Village Ethics Code
Special Board Meeting Called, Date & Time TBA
Story by John Thomas
Short Term Rental Law
The Village Board on Monday night heard input from Village resident Steve Frank regarding the Village’s policy on less than 30-day rentals. Currently, homeowners who wish to rent out their properties for less than a 30-day period must obtain a special use permit, have the property inspected, and pay a $200 fee. There are seven homes in the Village whose owners have the permit and pay the $200 annual fee. The law has been on the books since 1991 and was revised in 2005. Mr. Frank said there is “virtually no enforcement” of the law, and he has observed several properties that regularly are rented for less than 30 days. He added he did not intend to continue paying the fee when so many properties are rented by owners who don’t pay it. Mr. Frank said the board should either waive the fee or repeal the law. The board passed a motion to waive the $200 fee indefinitely.
Village Court Audit
Judge Jack Rogan spoke to the board about the audit of the Village Court. The judge said the work required someone to justify the books once per month, then when the time came to file the report with the state about three hours of work to do the audit. Rogan said he had asked Patra Lowes to do last year’s audit. She spent seven to eight hours on the report, but it was rejected by the state. No one seems to have followed up on the audit. Now, Rogan has received a letter from the state inquiring about the audit. The board had considered having an outside firm perform the audit but, according to Rogan, it is not necessary. Trustee Spencer Murry volunteered to do the monthly justification and the audit.
The DPW report was submitted by Harold Morton. His crew put blacktop on Mill Street, Park Square and Fillmore. There was some confusion regarding the type of blacktop the mill delivered. Apparently, it was not the type Mr. Morton had ordered. Some of it was returned, and some was used anyway. There was a question about paying for some of the surface material that was returned, but unusable. Ultimately, the board decided to pay the entire bill. The Superintendent mentioned he had watered some of the flowers around the Village. Trustee Greg Cappelli wondered why the superintendent was personally watering the flowers. It turned out the department has yet to hire a summer helper. A motion was passed to have the DPW hire a worker for the summer.
Patra Lowes reported that she and the Alley Kats had come up with a compromise for the boulevards between the stores and the streets along Monroe. The compromise Ms. Lowes and the Kats have developed involves a narrow strip of grass or plantings, and pavers. They feel it would be an attractive alternative to just concrete. Mr. Murry said he prefers simply replacing the grass with concrete, it’s safer and needs no maintenance. He added the strip in front of Villaggio is nothing but mud and is unsafe. The board felt that strip would be a good place to start looking for solutions. Ms. Lowes said she would create a drawing of their proposal. Murry pointed out the situation has been discussed for months now, and any further delay put the Village closer to winter without a solution. A special board meeting was called to discuss the boulevards as soon as the drawing is ready. The board will meet in front of Villaggio to discuss ideas; the time will be announced. Check the paper for the date of the meeting,
Joint Engineering Position
The job description for the joint Village/Town Engineering position has been completed. Samples from the two-page document: The Engineer, under the supervision of the Town and Village Boards, shall develop and maintain all infrastructure master plans, and strategic funding plans to carry out the Boards visions… It goes on to list some duties: Completes or directs review of site improvement plans for subdivisions and recommends acceptance or revision of subdivision layout. Will assume responsibility for wastewater collection and treatment system, and assume responsibility for water supply and distribution system. Applicants will need a minimum of 12 years private consulting experience. A motion was passed to approve the document. Still to be determined is exactly how the Town and Village will divide the $80K to $120K annual salary. A motion was made to establish a Joint Engineering Office and equip it with the necessary computers, plotters, and supplies. The town will begin advertising for the position.
During approval of the June meeting minutes Trustee Greg Cappelli asked to have several corrections included in the minute’s revisions. I summarize them here because some of the corrections directly involve this reporter. Mayor Burrell presented an opinion from Hodgson Ross (a law firm) regarding the need for a referendum for changes that dissipate the mayor’s authority. Mr. Cappelli asked who had paid for the opinion, and the Mayor responded the Village had. The mayor said the board had requested the opinion at the previous (Special Budget May) Board meeting. Cappelli said he did not recall that and it was not in the minutes. The Mayor said he recalled reading it in the paper and asked John Thomas if he would check his notes. (Writers note: I had checked my notes and discovered Village Attorney Kathleen Moriarty had suggested the Village seek outside counsel. No motion to that effect was made and no mention of who would pay for the consultation. I sent the Mayor a clip from the story as it appeared in the paper). The changes were approved. At this point, the discussion devolved to dueling attorney’s opinions. The Mayor quoted Wade Beltramo who endorsed the referendum. Greg Cappelli quoted J. Hodgson Ross who said NYS law says the mayor cannot appoint a relative to a board position. When asked for her opinion Kathleen Moriarty bunted and said since two attorneys had already voiced an opinion, she didn’t feel she should offer hers. In the end, the board decided to hold a vote on Mr. Murry’s version of the Code of Ethics. If passed and if the decision is challenged, the Village can hold a referendum at that time. The Mayor held a roll call vote on the ethics. Joe DiPasquale: yes, Greg Cappelli: yes, Patra Lowes: yes. The Mayor voted no. The Code of Ethics forbidding the mayor from nominating a family member to any Village board passed. The meeting was adjourned.