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TOWN OF MACEDON: Thurs,, April 24, 2014
- Updated: April 25, 2014
Supervisor Hammond called to order a regular meeting of the board at 7:30 PM in the Macedon Town Hall. Meeting minutes from the April 10, 2014 Board Meeting were approved, as presented. Public comment was offered from Ms. Julie Sherwood of the Messenger Post who interviewed the town board regarding the ongoing feud between the town and village boards. In short she asked each board member for their opinions regarding the current relationship, or lack thereof, between the two boards. Additionally she wanted to know what, if anything, could be done in order to mend the working relationship. Supervisor Hammond replied that he has always wondered what the problem is, and despite the town’s effort to bridge the gap, in the end the village ends up doing their thing, and the town does theirs. Councilman Kenyon provided background that the town provides support to various agencies such as the fire department, ambulance, and police department, noting that for years the village has asked for, and received, revenue from the town taxpayers. However, it was his point to explain that if town taxpayers provide monetary support to the village, then the town board has an obligation to be sure the monies are being spent effectively. He explained, “In an effort to maintain good relations we paid the bills, but eventually we decided we needed to find out where the town taxpayer’s money went.” When questioned, Councilwoman Pagano remarked that it is unfortunate that the Village Mayor treats the town board with a great deal of hostility and with great suspicion. She stated, “I had high hopes when Marcy Frey became a Village Trustee, as well as Bev Bassage, serving under Mayor Cramer’s term. Unfortunately both ladies have stepped down as trustees since.” Ms. Pagano also encouraged the reporter to seek opinions from town residents as well, and not just from the cluster of village residents who are quite vocal and opinionated. When pressed regarding litigation the town has brought against the village regarding the sewer treatment plant, Attorney for the Town, Mr. Anthony Villani, detailed the history of the plant. He explained that the town taxpayers (some who do not even have sewer service at their homes) paid $2.4 million, plus interest, into the plant, however when the 20 year contract expired, the village refused to sign a new contract, and even threatened to cut off service to the town when pressed. In fact, the town had no choice but to seek litigation and have a restraining order set in place to protect the town’s interests. Despite reason, the village then asked the town to sign a contract waiving all rights to the plant, ignoring its large financial stake. “In an effort to protect the town’s investment, we needed to persue legal action.” Councilman Maul also echoed the sentiment that the town board’s principal job is to look out for the taxpayer’s best interests by ensuring fiscal responsibility. “It is our duty to make sure the money is being spent wisely.” Regarding mending the relationship between the town and village government, Mr. Maul explained that as a result of joint meetings, he has seen several village board members prove that they are reasonable, and some who seemingly don’t want resolve. He added, “If the majority of that board can convince the minority of that board, then I’m sure we will be able to come up with an agreement in the near future.” Councilman McEwen remarked that he is in agreement with his fellow board members, and partnership doesn’t seem to be what the village board wants. Supervisor Hammond concluded, “I have asked the village, ‘Why don’t you want us as a partner?’. They haven’t provided us with an answer.”
At 7:45, a public hearing was called to order regarding an override of the 2% Tax Cap. Public comment was offered from a resident who questioned the override, which he described as a contingency plan, since 2011. Councilman Kenyon explained that the override is enacted as a safety net, while the town makes every attempt to stay within the parameters. However, should the state change its formula, the town is then protected. Supervisor Hammon explained that he feels the cap is ludicrous, and remarked that the town budget is created with efficiency in mind, and the department heads do a fantastic job in keeping their spending down. Councilman Maul explained that he felt strongly against enacting the override initially, until he became better educated on the subject, and had the realization that it is an insurance policy for the town. A second resident came forward and noted that state mandated insurance and retirement costs have increased drastically, which create a larger difficulty when municipalities are creating their budgets.The hearing was closed at 7:55.
Fire Chief JJ Phillips, 1st Assistant Chief Tony Cuffe, and Captain Joe Lusardi of the South Macedon Fire Department presented their first quarterly report to the board, noting that year to date the department has received a total of 133 calls, 71 of which were fire calls and 26 of which were EMS calls. Average personnel totals were reported at 4.5 people per truck, with a 1.2 minute average call acknowledgment, and an average of 6.2 minutes to the scene. The department has participated in 28 drills, and 35 state training classes, with one new member currently in training. It was noted that the busiest time for emergency calls falls between 6:00 AM and Noon, and a total of 2,514 total of volunteer hours have been dedicated to the community to date. Additionally Chief Phillips noted that the relationship between South Macedon and Macedon Center is “better than ever”, and the two departments are having monthly meetings and monthly joint trainings. Chief Phillips also invited the public to join them on Saturday, April 26th from 9:00 AM-3:00 PM for the “Recruit NY 2014″ Open House event. Also, on Sunday, April 27th a cookout fundraiser will be held at Macedon Wal Mart from 9:00 AM-1:00 PM which will, in part, benefit the South Macedon Fire Department. The board thanked the officers for their hard work and their courage to step forward and make a change, and also noted they were grateful to have received the report.
During the Round Table portion of the meeting, Councilwoman Pagano reported that this coming weekend is busy, with the spring clean-ups, as well as the prescription drug take-back program at the Public Safety Building parking lot on Saturday, April 26th from 10:00 AM- 2:00 PM.
Councilman Kenyon reported receiving a call from a constituent who questioned if a corrections facility was being built in Macedon. Mr. Maul assured the public, it is not.
Councilman Maul reported that he coordinated a clean-up at Bullis Park with participating soccer youths, and made great progress.
Supervisor Hammond commented that he and Mr. Maul have been looking into the town’s current telephone service, which is becoming obsolete and will no longer be serviced after May 31st, however they decided that in the meantime the town will hold off until the next budget year before it considers replacing the phone system, which will cost approximately $12,000.00. He also commented that the town has been upgraded on its finances, from an A+ to an AA- rating.
Code Enforcement Officer, Mr. Scott Allen reported that the fire departments have been receiving master keys to all businesses, in the event of a fire emergency.
The board then approved the following business items and resolutions:
l Approval of Local Law #1 of 2014 to override the tax levy limit established in General Municipal Law 3-C
l Authorization for the Supervisor to sign the Kistler quote, dated April 22, 2014 for the annual maintenance agreement of the Bullis Room
l Approval of a Change of Use Permit for Cool Blue Enterprises located at 384 Unit “A” East Avenue, to establish a canine conditioning facility
l Authorization for the Supervisor to sign the Medicaid Reimbursement Application
l Authorization for Supervisor Hammond to sign necessary easement agreements pending attorney approval
l Payment of Claims, to be paid as audited
No other business came before the board and the public meeting was adjourned at 7:55 PM for the board to then meet in Executive Session regarding a litigation issue. The next Macedon Town Board meeting will be held on Thursday, May 8th, 2014 at 7:30 PM in the Macedon Town Hall. By Becky Block