Posted on 13 April 2010.
By: Maria Moore
In trying to keep up with our coverage of the budget process for the upcoming Fiscal Year 2010-2011, we find that we have not yet reported on the Board of Selectmen Special Meeting held on March 23, 2010. Below is our summary of that meeting which will continue unbroken our coverage of the town’s Board of Selectmen meetings for the past 14 months ~ that’s a lot of meetings under our expanding belt-line!
The March 23 meeting of the Board of Selectmen was moved to 5:30 p.m. from its regular 7:00 p.m. time slot so that First Selectman Dan Jerram could present the proposed Town Government budget to the Board of Finance Special Meeting held later that evening at 7:00 p.m.; please see our March 25 report of that meeting Board of Finance Almost Gets to Zero…
Item #4: Executive Session ~ Personnel ~ Building Inspector Negotiations
At the beginning of their meeting the selectmen went into executive session to discuss negotiations with the Building Inspector, Paul Volovski. Â At the conclusion of the executive session, First Selectman Dan Jerram announced that the Building Inspector’s employment with the town had been modified; Paul would no longer be a part-time employee of the town but rather he will be a contracted employee at a rate of $40 per hour, not to exceed 15 hours per week.
Item #3: Operations Updates
2nd Industrial Park washout:
First Selectman Dan Jerram gave an update on the washout at the Greenwoods Industrial Park, the second since one occurred last year; see our August 5, 2009 report Industrial Park Washout Repair Work Underway, one of several reports on last year’s washout.
Dan said that a separate section had slumped into the wetlands, that emergency repairs had stopped the problem getting worse and that engineers and Planning and Zoning were evaluating the situation. Two out of the three discharge pipes have failed, Dan said, and the repairs to the original washout were not up to standard. Inland and Wetlands were asking the town to fix the situation. “It will be comprehensive and not cheap.” Dan said.
Note: On March 23 the town’s Inland Wetlands Enforcement Officer, Karl Nilsen, had hand-delivered a Cease and Correct order to the Town of New Hartford to cease and correct the situation; a downloadable copy of that Cease and Correct order is included at the end of our report on the Industrial Park washout.
On March 30 the Inland Wetlands Commission held a Show Cause Hearing for the Cease and Correct order at the Industrial Park. Â The Commission “reiterated the need for the Town to communicate with the Inland Wetlands Commission prior to commencing work of this nature. Several members also commended the Town for addressing this issue promptly.” Â The Inland Wetland Commission voted to continue the Cease and Correct order in the matter of Town of New Hartford, Washout and repair, Industrial Park Road, noting that the Commission is pleased with the Town’s efforts to date in addressing this issue, and requesting that the Town update the Inland Wetlands Commission as the work continues; to read the official minutes of that meeting, please see the Inland Wetlands Special Meeting 3/30/10 minutes in the Minutes and Agendas section of the town’s municipal website.
To download a copy of the Cease and Correct order: in place for the Industrial Park washout: Cease and Correct Order Industrial Park Washout, 03 23 10, p.1 (177), Cease and Correct Order Industrial Park Washout, 03 23 10, p.2 (170).
- Dan informed the other members of the board that Doug Spencer had been appointed the Interim Foreman at the town’s Highway Department; see our March 22 News Updates: Doug Spencer Appointed Interim Foreman At Town Garage…;
- Dan also informed the other members of the board that the Town Hall janitor had resigned. Â Our reporter later verified that Norm Paul, the part-time janitor at Town Hall had been asked to change his work hours and that the parties involved had not been able to arrive at a mutually-acceptable work schedule.
USDA/Wastewater Treatment Plant Funding:
First Selectman Dan Jerram gave a funding update to the other selectmen. He said he had met with the USDA to understand who would design the payment structure. He said the town has to send the USDA the parameters it wants for the payment plan and the USDA will then slot in the payments. Dan said he is looking at implementing an annual payment plan, with payments made in arrears so that the first payment would not be due until September 11, 2011. This means that the wastewater treatment plant will not impact the budget for the upcoming fiscal year, 2010-2011 (for the period July 1, 2010 through June 30, 2011).
Item #6: K-12 Regionalization
Dan informed the other selectmen that the Regional #7 Board of Ed had considered the question of whether to undertake a self-study for a K-12 Regionalization plan. Â The Regional #7 board had decided to table the matter until after the budget process was completed. Â Dan said that the study would take time and that if the recommendation is for a K-12 Regionalization, then it would be brought to referendum.
Dan asked whether the Board of Selectmen wanted to go on record as supporting the self-study plan. Â Tom Klebart said he would go on record recommending it. Â ”I want to see if there are financial savings and if there are benefits to have the same programs within the four towns (which make up the Regional #7 district).” Â Bruce Gresczyk asked: “How many split school systems are there?” Referring to the local elementary schools being the responsibility of each of the four towns, while the middle school and high school are regionalized. Â ”Not many!” Dan answered.
The selectmen voted unanimously to go on record in support of the Regional #7 Board undertaking a K-12 Regionalization self-study, the first step in any eventual regionalization of the elementary schools.
Item #5: Budget Review
In reviewing the Town Government Budget which First Selectman Dan Jerram was to present to the Board of Finance later that evening, a discussion ensued among the selectmen about the strategy to be implemented for the maintenance of the town’s roads. Â In the town’s proposed budget the Chip and Seal line item is being increased 322.8% from $63,860 in the current year’s budget to $270,000 in the proposed budget for Â upcoming Fiscal Year 2010/2011. Â At the same time, the Asphalt/Bituminous Paving line item is being decreased Â by 40%, from $250,000 in the current year’s budget to $150,000 in the proposed budget for the upcoming fiscal year.
Tom Klebart said this appeared to be a switch in philosophy from paving roads to crack and chip sealing them. Â Tom referred back to a study that had been undertaken a few years back which had recommended moving away from chip sealing to paving roads. Â The other selectmen asked who had done the study and Tom said he remembered that a group of townspeople in the industry had been members of the task force.
Bruce Gresczyk said that from his experience and from a course he had taken, chip sealing was the most effective way of maintaining roads. Â Tom said he understood that the town hadn’t been doing any chip sealing in recent years and that the roads had to be in good enough shape to chip seal. Â He said the study looked specifically at paving versus chip sealing.
The other two selectmen advocated for chip sealing the roads. Â Bruce said: “I question the study.” Â and Tom answered: Â ”If we’re shifting philosophy, we should at least read the study and decide if it makes sense.” Â Dan said he didn’t think there had been 2 miles of roads paved in town last year. Â Tom agreed but he said that it had nothing to do with last year or the year before, that he just wanted to be sure they were doing the right thing.
Christine Hayward, the First Selectman’s Administrative Assistant, said that it might have been a Roadways Task Force set up by Bill Baxter that had come up with the study. Â Tom said that group had shifted the philosophy away from chip and seal. Â Bruce said:Â ”And they went to cold mix ~ a little bizarre. Nobody has had an understanding of maintaining the roads in the last few years.” Tom answered: “I happen to remember something (a study) was done. Before we do a flip-flop we should at least look at that and evaluate it.”
Bruce came back with:Â ”That philosophy hasn’t worked. I know sealing is the best way to go!” Â Dan again said that if they paved, they would only end up doing 2-3 miles and that they could never keep up with it. Â He said the CRRA money Â ($148,000; see the Bookkeeper’s Report in our May 19, 2009 report of the Board of Finance meeting) could fund repairs to the lower portion of Steele Road, “from the corner at Lindell’s to Pine Hill.” Â He added: “If you try to take the money out of the budget, the budget is gone!” Â Tom responded: “As long as the chip seal is used for what it’s supposed to be used. Â I don’t want to change philosophy if it’s not the right thing to do.”
Bruce said: “It costs $100,000 per mile” to pave a road, to which Tom answered: “Sometimes that’s what has to be done.” Dan’s last comment in favor of chip sealing was: “In terms of fairness to everybody, so every taxpayer has some money come back into their neighborhoods. So they can see we’re not just dumping it in one corner of town.”
“Let’s move on.” Tom said. And the board went on to discuss other aspects of the budget.
To read about Dan’s presentation of the Town Government budget: to the Board of Finance later that evening, please see our March 25 report Board of Finance Almost Gets To Zero…
To see the video presentations: of the three proposed budgets that make up the Town Budget ~ New Hartford Schools, Northwestern Regional #7 and Town Government ~ at the Board of Finance’s Budget Public Hearing on Tuesday, April 6, please see our report Budget Public Hearing Videos. Â Bob Moore, our patient Techie, has uploaded 8 videos and he promises there are only 2 ~ maybe 3 ~ left to go.
Agenda for the March 23 meeting:
PLEASE NOTE THAT THE REGULARLY SCHEDULED BOS MEETING FOR MARCH 23, 2010 AT 7:00 PM HAS BEEN CANCELLED AND THIS SPECIAL MEETING IS CALLED FOR 5:30 PM.
Board of Selectmen
Tuesday, March 23, 2010
1.)Minutes â€“ March 11, 2010
2.)Opportunity for Public Comment on Agenda Items Only
Industrial Park Washout
Appointment of Interim Highway Foreman
Town hall janitor
USDA/WWTP funding update
Proclamation â€“ Boy Scouts
4.)Executive Session â€“ personnel- building inspector negotiations
8.)Request for Tax Refunds