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Notes on the Town Board Meeting Sept 17,2012

The meeting was called to order at 7:03 PM by Supervisor Roy Brown.  Present were Mike Mortenson, Don Westmore, Joel Craig and Joan Snyder.  Charlene Diehl, Town Clerk, was there as well as the Town Attorney, Tal Rippleyea. As soon a the meeting was called to order the Board and the Attorney retired to Executive Session to discuss the “possible hiring or firing of an employee”, new wording that replaces ”personnel matters” as a legitimate reason for going into closed session.  They returned at 7:32 PM

The minutes of the Regular Meeting, Aug 20th and an additional Special Meeting held on Aug 23rd were accepted unanimously.  The Audited bills for the past month were also approved unanimously. There were no Communications to the Board received by the Town Clerk.

Reports from the Department Heads:

Maintenance:  Anthony Cidras reports: Cleaned up at Anchorage—quite a bit of garbage washed up on shore, Cleaned the Lake, and filled muskrat holes. Cleaned the Activities Building, the Town Hall roof has been painted and generally prepared for the Apple Festival this next Saturday. He has been mowing, of course. Don Westmore and Kurt Holsapple have been building the stone wall around the Anelema and Don asked that the grass around the wall be clipped back & mowed.  Yes, they would be.

Sewer Department:  George Sharpe, Jr. reported that there were 25.000 gal/per/day used in August.  They had 2 dig requests.  Everything running good.

Police Dept: Roger Rekow reports that there were 106.75 patrol hours provided, with visits to the following public areas: Anchorage 25, Cheviot, 22, School property, 25, Palatine Park, 25, Dales Bridge, 16.  Our two cadets are attending Police Academy.

Highway Department: Joan Snyder reports that the Dept has returned to a “regular hours schedule’.  They have been doing hot patching on the roads.  They are cleaning, (raking, blowing leaves, debris) ditches and culverts.  Rich Jennings advises town residents that the Town has surplus dirt fill, wood chips and wood, all being stored at the town Garage and that residents who can use any of this they should call him at the garage. ( 537-6686) He maintains a list of those who want certain things and will call when they have a supply to give away.

Committee Reports:

Economic Development: Corrine Curry reports that all are anticipating the Apple Festival and it delights.  Bruce Bohnsack left his report; Steven Rockefeller and Denis O’Brien, are filming a Documentary to present to David Rockefeller on his 90th Birthday.  They were looking for help with possible grant funding to do the final editing and post-production work.  They were referred to a couple of sources.  Film has a lot about Germantown in it.

Committee member Norman Mintz has worked on designs for the various improvements for the town. Kiosks and signage, plus the placement of the various things including the Gazebo that will be build by an Eagle Scout as his project. Don and Roy are discussing a possibility of moving the existing Kiosk from the land near the Town Hall and moving it to a space near the Post Office.  The other Kiosk would be constructed and it may be placed on Fingar Insurance Co.’s yard, near Otto’s.  The Economic Committee is having discussions with the Park Commission about the placement of some of these things.

Communication Committee: Don Westmore reports that the show and tell is not quite there, as far as the new Website is concerned.  Almost done and looks great so far.  They are filling in the content and working our design issues.

Apple Festival:  Nikki Sacco-Brown reposts they are excited about the event.  Over 30 vendors, arts, crafts terrific foods, the Apple Crate Race, a Hay Bale Maze, Baking contests (apple recopies, of course) music, and, of course, FIREWORKS AT 7:30 PM.  Invites whole town to attend. $5.00 per adult, children under 12, free.

OLD BUSINESS:

  1. Special Meeting September 26th presentation about remedies for Lake George South by an expert.  Open discussion.  6 PM at the Kellner Activities Building
  2. Attorney Tal Rippleyea is preparing a draft Town Law to over the usage of cell phones by town employees.  They will schedule a Public Hearing on the final version at 6:45PM, 15 minutes before next Month’s Town Board meeting, October 15th, 2012.
  3. They are aiming at going on line with their website by Jan 1st,
  4. Cheviot and South road properties.  These properties were the subject of a Public Hearing prior to the start of this meeting.  No owners came forward at the public hearing and the Town will take the next step in cleaning up the properties and billing the owners.
  5. The Supervisor recommended the “lowest responsible bid” from Titan Industries for a total cost of $25, 575.  Approved, all Aye.
  6. Animal Control Law Amendment: Attorney has drafted language to enable the Town to charge fees to cover “all related out of pocket costs” for all animals under the care of the Town. Public Hearing will be held at 6:45 PM prior to the meeting to be held October 15th.
  7. Status of the 9/11 Monument.  The contractor has poured cement for the base. The steel pillars will be embedded soon.  “It all looks very good”, says Roy.
  8. Cheviot Park:  FEMA payment has been received for the emergency work to stabilize the shoreline from the damages of Hurricane Irene last year.
  9. Lasher Park Requesting FEMA funds for emergency work done last year. This application was delayed until now, but they expect it will be forthcoming without any problem.

Mike Mortenson asks that discussion of the issue of updating the Policy Manual be added to the Special Meeting scheduled for September 26th.  It will be put on the agenda right after the presentation about the preservation of Lake George.

NEW BUSINESS:

Proclamation on Bullying Awareness: Read by Joel Craig, passed unanimously, all Aye.

Habitat Program: Ellen Joret-Epstin reports that there is an opportunity for Germantown to receive, free of charge, a comprehensive wildlife habitat summary of our area.  We are in the Hudson River Estuary district and have risen to the top of the list of communities eligible to receive this report. It will cover an inventory of species, detailed descriptions of areas, including forest resources and a comprehensive map.  All the Town needs to do is say “yes”.  All Aye.

Don Westmore says he has just received two interns and he will have them follow the project.

Ellen also says she will know soon if the source for funding trees to be planted for the Town will be available.

Judge Robert Beaury asked for authorization to apply for a grant for Courtroom improvements from the JCAP Program.  [This program has funded other improvements and upgrades including certain security changes and new chairs for the Courtroom.  The new chairs are attached and cannot be picked up and used as weapons, one of the most common security problems that Courts have. K.] All Aye.

Student Intern Program

Judge Beaury, in his role as Germantown Social Studies teacher has once more provided the Town Board with a pack of Senior students who will serve as interns to the Supervisor and the Board Members. This is the 4th year of the program, which is highly thought of by the Board and the public.

Harrison Forman — working with Councilman Don Westmore

Amandus Fuchs —        ”   Don Westmore

Jahn Jaeger  — working with Roy Brown (Town Supervisor)

Gary Stoerzinger —     working with Joel Craig

Josephine Savarese — working with Joan Snyder

Meghan Guerriero — ” Joan Snyder

David Marzahl  — working with Mike Mortenson

Kevin Saltis — ”  Mike Mortenson

Supervisor’s Report:

Budget Hearings, Public Hearing Schedule: All meetings are at Town Hall except perhaps for the Oct 4th meeting, which is Thursday, and may be a conflict with the Planning Board’s meeting.  The budget meting will be at the Activities Bldg at 6 PM.

Thurs, Oct.4th Review of Department Requests with Dept. Heads present

Tues., Oct 16th    6PM at Town Hall

Tues., Oct 23rd   6PM at Town Hall

Tues., Oct 30th.  6PM at Town Hall

These are Workshop meetings at which the public may observe and may sometimes contribute to or may ask questions for clarity.  The process is to take the Department requests and, through a series of discussions and decisions among the Board members present, to arrive at a Budget which can be officially presented to the public at the Public Hearing, November 13th, after which the Board will adopt the next year’s budget and set the tax rate.

Sidewalk Project:  We are awaiting approval by the NY Department of Transportation, after which the plans go to the US DOT for approval and as soon as the word comes down to us contracts can be awarded.  They hope to have the contracts set for work beginning in the early winter, if the weather is mild, or at least very early spring. An Engineering company chosen by the County will study other solutions to the big culvert under Main Street just East of Stewarts.

9/11 Monument:  They hope to set the beams in the cement tomorrow, weather permitting.

Analemma Wall:  The stone wall describing the perimeter of the Analemma has been build by Kurt Holsapple and with help from Don Westmore.  Almost finished and the lawn around it will be made accessible.

Parsonage Garage Roof:  Thanks to volunteer helpers, Anthony Cidras, Rich Jennings, others from the Highway Department and other citizen volunteers finished the shingle roof for the garage.

Apple Festival:  Roy says they hope it will become an annual event for the town.  He thanks the many others who have helped put the event together, particularly Austin.

Public Participation:

Kay Abraham spoke about the Budget process. She and some of the Town Board members had received a letter from George Sharpe, Sr. outlining some of the changes and improvements he wanted to see in the budget process.  While some of the recommendations seemed warranted she felt the requests went far beyond what a small town could do to include the public in the process. The format of the budget is complex and formalistic and. consequently hard to follow.  However, the public does not need to conduct an audit, she said. In her experience what the public needs is to see the process and to observe the discussion of options that determines the final recommendation for the annual budget.  Her experience is that the Board members are very forthcoming at the meetings and they provided the few members of the public that attend the meetings with opportunities to ask questions and make comments.

Roy Brown commented that they had tried to be as accommodating as possible and welcomed public at the meetings,

Don Westmore said they would get documents on the website as soon as possible for the public to view.

Martin Overington said he had one short recommendation about the budget:  “Keep it as close to Zero increase as possible!”

Meeting adjourned at 8:46 PM

From notes taken and transcribed to the best of my ability.  Corrections and additions welcomed.

Kay Abraham 537-5404

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