The Road Use Agreement Law Public Hearing and Regular Town Board Meeting was held
September 14th, 2011
at the Lindley Town Hall, 637 US 15, PO Box 62
Lindley, New York 14858.
Official Minutes held at Town Clerk’s Office
Town Board Members Present:
Richard Biggio – Town Supervisor
Lloyd DeMun, II – Councilman
Gerry Simcoe - Councilman
Paul Mortzheim – Councilman
Paul Stermer – Councilman
Richard Johnson – Highway Superintendent
-Property Tax Cap information
• Meeting was called to order by Richard Biggio at @ 7:05pm.
• Pledge to the flag completed.
• Minutes of the prior meeting were accepted as amended.
Announcements by Richard Biggio:
• Reports were received by the Town Clerk, Town Justice, CEO, Historian, and the Chemung County SPCA
• Regarding the question to be put on the ballot this November about the Highway Superintendent position being appointed or elected: Because the position in question was open for election, and there was no candidate, the question needed to be submitted 150 days prior to the election. The question remains a law and will be placed on the ballot next year.
Public Hearing for the Road Use Agreement proposed Law, 7:25pm
Richard explained that the Road Use Agreement Law developed by Delta and Whiteman, Osterman, and Hanna was ready to be adopted by the Town. This law is to enable the town roads to be protected against unusual, excessive heavy road use by contractors for any future development (ie: gas drilling operations). The report is based on an analysis of all town roads at their current baseline of maintenance status and costs, and what a contractor would be required to do if they damage the current road conditions (the baseline). The Law would also determine the route contractors would be required to follow, because not all town roads are built to withstand heavy truck traffic. This protects citizens from bearing the cost of getting their own analysis done or paying for road repair because the Town has already completed that portion and will hold contractors liable for damage.
It was the Board’s responsibility to understand and foresee what might be coming to the Town. Law is well written and covers everyone. It is proactive and benefits/protects everyone.
Key Points – This Law is a great idea and now the Highway Superintendent has a working document of the baseline of roads.
Road problems foreseen may include the gas industry, loggers, and so forth. This is not meant to be a punitive measure, but a guideline of what is expected.
Road conditions were considered to be pretty good for gravel and the rain we’ve experienced this year. This speaks well of the Road Crew. They are doing what they can with the resources they have.
A search of Town Laws regarding road use will be done, because in adopting this law, any other laws need to be specifically stated as being superseded by this.
Richard Biggio and Megan Thistle read the Law in it’s entirety. (the public may listen to Audio or read Law, in the Clerk’s office).
Paul Stermer raised the issue that this appeared to discriminate against local or commercial contractors delivering to someone building a garage, for instance. Discussion of various sections in the law that protect the roads but also allow for resident home improvement. With this law in place, taxpayers will not pay for undue damage, and for the most part local haulers understand what the town roads can withstand, and use common sense.
Paul Mortzheim asked who was responsible for damage to the road – the person who owns the land or the hauler? It doesn’t seem clear in the Law.
Other concerns raised:
• how often has road damage occurred and how this will be managed if it is adopted. This Law is designed as a protective matter, given the various industries that may come into town. Road signage will be placed; permits will need to be issued by the Highway Superintendent or his designee.
• Concern raised about how this seems like a big ball of wax… what the Highway Superintendent does is separate from the Town Board. However, 40 municipalities are following this type of law. The Pennsylvania road conditions from gas drilling lend support to adopting this law. It was commented by Dick Pierce that the penalties listed at the end of the Law would not be prohibitive, but just a part of doing business, so how does this protect the roads?
• Concern about how violations would be handled in Court. Most likely handled in the Lindley Town Court. Judge will receive a copy of the Law.
• Questions about current traffic on Steamtown, which remains 45 mph. Water trucks; empty dump trucks; also water trucks on Lindley and Morgan Creek Rd. Vince Spagnoletti recently addressed this issue and that seemed to help for a while. These are shortcuts and this Law will definitely help curtail that.
Paul Mortzheim asked that two points be addressed in the Law: Permits and who signs off on the business; and something being set up in the Law that would address Paul Stermer’s concerns so the local contractor isn’t discriminated against by this law. Richard indicated this was covered in the “baseline traffic” definition. However discussion of this definition indicated there was too much ambiguity in the definition. Richard would talk with Pam Gee about how to make this less ambiguous.
One idea for the logistics of a permit would be that the contractor would approach the Code Enforcement Officer for Residential Housing activities, then be directed on to the Highway Superintendent. The permit
could then be issued through the Town Clerk’s office, once approved. This way the Highway Superintendent could monitor and be sure contractors are operating within the guidelines of the permit. Discussion about this.
Paul Mortzheim also raised his concern with Page 4 Item C. Seems like a loophole and didn’t seem to say anything. Discussion. Also, Page 5 J, appears to state there is indemnity during construction/operation (for ex: A road is damaged while operation is ongoing, this causes an accident/death, and the contractor is not held liable?). Discussion. Richard Biggio indicated that page 5, H, ii seems to cover that.
Paul Stermer asked about permits for overweight loads, or rather, loads that the truck is capable of hauling. The local town roads are not capable of handling overweight loads.
Paul Stermer also asked about whether the Town would have to enforce the haulers to pay prevailing wages of workers. Discussion. The contractor would have to comply with NYS standards if a public worker. If workers are Town employees, prevailing wage is not required. Any worker within a construction company who is hired by the Town and who is not the owner of the construction company must be paid prevailing wage by the construction company.
Lloyd DeMun made the motion to table until all concerns can be addressed, and Legal can review. Richard Biggio seconded. Roll – all agreed.
Regular Town Board Meeting – 8:56pm
Announcements by Richard Biggio
• Bowers and Co. – a CPA firm offers to do audits of Town Justice records.
• The Association of Towns annual dues will be $500
• JCAP grant clarification re-addressed – CPE will provide less expensive services for security including recording cameras. The current question is to go ahead with the 2 cameras or not. Town Board discussed and believed this would engender a false sense of security. Gerry Simcoe wondered how the work would get done if there are two people working but one is watching the monitor at all times.
• A door buzzer/controlled access would be better. Lengthy discussion about how cameras would allow Court Clerk to see who was coming in the door; greater security in the event of violence; potential to dissuade someone from engaging in violence. Board expressed concerns about the false sense of security, and about civil liberties being threatened with the presence of cameras. Even though cameras were everywhere, that doesn’t mean it’s right. Having them in the Boardroom felt like an infringement. Tracy Wilson indicated the monitoring could be limited and the camera in the Boardroom would be facing the Judge’s bench.
• Town Resident, Dale Salisbury, asked that the following be included:
o In essence, Al Salyerds, Town Resident, commented that the Town needs something because he sat near a gentleman at the last meeting who once took it upon himself to shoot his house all apart and thought aliens were after him, the troopers almost shot him. Who’s to say he
o doesn’t take offense to something you do and come wandering in and go at this place. If you make it well-known that behavior is monitored, that might stop some of the thinking but it won’t stop the lunatic. You would know later who did it.
o Gerry Simcoe stated that the same guy who came to the board meeting was messed up because of his medications, it wasn’t anything he did, and that could be true of any of us.
Richard Biggio expressed support for 2 cameras and made a motion to accept cameras as part of the JCAP grant. Gerry Simcoe seconded. Roll, Richard Biggio – yes. All others opposed.
• Ann Pfau, Chief Administrative Judge, sent a letter requesting a copy of the most recent resolution accepting the most recent audit of the Judge’s finances. This was already sent and Richard will see what she’s looking for, as the next audit will be in January 2012.
• There has been an announcement of a 2% Property Tax cap. This will affect the town in a negative way. The Town Board will know better during budget season. But the Town can supersede this decision with a motion by 60% of the Town Board.
Bob Nichols – County Legislator:
• Budget Process – the 2% tax cap exempts retirement system. It appears to be a game that the government may be playing so they look like the good guys by keeping taxes low, then local governments pass for higher taxes, making local governments appear to be the bad guys. The Senators supported the 2% tax cap, but I don’t know about Phil Palmesano.
• There are unfunded mandates for 2012 that will be a $700,000 increase over 2011. These included early childhood intervention, Medicaid, and probation officers.
• Obama’s funding to keep Medicaid costs down is gone. This will now cost Steuben County $1 million. This will mean decreases in things like construction work and sheriff road patrols. The Legislators are talking about overriding this.
• The reserve for the Health Care Facility in Bath will be gone in a couple of years and will need to be figured out. They could sell it to a private vendor, who can then pay their workers less. Currently, residents at the Facility get Medicare coverage for 10 days if they’re 65 years old and older. Then for 3 years it’s covered by their personal assets at $280 / day. Then Medicaid pays after that.
• Regarding Social Services – a great deal is mandated. For example, the time frame from the time of application for services, to the time of determination, is dictated. If that time frame isn’t met, the State fines the County and the costs are more than the cost for a worker.
• HEAP will see changes this year…. Available later in the year.
• Dog Licensing was given up by the State because it was not a money maker.
Bills were reviewed. Motion to pay bills made by Gerry Simcoe. Seconded by Lloyd DeMun. Roll – all agreed.
Motion to adjourn meeting made by Paul Mortzheim. Seconded by Lloyd DeMun. Roll – all agreed.
Lindley Town Clerk