Home  Calendar  Departments  Directory  Gallery  Documents  History

State of New York

County of Fulton

Town of Caroga

Minutes of a Caroga Town Board meeting held Wednesday February 10, 2021 at the municipal building located at 1840 State Highway #10 at 7:10 pm with the following persons in attendance by roll call. The flag salute followed.

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 the meeting room Council Member Long accessed the meeting remotely. Tor Shekerjian – Confidential Secretary to the Supervisor facilitated the Zoom meeting. There were 53 people on line using Zoom.

Supervisor Horton opened the meeting at 7:11 pm. Supervisor Horton made a motion to waive the reading of the minutes. The motion was seconded by council Member Sturgess. All board members were in favor of the motion.

Zoom meeting comments – Supervisor Horton

The waiting room has been re-enabled, to hopefully prevent interruptions from attendees. Council Member Long did not think this was legal. All will be admitted after they enter the waiting room, shortly before the start of a meeting. All will be muted upon entry to the meeting. Council member Long will be unmuted when he enters. Do not unmute yourself, even if you are able. Public comment will be allowed only during the public input section. You may raise your hand to message the host (you raise your hand to speak during the public speaking session only). Phone in users will use their phone and enter *9 to raise a hand for recognition or send a message via Zoom chat. It was nice of Mr. MacIvor to offer his assistance. Supervisor Horton noted there will be technical issues. He asked the public to be patient and to bear with the board.

PLRT Commission - Supervisor Horton will be working with the Attorney for the Town to clarify the legislation that created the Parks, Lakes, Recreation and Tourism Commission. The revised resolution should be ready for the Town Board for the March 10, 2021, Town Board meeting. There are some items that need to be addressed.

Public Comment: Deb Jennings raised her hand however there was a problem and the board never did get to hear from her. Three attempts were made to have her address the board.

No one else commented at this evenings’ meeting.

Department Reports:

Town Clerk/Tax Collector/Registrar/RMO – Linda Gilbert’s written report was submitted.

The Clerk requested that the board accept the Town Clerk’s 2020 books as presented for audit.

Under Key Points/updates it was noted that: 1) the Bookkeeper’s records in the records room, need to be sorted and purged per the Records Retention Schedule. 2) Department heads are asked to begin or continue to work on the list of files in their offices. A goal of April 1st was set. A list of Highway files compiled at the end of 2019 will be given to the Highway Superintendent. 3) It was noted that the golf course steering committee meeting was sent to the Leader Herald on 1/28 at 10:34 am. However, the newspaper failed to publish the notice due to errors on their end. They have promised it won’t happen again.

Tax Collector: as of 2/10/21 $2,535,149.73 has been collected leaving $833,285.36 uncollected. Interest will be paid to the supervisor.

Code Enforcement & Sanitation – Supervisor Horton gave this report. Two permits have been issued with several others pending. Code Enforcement took in $225.00. There are many projects that will start when the weather allows.

Dog Control – Howard Dutcher - No Report

Golf Course –This was covered in the Zoom steering committee meeting at 6 pm.

Highway – Larry Voght reported to the supervisor that they have been plowing roads for 26 straight days. Someone from Gloversville called Mr. Voght to say the roads in Caroga were the cleanest in the county. The Highway department is still under COVID restrictions. Supervisor Horton did not know when that would be lifted. He stated the county is under the same. The County may go back to regular scheduling in a few weeks. The Supervisor will use the Fulton County Health Department guidance and the governor’s recommendations

Lakes Management Program – Glenn/Harazin/Olm/Centi - Council Member Glenn stated they will be turning the page and looking toward the 2021 season. Mr. Centi stated there is a bad connection and he could not hear Council Member Glenn’s comments. He had nothing to add.

Supervisor Horton announced that there were some reserved funds that were tied up in a CD and he will be asking for permission to reinvest those funds in a CD so there are funds to make some capital improvements to the weed harvesting machine. He will be reserving about $20,000.00. Anything unused can be reinvested. This will prevent any penalties for early withdrawal.

Town Hall Building and the Nathan Littauer Hospital (NLH) Mini Clinic – Council Member Travis reported that the clinic is waiting for doors to be delivered. Once the interior doors are installed, they will bring in furniture. Council Member Travis reported that the Town’s phones are pretty much all done. He is working to get a phone in the kitchen for Bti.

Historian – Richard Nilsen - the Supervisor stated he would give Richard a call as we are going through a very historical time right now in the town. The Supervisor thought it would be good if Nilsen attended some meetings and document some of these things… take pictures. Mr. Centi noted that the historian Richard Nilsen wrote a fabulous article in the Leader Herald this last week. It did a great job in promoting Caroga.

Bti – Mr. Delesky submitted a written report. “The 2020 Bti use report was uploaded to the state pesticide website and accepted by NYS Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC). There were 344 individual stream treatments calculated and carried out by the 5 Bti Technicians. The program used 75 gallons of concentrate for 2020. The same 5 technicians are returning to treat in 2021. Judging by the ice coverage on streams so far this winter, it may be a later start for treatment; there is very little open water showing. They will have snow shoes ready for a March 1st date.

Wheelerville Bike Trail – Mr. Manning thanked Larry Voght Highway Superintendent for keeping the driveway and parking area cleaned out so people can snow shoe. Manning advised that he hoped to begin building in mid-May on four more trails. They want to build on town property behind the golf course. He noted that a private donation was received of 12 Adirondack chairs and some tables to be used at the top of the mountain. This same person may have some funding for a design logo for the trail system. This would be used for advertising, merchandising and promoting the trails. Mr. Manning thought this would be done in late spring or early summer. At the next town board meeting, Mr. Manning would like to bring in Chuck Swartzer to talk about how they run things - trail rules and regulations in Old Forge. Mr. Manning was contacted by Scott Henze of Fulton county planning. There was interest in connecting through a county project with trails built in Gloversville and what we have here. This is being seen as a model for the county to connect trails. It is exciting how word is spreading.

Council Member Sturgess asked Mr. Manning if he has been working on anymore grants for 2022 season. Mr. Manning has seen a few small things, nothing big from the state. He will keep his eyes open.

Supervisor Horton noted both Scott Henze and Ann Boles from the Regional Chamber of Commerce are interested in a trail map. They have both said they would assist in that. They want to have what is built and what is planned to be built on a map. She wants to promote our system along with the Peck Lake system. The Supervisor encouraged Manning to help them in any way he can and they will help him in any way they can.

Mr. Manning stated he needs to do a preliminary map for the first few months of the year. The map could show future trails under construction. Once all the trails are done, a complete map would be made. There will be a kiosk at the trail head. He hopes to have a fully functioning system by mid-July.

PLRT Commission – Mr. Centi stated they will make a determination about the upcoming Outhouse Races and Adirondack Motor Enthusiasts Club (AMEC) Ice Racing. The COVID-19 restrictions are still in place. That is also true for the youth program. He has been talking to Suzanne Hamalak and Bruce Snyder, School Board members, about whether last year’s restrictions would be in place for this year. They are evaluating whether this program can even happen this year.

Supervisor Horton thanked the snowmobile club for grooming the golf course for cross country skiing use. He thought the program put in place by Mr. Centi was being used to its’ fullest.

Sewer Study – Supervisor Horton stated we are sort of waiting now. The Supervisor talked to Scott Henze and Travis Mitchell; they are looking for revenue sources. The Supervisor hopes that in a month or so, there will be a presentation. Council Member Glenn thought there was some sort of a deadline to apply for a grant of around February 13. There was no time to do it the Supervisor responded. Supervisor Horton stated funding was going to be critical for a sewer system. Right now, from what they’ve seen - the numbers – it’s an expensive program. To go forward, the town will need outside sources of funding.

Supervisor’s Report:

Tor Shekerjian – Confidential Secretary to the Supervisor and the Supervisor have been talking about initiating a Town Topics News Letter to provide the town with timely updates. He thought the previous Newsflash was a very good tool after a meeting like this, to come out with the highlights. They will have to figure out distribution, and will have to develop their own mailing list. They worked on a two-and-a-half-page document that was a summary of the accomplishments of last year. It read like a novel. They want to shorten it up. Council Member Glenn suggested a brief outline. It would be available at the post office. The Supervisor will continue to work on this.

The town worked with the county on a FEMA Hazard Mitigation Plan. Ralph Palcovic volunteered to be the lead on this for the Town since the Supervisor was focused on the golf course and readying it for the Spring of 2021. There was a meeting with the county and the consultant hired by the county. Mr. Palcovic did a marvelous job. If we do not submit this plan to the county and FEMA and we have a natural disaster, we would not be eligible for funds. Taxpayers would not be eligible for damage to their homes. This is important to have in place.

The Supervisor also spoke about complying with NY Municipal Insurance Reciprocal (NYMIR) recommendations on cyber security. There was a delay in the backup system. It was installed yesterday or the day before. Training still needs to be done with the town employees who work on a computer. It is a 20-minute training session with Brian McIntosh.

On the agenda not discussed: Complying with NYMIR recommendations for the Highway Department (LENS and Street Sign Inventory) and Golf Course (New signage for the Spring and Guard rail install in Lookout stations.

Tor Shekerjian is helping the Supervisor on the street lighting project. Mr. Shekerjian read his report as follows: “I have made some inroads with National Grid and continue working to validate what they are charging the Town for its streetlights. I am working to reconcile their list of streetlights to RealTerm Energy’s list of streetlights. RealTerm Energy is the Town Board approved lead agency on this streetlight conversion project. In addition, the simple acquisition of streetlights from National Grid immediately passes savings to the Town; we would no longer pay National Grid to maintain the lights, we would only pay the cost of energy estimated for each streetlight.

Supervisor Scott Horton, Council Member Don Travis, and I did a full light fixture audit of the Town’s identified streetlights using RealTerm Energy’s audit and maps. We agreed initially that some streetlights could be removed (decommissioned) and some streetlights could be converted to decorative LED light fixtures. The remaining streetlights could be converted to LED cobra head fixtures. All of this would be presented through public workshops prior to Town Board final review and decision making. We anticipate that the following two options would save the Town of Caroga significant utility costs initially and in the long run.

Option one (options have not yet been publicly vetted and include labor, material and an estimated cost of decommissioning) includes decommissioning some lights, converting remaining infrastructure to cobra head fixtures, and converting these fixtures to Area Light Fixtures, all using photocell controls for an estimated $66,500.

Option two includes decommissioning some lights, converting remaining infrastructure to cobra head fixtures, converting some fixtures to cobra head and Area Light Fixtures and changing remaining light fixtures to Bell Down Decorative Fixtures, all using photocells for an estimated cost of $89,000. This significant increase is that Bell Down fixtures are more expensive than Area Light Fixtures and they only represent a small portion of the total light fixtures)

An Additional option - If feasible, we could replace photocells with smart controls that enable the Town to control individual streetlights to give us better lighting quality while saving additional energy. This would require upgraded cellphone and Wi-Fi service throughout the Town to accomplish this. Smart controls would add an additional estimated $7,600 to each of the two possible plans if installed during the conversion process. I confirmed with RealTerm Energy that it is not yet possible to stack photocells and smart controls on any streetlight.”

Supervisor Horton noted they were looking to have the decorative light fixtures in the town center area as designated in the Comprehensive Plan. He hopes to do a public presentation on this too. It was noted the stumbling block was National Grid. The town and National Grid have to concur about how many light fixtures there are. Council Member Sturgess suggested getting the Town Attorney involved. This is continuing to cost the town money. Mr. Shekerjian stated he has a good contact person now. He has found out additional information as to what the actual lights are. He noted we need to hone in on what the acquisition price is. The last quote we got was in April of 2020 was 29K and this could change. It should be less now as it is almost a year later. These are old fixtures that continue to depreciate.

Update on the Insurance claim - Supervisor Horton noted this was discussed at the Zoom steering committee meeting held at 6 pm. He briefly noted the rebuilding project is coming along. An architect has been hired. No decisions have been made. The committee has agreed on some design criteria that the architect will consider. The design will be sensitive to the age of the course. That means Adirondack style with some beam construction, a wraparound porch, and a banquet room for about 120 people. It would have a warming kitchen for caterers. The club house would have about 500 sq. ft. to sell merchandise, an office and a storage room, and yes there will be bathrooms as well. There will be a changing area but not the same number of lockers. The insurance claim keeps growing. We have well over $200,000.00 of equipment that was lost. There was $50,000.00 of personal property that was lost. The policy includes having a design that will meet ADA requirements. With the engineer, and architect fees, we are looking at close to three million dollars. Maybe more. The Supervisor has been busy as he wants to get the golf course open by the first of April. Everyone is working hard to get this done.

Old Business:

Accept the books of the Town Clerk for 2020 and the Town Justice for 2020

RESOLUTION #2021-017 to accept the 2020 books of the Town Clerk and the Town Justice was offered by Supervisor Horton at the regular monthly meeting held on Wednesday February 10, 2021 held at town hall at 7 pm,

WHEREAS, the Town Clerk presented her books for audit to the town board at the January 13, 2021 meeting, and

WHEREAS, the Town Justice provided access to his records on January 25, 2021, and

WHEREAS, both sets of books were reviewed by a majority of town board members, now therefore be it

RESOLVED, that the Caroga Town Board does hereby move to accept the 2020 Town Clerk and Town Justice books as presented for audit.

Seconded by Council Member Travis

Discussion: Supervisor Horton noted there was one glitch with the internal control number in the clerk’s records. The clerk printed a second report which explained the glitch in the sequential internal audit trail numbering system.

Adopted by a roll call vote as follows:

Supervisor Scott Horton - Aye

Council Member John Glenn - Yes

Council Member James Long - Abstain

Council Member Richard Sturgess - Yes

Council Member Donald Travis - Yes

The Supervisor noted the town received a resignation letter from Karen Dutcher from the PLRT Commission. She found that she did not have the time since as she also serves on the Planning Board.

RESOLUTION #2021-018 to accept the resignation of Karen Dutcher from the PLRT Commission was offered by Supervisor Horton at the regular monthly meeting held on Wednesday February 10, 2021 held at town hall at 7 pm,

WHEREAS, the town did receive a resignation letter from Karen Dutcher from the PLRT Commission as of January 1, 2021, and

WHEREAS, Supervisor Horton explained that Ms. Dutcher has found that she did not have the time to serve on this commission due to also serving on the Caroga Planning Board. Now therefore be it

RESOLVED, that the Caroga Town Board does hereby move to accept the resignation of Karen Dutcher from the Parks, Lakes, Recreation, and Tourism Commission.

Seconded by Council Member Glenn with regrets.

Adopted by a roll call vote as follows:

Council Member John Glenn - Yes

Council Member James Long - Yes

Council Member Richard Sturgess - Yes

Council Member Donald Travis - Yes

Supervisor Scott Horton - Aye

New Business:

Supervisor Horton explained that the town has had requests for hard copies of the Town’s Zoning ordinance which also has a map in it. A fee of $7.00 was suggested for the price to purchase the Town of Caroga Zoning Ordinance & map.

RESOLUTION #2021-019 to set a fee to purchase a copy of the Town Zoning Ordinance was offered by Supervisor Horton at the regular monthly meeting held on Wednesday February 10, 2021 held at town hall at 7 pm,

WHEREAS, the town has received requests to purchase a hard copy of the Town of Caroga Zoning Ordinance and map, and

WHEREAS, the Supervisor discussed with the clerk the cost to print the ordinance and map, now therefore be it

RESOLVED, that the Caroga Town Board does hereby move to set a fee of $7.00 to purchase a copy of the Town Zoning Ordinance with the map.

Seconded by Council Member Sturgess

Discussion: Council Member Long reminded the board that the planning Board is in the process of revising the ordinance so he didn’t want too many printed given the possible revisions coming down the pike. Supervisor Horton thought that was a good point and it was noted there were 4 printed.

Adopted by a roll call vote as follows:

Council Member James Long - Aye

Council Member Richard Sturgess - Yes

Council Member Donald Travis - Yes

Supervisor Scott Horton - Aye

Council Member John Glenn - Yes

Supervisor Horton noted we have to order a greens mower as soon as possible. The multi-use greens mower for the Nick Stoner Golf Course that Supervisor Horton and Council Member Sturgess are looking at has an 11 blade and 8 blade cutting units for $68,758.01. It is on State Contract from Grassland Equipment - so you don’t have to go out to competitive bid. It is reimbursable through Insurance.

RESOLUTION #2021-020 to set a fee to purchase a multi-use greens mower from Grassland Equipment was offered by Supervisor Horton at the regular monthly meeting held on Wednesday February 10, 2021 held at town hall at 7 pm,

WHEREAS, the Nick Stoner Municipal Golf Course is in need of a new green’s mower due to the fire on November 15, 2020, and

WHEREAS, Grassland Equipment of Latham has a multi-use greens mower on state contract, now therefore be it

RESOLED, that the Town board does hereby move to purchase the multi-use greens mower, on state contract, from Grassland Equipment of Latham New York for $68,758.01.

Seconded by Council Member Glenn

Adopted by a roll call vote as follows:

Council Member Richard Sturgess - Yes

Council Member Donald Travis - Yes

Supervisor Scott Horton - Aye

Council Member John Glenn - Yes

Council Member James Long - Aye

Supervisor Horton asked for authorization to purchase two “Amish” sheds for a temporary club house and temporary rest room facilities. Total estimated cost was $52,000.00 installed. The cost is reimbursable through Insurance. This is less expensive than bringing in a construction trailer. Council Member Long asked if we retain ownership at the end of this. Supervisor Horton thought the insurance company could choose. Stating it was just dollars to them. Council Member Long stated this is a mutual insurance company and we are paying for these along with the other 900 towns. Council Member Sturgess stated this proposal is saving $30,000.00.

RESOLUTION #2021-021 to purchase sheds was offered by Supervisor Horton at the regular monthly meeting held on Wednesday February 10, 2021 at town hall at 7 pm,

WHEREAS, the Nick Stoner Municipal Golf Course is in need of a structure or structures in order to open the golf course this year due to the fire on November 15, 2020, and

WHEREAS, the cost is reimbursable through insurance, and

WHEREAS, this includes a carport for the golf carts, now therefore be it

RESOLVED, that the Town board does hereby move to purchase two “Amish” sheds for a temporary club house and temporary rest room facilities with the total estimated cost of $52,000.00 installed.

Seconded by Council Member Sturgess

Discussion: Council Member Glenn asked what the cost for each shed was. Council Member Sturgess stated the costs included in the $52,000 is for some of the hookups. We still would have to connect the plumbing to a waste water treatment system and potable water. The amount is to give us a temporary club house and rest room facilities and everything that goes with it. Supervisor Horton said that this is the best they have determined and they have gotten prices to hook services up including electrical. The clerk asked which account would be used. Council Member Sturgess stated the insurance company is going to be writing the town another advance as soon as all of this is sent over to them tomorrow. Supervisor Horton noted the town is going to be receiving money that will increase the fund balance. When we begin to spend the money, transfers will have to be made to specific accounts.

Adopted by a roll call vote as follows:

Council Member Donald Travis - Yes

Supervisor Scott Horton - Aye

Council Member John Glenn - Yes

Council Member James Long - Aye

Council Member Richard Sturgess - Yes

Supervisor Horton noted the need to purchase miscellaneous equipment. The insurance company calls it personal property. The items include things like tee markers, golf ball washers, trash bins, benches, etc. The estimated cost is $53,000.00. This is also reimbursable through insurance.

Council Member Sturgess noted this does not include the tee signs which he stated would be $12,498.30 for 27 signs. Signs include tops, bottoms and a hanging bar. There will be two samples to look at; one is little less expensive. This brings the estimated total cost up to $65,500.00.

RESOLUTION #2021-022 to purchase miscellaneous equipment was offered by Supervisor Horton at the regular monthly meeting held on Wednesday February 10, 2021 at town hall at 7 pm,

WHEREAS, the Nick Stoner Municipal Golf Course needs to replace miscellaneous equipment also referred to as personal property in order to open the golf course this year due to the fire on November 15, 2020, and

WHEREAS, the cost is reimbursable through insurance, and

WHEREAS, this includes flags, tee markers, golf ball washers, trash bins, benches and 27 signs, now therefore be it

RESOLVED, that the Town board does hereby move to purchase miscellaneous equipment with the total estimated cost of $65,500.00.

Seconded by Council Member Travis

Adopted by a roll call vote as follows:

Supervisor Scott Horton - Aye

Council Member John Glenn - Yes

Council Member James Long - Aye

Council Member Richard Sturgess - Yes

Council Member Donald Travis - Yes

The next resolution is for the Supervisor to invest excess funds in the amount of $350,000 in a one-year CD. Current CD in the amount of $385,475 comes due March 3, 2021. He has pulled out $35,475.00 in anticipation of using some reserve funds for the weed harvester. He did not want to lose interest on the full amount

RESOLUTION #2021-023 to invest funds was offered by Supervisor Horton at the regular monthly meeting held on Wednesday February 10, 2021 at town hall at 7 pm,

WHEREAS, the town of Caroga currently has a CD in the amount of $385,475 which comes due March 3, 2021 and

WHEREAS, the supervisor anticipates using part of the reserve funds for repairs on the weed harvester, and

WHEREAS, Supervisor Horton did not want to lose interest on the full amount and will hold back $35,475.00 of the CD, now therefore be it

RESOLVED, that the Town board does hereby move to invest excess funds in the amount of $350,000.00.

Seconded by Council Member Travis

Discussion: Supervisor Horton stated this was fully bondable. Council Member Long asked what rate he was being offered. The Supervisor had not poled all three banks that we normally do. Last year we had rates that went from .25% to .95% and we settled with 1.48% last year at NBT Bank.

He will get the best interest rate that he can.

Adopted by a roll call vote as follows:

Council Member John Glenn - Yes

Council Member James Long - Aye

Council Member Richard Sturgess - Yes

Council Member Donald Travis - Yes

Supervisor Scott Horton – Aye

Supervisor Horton received a proposal from golf course architect Steven Kay of Rutgers University for $4,000.00. He would review the course layout and design. This is just so we know where we are headed. Depending on what the building architect comes up with, we may have to make course modifications. Those modifications should be in keeping with the style of this golf course. He did talk with the building architect. The supervisor stated if we did this through the building architect it would cost us more money. Council Member Glenn stated that Dennie Fincke spoke very highly of Mr. Kay. Mr. Kay it was noted is world renowned.

RESOLUTION #2021-024 to hire Stephen Kay was offered by Supervisor Horton at the regular monthly meeting held on Wednesday February 10, 2021, at town hall at 7 pm.

WHEREAS, the Nick Stoner Municipal Golf Course club house burned to the ground on November 15, 2020, and

WHEREAS, Stephen Kay of Rutgers University has been in contact with the town regarding the layout and design of the Nick Stoner Municipal Golf Course, and

WHEREAS, the building architect and Mr. Kay have been in contact with each other to discuss possible course modifications due to the fire, now therefore be it

RESOLVED, that the Town board does hereby move to spend $4,000.00 to hire Stephen Kay.

Seconded by Council Member Glenn

Discussion: Council Member Long was confused on the scope of this work. He understands there is a possible need to move the location of the pro shop due to setback issues with state highway 10 and possibly Irving Pond Road. Though he noted the town could grant themselves a variance on that, and it would not be an issue, or the ZBA could do so. He asked what the scope of this was. Is it due to some impingement upon the golf course due to moving of the pro shop he imagined that would be covered by insurance? If it has to do with reviewing the entire design of the golf course, it would seem to him that it would not be covered by insurance. Supervisor Horton replied he was partially correct on that. Part of it might not be covered by insurance. We have to retain Mr. Kay’s services at this minimal fee. The Supervisor is hopeful that Kay will take an overview of the entire course. Dennie Fincke explained in the previous held prior to this meeting why we want to look at the entire course. It is an opportunity. This is why the town reached out to this individual. The club house and the course are symbiotic.

Normally these services are $25 - $35,000.00. This does not include any redesign. It will basically give the town a plan for the future. There was some thought that the club house would be moved to a different location close by but Supervisor Horton did not see that happening due to parking. The Supervisor clarified that the architect is going to be assisting the town in the long-term plan of the golf course of which part of it would have to be implemented immediately. Before we hired the building architect, it was mentioned that he may need the assistance of a golf course architect. Usually there are ramifications and changes when a project like this happens. Due to Mr. Fincke’s connections, the town decided to seek out our own course design person. Supervisor Horton hoped the insurance company will pay for all of this. There is a likelihood that there is part of it that they will not pay for. The Supervisor stated we have to get a golf course architect involved. This is an opportunity that we don’t want to pass up because of the skill of this individual and the very low cost.

The clerk equaled this to a master plan for the golf course. Over the years as the town can afford it, the town would institute various parts of it or budget for it down the road.

Supervisor Horton noted there would be a golf course superintendent who would be working on the golf course. If we have a master plan, it would not have exact dimensions or design work, but it would have ideas so that when we are working on the course, as it was said “a golf course is never really finished”. The Supervisor stated that even a golf superintendent may not have the skill to do the design work.

Adopted by a roll call vote as follows:

Council Member James Long - Aye

Council Member Richard Sturgess - Yes

Council Member Donald Travis - Yes

Supervisor Scott Horton - Aye

Council Member John Glenn - Yes

RESOLUTION #2021-025 to approve the repair of the golf course John Deere 4200 tractor was offered by Supervisor Horton at the regular monthly meeting held on Wednesday February 10, 2021 held at town hall at 7 pm,

WHEREAS, the Nick Stoner Municipal Golf Course club house burned to the ground on November 15, 2020, and

WHEREAS, the John Deere 4200 tractor, that was used daily on the golf course was damaged in the fire, and

WHEREAS, it was sent out to the repair shop where they found the clutch assembly and the Power Take Off (PTO) assembly were in need of repair, now therefore be it

RESOLVED, that the Caroga Town Board does hereby move to spend $11,495.73 to repair the John Deere 4200 tractor and that part of the repair due to the fire damage was $5,078.17 with tire replacement but that $6,417.56 is for the transmission repair for a total of $11,495.73.

Seconded by Council Member Sturgess

Discussion: Council Member Sturgess noted a new tractor is $30 - $40,000.00. This John Deere was salvageable. Council Member Glenn asked the age of the tractor. He wondered if it should be turned over or leased. Supervisor Horton noted this piece of equipment has not depreciated much. Refurbished this piece of equipment should give the town another five years. We need to reserve more funds for the golf course. The board was in favor of having a plan to replace equipment on a schedule.

Adopted by a roll call vote as follows:

Council Member Richard Sturgess – Yes

Council Member John Glenn - Yes

Council Member Donald Travis - Yes

Supervisor Scott Horton - Aye

Council Member James Long - Aye

Supervisor Horton pulled the resolution about town records. He noted there has been some discussion with Council Member Long on this. Currently the town website is owned by Council Member Long. He does have the right to publish what he wants on that site. The town does not have the right to tell him through resolution that he can or cannot post information that he has. This is under first amendment. The only way we can do this properly is to have our own website. The Supervisor hopes that if Council Member Long does disseminate information sent to him as personal information, that it would be a courtesy to individuals if they don’t give permission, to redact their personal information.

Correspondence:

Johnstown Little League Sponsorship Opportunities

Fulton County Workers Compensation Report

Caroga Transfer Station closed 2/15 for President’s Day open Tuesday 2/16 8 - Noon

Adapting to COVID-19 - A survey of Municipalities in Central NY report

Adirondack Park Local Government Day Conference canceled

80 Emails & Correspondence received regarding Golf Pro/greenskeeper

Road map to road salt reduction online event 2/10 presented by the FUND for Lake George

Jeffrey Baxter Energy Consultant Usource Solar Energy

Info on COVID-19 related hardships re: rent, mortgage, foreclosures posted at town hall

Kristin O’Neill Committee on Open Government

At 8:24 pm, Supervisor Horton made a motion to go into an executive session – To discuss personnel issues at the Nick Stoner Golf Course. Council Member Long stated he thought particular wording needed to be used. The Supervisor stated he wanted to talk to our former pro, and to talk about a couple of new hires which are in negotiations. The clerk read: to discuss the medical, financial, credit or employment history of a particular person or corporation, or matters leading to the appointment, employment, promotion, demotion, discipline, suspension, dismissal or removal of a particular person or corporation. The motion was seconded by Council Member Glenn. All board members were in favor of the motion.

At 9:20 pm 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.

There were 21 people in attendance via Zoom.

Supervisor Horton brought the meeting back to order. The Supervisor stated the board went into executive session to talk about salaries and employment of three individuals. He made a motion for the course superintendent for which there were two applicants, both are stellar candidates. He would make a motion that we have to appoint him/the Supervisor or Gene Centi to negotiate. Council Member Long stated it has to be the Supervisor.

Supervisor Horton made a motion to appoint the Supervisor Scott Horton to contact Alexander Aloisio from Davenport Florida who is the head course superintendent for the at Streamsong Resort; one of the top courses in all of Florida and to negotiate and offer him a salary of $75,000.00 and he will be a year-round employee at that rate to be our course superintendent. If that negotiation fails, he will then make the same or a similar offer, not more than that, to a Stephen Stedman who is also highly qualified. He is now at a private country club in Williamsville NY outside of Buffalo again it would be a year-round position. The title is golf course superintendent.

Supervisor Horton stated municipal courses are going away from pros. They are basically separating the two functions between the course superintendent which used to be called greenkeeper the duties and responsibilities are to hire and fire, manage golf course employees, set pin holes, aeration, greens, Tee’s, fairways, chemicals, and fertilizers. The Supervisor noted that both of these people have their certificates for applying chemicals. Council Member Travis stated they were both familiar with irrigation systems.

For the public’s benefit, Supervisor Horton stated the reason we have these two highly qualified candidates is that they both come originally from this area.

Council Member Travis seconded the motion.

Discussion: Council Member Long stated he thought the public should know that there was lively discussion in executive session. He comes away with his continued support for the notion that we should have some overlap with Steve Jennings and a new person. But he did not know how that was going to happen.

Supervisor Horton stated that the discussion although lively, was extremely respectful. Everybody was candid. It was just exactly what we needed. It was not taken lightly at all. The primary focus of this board is to provide the citizens of the Town of Caroga the best golf course we can afford. The Supervisor wanted the people to know the amount of money that we are offering is well below what either of these people are currently making. It is in line with what we were paying before. He did not want to get into details. The Board all agreed it was similar in pay to what we were paying before.

Adopted by a roll call vote as follows:

Council Member John Glenn - Yes

Council Member James Long - Nay

Council Member Richard Sturgess - Yes

Council Member Donald Travis - Yes

Supervisor Scott Horton - Yes

Supervisor Horton stated the second issue we have heard from the public. The plan going back before the fire was to have a smooth transition. We knew Steve was going to be leaving the following year. Council Member Long had been in discussions with Steve, and Council Member Sturgess also had discussions with Steve. The Supervisor stated, “We tried to call Steve while we were in executive session and he did not want to speak with us.” Council Member Long stated that he had presented what he wanted which was…. Supervisor Horton stated he was just getting to that. Today the 10th of February, Mr. Jennings gave us a proposal where he wanted…. The public may or may not be aware the town had to in December at the very last day order golf carts. The proposal that Steve gave us today, via the clerk, was shared with the town council members is that he wants to make the same amount of money or close to the same amount of money that he was earning before as our golf pro, run the tournaments, run the club house. That is about a $75,000.00 package. This was based on a salary of $46,000.00 and additional revenue he presented to us. Council Member Long stated that is the Supervisor’s projection.

The Supervisor stated that Mr. Jennings wanted to lease the golf carts from the town. Council Member Long interjected “No, he was proposing the lessor the town had been working with instead make the first year of the lease with him.

Supervisor Horton stated he wanted the town to sublet their agreement to lease these carts. Council Member Long again stated “No, No, that this would be directly between the lessor and Mr. Jennings as an amendment so the town’s lease would be deferred for one year. Supervisor Horton stated that Council member Long had been negotiating with Mr. Jennings without authority of the town board. Council Member Long stated he just listened to him, did not negotiate.

Council Member Long’s understanding of what Mr. Jennings wanted to do was lease carts so he could recreate as best as he could the situation that existed in 2019 prior to the fire. The way to accomplish that was perhaps to lease the carts from the same outfit that the town has and then shorten the lease period and defer it one year. The town and he would not be in any legal arrangement vis-à-vis the carts, it would just be with the lessor who was doing a one-year lease with Mr. Jennings and then five years for the town. He was recreating the situation he had in 2019 at the salary he had in 2019 with all the responsibility he had in 2019, all the prerogatives he had in 2019. It was basically the same agreement that was being negotiated prior to the fire. Council Member Long thought we could have a one year overlap of some new person coming in. He stated the town would be taking hit so that the new person could learn whatever Steve does we would have less labor needs because we have these two professionals. That would somewhat mitigate the costs, but it would increase the expenses. Council Member Long thought this would minimize the number of golfers the town would lose. Council Member Long reiterated that he did not negotiate he just listened.

Supervisor Horton paraphrased that Mr. Jennings wanted to take the first year of the lease and pay for it and then get the revenue from those carts. At the end of the first year, the town would have the remainder of the term. The Town would have carts that were a year old. Mr. Jennings would have to have a credit check. The Supervisor added that perhaps, why not allow the town’s highway workers to lease their plow trucks and then rent them out to the town. The Supervisor noted that the town board is responsible to all of the taxpayers whether they are golfers or not. The Supervisor thought the board would be driven out of town for using the town’s money and credit to lease equipment and then give it to a town employee. For him this did not work. Then there was talk by the town board to bring Mr. Jennings back to help with the transition. The idea was kicked around during executive session that the board wanted to talk to him, and he did not want to talk to us about paying him for three months at $35,000.00. Council Member Long stated, “that was discussed sir, we did not propose it to him we discussed it.”

Supervisor Horton made a motion that “we stop going after Steve Jennings to be our golf pro because we have no information to go on that he wants to negotiate anything different than the $75,000.00 that he has said that he wanted or this idea that I say is worth about $75,000.00 because cart rentals let’s say is $50,000.00. It’s $16,000.00 with the contract that we have for the lease. Mr. Jennings proposal is greater than $75,000.00 with the addition of cart rentals that he would accrue. It doesn’t make any sense to me. I think we are done. We tried to negotiate with Steve at the end of the year when he said he would not take our amended agreement on the December 14, 2020. I’ve changed my mind.” Supervisor Horton stated, “We tried talking to him. We tried coming up with other ideas, and I think we have to stop.” We have to look at some other way to run the club house.

Council Member Glenn agreed with what Supervisor Horton said. Council Member Glenn stated we also tried to have a smooth transition, we suggested Mr. Jennings come back for part of the year and we pay him $10,000.00 a month for a transition period. Supervisor Horton stated that is a premium and I agree with Council Member Long that he would probably be worth it. Council Member Glenn stated “We tried to talk to him he does not want to talk to us.”

Supervisor Horton did not know what to do. “He will talk to the town clerk,” and two councilmen but he will not talk to the Supervisor or the Chairman of the PLRT, who he will ultimately be responsible to. Council Member Long stated absolutely not. Supervisor Horton stated we are at an impasse. I think we stop negotiating. The Supervisor noted that April 1st is coming soon we have got to figure out how to managing the club house, get somebody there that can help with tournaments and everything else. Council Member Glenn agreed.

Supervisor Horton asked if he was seconding. Supervisor Horton stated he was making a motion to stop any kind of further negotiations. The motion was seconded by Council Member Glenn. Council Member Long was asked if he wanted to add anything. He replied, “I’ve said my piece.”

Supervisor Horton stated, “It has been heart wrenching. I’ve read every single email. I understand the public’s admiration for Steve. Steve did a good job with what he had. This is nothing to be happy about.” The Supervisor stated in the best interest of the town we have to go forward. The Supervisor wanted to assure the golfers and the community that we will be better, and better. “This is not the end it is the beginning.” The Supervisor stated it is going to be exciting. He did not expect things to happen this way but he believes it’s in the best interest of the town.

Supervisor Horton asked for a roll call vote.

Adopted by a roll call vote as follows:

Council Member James Long - Nay

Council Member Richard Sturgess - No

Council Member Donald Travis - Yes

Supervisor Scott Horton - Aye

Council Member John Glenn – Yes

Supervisor Horton asked for a motion to pay the bills as presented. Council Member Sturgess stated he had not had time to look at the bills yet. The Board took eight minutes to review the bills. Council Member Travis reviewed the bills earlier in the day.

The clerk questioned the Supervisor on the terms the golf Superintendent’s position specifically the word annually. Supervisor Horton stated this is a completely different structure than what we had before.

Supervisor Horton stated National Grid is still charging the town electricity on the club house. He spoke to someone at National Grid who was going to send out a representative to read the meter. The Supervisor stated that would not be necessary as the building burned down.

Council Member Long suggested scanning the bills to him.

Supervisor Horton noted Council Member Sturgess has been using emails regularly now.

Supervisor Horton made a resolution to pay the bills as presented for audit. Council Member Travis seconded the motion. All board members were in favor of the motion except Council Member Long who abstained.

Council Member Glenn made a motion to accept the minutes of the December 30, January 6, & 13th minutes. The motion was seconded by Council Member Travis. Council Member Long stated he has not seen minutes marked final except for one set. He stated we had a good system in place a long time ago and it has just withered. He did not know why documents were not marked final version.

Adopted by a roll call vote as follows:

Council Member Richard Sturgess - Yes

Council Member Donald Travis - Yes

Supervisor Scott Horton - Aye

Council Member John Glenn – Yes

Council Member James Long – Nay

Supervisor Horton commented that he hoped Council Member Long will be able to attend in person soon. Council Member Travis added that Council Member Long would receive his second shot next week. Council Member Long stated the purpose of the vaccine is to reduce the severity of disease and not to prevent any infection. He believed that one could potentially communicate the disease. Council Member (Dr.) John Glenn interjected that is wrong – that is absolutely wrong by CDC guidelines. The Dr. stated you cannot spread the virus once you have had the second vaccine. Council Member Long added that he did not wish to put his spouse at risk and would probably continue to participate in Zoom meetings as long as the executive order is in place. Supervisor Horton would like him back but understands.

At 9:50 pm Council Member Travis made a motion to adjourn. Council Member Long seconded the motion. All Board members were in favor of the motion.

Respectfully Submitted,

Linda M. Gilbert, RMC, CMC

Town Clerk

General: #’s 19 – 55 $18,676.57 Prepaid #’s 21 – 44 $176,266.10

Highway #’s 2- 15 $19,197.47 General Park #’s 2 – 5 $24,657.41

Copyright © James McMartin Long 2017–2021