Following a public hearing prior to the regular meeting, the Town of Poland Board approved a new ordinance for parking in the hamlet during the snow removal season. Local Law No. 1 requires alternate parking on Second and Third streets in Kennedy between Nov. 1 and April 1. Cars will be required to be parked only on the north side of the street on odd number days of the month, and only on the south side of the street on even numbered days of the month. The date of the day at 9 p.m. determines the side of the street upon which parking is allowed. Anyone in violation of this local law will be subject to a penalty under Section 1800 of the Vehicle and Traffic Law of New York State. Only one resident spoke out at the public hearing, and was in favor of the proposed law. The new parking restrictions will greatly aid plowing of snow and making the narrow streets navigable during the winter. This new goes into immediate effect.
During the first privilege of the floor, two residents brought the matter of a property on Route 394 to the board's attention. The property is in deplorable condition, and the residents noted that it had been posted by Town of Poland Code Officer Alan Gustafson. Not only has the building been left open, so it is uninhabitable, but trash has also been left there. Neighbors are concerned about safety. There is currently a question of who the actual owner of the property is, so it has been hard to get any answer about any clean up. The town will continue to pursue any legal recourse on the issue.
Councilwoman Kathy Stanton informed the board that she has been working on finding people who would be willing to serve on a committee to study the accessibility issue for the town hall. One resident who has experience with handicapped individuals then expressed his willingness to participate, and Ms. Stanton said he would be an asset to the group.
Town Clerk Barb Czerniak said a quote had been received for a new furnace and also repairs to the boiler. Board members agreed that the prices were reasonable. Town of Poland Supervisor Kelly Snow told the board that she has been looking into the possibility of some type of funding to assist in the purchase of a new furnace. She is currently waiting for responses to her queries. Stanton said she felt that more details should be considered as to whether repairs to the existing heating systems would be adequate, or replacements would be a better alternative. Board members decided to get further information and discuss the matter during their budget planning sessions.
Snow said two companies put in bids on electrical work for the building. Councilman Terry Walker met with them and walked through the building with them to discuss their proposals. He said that both told him that for a building such as the current town hall, there is no real code stating the number of electrical outlets needed. It is what the town would decide they needed. After discussing the various aspects of the two bids, board members voted to have Ahlstrom-Schaeffer perform the work of putting in a new service board to upgrade service, and various inside work, for a total of $8,900. Excavation work would be done by town employees.
Highway Superintendent Larry Mee said that there is still no real answer about the grant awarded for work on Dry Brook Creek. He said that as a result of questions to state Sen. Cathy Young's office, he has learned that the grant was actually awarded to the DEC, not to the town. Stanton suggested contacting other towns and communities on the list of the awarded grants, to see if any of them have seen any of the grant money awarded for their projects. Snow said she would contact Gov. Cuomo's office and tell them that the town has been unable to find out where the funds went that were announced in his press release.
Mee said a hitching post had been put in the parking lot on Route 394 across from the Kennedy Supermarket to accommodate buggies. This should alleviate problems from horses being tied to poles, etc., and damaging grass or causing a public nuisance on town property.
Snow discussed the Workers' Compensation costs. They have been part of the county tax budget for several years. As part of new procedure, these costs have now been transferred to the town budget. This cost will be a separate line item on the tax bill. The cost for the town of Poland will be $73, 645.32. That amount would be enough to push the town taxes over the 2 percent tax cap. When included in the county's tax levy, it was a charge back to the town.
Dog Control Officer Brian King reported that the dog enumeration had been proceeding well. Several areas have already been completed. He said they have found "quite a few dogs that aren't licensed." Snow thanked them for their efforts.
Picture IDs are done for town employees and officials. All are asked to carry them at all times when on business for the town.
Snow asked board members to study the preliminary budget before them. The first two pages show a comparison of the budget with and without the inclusion of Workers Compensation, so board members could see how it affects the budget. The fire district budget had not been received as of the time the preliminary budget was completed. Public hearings on the Tax Cap override and the 2013 Budget itself will be held on Tuesday, Nov. 13, beginning at 6:30 p.m.
Under new business, Snow said she met with Eileen Powers from CHRIC concerning the discharge of the lien on the mortgage of one CHRIC grant awardee. The owner of the property passed away, and the widow was not sure what would happen to the property. The discharge of the lien will forestall any possible legal issues due to the town being a lien holder. Board members approved the discharge. The town does not have any financial consequences due to discharge of the lien.
Stanton asked about the state of computerizing all the minutes for previous board meetings, to make them searchable. She said that it would be considered in the budget process. Czerniak replied that the program has been placed on her computer and her deputy's as well. As time allows, both have been working at digitizing all the town records. The grant to start the program was received through Southern Tier West. Czerniak said it will take a long time to get all the town's records on computer archives, but they are working on it as time allows. Stanton suggested that it might be wise to add more hours of time for the assistant to enable the work to be done. Councilman Jim Sopak thought it would be helpful to contact the county clerk's office about their recent modernization of record storage.
Stanton then brought up an email that elected officials received concerning a resolution to support the sale of the County Home. She said she had read the reports available and felt it was not financially viable for the county to continue to run the home. Sale to a reputable buyer would end up saving the facility for both residents and personnel. Board members agreed and passed a resolution to support a decision to sell the home.
Mee told the board that his department has been crushing the millings they received as part of their cooperative efforts on the Route 62 project with the state. They are planning to try to do some repair work on Mee Road where settling has taken place this summer. New sidewalks have been put in along Route 394 from Langdon Street to Burch Street. There are some small washouts that need work, as well as some tree trimming. There is a good amount left in the snow removal budget as they are preparing for another season. He plans to contact the state about working with the town to cut back some of the brush growth along Route 394 heading west out of the hamlet. They have started hauling in stone for next year's oiling. The new department employee has started, and seems to be fitting in well.
The public hearings for the tax cap override and the proposed 2013 budget will be held beginning at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 13. The regular Town of Poland Board meeting will be held following the public hearings at approximately 7 p.m. Snow will be available at 5:30 p.m. to meet with residents about their concerns.