Ontario Town Board – Oct 3, 2013

The meeting was called to order at 7:00p.m. by Supervisor Bob Kelsch; all Board members were present. A Public Hearing was opened to give residents the opportunity to discuss Local Law #3 of 2013, which allows the Board to override the 1.66% tax cap imposed by the State. Last year the cap was set at 2%, so this Local Law is to address the new lower cap. Several questions & comments arose: Can you override the cap by raising assessments? Attorney Alan Knauf said it cannot be done. Does it apply to retirement? Business Manager Paul Leiss responded negatively. Does it include the Business Improvement District? Yes. A resident commented that salaries are dropping in Western New York and the Town’s salaries should stay flat. The average American works an average of 6 months to pay taxes; it’s time to say NO to the increases, and NO to the override. Supervisor Kelsch replied that the Town has reduced the number of employees by 6 since 2011. A 4% increase is anticipated for funding Obamacare; the State spends $1 billion per month on Medicaid. Councilman Jason Ruffell shared that the Board cut $1/4 million from the budget just to get to the current 3% tax increase. It was noted that the budget has to be approved by November 11th. The hearing was closed at 7:25.

The minutes of the meetings on 9/23 and 9/30 were approved, and there was no correspondence received by the Town Clerk. Attorney Alan Knauf reported that Tractor Supply has challenged the taxes on all of its locations and wants to achieve a 10% tax rate as opposed to 100% of their values. This will be discussed at a later time in an executive session with the attorney.
Monthly reports were received from the following departments: Supervisor, Water Utilities, Highway, Code Enforcement, Sole Assessor, Library, Justice Court, Animal Control, and Watershed Management.

– New Business – A motion was adopted regarding the Timothy Lane Quit Claim deed. The Town was deeded a 60-ft. wide strip of land that bisects the Wayne County Industrial Development Agency’s property so it could build 1191.55 feet of the Timothy Lane Road Extension across that property. The IDA established the Wayne Industrial Sustainability Park project, beginning on the adjacent Harbec Plastics site, and in order to facilitate the transmission of utilities between the portions of the IDA property that are bisected by the IDA parcel without the necessity of becoming a public utility, these portions must be made contiguous, at least in part. The Town is willing to deed a 20-foot wide section, provided the Town reserves an Easement to construct the road and underground sewer, water, and other utility lines and mains, including fixtures, connections, and appurtenances across that road section. This resolution was passed, subject to a permissive referendum; any petition must be submitted and dated on or before November 6th, 2013.

– The Board accepted the 2012 review of the Justice Court accounts audit for the fiscal year ending 12/31/2012, as presented by Raymond F. Wager, CPA, PC at the Town Board meeting on 4/22/13. A certified copy of this resolution along with a copy of the Court Audit report will be sent to the NYS Office of Court Administration.

– A resolution was adopted to establish a Town Hall Cooling Tower Capital Reserve Fund and to transfer Capital Reserve Funds. The present unit is 31 years old and needs to be replaced. $60,000 will be transferred from the Town Hall Capital Reserve Fund into the Town Hall Cooling Tower Capital Reserve Fund. This transfer from one reserve fund to another reserve fund is permissible as long as the capital asset has a life expectancy of 5 years or more. This resolution is subject to a permissive referendum request petition, which must be filed by November 6th.

– A motion was presented to award Phase III of the Bear Creek Snag and Drag project to the Ontario Highway Department at a cost not to exceed $5,000 for fuel and labor, and with the use of Watershed equipment as requested by Ed Collins, Rod Peets, and Jerry Santangelo, Watershed Advisory Board Coordinators. Supervisor Kelsch expressed concern that Mr. Santangelo is not charging his management costs to the project.

Councilman Frank Robusto questioned when the work on Berg Road will be completed. The response was that more asphalt was used than had previously been planned so the improvements were halted. It is acceptable to do just the wedging first; chip sealing will work better when conditions are dry. It is estimated that perhaps an additional $20,000 will be necessary to finish the project.

The Board was informed that a grant request for generators will be discussed with Rod Peets and Supervisor Kelsch when a representative from Albany comes to Ontario for this purpose.

Town residents Mr. and Mrs. Clocksin informed the Board of a serious drainage problem on their property on Route 350. There used to be a drainage ditch which was lined with rocks, but a neighbor has altered his property by filling in the ditch and building a berm, which blocks the drainage and causes flooding on the Clocksin property. They feel that there exists a flagrant disregard for the violations of the building code, and there is a 20-ft. wide drainage easement which can only be altered by code. Councilman Robusto questioned as to whether this is a civil matter or a Town matter, and he and the Town Attorney would like to have the easement documentation and the name of the neighbor in question.

The meeting was adjourned at 8:35 p.m. The next meeting of the Town Board will be on October 15th at 7:00 p.m., and a workshop on 10/21/13 at 7:00. The last business meeting of the month will be on 10/28/13 at 7:00.

Submitted by Monica Deyo

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