The Regular Town Board Meeting was held June 8th, 2011
at the Lindley Town Hall, 637 US 15, PO Box 62
Lindley, New York 14858.
Official Minutes held at Town Clerk’s Office
Clerk Note: Please note that minutes are meant to be a summary/paraphrase of key issues and statements, rather than complete quotations of comments. If a specific comment is desired worded a certain way as public record, please indicate such during the meeting, and/or provide material for attachment to official minutes).
Town Board Members Present:
Richard Biggio – Town Supervisor
Lloyd DeMun, II – Councilman
Paul Mortzheim – Councilman
Gerry Simcoe - Councilman
Paul Stermer – Councilman
-material read by Mary Jane Semple regarding Fairview Cemetery
· Meeting was called to order by Richard Biggio at @ 7:00pm.
· Pledge to the flag completed.
· Minutes of the prior meetings were accepted with clarifications/corrections. Please see minutes in Town Clerk’s Office.
Announcements by Richard Biggio:
Town Clerk has prepared a Dog Census Summary. Tracks the postcards we’ve sent out and the ones that have responded. Will review who hasn’t responded and will start doing door to door visits. Mary Jane Semple commented that they didn’t respond because they had told the Clerk in January that their dog had died in October. Richard stated that the list came from all the town properties and was difficult to review household by household and did a blanket approach to be sure we had the town covered. Megan Thistle, Town Clerk, commented that she doesn’t know who gets another dog or when. Richard indicated the approach was the best approach to provide an accurate census account.
Town Clerk will discontinue tax software and use a free Steuben County program. This will save the Town $760 a year.
The Steuben County Industrial Development Agency has indicated that the Southern Tier Regional Planning and Development Board has announced the Appalachian Regional Commission Matching Grant opportunities. These are grants that the Town would then have to put up the same amount as awarded. Material will be available in the Clerk’s office.
NYMIR has announced a return of initial capital investment for the fourth year. They will be sending a check to the Town like last year.
US Department of Commerce thanks the Town of Lindley for their efforts regarding the 2010 Census. Demographic information is available for research and projects.
Roadside Cleanup Week per Vince Spagnoletti has been announced for the week of June 6 thru June 11. There is no charge for roadside cleanup. The Highway Department would pick up the materials and coordinate with the Landfill. There are specifications for what will be accepted. Paul Mortzheim commented that the Town may have missed this one as today is the 8th.
Association of Town Planning and Zoning Summer School announcement – being held in various locations. Members of Association of Towns are charged $70, nonmembers are charged $80. Continuing Education credits are available. http://www.nytowns.org/ for more information.
Chemung County SPCA May 2011 report indicates they received 5 calls, issued 4 tickets, and traveled 133 miles. 1 stray dog was returned to its owner.
The State Office of Real Property reports a tentative equalization rate of 3.0 for Lindley. Guy Hill received a copy of this. Discussion of the cost of a re-val - would be expensive to the taxpayers ($60,000) and then it would need to be done again in a few years. Our assessors are keeping up with it and know what the changes are. Guy does a good job trying to argue the point of what the true values are in the town. Sometimes the board he’s in front of reject his submittals. He can present his findings one more time and rates are still tentative. Lindley is currently at a 15% change in estimation of full value. It appears that the State looks at what they need financially and adjusts municipalities to increase state funding. Paul Mortzheim indicated that Pat Donnelly told him recently that right now would not be a good time to do a re-val.
Richard announced that during public comments he would like everyone to remain calm and provide facts. Everything would be logged and when it comes to budget time everything will be taken into consideration. If the Board has to make budgetary changes, public concerns will be utilized.
Dave Fritz - Passed around photos of parents and grandparents grave and asked if the Board thought this was a satisfactory job.
Mary Jane Semple - expressed concerns with the condition of Fairview Cemetery and read her concerns. (Please see attachment of concerns filed in the Town Clerk’s office). Mary Jane indicated that she attended the October 2010 meeting and expressed dissatisfaction with the condition of the Fairview Cemetery at that time. Mary Jane commented that she feels her comments are not taken seriously as there was no mention of her comments in the 2010 meeting. (Megan Thistle, Town Clerk, reviewed attendance sheets and minutes and found that Mary Jane had not attended the October 2010 meeting and that no discussion of Fairview Cemetery had occurred at that meeting. However, Mary Jane had attended the October 2009 meeting and her comments were included in the Public Comments section).
Mary Jane Semple - read several excerpts of meeting minutes regarding what the Board was doing to care for Fairview Cemetery. Mary Jane expressed that the condition of the Cemetery was deplorable both before and after mowing, and was unhappy that a flag was not placed on her father’s grave, while others’ had flags. Mary Jane indicated that other community members were caring for their family gravesites. Tree limbs were down on the ground, grass was on the stones, flowers were covered with mown grass. Mary Jane expressed her deep concern that the Town doesn’t seem to care about Fairview Cemetery as compared to Lindsley Cemetery because Fairview can’t be seen from the road. Mary Jane read several responses to her letters to the Leader, the Star Gazette and her Facebook page in support of her concerns.
Martha Weale – A family tradition on Memorial Day of taking care of Brookland Cemetery in Ulysses. The people care and the community cares. Cameron Mills Cemetery has a cemetery association and principles. I strongly support Mrs. Semple’s comments. I hope you are all honored after death.
Randy Hill – That’s why I came, the Fairview Cemetery doesn’t look good.
Dee Hill – I live at 954 River Road…. We take care of various cemeteries and we figured in the town of Lindley, with prominent citizens buried in Fairview, the Cemetery would be taken care of. Just before we arrived, we went up and moved a tree embedded since winter. It needs to be mowed. We moved it after watching to see how long it would stay there. Headstones are tipped, we wiped grass off a lot of headstones. We need to respect and honor the people there.
Tom Loughridge - For years I put the flags up and last year was my last year. I left the flags up deliberately so that whoever volunteered to do that would see where the flags would go. For years I volunteered to clean and haul things away (during the time it was part of the Cemetery Association). I just did it.
Dee Hill - Town still pays for the flags?
Megan Thistle - Yes.
Mary Jane Semple - When was the last time someone was buried in Lindsley? Need to do all three, don’t need to show favoritism.
Lloyd DeMun – there is no favoritism. As far as what Rudy does, he mows. That’s what we pay him to do.
Tom Loughridge – I don’t think they care.
Randy Hill – I was there when he was mowing. At least 6 mowers going.
Tom Loughridge - High price to pay for the job he’s doing. It’s tough to mow.
Randy Hill – if the town already has insurance why does he have to have insurance?
Dee Hill – The custodian mows for the town, do you require her to have insurance?
Gerry Simcoe – Rudy is subcontracted.
Tom Loughridge – some of those stones have been tipped over for years. Town shouldn’t be setting and resetting stones, it’s the responsibility of the lot owners.
Mary Jane Semple – vandalism in the cemetery a few years ago. The Fire Department and Masons took care of it and cemetery association paid for the materials.
Randy Hill – money and quality just doesn’t seem right.
Mary Jane Semple – I had cleaned my parent’s cross off before taking pictures. But there was grass up as high as my shoulders.
Mary Fritz – running over the flat stones with lawnmower? Huggins tombstone is all dug up. Dick Huggins (87 years old) was going to come up to fix things.
Patsy Harris – concerned because people go to the cemeteries before Memorial day. So can it be mowed a few days before Memorial day so when they go it’s presentable? I used a whisk broom. Whoever’s doing it really doesn’t care. I don’t know if they’re from the town? How was he chosen?
Richard Biggio – tried to find anyone who would be willing, for a reasonal price
Paul Mortzheim – Rudy’s is a professional landscaping business.
Martha Weale – In defense of Rudy, he has been running between rainstorms. Whoever is responsible, think about the rainy season we have had.
Tom Loughridge – after looking at 5 cemeteries, Fairview is the only one in bad shape.
Mary Fritz – Erwin has Camp Monterey who do the weeding and so forth. Why can’t the Town do that?
Richard Biggio – I’ve used them before. We could probably get them. It’s something that needs to be scheduled and it’s not regular. We could get them maybe once in the summer.
Discussion about spring cleanup by Camp Monterey.
Paul Mortzheim – if we did that and they came on May 15 but didn’t come routinely, we cannot honor your request to keep the cemetery nice.
Martha Weale – In 1976 we went to Kenya, Africa and they care about everyone. They used a scythe. A suggestion, collectively go up as a community early in May and cleanup.
Dave Fritz - good idea, a work day of families. Shouldn’t all be your burden.
Dee Hill – put together a cemetery board of community people? I’d be more than happy to be part of that.
Paul Mortzheim – that’s a good idea. We went through a year of trying to get different people to mow. We did what we could to get started. If there were volunteers who go up there and monitor it and let us know.
Tom Loughridge – if the guy is a professional he wouldn’t do that.
Lloyd DeMun – if we have to do this 2x a year, he wanted to do it more than that so we didn’t have this grass problem. So we went with 10x a season. The other day, that was the second time. He did Lindsley just before he did Fairview. I don’t know why it was on the stones. It wasn’t intentional. The grass and ground might be wetter, I don’t know. It wasn’t done on purpose.
Dave Fritz – anyone who was a professional wouldn’t leave it that way.
Randy Hill – I thought they would have leaf blowers.
Lloyd DeMun – Rudy wasn’t there.
Close Public Comment Section. Richard Biggio - Appreciate all the input and the approach. The Board will take all these things into consideration.
Highway Superintendent Job – late in the season. Al Schoonover showed support and Richard Biggio would find out what was needed to be done to get on the November ballot. If you know someone who wants to pick up the ball they need to contact Richard Biggio. There’s quite a bit of legwork that needs to be done. A lengthy process, with public hearings.
Paul Mortzheim – I’m not sure from reading the material that a petition is needed.
Dee Hill – No, because when I did the Town Clerk job and changed it from 2 to 4 years I didn’t have a petition.
Paul Mortzheim – I want everyone to read it and agree. It looks a little convoluted but I don’t think it’s a requirement to get it on the ballot. We pass the law and then the law gets put on the ballot. Board of Elections would know.
Richard Biggio – it may be a little different than the Town Clerk position because it’s basically removing an elective official, taking power away from the citizens of the community. I’ll get in touch with Kelly. Al’s petition has to be validated to work. I’ll get in touch with Kelly and make sure.
Richard Biggio – Cemetery Mowing: I did receive concerns Sunday before and after mowing. I took pictures of the cemetery. It wasn’t manicured to a professional status. The job that was done was appalling. I contacted Mr. Jakubik and let him know we had several complaints and that I would be writing him a letter. He assured me he would not have left it in that condition and would check the next day. Sounds like he didn’t do that. We could re-write specifications of what we require. There are valid points to deal with and even though the cemetery was put under our direction and care, and even though we knew mowing was legally 2x a year, this board knew that wasn’t acceptable. We tried in our best approach to figure out what was reasonable and what should work. When you consider normal weather, 2x a month doesn’t seem that unreasonable. We need to rethink that.
Mary Jane Semple– what about the Lindsley cemetery? Rudy’s making excuses for himself
Richard Biggio – I don’t want to get into a debate, I’m talking with the Board now and taking concerns into account. Maybe we want to consider more frequency early on and string it out as the season progresses and grass grows more slowly. Write a specification, bid, and review the quality of his work.
Kitty Pierce – maybe Rudy needs to supervise his staff more?
Richard Biggio – he was not with the crew when they did this mowing. The Board did have many discussions on the cemetery. He did a good job for us last year. We had no reason to doubt this year wasn’t going to be ok. The state does offer assistance to help set up a group of volunteers. We have a number of options…. Volunteers, professionals, prisoners, specifications, review performance before we pay. It costs $4500 right now and this could jump considerably. Come budget time we can put out a document to see what the true cost would be, we need everyone here to see.
Mary Jane Semple – you’re beating around the bush – why was Lindsley mowed and Fairview wasn’t?
Paul Stermer - both mowed at the same time.
Dick Pierce – we put flags at Lindsley. That didn’t get mowed until just before Memorial Day.
Mary Jane Semple – I have taken my own lawnmower to mow my parents lot and yet still Lindsley gets mowed. (Mary Jane Semple left the meeting at this time).
Larry Harris – I can see Lloyd (Sam) is upset. I know that anyone that works for him needs to do a good job.
Lloyd DeMun– I’m not upset – the only thing I’m upset about is that she keeps saying they weren’t mowed. They were mowed the same day.
Richard Biggio – they were mowed the same day. Regardless, the quality wasn’t acceptable. We as a Board will figure out how to work with this.
Paul Stermer – saw Lindsley and figured Fairview looked good too.
Kitty Pierce – flags – were there from last year. I have a list of Fairview lots and I will give Megan a copy. If someone wants to volunteer, Megan has the flags and a list. It’s all volunteer.
Mary Lentzen – can we get someone to do for a flat rate?
Richard Biggio – there is a maintenance fund that came with the transfer. The interest can be spent but the principle has to stay. There was about 1000 that wasn’t in principle. Could have spent that. Kathy and I decided to keep in account. Generated $43 in interest last year. We will put this all together for budget season this year.
Gerry Simcoe – that’s why the cemetery association had to let it go, it wasn’t paying for itself.
Paul Mortzheim – we need to do a report and have a chance to review. I think some minor shiftin in mowing will take care of this. Shift when to mow throughout the season. Maybe have a walk through on May 1st to clear up and then Rudy’s crew is starting with a clean plate each year.
Randy Hill – isn’t somebody supposed to be doing it?
Patsy Harris – shouldn’t the town board? You are the elected officials and one of you should check it out and see if what you’re paying for is being taken care of.
Kitty Pierce – youth groups help out?
Richard Biggio – we can try every effort we can.
Randy Hill – someone has to be up there to trim those trees.
Gerry Simcoe – I found the flagpole for Lindsley down in the weeds. It had broken off. I fixed it.
Kitty Pierce – vandalism?
Dave Fuller – I drive around town anyway – I could do a visual inspection of the cemeteries.
Richard Biggio – appreciate that. I will check with Rudy and his schedule. My fear is that Rudy’s not going to do it anymore. This should be a community watch and anyone that sees something should let us know.
Dick Pierce – our son is buried in Presho cemetery and we paid $100 for perpetual care. Occasionally they request donations. Maybe the Fire Department or someone could help do a fund raiser?
Kitty Pierce – people were not buried in Presho for years until Doris Warner cleaned it up in 1956. It was a community project.
Dick Pierce – requested 5 minutes at the next meeting.
Mary Lentzen – shared findings of the Planning and Zoning Board review of the Comprehensive Plan. Find that the Comprehensive Plan remains current and legally defensible. Also reviewing the Conditional Use Permit process. Findings are that the Use Variance Process may be more useful because it considers everything on it’s own on a case by case basis. It is less restrictive and may be more acceptable to community. It has a uniform criteria. Process would use both the Planning and Zoning Boards to determine decision. Would the Town Board like us to proceed in this direction to examine what the process would look like?
Paul Mortzheim – I hate the long list of the CUP and the boards have done a great job. If we look toward September at the budget, we are in pain on the budget and our objective is to reduce taxes and find a way to increase revenue. I would drop the tentative approval approach and look at everything individually.
Richard Biggio – case by case basis and stipulations. Approach is right and while the CUP used to be a fit for years, I commend the effort of the board. So the criteria could be applied and be more uniform and defensible.
Gerry Simcoe – the pallet guy has quit?
Lloyd DeMun – yes he’s done.
Mary Lentzen - he would have to start the process all over again and get Town approval if a year passes.
Richard Biggio – direction recommendation to the Planning Board is to continue.
Richard Biggio - Office of State Comptroller – asking for report. Do they want accuracy and completeness, or timely and inaccurate? They’re always late with the CHIPS, which need to be in the report, we need to complete the amounts for the POKR grant, they want the data so they can put it in the hopper and see what they’re going to do with everybody. They do it every year. We don’t yet have the information.
Paul Mortzheim – I’ll be happy to call POKR.
Paul Mortzheim – a question for Mary - concerned with windmills/gas drilling?
Mary Lentzen – Gas drilling regulated by DEC. Windmills would fall under other sections of the Zoning Law.
Paul Mortzheim – may want to be proactive with these things. Affects tax base that the rest of the taxpayers then need to pick up.
Randy Hill – (9:00 pm) returned to let Board know he removed garbage cans from Fairview Cemetery and may not be able to return them tonight.
Richard Biggio – Corning Natural Gas is proposing an increase in gas delivery rates. 90 page submission to Public Service Corporation to improve their system. Money was utilized for something else. This letter came from an attorney. Corning Natural Gas's proposed increases of at least 50%. This attorney is looking to create a group of municipalities and create something like a class action suit. Not something the Board votes on now but see what it would cost down the line. Richard indicated he would do further research.
Richard Biggio – Road Use Agreement – letter from Delta’s attorneys, handling the legal end of the RUA. I went through the issues and will need to have Pam Gee look at. Make sure some of the items aren’t too superficial. I believe they did a good job explaining to the municipality what the options were in the way of legal standing. Also, Steuben County just sent out a Road Use Agreement and only really indicates the definitions of types of roads. Doesn’t have the teeth in it. Residents wanting to make changes using their own land would be required to pay for an engineer. Our approach with Delta is to do payment up front, have defensible criteria of roads and now our system is open to everyone in our community. A freer path to development for townspeople.
Paul Mortzheim – starting from a good foundation. How long is the delta data valid?
Richard Biggio – if we have a major event… go out in the spring and see if there’s significant damage. Review the roads, utilize Cornell. Stay defensible and be the best course of action to approach the roads.
Paul Stermer– how big a construction project are we talking about that this is going to affect? Where is the cut off?
Richard Biggio – Its in the packet, not sure I can locate that right now, but there’s engineering criteria. Before I pay the invoice I’ll see if I can get some feedback from Pam Gee.
Richard Biggio – Youth programs - $5.00 a child for Little League. 65 kids participated and Kathy wrote a check for them.
Paul Mortzheim – a question do you think we should be paying to have our roads swept?
Richard Biggio - cleaning shoulders?
Paul Mortzheim – sweeping.
Lloyd DeMun – was this the Town of Erwin? Part of Shared Services.
Bills reviewed. Gerry Simcoe made the motion to pay the bills. Lloyd DeMun seconded. Roll – all agreed.
Paul Stermer made the motion to adjourn the meeting, Lloyd DeMun seconded. Roll – all agreed. Meeting adjourned at 10:00 pm.
Lindley Town Clerk