Supervisor Hammond called to order a regular meeting of the board at 7:30 PM in the Macedon Town Hall.
A representative from NYS ORPTS, gave a presentation on the STAR Exemption. It was reported that letters were sent to all property owners in Western New York around the end of August or beginning of September, requesting all property owners to reapply. He also explained that in some cases, if you have turned 65 and your income is below $81,900.00, you may be eligible for a larger exemption. Further, it was noted that after all combined income is accounted for, if a household’s income is below $500,000.00, the property owners are eligible for the exemption, which is approximately $600.00-$700.00 per household in savings off of school taxes. He said property owners can register for the exemption at www.tax.ny.gov, where they will enter their tax code, and answer a few basic questions. The deadline for the registration is December 31, 2013, and a list will be sent to municipality assessors by March 1st. For those without internet access, property owners may also call 518-457-2036 to register.
Dr. Robert Ike, Superintendent of the Palmyra-Macedon Central School District presented a recognition plaque to Macedon Police Chief for his diligent work on “Safety in our Schools” for the Pal-Mac Central School District. Dr. Ike gave his accolades to Chief Collela for his newly introduced lunch program initiative. He also noted that the plaque was made in the high school’s engineering classes by students. The board and attendees of the meeting congratulated Chief Colella with a round of applause.
Town Attorney, Mr. Anthony Villani, addressed the board regarding the Department of Health ambulance service lawsuit. The lawsuit deals with the fact that the Village of Macedon denied the application, without notice, and excluded the Town of Macedon in the village’s Certificate of Need. Town Attorney, Mr. David Fulvio then shared the Comptroller’s opinion for the charge – the town ambulance in the village. It stated “[Macedon] Village residents are entitled to receive service from the [Macedon] Town Ambulance since they’re paying for it.” The response also noted that the “ [Macedon] Village is not required to provide ambulance service.”
Mr. Fulvio then presented an update on the pending litigation between the town and village regarding the ownership of the sewer plant. He reported that, as per the Village’s final presentation of the engineering report on the Wastewater Treatment Plant, it was explained that the WWTP has four planned upcoming projects, with a total of $7.2 million. He noted that he had received spreadsheets in response to the town’s FOIL request, and there were two additional projects listed, #5 and #6, which brings the proposed capital improvement projects to a total of approximately $8 million.
He stated that he had not received any information regarding grant applications, which was also sent as a FOIL request from the town, and without this piece of information the total cost of these capital improvements is still an unknown. Contained within the report was a scale showing the current sewer rent rates for village residents as $65 per quarter, and town residents at $63 per quarter. The projected rate increase after the six capital improvement projects were listed as $795.00 per quarter for village residents and $828.00 per quarter for town residents.
After hearing the attorney’s reports, Councilman Dave Maul questioned if, since the ownership of the WWTP is still in question, it would be appropriate to propose the board possibly file an injunction to hold any and all projects, until visited by a court. Upon attorney recommendation, it was agreed that this should be further discussed in an Executive Session.
Since members of the Village Board were present at the meeting, Trustee Dave Kelly was able to answer some of the town board’s questions regarding the sewer plant plans. He did explain that the projected sewer rent increase was a recommended figure set by the state. He also explained that it is the intent of the village never to get close to those figures, and that the village would like to keep its rank as the second lowest sewer rate in the state. In answer to the question regarding potential grant funding for the projects, Trustee Kelly stated he doesn’t anticipate much grant funding to offset the costs.
When Councilman Maul asked what plans the village have for funding, he explained that is why the projects are planned in increments, but that plans have not been made as to how, specifically, the village would fund the projects.
He further explained, “There is no sense until the projects are going forward.” Trustee Kelly also noted that the de-watering presses and electrical upgrades were not requested by the DEC, but that the new equipment, which cost approximately $500,000.00, was funded through a BAN, is projected to realize a savings to the village making it possible to have the new equipment paid off in 5 years, in savings.
Village Mayor Cramer was also present and explained that despite the DEC declaring the WWTP is currently in compliance, with changes coming down the line, the village is trying to stay ahead of the game. She explained that the GHD study identified the items that need upgrading, and that a Preliminary Engineering Grant Application was submitted in an effort to make more concrete decisions.
Attorney David Fulvio asked Mayor Cramer if the DEC also recommends the upgrades, and she confirmed this, and explained that projects will be completed in order of need. Mr. Fulvio remarked he is still awaiting the FOIL-ed DEC paperwork. Town Councilwoman Sandy Pagano did question why there is no documentation from the DEC, when the village is acting as the lead agency on the project, and Mayor Cramer explained that the majority of the conversations [with the DEC] took place in phone calls.
Village Mayor Cramer then addressed the town board, stating that she was concerned about what she had read in the paper regarding the newly formed fire association. She explained she is not sure what had changed, and asked if the two municipalities can move forward with what was committed to in May through a signed contract.
Town Supervisor, Bill Hammond, explained he is confused, since Mayor Cramer sent letters to village residents, to the town board, and to the newspaper, stating it is illegal for the town to hold monies and questioned what the sudden change of heart was.
Mayor Cramer replied that the village has employed a new village attorney, Mr. Jim Hughes of Syracuse, who clarified that this is perfectly acceptable and within the letter of the law. Town Councilwoman Pagano questioned how the village is able to afford multiple attorney fees.
To address Mayor Cramer, Town Councilman Maul explained that the town had “every intention to sign the aforementioned contract”, however he had no idea that 6-9 months later there would still be no signed contract. He has since been approached by several firefighters, who have discussed the forming of a fire department which is independent of the village. He also noted that one village firefighter has already submitted his resignation, in trust that he will have a department to serve in the near future.
When Attorney Anthony Villani questioned Mayor Cramer as to the ownership of the Village Fire Department equipment, she replied the village would retain ownership of the equipment. In response, Mr. Villani explained that when the town residents pay 70% of the cost of the equipment, yet still own none of it, that is unacceptable.
Councilman Maul continued to explain that the town board has made numerous requests for run sheets, and to date have still not received anything from the village. Ultimately, he summarized that the village’s change of heart is “too little, too late. I have made a gentleman’s agreement, and I intend to keep it.”
Mr. Villani further explained that the board needs to honor this agreement because it is imperative to keep the firefighters in a company, noting that the municipalities cannot afford to pay firefighters. Village Board Trustee, Dave Sliney, approached the town board and explained that ultimately he was the only village board member who was opposed to signing the contract until the board could receive confirmation from attorneys, which in turn resulted in bad advice from the attorney, thus causing the holdup.
In response to a concerned resident’s comments, Town Councilman Kenyon assured her, “We will provide public safety.” Supervisor Hammond agreed, stating “There has never been a lack of concern for safety by this board.”
During the Round Table portion of the meeting Councilman Kenyon gave his congratulations to Police Chief Colella, as well as the Macedon Police Department, on the award received, noting that it is a testament to the hard work and dedication of the entire department.
Councilman McEwen reported that he is looking into receiving a quote for the repair of the Community Room floor.
Supervisor Hammond reported that the next Budget Workshop will be held on Thursday, October 3rd, at 5:00 PM in the Macedon Town Hall.
Police Chief Colella remarked that he had been invited to attend the Henry B.Williams Homicide Seminar, which provided a week’’s worth of “invaluable training”, and will also provide him with a wealth of international networking contacts to call upon, as a “Williams Associate”.
The board then approved the following business items and resolutions:
– Authorization for electrical service work to convert the existing fixtures in the Public Safety Building garage bays in an amount not to exceed $3,207.80, as per the estimate received from Bastian Electric
– Resolution authorizing the Highway Superintendent, Mr. Dick Roets, to participate in the Industrial Site Development Fund Program relative to constructing the extension of Marina Drive, by providing in-kind services to equipment and manpower not to exceed $60,000.00
No other business came before the board and the public meeting was adjourned at 7:45 PM to then meet in Executive Session regarding a litigation issue. The next Macedon Town Board meeting will be held on Thursday, October 10th at 7:30 PM in the Macedon Town Hall.
By Becky Block