Secretary. He read the course description, “the responsibilities of secretaries of local planning boards and zoning boards of appeals range from accepting applications, to maintaining and archiving records and everything in between including issuing notices and transmitting communication on behalf of their boards. The more effective the board secretary at these tasks, the more effective local development review and approval will be. In addition the more complete the record, the better prepared the local government will be to address challenges to decisions.” He stated Mr. Long has demonstrated these qualities the past two years.

Nancy Purcell – noted that a resident veteran will be moved to a nursing facility in St. Johnsville. She suggested sending cards.

Burt Wilson was previously an alternate on the Planning Board. If there is an open position on the Planning Board again he would like to be considered as an alternate.

Mark Ford piggybacked on things he has heard. He is the Chairman of the Board of Assessment Review. Mr. Long served as secretary to this board. He asked that he be reappointed. He stated he has the expertise, serves with no remuneration, and it is not a decision making position on the board. He simply keeps records for them.

John Delesky noted the recent ice storm lasted for 36 hours. They found the Fire Department was stretched. There were 25 calls in 36 hours. If there is anybody man or woman in decent shape – they need help. They are there every Monday night working. He invited anyone interested in seeing what they do to come down.

Tony Toskas thanked the guys (town board) for stepping up to drive the boat.

The public portion was closed at 7:11 pm

Department Reports:

Assessor’s Report – Vicky Hayner –Assessor submitted a written report. She continues to work with the code office. She reminds those over 65 who want an Enhanced STAR Exemption there is paperwork that has to be filed – it is not automatic. She has some concerns about the rate of assessment has gone down from 61 to 58%. The supervisor stated this means the town is becoming more valuable. The town will take on more of the county burden/share.

BTI – Mr. Delesky noted he cannot treat until March 1st. He has checked the streams the larva is there. He is conducting a 30 hour course at town hall for employees of Stratford. He stated we could borrow those people if we needed them. He needs 8 hours of continuing education and this gets him that. All of our people are returning this year.

Clerk/Tax Collector/Registrar/RMO – Linda Gilbert supplied the December monthly report to the board. The Town Clerk presented her books for audit. A checklist will be provided to the board to assist in their review. Currently 236 tax bills have been processed totaling $206,232.84. A check will be turned over to Supervisor Horton in the next two days. The 2020 Census bureau is looking for workers. The clerk has contact information for them. Lastly all department heads were asked to submit information/changes for the town directory by Friday to the clerk.

Code Enforcement & Sanitation – Mr. Duesler submitted a written report. One permit was issued in December the fee was $55.00 with a valuation of $7,000.00. The previous administration was reevaluating the Code Office. Last year they issued 231 permits with a valuation of $3,025,701.00. This brings a challenge of meeting the demands of the public. The department is looking to have 5 days a week 8 hours a day coverage or more during the building season. He would like the clerk position be the building safety inspector. The individual will need training. The report stated there are 3 new single family dwellings to be built in 2020. The code officer would like to attend the annual training in Lake Placid.

Dog Control –

Golf Course –

Highway – Mr. Voght, Highway Superintendent, thanked the new board members, Mr. Long, and Dr. Glenn for their support along with the residents and businesses. He thanked his crew for all of their hard and dedicated work and support. “The Highway Department will put the town’s people and businesses first. My door is always open.” He gave a special thanks to the fire department for their work during the ice storm.

Supervisor Horton asked what the reason was about a truck with a new sander. Mr. Voght stated it’s because they were backtracking, so they took the sander off the old truck and put it on the new plow. They plow and sand together.

Lakes Management Program – Council Member Glenn received notification from Marcus Harazin that there is a small DEC Grant available out there but the time limit is very short. They would only have two weeks to put it together. At this time it would not behoove the board to go forward with a request to submit an application. However Supervisor Horton is on the Soils and water committee at the County level. He hopes that next year the town will be in a good position to get some of the things they need for the weed harvester.

Supervisor Horton noted he was assigned 4 Fulton County Board of Supervisors committees – Economic Development, Social Services, and two subcommittees – Soil & Water, and Adirondack Towns.

Town Hall Building – yesterday the Supervisor took a tour around the building with Council Member Travis. He showed him how things function in the building.


Historian – Marty Podskoch – Author will be scheduled to speak later in the year – TBA

Department reports closed at 7:22 pm

Supervisor’s Report

Supervisor Horton met with Assemblyman Robert Smullen to discuss the needs of the town and the desire to prosper. He noted the need to work together. The Assemblyman will let us know of any grants that come through his office.

Street Lighting Program – Council Member Long and Supervisor Horton have been discussing this. It is a complicated program. They will be doing an inventory, one that is on the record and then the real one. They will present the town with the real inventory of the number of lights that are really working. There are technical concerns with different wattages in different areas. Do we need an extra in one place and take away some in other areas? There are DOT guidelines on this and other resources they will use. This will be done this winter.

At the last meeting Council Member Glenn requested financial information. The board members will receive monthly reports. The Supervisor did go over the town’s finances (all of the accounts) with the bookkeeper. The town is flush we have a little over one million in cash in the general fund, the Highway Fund has about $333,000.00 there is a buffer of $50,000.00. The supervisor noted his job is to watch the money by state law. The Clerk noted there is also a specific fire fund account for the payment to the Fire Company. Supervisor Horton stated there is $7.15 in the account right now.

Old Business:

Jeremy Manning gave an update on the Wheelerville Bike Trails. He will do a longer presentation in February and bring some people doing this in Old Forge with him and they will be working with him here. They will explain how they organized things, did the construction, and maintenance over there as well. Mr. Manning noted the Town was awarded a DEC Smart Growth Implementation Grant back in late November for just over $64,000.00 to be used primarily for wages. The town board took on this project about four years ago. Right now we are at the point where we have to get some people ready to build the facility. It will be 5 – 6 miles in the beginning with a variety of different levels of difficulty. It will be machine and hand built bike trails which can be used for snowshoeing, cross country skiing, running and hiking but is a non-motorized trail system. Tonight, he is asking the board to establish positions a trail director and two lead trail positions and laborer positions. There are different ways to do this project it can be contracted out or people can work in house. Because of the prevailing wage, it is a lot cheaper for the town to hire employees on pay their wage vs having going out to get private contractors. Next month he hopes to have more details about when they will begin building in the spring weather dependent, how they will go about the process, machinery involved etc.

Council Member Glenn asked how many laborers there will be. Mr. Manning responded up to four laborers. There will be two laborers working with each lead builder. An excavator will be used to make about a 40 inch wide trail. The laborers will be working to rake and be moving things on the ground. Adirondack Foothills Trail Alliance (AFTA) the group he is letting do our work has two months of work to do in Old Forge. We are using the same people. They are two of the best trail builders in New York State. People travel to ride Justin and Elis’s trails. We are going to have a trail three times the length of Old Forge across the street.

Supervisor Horton confirmed that this trail will be owned by the town. Mr. Manning noted it is the town’s money to build the trails. After they are built, AFTA has kind of offered to take this on as an organization by doing ongoing maintenance, organizing special events, and volunteer days to keep up the trails. Most importantly they will market this for the town. They are Utica based.

Council Member Sturgess is apprehensive about the wages people are getting paid. He asked what the rate of pay is. Mr. Manning stated the senior guy is going to be at least $25.00 an hour, he wanted $30. He works year round in Arkansas for the Walton Family who owns Walmart building short trails down there. Council Member Sturgess was more concerned about the wages of the laborers comparing the rate the highway department workers get. He did not want a conflict with guys who work 12 months a year to those who come in for 3 months. Mr. Manning stated we don’t have any town guys building bike trails. This is a specialized project they are doing - $15 an hour to dig dirt all day… Council Member Sturgess stated is that the rate $15? Mr. Manning replied somewhere around there. It was not more than that in Old Forge. Supervisor Horton noted these are temporary positions there are no retirement or health benefits. The town has to have workers compensation and disability insurance on them. Mr. Palcovic noted there is the potential for off season compensation. Mr. Delesky asked if Mr. Manning was staying with the project. Mr. Manning is proposing a resolution to be the trail director.

Council Member Glenn asked if Old Forge had a resolution similar to the one he is proposing. Old Forge was initially all volunteer based. They did not have any state funding. The town put $8,000.00 toward the trail system. He did not know what they did: they never received grant money. They used AFTA, they let them lay it out with permission from the town. When Old Forge opened, they had 2000 people in two days.

Mr. Wilson asked if locals could apply for the temporary laborer positions. Mr. Manning stated it depends on their skill sets. “You really want people that know how to build bike trails.” Mr. Wilson asked if they would be using a shovel or a rake. Mr. Manning wanted someone who was familiar with the tactile surface and what you are wanting to achieve. Mr. Manning stated there is a tight build window. They don’t want to have a huge learning curve. The way the land is shaved is driven by the sport. Anyone can apply for it, sure. He wants to make sure they will work well with the trail builders. Mr. Wilson asked if there will be an application process for this. Yeah was the response. Mr. Manning stated the lead builders were written into the grant.

Mr. Livingston noted it was said there would be no expense to the town – now there is workman’s compensation being paid. Mr. Manning noted those costs were worked out before. The expense was rolled into the overall grant application as far as reimbursement. Anything connected to the salary will be covered and the equipment.

Mr. Manning has a $13,000.00 equipment budget. He got a better deal. He submitted quotes from Sunbelt and United Rentals in Albany. The head of AFTA is able to get machines for ¼ of the cost. We can get at least two machines up here for ½ the cost. Council Member Glenn asked if that would get us more hours toward laborers. Additionally we have to have at least 24 hours per week of volunteer hours. That is our match for the grant. AFTA is willing to oversee that process as well. Making sure we have people there working towards the grant match. He estimates it will be a 3 – 4 month build. It depends on whose land is dry first will start first.

Council Member Sturgess confirmed with Mr. Manning that the $64,000 would finish the first phase of the project.

Council Member Glenn asked about liability insurance. Mr. Manning stated other towns include it in their general liability coverage. If the town wants additional insurance there is a company in Lake Placid that does bike trail specific coverage. This came up in the past there is New York State general obligations law is what the town will be covered by if someone gets hurt there. It was stated that NYMIR our insurance company should be notified.

Council Member Long noted the relationship with all of the people who will be working is that of an employer - employee relationship. It is not a contractual relationship. This is to avoid having to pay prevailing wage. We get more trail per dollar this way. Mr. Manning stated initially Mr. Ovitt stated it would be $4 - $5 per foot of trail construction then it jumped to $8 - $9. He wants to still be considered but it is a private company we would have to pay prevailing wage and we would get ½ the trail built using them.

RESOLUTION #2020-008 for the Implementation of the Wheelerville Trails Project was offered by Council Member Long at the regular monthly meeting of the Caroga Town Board held on Wednesday January 8, 2020 at the municipal building.

WHEREAS, the Town of Caroga has been awarded a 2019 Smart Growth Implementation Grant for the Wheelerville Trials project not exceed $64,367.56, and,

WHEREAS, the Town of Caroga wishes to create a new annual appointed position for oversight of construction of Wheelerville Trails project as well as administration of the 2019 Smart Growth Implementation Grant, and

WHEREAS, the Town of Caroga wishes to create three additional seasonal Town positions for the physical construction of the Wheelerville Trails project,

NOW BE IT THEREFORE RESOLVED, that the Town of Caroga hereby establishes the annual appointed position of “Trail Director” which will oversee the Wheelerville Trials project. This position will be responsible for hiring staff, overseeing day-to-day operations, purchasing materials and administrative tasks related only to the Wheelerville Trails project. For 2020, this position will receive annual health benefits and no additional pay. For the year of 2020, Jeremy Manning will be appointed to serve as Trail Director, The Town of Caroga also hereby establishes the seasonal positions of “Senior Lead Trail Builder”, “Assistant Lead Trail Builder and trail laborer.” These positions will be funded by the 2019 Smart Growth Implementation Grant.

Seconded by Council Member Travis

Discussion: Council Member Glenn wanted the exact figure of the grant included in the resolution. Council Member Sturgess confirmed that the cost of Jeremy’s health insurance is covered under the grant. Supervisor Horton noted there will be other discussions on compensation. He stated the 4 positions are annual and temporary. This is a mechanism to utilize the grant. The Supervisor stated there would be monthly reports detailing spending and construction progress. The funding can carry over to 2022. Council Member Sturgess wanted it known that towns people could be hired for a laborer.

Adopted by a vote of 5 Ayes: Horton, Glenn, Long, Sturgess, Travis

RESOLUTION #2020-009 Authorizing Members of the Planning Board and Zoning Board of Appeals to attend Training was offered by Supervisor Horton at the regular monthly meeting of the Caroga Town Board held on Wednesday January 8, 2020 at the municipal building.

WHEREAS, Saratoga County will hold a Planning and Zoning Conference on February 5, 2020 at the Saratoga Springs City Center, and

WHEREAS, Zoning Board Chairman Doug Purcell and new Planning Board Member Matt Cooper desire to attend this training, now therefore be it

RESOLVED, that the town will submit the registration fee of $70.00 each for the attendees.

Seconded by Council Member Long

Adopted by a vote of 5 Ayes: Horton, Glenn, Long, Sturgess, Travis

RESOLUTION #2020-010 Authorizing Members of the Town Board to attend Training was offered by Supervisor Horton at the regular monthly meeting of the Caroga Town Board held on Wednesday January 8, 2020 at the municipal building.

WHEREAS, The Association of Towns will hold schooling for newly elected officials on January 15 - 17, 2020 in Albany New York, and

WHEREAS, Supervisor Scott Horton, Council Members Richard Sturgess, and Donald Travis desire to attend this training, now therefore be it

RESOLVED, that the town will submit the registration fee of $600.00 for the attendees and reimburse the traveling expenses.

Seconded by Council Member Long

Adopted by a vote of 5 Ayes: Horton, Glenn, Long, Sturgess, Travis

A motion was made to make a resolution to appoint Clerk/Secretary to Planning Board, ZBA, and BAR. Council Member Long reads the resolution. There was no second to the motion.

Supervisor Horton stated there was new information presented to the board. At this time the Supervisor wanted to amend the motion and then seconded the motion. He stated we have heard from three department heads. He is concerned with appearances and undue influence on boards by having a town board member on an independent board. In the interim this has to be filled. He is concerned with the Planning Board dealing with the Dollar General application, an important project for our town. There is a desire to keep continuity. He asked the board to come up with some other recommendations. This is not personal at all against Council Member Long.

There is a need to fill the position with a qualified individual. This could be done on a temporary basis. Council Member Glenn saw and agreed with the Supervisors concern with a board member working with these independent committees. Council Member Glenn asked if these boards had to have the same clerk. They do not was the Supervisors response.

Council Member Sturgess asked how long we have been looking for a clerk/candidate. The Supervisor has spoken to three people two of whom are interested in the position. Council Member Sturgess noted the three people heavily weighing on the board to leave James in. He asked about the duration of the appointment. Supervisor Horton suggested continuing the services of Council Member Long it is a very nice thing he is doing. The Supervisor asked the board if they would consider keeping him on until a suitable replacement is found. Council Member Long stated that he serves at the board’s pleasure. “If you find someone else a month from now you have the power no matter what you say in this resolution, you have the power in a subsequent resolution to reverse that.” He noted you could not reverse the appointments to the Planning and Zoning boards and Board of Assessment Review.

Council Member Glenn asked the Planning Chairman how long he thought the Dollar General Application will take to go through the planning process. Mr. Kozakiewicz noted the board has been in discussion with them to get a preview and decide if the application was complete. The board is meeting with them again on February 5th. He anticipates the application to be complete at that time. The next step is a public hearing. The engineering firm will answer the questions from the public and probably at that meeting or very shortly after that the board will vote one way or the other. He thinks this can be accomplished in the first quarter of this year.

The Chairman of the Zoning Board noted there is an application that needed additional information before it is complete. He expects the application will be before the board in the next 30 days. Another applicant is waiting until spring to resubmit an application.

Mr. Ford stated there is nothing pending at this time. Grievance Day is the first week in June.

Council Member Sturgess noted it is not a voting position. Council Member Long stated he is silent. Supervisor Horton wanted to continue to look at filling this position. He wanted to do this cooperative between the boards.

RESOLUTION #2020-011 to appoint Clerk/Secretary to Planning Board, ZBA, and BAR was sponsored by Council Member Long at the monthly meeting of the Caroga Town Board on Wednesday January 8, 2020 at 7:00 pm at town hall, and seconded by Supervisor Horton.

WHEREAS, James Long has served as Clerk/Secretary to Planning Board, ZBA, and BAR for the last two years, and,

WHEREAS, James Long serves as webmaster and creates hearing notices, decision letters, and other documents with links to the Caroga Zoning Ordinance, Fulton County real property pages, and other sources, and,

WHEREAS, if another party served as secretary and created these documents, that would not reduce the webmaster workload to get the documents in a format appropriate for the online pages, and,

WHEREAS, Board chairs have expressed their support for the reappointment of James Long, and,

WHEREAS, prior counsel to the town stated that there was no conflict of interest in a Town Board member serving in these roles, and,

WHEREAS, the Planning Board is in the middle of the Dollar General application process and changing appointments may disrupt that application, and,

NOW BE IT THEREFORE RESOLVED, that James Long be reappointed as Clerk/Secretary to Planning Board, ZBA, and BAR for the year 2020.

Adopted by a vote of 5 Ayes: Horton, Glenn, Long, Sturgess, Travis

New Business:

Retainer Agreement for the Town Attorney at the organizational meeting the board approved Sal Ferlazzo as the Town Attorney. The hourly rate is $55.00 less than what we were paying Dunn & Dunn. The agreement states there is a retainer fee of a little over $1,000.00 a month and that guarantees the town 72 hours (6 hours a month) a year that we can spend as needed. Litigation is extra. Council Member Long stated at the end of the year if we do not used 72 hours of service we will lose….. Supervisor Horton would be happy if we didn’t use up the time. Council Member Long noted we have never had an agreement with an attorney where the only way we could address grievances with that attorney was through mediation. This concerns him as he recounted a problem with a public hearing and was not sure the town received the credit back.

Supervisor Horton read his monthly quote from the agenda. “I like the dreams of the future better than the history of the past.” Thomas Jefferson.

RESOLUTION #2020-012 to sign the Retainer Agreement with Girvin & Ferlazzo PC was offered by Council Member Glenn at the monthly meeting of the Caroga Town Board on Wednesday January 8, 2020 at 7:00 pm at town hall.

WHEREAS, the Caroga Town Board appointed Sal Ferlazzo of Girvin & Ferlazzo PC to be the town attorney at the organizational meeting on January 4, 2020, and

WHEREAS, this retainer agreement for Town Attorney services is made and entered into by and between Girvin and Ferlazzo PC 20 Corporate Woods Blvd. Albany NY 12211 and the Town of Caroga, now Therefore in consideration of the mutual terms and conditions set forth in this agreement the parties agree to the terms outlined in items 1 Appointment, 2 Scope of Work, 3 Independent Contractor, 4 Dispute Resolution, 5 Termination, 6 Notices, and 7 Amendment of Agreement, spelled out in said contract which is on file in the Town Clerk’s office.

Seconded by Council Member Travis

Adopted by a vote of 4 Ayes, Horton, Glenn, Sturgess, Travis and 1 Abstention Long

The clerk noted the need to update the Workplace Violence Prevention Policy & Incident Reporting policy. Currently a former board member is listed as a contact person. Council Member Long stated he was not comfortable serving on this and asked not to be involved.

RESOLUTION #2020-013 to designate contact persons for the Workplace Violence Prevention & Incident Policy was offered by Supervisor Horton at the monthly meeting of the Caroga Town Board on Wednesday January 8, 2020 at 7:00 pm at town hall.

WHEREAS, the Town of Caroga is committed to the safety and security of our employees, and

WHEREAS, it was noted that the contact persons for the Workplace Violence Prevention and Incident Policy needed to be updated, now therefore be it

RESOLVED, that Supervisor Scott Horton who may be reached at town hall or by calling 518 469-8000 and Council Member Ricky Sturgess (518) 604- 4055 are the designated contact persons for employees to report any violent incidents, threatening behavior, including threats they have witnessed, received or have been told that another person has witnessed or received in accordance with the Town of Caroga Workplace Violence Prevention & Incident Policy

Seconded by Council Member Sturgess

Adopted by a vote of 5 Ayes, Horton, Glenn, Long Sturgess, Travis

Supervisor Horton tabled the Franchise Agreement with Charter Communications matter this evening. The contract is up. The renewal is for 15 years. He would like to find out how to best negotiate this. He will be talking to the state and perhaps the town attorney.

RESOLUTION #2020-014 for the Renewal of James A. Brennan Humane Society Contract was offered by Council Member Long at the monthly meeting of the Caroga Town Board on Wednesday January 8, 2020 at 7:00 pm at town hall.

WHEREAS, a contract listing articles 1 through 3 was sent to the town for their review and approval of terms stated within the annual agreement between the town and the shelter, and

WHEREAS, the cost is $525.00 per quarter, the total cost of the contract is $2,100.00 per year, and

WHEREAS, the entire contract is on file in the Town Clerk’s office, now therefore be it

RESOLVED, that the Caroga Town Board does hereby move to enter into contract with the James Brennan Memorial Humane Society for services in the year 2020, and be it further

RESOLVED, that the Supervisor is hereby authorized to sign said contract.

Seconded by Council Member Glenn

Adopted by a vote of 5 Ayes, Horton, Glenn, Long Sturgess, Travis

The discussion on Communications – New Town Emails addresses was tabled.

Supervisor Horton has had a private conversation with Council Member Long about keeping the items on the News Flash as concise as possible and to make a footnote – the public needs the highlights, the minutes are the formal document and the official record.


Workers Compensation 4th Quarter Assessment Report

Email from Office of General Services re: Environmentally Preferable Lighting

Notice of Saratoga Co. Planning & Zoning Conference –

Steve Ovitt Wilderness Property Management Inc. wants to respond to RFP for trail construction

David Chinery Cornell Cooperative Ext. offers 30 Pesticide training $400 per person

Vehicle notice on 2016 Silverado additional protection for DEF malfunction condition

Transfer Station Closed Mon. 1/20 for Martin Luther King Day open Tuesday 1/21 8 am - noon

Renewal Notice for State & Federal Labor Law poster

Notice of Availability of Funds

Council Member Long made a motion to pay the bills as presented for audit. The motion was seconded by Council Member Glenn. All board members were in favor of the motion.

The clerk reminded the supervisor to prepay the Saratoga Planning & Zoning Conference expense tomorrow.

At 8:17 pm Council Member Long made a motion to adjourn. Council Member Glenn seconded the motion. All board members were in favor of the motion.

Respectfully submitted,

Linda M. Gilbert, RMC, CMC

Town Clerk

General #’s 1 - 29 $29,194.83

Highway #’s 1-8 $18,897.52

General Park #’s 0 – 0 $0.00

Prepaid #’s 0 – 0 $0.00

Copyright © James McMartin Long 2017–2021