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State of New York

County of Fulton

Town of Caroga

Minutes of the emergency Caroga Town Board meeting held Wednesday August 26, 2020 at the municipal building located at 1840 State Highway #10 at 9:30 am 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

Supervisor Horton, Council Members Glenn, Sturgess, and Travis were in person. Council Member Long was on the phone. There were two members of the public in attendance. The salute to the flag was held.

Supervisor Horton introduced one short piece of business. The Fulton County Highway Department Snow Removal and Ice Control Contract.

RESOLUTION #2020-109 to go into contract with the Fulton County Highway Department for the 2020-2021 Snow Removal and Ice Control on certain County roads was offered by Supervisor Horton at the emergency Caroga Town Board meeting held on Wednesday August 26th 2020 at Caroga Town Hall.

WHEREAS, Supervisor Scott Horton called an emergency meeting on Monday August 24th for Wednesday August 26th at 9:30 am and

WHEREAS, the Supervisor gave a copy of the 2020-2021 Snow Removal and Ice Control Contract to the board members, now therefore be it

RESOLVED, that the county shall pay the town of Caroga $5,000 per mile per the snow and ice contract for County Route #111 at 1.36 miles and County Route #137 at 3.79 miles for a total 5.15 miles equaling $25,650.00, and be it further RESOLVED that all board members shall sign this document in triplicate for the County.

Seconded by Council Member Glenn

Adopted by a roll call vote as follows:

Supervisor Scott Horton - Aye

Council Member John Glenn - Aye

Council Member James Long - Aye

Council Member Richard Sturgess - Aye

Council Member Donald Travis - Aye

Supervisor Horton stated the main purpose of the meeting that he called to order is to discuss the Code Enforcement Officer vacancy. There have been issues over the years and John Duesler has done an exemplary job. He gave his two week notice (on August 10) and is willing to help make a smooth transition. The job could not be done in 20 hours a week and he could not give the town any more time. The Supervisor stated we are in the heart of the building/permit season. There are permits waiting approval and every single day the town gets more applications. One of the solutions is to put someone in the job in an interim position. This will give the town board time to talk about a full time position. He has some ideas. This is something we have to be serious about and discuss. Supervisor Horton wanted to put somebody in who was qualified. In executive session he can tell the board some of the people he has spoken with and some other options we might have. One option is to find somebody quickly and put them in the position temporarily just to keep the permits going and keep the inspections going. Council Member Travis and the Supervisor went on a complaint yesterday about someone building.

Another solution is to try to contact with some of the other towns and use their code enforcement officer. He has talked to three supervisors in Fulton County and none of them was willing to do that. Not that he is exhausted every town yet. He understands why they would not be interested in doing something like that. He is not talked to the cities of Johnstown or Gloversville.

Supervisor Horton also spoke to the town Attorney Sal Ferlazzo. He noted that the town supervisor is not allowed, by law, to sign building permits.

Councilman Glenn noted that the previous code enforcement officer was overwhelmed. Are we talking about more hours a full-time position at this time? Supervisor Horton responded he thought it should be looked at as a full-time position.

Councilmember Sturgess noted this was an ongoing issue. Let's stop talking about what we've tried because that hasn't worked let's try something we haven't tried before.

Council Member Glen asked what was the percentage of increase in permits over the years. Supervisor Horton responded that a few years ago we were in the high one hundreds of permit applications. We are now we are over 200 already this year and are on a path to 300 for this year. Supervisor Horton noted that the city of Johnstown has 500 building permits per year with 12 code enforcement officers.

Council Members Sturgess reported in 2019 the town issued 232 total permits. Year-to-date this year there are 163 so far. This was as of the last board meeting. The supervisor stated with pending we are over 200. Council Member Sturgess stated we are on track for what we did last year, but we will exceed it. He stated in 2017 – 229 permits were issued, in 2018 243 and 2016 – 218. It has definitely gone up.

Ralph Palcovic stated it is not necessarily the number or the volume. It is the scope of the work that encompass the time of the work going on in town. He referenced the massive building projects going on in town. They are greater than a residential porch or roof repair. They are time consuming projects. There is a third project on the horizon soon with the hospital. He noted that a lot of code officers do service more than one town as an independent contractor or employee. You don’t have to contract with the town. In a perfect world it would be great then you wouldn’t have to pay the benefit packages. That is not the case here you are going to need a competent individual maybe as an independent contractor. The thought being of contacting an individually to be an independent contractor who could be a part time employee of the Town of Caroga. We need to keep the process going due to the massive amount of construction we have going on. Mr. Palcovic mentioned the assessed value that goes along with all the building – but that is another story.

Supervisor Horton noted we are having more large residential permit applications than we have ever had before.

Council Member Glenn wanted it on the record that we have researched all of this and it is very clear we need a full time person.

Council Member Glenn thought there was an urgency to get the position covered by a competent certified code enforcement person. He will be interested to see in executive session the two or three applicants and their qualifications.

Council Member Long noted Mr. Duesler reached out to some of the local fire departments on his own. We do have in the budget the ability to hire a second part time person. He was not successful in getting someone interested in helping out in Caroga. He agreed that we need to dramatically increase the number of hours that we are paying for code enforcement whether it be with one person or split it with two. He thinks a strong case can be made for one person. It is more efficient that way. That is Mr. Duesler’s opinion too.

The Supervisor discussed the budget for that department. He stated the $28,000.00 for the second code officer was lost. What we have is $28,000 for a part time code officer and $8,000 for the code clerk. But the code clerk moved to code assistant so later in the meeting is a budget modification. As of 7/31/2020 $17,363 has been spent out of the $28,000 for the code officer salary. The code clerk line item $995.00 has been spent. The code assistant has zero in the line item but we have spent $9,120.00 year-to-date. That has to be rectified.

The Supervisor stated Mr. Duesler posted the position at both the Johnstown and Gloversville Fire Departments. Another point is that if there is one person doing the job there is better communications to the public. Everyone looks at things a little differently. The job is not black and white all the time.

Council Member Long agreed it is more efficient having one person.

Council Member Travis stated years ago Mr. Sprung was the sanitation inspector and Mr. Walrath did the code enforcement part. Sometimes they worked together on projects. Council Member Sturgess is interested to know the breakdown of sanitation to building permits.

Supervisor Horton stated if you break the job ½ and ½ two line items and one person fills both of those. It doesn’t qualify as full time. The Supervisor asked Mr. Palcovic if he had any more input on this as he was a former council member. Mr. Palcovic stressed the minimum certification by the State of New York for both building and sanitation. To make this more palatable for a code enforcement officer you could separate the two jobs again. If the code officer wants to get that qualification do it. That may make it a little easier. It was stated that Mr. Duesler was certified for sanitation.

Council Member Glenn noted we are moving forward with our comprehensive sewer system. He thought a sanitation officer might be something we need to look at either immediately or shortly thereafter in his opinion.

Council Member Sturgess wondered what the need was if the town is going to have a public sewer system and everyone is tied into it at some point in time. Council Member Glenn thought at that point in time the code officer would be the one inspecting hookups. The town clerk stated everybody will never be hooked up to a sanitation system in the town of Caroga. We extend up to Stoner Lake and out to North Bush. Supervisor Horton noted when he was a Council Member in Niskayuna not everyone in that town is hooked up.

Mr. Palcovic added that the town is going to need a certified sewer plant operator when a sewer district is established.

Supervisor Horton stated the 25minute discussion has proven that the position is important. The best thing for the town is to take care of the immediate urgency of keeping the ball rolling.

Council Member Sturgess noted that anybody that qualifies for the position should be able to walk into the office and figure out the way things are set up. It should be a smooth transition.

Council Member Long thought that was partially true but every town has a different zoning ordinance and knowing the zoning is critical. Our town is different from other towns. He also noted that the park agency regulations also have an effect on our zoning ordinance.

Council Member Sturgess thought Jennifer could help out to an extent as she has been there since 2015. The Supervisor stated she knows zoning very, very well. The Supervisor stated if you are certified for the Uniform Building Code in New York it is statewide. But the blue line and the 19 different zoning districts in our town is a learning curve.

The Board discussed having this be full time. The supervisor was inclined for it to be that way. If you want a qualified person for the job will they take the position for 30 hours? We want to have the largest field of candidates that are qualified and have the job attractive enough.

The supervisor asked if a qualified interim individual should be pursued. Council Member Long thought that was absolutely essential.

Mr. Palcovic state a Certificate of Occupancy was going to be needed in the next 90 – 120 days for the Dollar General.

RESOLUTION #2020-110 to approve our Supervisor to solicit applicants for an interim position for a temporary full time Code Enforcement Officer was offered by Council Member Glenn at the emergency Caroga Town Board meeting held on Wednesday August 26th 2020 at Caroga Town Hall.

WHEREAS, Supervisor Scott Horton called an emergency meeting on Monday August 24th for Wednesday August 26th at 9:30 am and

WHEREAS: a notice shall be placed in the paper, on Facebook, and the Web page seeking applicants, contingent upon the executive session, and

WHEREAS, a wage rate of $26.00 per hour with no benefits for 30 – 40 hours per week was purposed by the Supervisor, and

WHEREAS, that the person would be hired immediately until a permanent replacement is found, Now therefore be it

RESOLVED: that the Supervisor is hereby authorized to silicate applicants for an interim position for a temporary full time Code Enforcement Officer

Seconded by Council Member Long

Discussion: Council Member Sturgess thought the $26 per hour was a little steep. The clerk asked what the time frame was for the Supervisor to solicit applications. The Supervisor was informed that another meeting would need to be held to hire someone unless the resolution was changed to authorize the Supervisor to hire somebody. An executive session was to be held so the board could discuss certain candidates. The clerk asked if the board wanted to make this resolution as things may change after the executive session.

Supervisor Horton noted too often entities makes a mistake by trying to tailor a position to an individual instead of tailoring the position to the needs of the organization and then finding the right candidate to fill that position. He wanted the board to concentrate on the position and then talk about candidates in the executive session. If it works it works, if not the supervisor can still go out and do some more leg work.

Adopted by a roll call vote as follows:

Council Member John Glenn - Aye

Council Member James Long - Aye

Council Member Richard Sturgess - Aye

Council Member Donald Travis - Aye

Supervisor Scott Horton - Aye

At 10:05 Supervisor Horton asked the board if they wanted to consider the idea of a full time position or wait until the monthly meeting. Council Member Glenn wondered about flexible hours. There is a need for more than 40 hours per week at times in the summer. The Supervisor did not want to be paying overtime in the summer time and then in the winter time not needing to be there 40 hours. The supervisor wanted to hire someone interested in the job. Council member Sturgess noted Mr. Duesler has been doing this job for 4 ½ years on 20 hours a week. Would it need 40 – 50 hours a week if John had been here for 40 hours a week in the summer? It may not. It may not need above 40 hours. Council Member Glenn thought to create a full time person with flexible hours should be investigated after we have had an opportunity to hire this temporary person. The Supervisor wanted a contractor to have a code officer available on a Saturday. Council Member Glenn (Dr. Glenn) stated his contract with the hospital is for 40 hours more or less based on demand.

Supervisor Horton stated he thought the board had a lot of questions about civil service. He will get more information to the board on it. There are a lot of ramifications.

Council Member Sturgess noted there will be a lot more discussion on this. This has to be discussed for more than an hour if we are to solve this problem with the code office. The civil service issue was tabled. Council Member Long was also OK with this being tabled.

One important thing was the code clerk was supposed to be certified in commercial building inspections. That never happened because of the COVID19. The clerk has become fully qualified according to our former Code Enforcement Officer John Duesler. The clerk interrupted to say she has not received a resignation letter. So when the supervisor says “former” he is still the code officer. The clerk noted that Mr. Duesler was still going to issue CO’s for the town. Supervisor Horton replied, “Good point.” He noted we did not want to lose his knowledge on these large projects. Mr. Duesler also stated he would help with a new code officer. This is why Supervisor Horton has asked him not to turn in a resignation.

Supervisor Horton admitted that he screwed up. The code clerk was supposed to be working 32 hours a week. She was not working all of those 32 hours and she was going to be full time. She was provided health benefits without board approval. The Supervisor told the bookkeeper that she is full time and ought to get them like everyone else does. He is coming to the board and asking as a full time employee for her to have health benefits. If she doesn’t get them she will leave. She cannot have full family health benefits. The clerk brought in the policy if she wanted family benefits she would have to pay 50% of the increase. She gets health insurance for herself and then for the family if she so chooses two person or family she would have to pick up 50% of that. This was his mistake. The clerk noted this had to be cleared up.

RESOLUTION 2020-111 to retroactively approve those benefits for Jennifer Blowers was offered by Council Member Long at the emergency Caroga Town Board meeting held on Wednesday August 26th 2020 at Caroga Town Hall.

WHEREAS: Council Member Long stated that she has demonstrated an incredible amount of initiative and thought she was under compensated, now therefore be it

RESOLVED, that the benefits be retroactively approved given her.

Seconded by Council Member Glenn

Discussion: Council Member Long noted she has come up with worksheets for coverage and property line setback issues. That has been invaluable to the Zoning and Planning Boards. She is doing a lot of work on her own. He did not think she was being compensated for the quality of work she is doing and the responsibilities she has.

Council Member Glenn thought once she has her certifications that she would then be increased in her salary.

Supervisor Horton noted a lot of permits get denied. When someone is denied we help the applicant find their way through the appropriate board. The dollar an hour increase is a good faith… she has done nothing wrong.

[At this time Mr. Palcovic was toned out to respond to an emergency.]

Adopted by a roll call vote as follows:

Council Member James Long - Aye

Council Member Richard Sturgess - Aye

Council Member Donald Travis - Aye

Supervisor Scott Horton - Aye

Council Member John Glenn - Aye

At 10:23 Supervisor Horton suggested going into an executive session. Council Member Glenn made a motion to enter into an executive session to discuss the vacancy created by the Code Enforcement Officer. The motion was seconded by Council Member Sturgess. All board members were in favor of the motion.

At 10:43 am Council Member Glenn made a motion to exit from the executive session. The motion was seconded by Council Member Long. All board members were in favor of the motion.

A slight delay at this time as a person is being airlifted out on a medical helicopter.

The following resolution is as a result of the executive session.

The Town Board discussed several candidates. The pluses and minuses. Due to the urgency there is a candidate that is familiar with the Adirondack Park Agency and has worked as a code enforcement officer in Northville both the town and the village. He has credentials and his certification is good through January of 2021. He has been recommended to the board by John Duesler as a good fit. He lives in Northville. The Supervisor asked for a motion to offer Anthony Fancher a position as the Code Enforcement Officer for the Town of Caroga on a temporary position at $26.00 for 30 – 40 hours a week with no benefits until the board can find a permanent replacement. Perhaps he would be apply for the position. If he is doing a good job “we would entertain it.”

RESOLUTION #2020-112 to offer the Position of Code Enforcement Officer to Anthony Fancher was offered by Council Member Long at the emergency Caroga Town Board meeting held on Wednesday August 26th 2020 at Caroga Town Hall.

WHEREAS: Supervisor Scott Horton called an emergency meeting on Monday August 24th for Wednesday August 26th at 9:30 am and

WHEREAS, an executive session was held to discuss candidates for the position of Code Enforcement officer in the Town of Caroga, now therefore be it

RESOLVED, that Anthony Francher be offered the position of Code Enforcement Officer for the Town of Caroga on a temporary position at $26.00 for 30 – 40 hours a week with no benefits until the board can find a permanent replacement. And be it further RESOLVED, that the hours will be Monday through Friday 8 – 3:30 pm with comp time being given for any overtime.

Seconded by Council Member Travis

Discussion: Council Member Sturgess asked if the board was going to set his hours. Supervisor Horton did discuss potentially having Saturday hours with him. Council Member Sturgess did not want him showing up at 3 pm till 9 pm. Supervisor Horton talked to him about quick weekend inspections – excluding Sundays He said he would have no problems coming over and doing that. The Board discussed hours. It was stated that Jennifer is here 32 hours a week. She is here part time Monday – Thursdays and Fridays as needed. To start the board wanted him to come in at 8 am. They want Jennifer there when he comes in while he is here. Since this is temporary the money will be collected by Jennifer. So the hours have to almost coincide. Council Member Travis noted that the Supervisor will now sign the checks. The hours decided upon were Monday through Friday 8 – 3:30 pm. Comp time would be given the following week if he had to come in on overtime. This will show his interest in the job.

Adopted by a roll call vote as follows:

Council Member Richard Sturgess - Aye

Council Member Donald Travis - Aye

Supervisor Scott Horton - Aye

Council Member John Glenn - Aye

Council Member James Long - Aye

Supervisor Horton announced the need to balance the budget. Everyone was given a copy of the statement of revenues and expenditures as of 7/31/2020. The resolution is to increase code enforcement personnel services.

Council Member Long stated we need to adequately compensate Jennifer Blowers. The Supervisor stated that this will be added to the September agenda.

Supervisor Horton placed the following information on his agenda.

Amend budget.

Increase Code Enforcement Personnel Services AO-3620-10 $8,000 from $28,000 to $36,000

Increase Code Enforcement Assistant AO-3620-12 $19,000 from $0 to $19,000

Decrease Code Enforcement Clerk P.S. AO-3620.11 $7,000 from & $8,000 to $1,000

Decrease Demo of unsafe buildings AO-3650-40 $8,000 from the $20,000 to $0

RESOLUTION #2020-113 to amend the budget was offered by Council Member Long at the emergency Caroga Town Board meeting held on Wednesday August 26th 2020 at Caroga Town Hall.

WHEREAS, Supervisor Scott Horton called an emergency meeting on Monday August 24th for Wednesday August 26th at 9:30 am and

WHEREAS, it was determined that a budget amendment was necessary in the Code Enforcement personal services line item, now therefore be it

RESOLVED, that the following amendment shall be made to the 2020 budget.

(TO)Increase Code Enforcement Personnel Services A-3620-1 $8,000 from $28,000 to $36,000

(FROM)Decrease Demo of unsafe buildings A-3650-4 $8,000 from the $20,000 to $12,000

Seconded by Council Member Glenn

Adopted by a roll call vote as follows:

Council Member Donald Travis - Aye

Supervisor Scott Horton - Aye

Council Member John Glenn - Aye

Council Member James Long - Aye

Council Member Richard Sturgess - Aye

RESOLUTION #2020-000 to extend the Eccentric club gift certificate was offered by Council Member Sturgess at the emergency Caroga Town Board meeting held on Wednesday August 26th 2020 at Caroga Town Hall.

WHEREAS, Supervisor Scott Horton called an emergency meeting on Monday August 24th for Wednesday August 26th at 9:30 am and

WHEREAS, the Town board authorized resolution #2020-034 on February 12, 2020 to donated a certificate for golf for four persons to the Eccentric Club for their annual fund raiser, and

WHEREAS, due to the COVID19 the event was postponed until later in the year in 2020, now therefore be it

RESOLVED, that the Caroga Town Board does hereby move to extend the expiration of the certificated until the end of 2021

Seconded by Council Member Glenn

Adopted by a roll call vote as follows:

Supervisor Scott Horton - Aye

Council Member John Glenn - Aye

Council Member James Long - Aye

Council Member Richard Sturgess - Aye

Council Member Donald Travis – Aye

At 10:56 AM Council Member Glenn made a motion to close the meeting. The motion was seconded by Council Member Long. All board members were in favor of the motion.

Respectfully Submitted,

Linda M. Gilbert, RMC, CMC

Caroga Town Clerk

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