Town of St Armands Board Meetings
TOWN OF ST. ARMAND
REGULAR BOARD MEETING
Tuesday, March 13, 2018
These meeting minutes were approved on April 10, 2019.
A Regular Board Meeting of the Town of St. Armand was held on the above date at the Town Hall, Bloomingdale, NY.
BOARD MEMBERS PRESENT:
Town Supervisor Dean Montroy, Deputy Supervisor Jennifer Fuller, Councilperson Donald Amell, Councilperson D. Joseph Bates and Councilperson Samuel Grimone.
A quorum of the Board was in attendance.
TOWN EMPLOYEES PRESENT:
Water Superintendent Jeff Cotter, Code Enforcement Officer Robert Hammond, Wastewater Superintendent Stanley Ingison, Town Clerk Barbara Darrah, and Town Historian Davina Winemiller.
Highway Superintendent Douglas Snickles.
Sandy Hayes and Charles Whitson, Jr.
Notice was posted regarding the date of this meeting.
Supervisor Montroy called the Meeting to order at 6:30 p.m.
Supervisor Montroy led the Pledge of Allegiance.
Supervisor Dean Montroy reported the absence of Highway Superintendent Douglas Snickles was due to plowing of the roads because of the ongoing snowstorm. Supervisor Montroy relayed a second spring was broken on the F550. Water Superintendent Jeffrey Cotter asked if Douglas had mentioned hearing from Dig Safe regarding the project for the Blooming Market in removing the in-ground gas tanks. Supervisor Montroy stated he had not mentioned it to him. Jeff Cotter stated he would contact Douglas regarding that matter.
WATER DEPARTMENT MONTHLY REPORT
Water Superintendent Jeff Cotter presented the following report to the Board:
Town of St. Armand Water Report for 3/23/18 Board Meeting
1. Mt. View Trailer Park Leaking Water Main Repaired - On 2/21/18, Larry reported that they had repaired the leaking water main at Mt. View trailer park. I took a Coliform sample from 15 Blue Spruce Way as a precautionary measure to ensure there was no contamination to the water while the repairs were being made. The result returned from Life Science Lab indicated negative for Coliform bacteria.
2. Telemetry Equipment Problem - On 2/21/18, I noticed that the Stand Pipe level indicator in the pump house was flashing -13. The normal reading is approximate 34' which is the level in the Stand Pipe. We had this telemetry equipment radios and receivers repaired two year ago. I call Scott from the Company that installed the devices and he asked me to take some photos of inside the panel and the LED lights that were flashing. After receiving the photos, Scott noticed that there was a jumper wire off one of the terminals. I located the jumper wire about 1 foot away from the terminal that it belonged to. I have no idea how the jumper wire was knocked off the terminal strip as this panel is never opened. I re-installed the jumper and the unit is displaying the accurate level in the Stand Pipe. Thanks to Scott's remote help with text photos, this saved the cost of his services.
3. Monthly Coliform Sample from the Town Hall came back negative from Life Science Lab on 2/23/18.
4. Leaking Water Meter at Vine St. Residence - On 2/28/18, I received a call from Spencer Branch of Vine Street. He reported that he had a leaking water meter and wanted to know if the Town was responsible to replace it. I informed him that the replacement was the home owners responsibility and offered some advice on what to purchase. He said he would get back to me when he needed his water shut-off to allow for the repair. He said the leak was not an emergency and repair in the Spring.
5. Final Reading for Barb at 5 Blue Spruce Way - On 3/6/18, I recorded a final water reading at 5 Blue Spruce Way for Barb at her request due to the customer moving.
6. Annual Water Withdrawal Report - On 3/8/18, I completed and submitted the 2017 Annual Water Withdrawal Report to DEC. I also received a confirmation email from DEC that they had received the report. This report provides information on how much water was withdrawn from the ground from our wells and how much water was returned to the sewer plant.
7. Reduced Well #5 Pump Run Time - On 3/12/18, I reduced the run time on well #5 by 2 hours. Consumption has gone down late this month by approximately 8,000. I'm certain this is due to warmer weather and customers are not running their water as much to prevent their pipes from freezing.
8. Annual Water Quality Report - The Saranac Lake Health Department is gathering data and working on our Annual Water Quality Report for 2017. The report should be completed by next month and we will have to send the report to all customers. We had many lab tests performed this year including lead and copper and had no violations.
9. Test Ran generators with no issues to report.
10. Attended a Special Water Policy Meeting on 2/28/18 - More discussions to follow.
11. Located and Marked Water Lines - On 3/13/18, I located and marked water lines around the "Bloomin Market" for Dig Safe. I am waiting to hear from Doug Snickles for the purpose of re-marking lines.
CODE ENFORCEMENT OFFICER’S MONTHLY REPORT
Code Enforcement Officer Joseph Amell presented the following report to the Board:
STATUS REPORT FOR THE MONTH OF FEBRUARY 2018* (* Includes actions up to 12 March 2018)
Applications Received: 2
Permit Application Conferences: 1
Notices of Incomplete Applications: 0
Building Permits Issued: 1
Building Permits Applications Pending Due to Payment: 0
Fees Collected: $75.00
Fees Pending: $0
Site Inspections: 0
Field Visits: 0
Notice(s) for Fire Safety / Property Maintenance Inspection(s): 0
Violation Notice(s) / Order to Remedy: 0 (Certified), 0 (Non-Certified)
Notice and Order(s): 0 (Certified)
Stop Work Order(s): 0
Appearance Tickets: 0
Certificate of Occupancy/Completion: 0
Temporary Certificate of Occupancy/Completion: 0
Record Search: 0
• No action taken at this time (pending full certification of training)
New Building Permits and Applications
• 18-SA-004: Charlie Whitson - 25 Prospect Street - alterations level 1 – new water heater installation.
o Application reviewed and permit issued 03/12/18
• 18-SA-005: Susan Willette - 24 Moose Pond Lane - Resubmittal of permit to have final inspection of work done under expired permit from 8-16-2010
o Code official received permit application on 03/12/18 the code office did not have time to review application in order to perform an inspection before this report submission. The code official will make contact with resident to schedule findings will be submitted with next month’s report.
Existing Building Permits
• 17-SA-043: Mia Ross, 16 Mt. Pisgah Lane – Storage Shed (Pre-Fabricated)
o Storage Structure is fabricated off-site and delivered to property.
o Notification day before delivery 18 December 2017.
o Received payment on 12 February 2018.
o Drawing with Application provides no information of building elements.
• 18-SA-002: Stuart and Karena Levesque - Notice of Incomplete Application
o Building permit has not been issued pending submission of “BP-1 09 2007 affidavit of Home Owners Exemption”
o Building permit is also pending due to resubmission of design criteria specifications
o Resubmission of specifications for Foundation Footings
o Resubmission of specifications for Foundation Anchorage
Supervisor Montroy announced the Town will be keeping the land line phone at the Code Enforcement Office rather than reimbursement of the CEO’s cell phone. The Code Enforcement instructor at the recent CEO training in Latham advised it was not a good idea to use personal cell phones due to FOIL information. The internet will be connected sometime in the near future. Councilperson Grimone asked if the office phone was listed on the Town’s website and the Town Clerk verified it is.
Supervisor Montroy reported Justice Niederbuhl will be recusing himself from the enforcement case on Monroe Gladd, as he is related to Mr. Gladd. The case is going to be heard by Judge Meyers. The CEO Training Instructor also recommended that until CEO Amell is completely certified, it would not be advisable for him to initiate Enforcement Action.
Code Enforcement Officer Joseph Amell reported the next CEO training session is scheduled for April 17th, 18th and 19th adding there are six training sessions in total.
Guest Sandy Hayes stated he was surprised a building permit was needed to install a hot water heater. Supervisor Montroy responded the reason a permit was needed in this case was due to an additional fuel source (propane) being necessary for a Renai. In the event of an emergency, such as no hot water and needing a new water heater, the permit can be applied for after the fact. This is an adaptation of the International Building Codes.
WASTEWATER DEPARTMENT MONTHLY REPORT
Wastewater Superintendent Stanley Ingison presented the following report to the Board:
1) Did daily collections, testing and recorded data.
2) Did daily checks of all systems at the PTB and WWTP and recorded the data.
3) Wrote up the DEC monthly operating report and the discharge monitoring report and submitted them digitally.
4) Did weekly generator checks.
5) Did weekly greasing of the paddle wheel drive and clarifier drives.
6) Did the weekly flexing of all the aeration diffusers.
7) Worked on revisions to the monthly reports and DMR’s for the last year and a half as requested by the DEC which are now completed.
8) Core Climate came back because the system stopped sending and receiving signals from the gas sensors. It turned out that the oxygen (O2) and Hydrogen Sulfide (H2S) detectors where calling for a calibration. The newly calibrated methane detector had remained working. We did calibrate the O2 and H2S sensors and then worked on programing the new computer (forwarded to us from the Clerk’s office), which Robert had installed at the PTB. The programing was a bit complicated and we did need to take it to an internet connection to download a number of software items into it. The re-worked system is now up and running properly.
9) After the power surge issue we had to replace the fast fuel sensor with the spare sensor so we now need to replace the standby unit. While Core Climate was here, they gave a quote of $1,189.00.
10) I did get the Dissolved Oxygen meter re-calibrated as the DEC wanted.
11) Aqualogics came to calibrate the flow meters and after doing so they did not line up properly. I called Todd, the Essex County engineer, due to Aqualogics not being sure why. It turned out that the meters needed to be zeroed first. To do this we have to replace the valve key which rusted and broke off a while ago. They did get it very close to accurate but need to wait for the zeroing to get it precise. We also need to install a staff gauge at each site, which was supposed to have been done during construction, so flows can be read by eye.
12) I am working on getting a more precise idea of the difference in productivity between the Slack Plus 70 and the Surfloc B-1110 polymer/coagulant mixes so we can tell which is actually less expensive to use.
13) Jennifer Weeks is back and started working on the O & M manual for our plant.
14) Spectrum did come and replace our modem with a better model and everything is working well with the internet service again.
MOTION TO PAY MONTHLY BILLS
The payment abstracts for March 2018 were presented for the Board’s approval as follows:
General Vouchers # 67 - # 93 in the amount of $ 40,508.94.
B Fund Vouchers # 6 - # 9 in the amount of $ 1,359.15.
Trust and Agency Voucher # 0 in the amount of $ 0.00. There were none.
Highway Vouchers # 45 - # 60 in the amount of $ 45,280.04.
Highway Outside Vouchers # 0 - # 0 in the amount of $ 0.00. There were none.
Water and Sewer Vouchers # 36 - # 49 in the amount of $ 8,262.13.
CDBG Housing Project Vouchers # 0 - #0 in the amount of $ 0.00. There are none.
Sewer Project Vouchers # 0 - # 0 in the amount of $ 0.00. There are none.
Fire Protection Voucher # 3 in the amount of $ 23,072.58
Councilperson Donald Amell made the motion to approve payment of this month’s bills; the motion was seconded by Councilperson D. Joseph Bates. A Role Call Vote was as follows:
Supervisor Dean Montroy AYE
Deputy Supervisor Jennifer Fuller AYE
Councilperson Donald Amell AYE
Councilperson D. Joseph Bates AYE
Councilperson Samuel Grimone AYE
All approved. Motion carried.
MONTHLY REPORT FROM THE SUPERVISOR
Supervisor Montroy presented the Board with the Supervisor’s Monthly Report for February 2018 to the Board. Councilperson Samuel Grimone asked why the amount for the Tri-Lakes Humane Society Contract was different than in 2017. Town Clerk Barbara Darrah reported the contract had increased by $60.00 for 2018. Councilperson Samuel Grimone made the Motion to accept the Supervisor’s Monthly Report. The Motion was seconded by Deputy Supervisor Jennifer Fuller. All in favor. Motion carried.
REVIEW AND APPROVAL OF PREVIOUS MINUTES
Councilperson D. Joseph Bates made the Motion to approve the Regular Board Meeting Minutes of February 13, 2018 and Special Work Session Water and Sewer Regulations Meeting Minutes of February 28, 2018. The Motion was seconded by Councilperson Donald Amell. All in favor. Motion carried.
TOWN CLERK MONTHLY REPORT
Town Clerk Barbara Darrah gave the following report for the month of February 2018:
Spayed/Neutered Dog Licenses: 5 for a total of $35.00
Unspayed/Unneutered Dog Licenses: 1 for a total of $14.00
Total Revenue Earned: $49.00
Paid to Supervisor: $41.00
Paid to NYS Agriculture & Markets: $8.00
WATER AND SEWER BILLING MONTHLY REPORT
Water & Sewer Clerk Barbara Darrah reported the Water & Sewer Receivables due for all accounts are current with an amount of $15,979.06 being owed from the 1st Quarter billing of January 18, 2018, of $64,997.32
In following new procedures for Water and Sewer billing adjustments, there were five billing corrections and adjustments presented to the Board for approval, of which four were approved and one was denied.
Supervisor Montroy asked the Board which avenue regarding liability issues they have agreed upon in allowing events to occur on Town property. The Board agreed that the Hold Harmless Indemnification form was sufficient in their opinion, adding that if there were a request for a major event, the event organizers would need event insurance and present their certificate of insurance to the Board prior to approval. The Board also agreed that the Town would not approve another Rugby tournament. The rugby law suit is what resulted in the insurance company addressing the town about approving events on the Town’s property.
A continuation of updating the Water and Sewer Regulations then took place. Several topics were brought forward for discussion and decision as follows:
1) FLAT RATE VERSES METERED BILLING:
The Board agreed that it should be placed in the Water and Sewer Regulations that the Town’s goal is to have every customer have metered service rather than Flat Rate. Currently, there are 48 customers on Flat Rate service. Could this be accomplished by a bulk purchase of water meters? Supervisor Montroy stated he would talk to the Village of Saranac Lake to see how they handle this.
In February’s Work Session meeting, the idea of contacting various community agencies to investigate the possibility of helping residents in need afford water meters so they would not have to be billed as Flat Rate customers. Supervisor Montroy contacted United Way and they think there may be a way to assist these customers. Supervisor Montroy is waiting to hear back from them. The Town Clerk also contacted three agencies in the County, two of which said no, there services did not cover water needs. The Town Clerk is waiting to hear back from the third agency.
2) ALLOWING CREDIT FOR RUNNING WATER IN FRIGID TEMPERATURES:
Supervisor Montroy explained the original reason we agreed to let water run in previous years was for the good of the whole town, because if a whole water line freezes on the street, adjoining properties are at risk of freezing and the town would have many man hours working on the town’s lines to thaw them. Some residents’ water lines are deeper in the ground than others. For example, Dean Everritt, on Oregon Plains Road is on bedrock and the lines are shallow for that reason. It was determined that Water Superintendent Jeffrey Cotter knows the streets and water lines and would be able to say whether freezing might be an issue. The Board determined that in order for a credit to be allowed, the resident would call the Water and Sewer Clerk, asking for a credit to be allowed if they ran their water. The Water and Sewer Clerk would then contact Water Superintendent Jeffrey Cotter with the location information of the customer and Jeffrey would make the determination if that location was at risk of freezing. The amount of credit would be determined by three years of water usage history during that particular quarter.
3) POOL FILL SEWER USAGE CREDIT
The Board agreed to allow sewer usage credit for pool fills, providing the customer does the following: The customer needs to submit a letter of request for credit immediately following the pool fill, which will include the beginning meter reading prior to filling the pool and the ending meter reading immediately after filling the pool. Gallons used for filling the pool will be calculated and the credit for sewer usage will then be calculated. The Board emphatically agreed that no hydrants will be used for pool filling.
4) CHARGING VACANT LOTS FOR WATER AND SEWER DEBT SERVICES
Supervisor Montroy presented a conversation he had with the County’s Attorney regarding the New York State Comptroller’s “Special Assessments” Law. It states that any vacant lots included in a Town’s Water and Sewer District that run along water and sewer lines but are not hooked onto the main lines should be charged one half of the current Water and Sewer Debt. The reasoning is the lot is considered more valuable due to being in the water and sewer district and having the capability of being connected to the water and sewer lines.
Supervisor Montroy relayed Town Assessor Donna Bramer reported other towns due charge vacant lots. She talked to Charlie Lewis, Office of Real Property, Essex County, who could create a map of overlaying vacant lots in the district for approximately $100, although she recalls the maps might have been done previously. Supervisor Montroy spoke with Connie Willette, a previous Budget Officer of the Town of St. Armand, who confirmed that the Town of St. Armand did used to charge one-half the water debt and sewer debt fees for these parcels. She was not sure when it stopped and why. The Board agreed to continue this discussion at its next meeting, pending the property maps from Essex County.
5) SEASONAL TIME FRAMES FOR INSTALLING WATER TAPS AND SEWER TAPS
The Board discussed the risks involved to the Town when a water tap or sewer tap is installed in the winter months. Freezing temperatures can cause water valves or pipes to burst when put under pressure, and the Town could be faced with costly repairs of the involved lines and streets, along with residents in proximity going without water for a long period of time. The current rates for water taps is $200 for ¾ pipe and $250 for 1” pipe and the sewer connection rate is $250. The board discussed either no installation during the months of November through April, or charging a higher fee or hourly fee for winter rates (November – April). The Board concluded Water Superintendent Jeffrey Cotter is on the front line in this matter and wanted his opinion. Supervisor Montroy stated he would place a call to Jeffrey to discuss this matter.
6) DOOR KNOCKERS AND DISCONNECTION OF WATER
Supervisor Montroy asked the Board to solidify the policy on shutting off water service due to delinquent bills. The Board agreed as the policy currently states that delinquent notices would be placed at the service addresses the day following due date stated on the bill, as they are considered delinquent. As for shutting the water service off, the Board discussed the locking cap that was purchased in 2017. Due to its’ expense, only one cap was purchased and it was determined the most egregious account would receive the lock out. The board agreed a purchase of a second cap might be needed for this year and the purchase of more could be planned in next year’s budget.
Water and Sewer Clerk Barbara Darrah presented past and current problems experienced with the Softline Data/UBMax Water and Sewer Billing Program. She explained the issues are mostly with reconciling balances, but also the system drops various charges at random, such as late fees and debt charges. The company is not good about getting back to her when she has submitted several documents of proof as to what appears to her as incorrect occurrences. She and Accountant Tina Moody phoned the company in February 2018 to discuss two balancing issues, and as of this date, the company still has not returned an explanation, despite several attempts to reach them. The best feature of the program is the handheld device which allowed USB loading of meter readings into the billing program within two minutes. However, she feels she is spending twice as much time trying to reconcile balancing. The company also states they are “Real Time” billing, but many transactions have to wait until the next billing quarter, IE: Late Fees, Payments, to appear on the printed bill, which confuses the recipient and the Clerk when explaining the billing and adjustments.
Barbara strongly suggested we return to the County Water and Sewer Billing Program after the upcoming billing in April. Councilperson Donald Amell asked how much time would be spent in the conversion back to the County program. Barbara stated the program is still loaded on her computer and it would just be a matter of updating current and new customer account changes within the year, which would not be difficult. Barbara asked Louisa Towne, the County IT person who handles this program, about being able to create a report of all readings loaded into the billing system, in order to address the Comptroller’s audit last May. The concern was that one person was entering all data, creating bills, collecting payments and making adjustments. Louisa stated she felt she could easily create a report of entered readings, so there could be supervisory oversight in that aspect of the billing process. Councilperson Samuel Grimone asked how much the County charged for the program. Barbara replied the County’s program is free, just as the Essex County Real Property Tax billing program is free. The Board agreed and supported the return to the County’s Water and Sewer Billing Program.
Supervisor Dean Montroy reported his discussion with Senator Betty Little regarding the repair and repaving of Route 3. She told him there was no funding at this time. Supervisor Montroy told her our Town Highway Department maintains Route 3 and the disrepair of the road is causing a great amount of wear and tear on our highway trucks, not to mention residents’ vehicles. He stated he would revisit this issues again, as he believes there is a hazardous winter fund that might be able to assist in having Route 3 paved.
Supervisor Montroy asked those present if there were any other questions or concerns.
Guest Sandy Hayes stated he had input about water and sewer taps being installed in the winter. He said he has been in this area a long time and has dealt with these types of building issues often and he cannot recall any time where someone tried to build a house in the winter. It is his opinion that no wet taps or water and sewer hook ups should be done from November on, until Spring is well in the area.
MOTION TO ADJOURN
Deputy Supervisor Jennifer Fuller made the Motion to adjourn the Regular Board Meeting. The motion was seconded by Councilperson D. Joseph Bate. All in favor. Motion carried. The Regular Board Meeting adjourned at 8:55 pm.
I, Barbara Darrah, Town Clerk for the Town of St. Armand, do hereby certify that the above is a true and correct transcript of the Regular Board meeting minutes held on the above-referenced date.