By Rose Mary Carver
Members looked to the future in several ways at a recent Poland Town Board meeting.
Town Attorney Paul Webb stated that if no petition for a permissive referendum was received by the deadline the transfer of the former Temple property could proceed without any further action by the board.
Under old business, Highway Superintendent Larry Mee reported that there had been no issues with the town hall building. Several pine trees on the edge of the old Temple property have been taken down and the stumps ground. He stated that the town workers were prepared to "dig the hole" when they get the go-ahead for the library. Dennis Stornes, representing the Kennedy Free Library Board, reported that they were in contact with a couple of dealers for modular buildings, and weren't sure when they would be able to start.
Mee noted that the new "Welcome to Kennedy" signs purchased by Kennedy Pride had been installed. The contractor is still planning to build a pavilion in Hallquist Park this season, depending on weather and scheduling. Brian King stated that he has some outdoor Christmas ornaments that a donor wished to give to Kennedy Pride for use in the community. Mee said he could take them at the Highway Department garage on Grubb Hill when King got them ready.
The dog control issue was discussed. Councilman Terry Walker told the board that Webb had stated that the old law could not just be amended, as was considered at the previous meeting. A new law would have to be written. King, the Dog Control officer, has been asking to have the law changed to make his job more efficient. He hoped to have a public hearing before the end of the year. King said he planned to have the dog enumeration completed next month.
There was no new development with the DEC grant for work on Dry Brook Creek. They are still planning to have work on the blanket complete by April 2014. Mee said he had not yet drafted a letter to residents along Dry Brook Creek explaining the town's position on working in the creek bed. He will get that finished so the board can approve it.
Town Clerk Barb Czerniak stated that there has still been no word on possible CHRIC grants for town residents. CHRIC itself has been waiting to see if they would receive any of the federal Community Block Development Grant funds that are being released to New York state.
Town Supervisor Kelly Snow told board members that the Accessibility Committee planned to meet Oct. 22 in the town hall to discuss plans for the structure. Currently, the idea is to move some of the town offices to the lower floor when the library moves to its new building, but there will still be construction to make the entire town hall building handicapped-accessible.
Prior to the meeting, Snow handed out copies of her tentative budget for 2014.
"As you can see, we have a lot of work to do on the budget," Snow said. "We had increases across the board on insurance. Not only did the rates increase, but the deductible also increased."
She wanted to set up a budget meeting with the board members to get a final budget proposal. After discussing their schedules, board members agreed to a work session for Tuesday, Oct. 29 at 6:30 p.m. A preliminary budget must be ready by the next meeting in November. A public hearing on the proposed budget will be held at 6:45 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 12, prior to the regular monthly board meeting.
During the second privilege of the floor, Roland Swanson had a question about the upcoming budget. Swanson asked if wage increases were automatic. Snow said that for the Highway Department workers, the answer was "yes," because they are under contract. For everyone else, the answer was "no."
Under new business, the Independent Health rates were discussed. Snow said she had talked with the representative that day, and basically, because of the new heath care law, everything was changing. The current plan for present employees has single, double and family coverage. The new plan, called NYPA Silver, will be close to the current coverage, but will have higher premiums and higher deductibles. It will have an expanded network, enabling covered employees to go to places in Pennsylvania, as well as eight counties in New York. Snow stated that the insurance representative was willing to come and meet with employees to explain the new plan, and Snow thought she would have her do that.
Snow asked the board if they would be willing to participate in the Welfare to Work Worksite agreement again. The last worker labored in several areas assisting the town. She asked if it was OK with the board to sign the agreement with Chautauqua County to participate in the program again. Board members agreed and passed a motion to that effect.
Czerniak informed the board that New York state had sent an issuing agreement for the town clerk and the deputy to be able to sell hunting licenses. Czerniak asked the board for official permission for the clerk's office to sell the licenses. She also noted that a planning and zoning conference would be held on Nov. 13-14 at Chautauqua Inn in Mayville.
Mee told the board that his department was currently working on sidewalks. A lot of blacktop patching had been done in the last month, and graveling of the shoulders. He asked if the town would pay for the sidewalk to be redone to the current library entrance. He estimated a cost of around $1,500. Since work would need to be done for accessibility anyway, board members agreed that the town could pay the expense. The new truck has arrived at the local company to be checked out and fitted with equipment. The old truck has been taken to Hamburg to be placed in the equipment auction. There will end up being two separate invoices for the new truck, one for the truck itself, and one for the equipment on it. The first payment for the new truck will end up being due in October 2014. Mee noted that he will be stockpiling sand and salt for the upcoming snow-removal season, and hoping that it is a while before he needs to start using it.
Zoning Officer George Gustafson told the board that both the Planning and Zoning boards have been very active. Some possible new ordinances are under study. A lot of field inspections have been done. A new fee schedule has been suggested. It will be put on the agenda for the November meeting.
Snow stated that she had received correspondence concerning the town's costs for Workers Compensation for 2014. She stated that the county had originally said it would be $75,287.88. New correspondence stated that the cost to the town would be $75,717.87. This again will play a big part in the budget.
The next regular meeting of the Poland Town Board will be held on Tuesday, Nov. 12 at 7 p.m. in the town hall. There will be a public hearing on the preliminary budget at 6:45 p.m., Nov. 12, prior to the regular meeting. The public is encouraged to attend. Snow will be available at 5:30 p.m. to meet with residents about their concerns.