Snow Removal Questions
Board Tackles Snow Removal Problems
Story by John Thomas
The mood was a bit pensive at the Village Board meeting Monday night. To that end, Village Mayor John Burrell uncharacteristically announced there was no good news to announce at the start of the meeting. While reviewing the minutes from last December’s meeting Trustee, Greg Cappelli asked about the ATM in front of Katy’s Café. Last month the Planning Board passed a resolution requiring the removal of the cash machine within two weeks. Although it has cardboard and box straps around it, rendering it unusable, it is still there a month later. Mr. Cappelli asked what action the board could take next. Code Enforcement Officer said the next action would be to issue a citation. The Mayor pointed out the Board would need to appoint someone to be a prosecutor to take the owners to court.
During business from the floor businesswoman, Arleen Solly brought up issues with snow removal. She seemed to feel the Village was not adequately removing snow from the Village’s sidewalks. She said her employees have to shovel the front of the store, and it is a hardship for them. In addition, Ms. Solly said the salt distributed by the Village gets tracked into the stores ruining the floors and carpets. Mr. Burrell defended the Public Works Department saying they are starting to plow at 4am seven days a week and stated they are tired. He added one of the sidewalk plows is not working and the new plow isn’t doing what it was supposed to do. Interim Highway Superintendent Mark Chudy said they can’t plow when people are present, which is why they start at 4am. Going on the Mayor said the Village plows all the Village sidewalks once per day but said it is the responsibility of all home and business owners to keep the sidewalk in front of their property clear of snow. Burrell said five different snow plows are coming to the Town to be evaluated. They will pick the unit that best fits the need of the Town and Village.
Paid Family Leave Program
The Mayor introduced April Hartlof. She addressed the board about the Paid Family Leave program from the State. She said the goal of the new program is to assist employees with any of three problems: It can provide for up to 12 months paid leave for a parent to bond with a new child, care for a loved one with a serious health problem, or relieve family pressures when a family member is called for active military service abroad. The program is mandatory for private employers but is optional for municipalities. The Village or Town can either op-in or op-out. The Village may opt-out now and later join if desired. Payments into the program are paid by the employee as part of their disability deduction. Since it is a new program, it will take up to four years to fully fund the insurance pool. In the meanwhile, employees vested in the program may take up to six months leave. A motion was made to opt-out of the program for now, which passed.
Zoning Code Revisions
Village Planner Gary Palumbo presented the draft of proposed changes to the Village’s Zoning Codes. Among the proposed amendments are eliminate the FAR (Floor Area Ratio) from the commercial district, establish the Four Corners Overlay district, change the outdoor lighting requirements, and rules for regulating sandwich signs on Village streets. It was the sandwich signs that brought up the most debate with the board. One of the proposed changes requires a permit for businesses to have a sandwich sign. One of the board members felt it was unnecessary to have business owners obtain one more permit. The Planner rejoined by saying requiring a permit makes the codes enforceable. This brought up a discussion as what the requirements for sandwich signs should be. Trustee Cappelli said he was aware of communities that had signs for businesses that seemed effective without sandwich boards. Trustee Spencer Murry said he would arrange a meeting with business owners to work out rules for the triangular freestanding signs.
The Mayor reported on a meeting with Energy Mark, the Village’s electricity supplier. He said last year the Village had paid a flat fee for power of .0479 per kilowatt hour, and the Village had saved $187. He placed a call to Kevin Clough to see what the new flat rate would be for the next year. Mr. Clough did not want to give a specific answer that evening but said he would call the Mayor with a bid in the morning. The board decided to have the Mayor get the quote, then have a brief meeting in the morning to make a decision. Mr. Burrell also mentioned a meeting he had with Acadia Energy. They are proposing setting up a “micro grid” for the Village that could save it some money. A motion was passed to authorize the Mayor to sign the final draft of the inter-municipal agreement regarding the Town/Village Department of Public Works.
Nick Dobmeier mentioned the baffle curtain in one of the Treatment Plant lagoons needs replacing. He also confirmed the eight heavy metals they tested for are at non-detectable levels in the sludge at the bottom of the lagoon. The specifications for the removal are 90% done. He said he would have the specs to the DEC by January 18th. Mary Klahn said many part-time residents are shocked when their sewer bill comes in reflecting peak season sewer demand. She suggested the rates be changed to make the bills more consistent. The local law would have to be changed. Mayor Burrell asked Village Attorney Kathleen Moriarty to work on a revision and present it at the next board meeting. A public hearing will be held in March for the new rates. The meeting was adjourned “in memory of Charles R. Coolidge who served the Village as Mayor for 18 years. May he rest in peace.” The board then went into executive session.