KENNEDY - The recent Town of Poland Board meeting was held in the Kennedy Fire Hall on Dailey Hill for a handicap access issue. Town of Poland Supervisor Jim Cooper noted that the transition went smoothly. He stated that this could be done for future Board meetings with advance notice.
During the first privilege of the floor, Roland Swanson again presented the issue of flooding on his property due to beaver dams.
Swanson passed around an aerial photo from the DEC, plus a survey of the land, copies of which have been turned in to Town Assessor Dennis Stornes. He stated that anyone driving by their property on Route 394 can see the damage being done. One large field is almost one-third covered with water.
Swanson stated that they are a "little bit perturbed" at the inaction of the DEC, and said that he does plan to call Tom Summerville again and ask them to come down and re-inspect the land. He stated that he wanted to come before the Board and make sure that the Town understands that the matter has not gotten any better. He further stated that all along the railroad line, the land has become flooded, not just on his property.
Swanson said he plans to pursue the issue, and invite the media, as well as all concerned entities, to come out to his property and view the situation for themselves. He asked the Board for any assistance on the issue. Supervisor Cooper stated that the railroad has come in and cleaned up some culverts, but the beavers have rebuilt. Councilwoman Sandy Tompsett asked if the Swanson's residence was being encroached on.
Swanson stated that the water level has been getting closer to the home. It has definitely spread beyond the designated wetland area. It is the responsibility of the railroad to maintain the culverts and other spots in their right-of-way. Cooper stated that he would again contact the rail authority. He said that someone was supposed to meet with either Highway Superintendent Larry Mee or himself to look over the problem areas, but that has not been done yet. Swanson thanked the Board for any help they could give, and again stated that he will keep pursuing the matter.
Another resident came to the board concerning an ongoing problem with a barking dog in his neighborhood. He stated that he has contacted authorities several times, a d the owner has been talked to, but the problem persists. Supervisor Cooper stated that he will contact the dog control officer again, and the matter will be looked in to further.
The board then went into executive session to discuss personnel matters. Following this, Councilwoman Sandy Tompsett asked about the procedure to change the number of Town Justices. Justice Hewitt's term expires the end of the year, and her current job will not allow her to stand for election again. Ms. Tompsett talked with Justice Shields, who would be willing to take o the additional duties. Supervisor Cooper stated that the Democratic Party feels that they have a candidate for Justice Hewitt's seat, and have already informed the Chautauqua County Board of Elections.
Town Attorney Paul Webb stated that more information is needed from the Board of Elections to determine what the legal ramifications could be. There are many different scenarios, so Supervisor Cooper said he would get more information before the next Town Board meeting, the councilmen agreed to a special meeting on the issue, if necessary.
Under old business, Ms. Tompsett reported that the Summer Recreation program has begun. They had a good turnout on the fist day. Several interesting activities are planned. Larry Mee reported on Kennedy Pride. The first summer concert was scheduled for Saturday, July 17, in Hallquist Park. Mr. Mee stated that Highway Department workers would work on paving the walking path soon. Kennedy Pride is paying for the blacktop.
SOUTHERN TIER WEST
Cooper reported on Southern Tier West. Last month, they listened to presentations concerning requests for Appalachian Region Commission grants. All three counties had projects represented. They will consider all the requests, and then make their recommendations to ARC. Councilwoman Kathy Stanton asked when proposals had to be submitted, and Mr. Cooper stated that they have to be in by June. Projects have to be related to infrastructure or educational issues. Mr. Cooper said that he could ask staff at Southern Tier West if any projects are eligible. Projects are supposed to stimulate the economy.
The employee handbook is coming to the final stages. Board members will have another work session, and are encouraged that the handbook should soon be finished.
The new cold storage building for the Highway Department is almost finished. The structure is complete, and Superintendent Mee stated that they are waiting for the overhead doors and putting in the concrete floor. Board members agreed that it will be an asset to the neighborhood.
Cooper then led a discussion on the Ross Innovative Employment Solutions proposal from the previous Board meeting. Cemetery caretaker Alan Short had said that he could use some workers. Board members felt that it could be a worthwhile effort. They unanimously voted to contact Ross Innovative Employment Solutions to set up some interviews.
Tompsett and Kathy Stanton reported on the town hall committee. They will have another meeting with architect Steve Sandberg to go over the plans for renovating the existing building. The firm will then come up with a brochure for grant writing. This should be available before the next Board meeting. Ms. Stanton stated that they had a meeting with state Sen. Cathy Young about the possibility of assistance with the project. Sen. Young stated that all funding from the state was currently held up due to the continuing budget crisis, but that she would keep the project in mind, and told them to apply in January.
At the second privilege of the floor, District 7 County Legislator Robert Stewart addressed the Board. He said that the cnty would like to see the new outdoor wood burners legislation come down to be a local issue. The County feels that there are too many different situations in the state for one simple set of regulations to work in all areas.
The county voted unanimously to oppose the new State regulation as it is currently written. He stated that he went to a DEC meeting in Dunkirk recently, and most people felt the State law would be a hardship for many homeowners. He urged people to contact their state representatives to express support for local instead of State regulations on the issues.
Under new business, Ms. Stanton reported that they had negotiated a new contract with Windstream to save costs on long distance and DSL for the Highway Department. The Board approved the new contract and Supervisor Cooper signed it, thanking Ms. Stanton for her efforts.
Beth Crandall, on the third privilege of the floor, told the Board that on the first Saturday in August, the 7th, at 10 AM, there will be a graveside service to honor her sister-in-law and her husband. There will be a time of gathering at the church afterwards. She invited everyone to attend.
Highway Superintendent Larry Mee stated that oiling and stoning has been done on 12 and miles of Town roads. Bar patching was done on another 20 miles of road surface. This is out of a total of 47 miles of Town roads. A spot in town where there was a failure of oiling and stoning done last fall will be fixed. The supplier will provide new oil for the repair work. Mr. Mee noted that his Town pickup was damaged in an accident with a deer recently. Insurance will cover the costs, and there were no injuries. Southern Tier West came down and worked with the Highway Department and entered an inventory of all the signs, guardrails, and crossover pipes owned by the Town into GIS. This will aid in any future records for the Town.
The overhead doors have been ordered for the new cold storage building. He has leveled the floor, and will get quotes for the concrete. Mr. Mee noted that the CHIPS money has been approved by the state. He said that these funds could be used for the new floor. Money the Town is paying for the new building is coming from the special funds out of the CD from the railroad settlement. It is not coming from the regular Town budget.
Town Clerk Barb Czerniak noted that Highway Superintendent Mee received his certificate for 10 years of attending State highway school. Assessor Dennis Stornes was attending required classes that week. She has talked with Eileen Powers at CHRIC, and they probably won't know anything until the end of August concerning he application for a grant for homes in the Town of Poland. Ms. Czerniak then stated that she has heard from the Humane Society that the Town will probably go over the number of dogs taken to the shelter allowed under the contract. After that, it will cost the Town $71.50 per dog taken in. Control officers know that a lot of the animals have been dropped off by people from other areas, but if they receive a call about a stray, they have to respond.
Supervisor Cooper read a letter of resignation from dog Control Officer Darla Rissel. She stated that while she has enjoyed the work, her health issues have forced her to make this decision. Cooper said he felt that Ms. Rissel has been extremely dedicated to the care of animals in the town, and Board members agreed that they were lucky to have had her services. Regretfully, the Board accepted the resignation. They stated that they hoped that when she recovers, she would consider returning to the position.
Cooper read the cemetery report. Al Short reported that he has done seeding, mowing, and trimming at Riverside and Tucker cemeteries. After going through the records, he stated that Tucker Cemetery is, in essence, full. The Board agreed to close the cemetery to new purchases. The Town will continue to maintain it.