Town of St Armand's Board Meetings
TOWN OF ST. ARMAND
Budget Work Session
October 3, 2018
These minutes were approved on December 11, 2018.
A Budget Work Session of the Town of St. Armand was held on the above date and time at the Town Hall, Bloomingdale, NY.
BOARD MEMBERS PRESENT:
Town Supervisor Dean Montroy, Deputy Supervisor Jennifer Fuller, Councilperson D. Joseph Bates, and Councilperson Donald Amell. Councilperson Samuel Grimone arrived later in the meeting.
TOWN EMPLOYEES PRESENT:
Accountant Tina Moody, Highway Superintendent Douglas Snickles, Town Clerk Barbara Darrah, and Town Assessor Donna Bramer.
Karl Law, from the community.
Notice was posted regarding the date of this meeting.
Supervisor Montroy called the meeting to order at 6:30 p.m.
Supervisor Montroy turned the meeting over to Town Accountant Tina Moody to present the tentative budget.
A FUND - GENERAL: (00:20)
Tina introduced the budget by going over the departmental wage requests, stating she began with 3% for most departments and the Highway Superintendent requested 5%. Tina then reviewed other budget requests within each department. Tina explained she used a buffer in the .4 (supplies) category, due to department expenses being charged for various items, IE; paper.
TOWN SUPERVISOR: (01:25)
The Supervisor requested $1,000.00 for the year for the .4 (supplies) category.
TOWN CLERK: (02:20)
Tina asked Town Clerk Barbara Darrah to explain the .gov domain request. Barbara explained the .gov domain was a secure professional mail account that she was requesting for all departments within the Town. She stated a representative from the County IT Department would be speaking at the next budget session on October 10, 2018, in order to better explain the .gov domain and answer any questions the Board might have. Discussion ensued regarding the positives of the program and all agreed that they would wait for the County IT person next week. Tina invited Barbara to continue with her other budget requests. Under Records Management, Barbara asked for $3,000.00 for Kofile to continue with the preservation of Vital Records and Minute Books.
PARKS AND RECREATION: (09:42)
Town Historian Davina Winemiller submitted a request for a new wooden sign for the Veteran’s Memorial Park. The current sign is very weathered and has deteriorated greatly and is broken in some areas.
TOWN ASSESSOR: (10:10)
The Town Assessor requested a 3% wage increase, $500.00 for .2 (equipment) and $2500.00 for .4 (legal fees, appraisal, etc.).
TOWN JUSTICE: (10:49)
Tina put 3% wage increase in his budget, and nothing for .2. He requested $450.00 for new copy/Scanning/Fax Machine. Tina included additional cushion for .4 (supplies, etc.)
GENERAL REVENUE: (11:58)
Tina then went to the General Revenue on page 6, explaining the real property tax revenue would adjust as changes were made to the budget. In Lieu of Taxes has remained the same. Supervisor Montroy added the “In Lieu of and AMA Pilot were separate from that. Donald Amell stated AMA was for sale and as far as he knew they wanted the sale to include all the property. Donna Bramer stated some of AMA would come back on the tax role, especially if they sold some of the buildings separately.
Tina stated she had included Time Warner. The revenue from the cell towers are under Miscellaneous.
Dean Montroy spoke briefly about the Verizon tower and AT&T tower and reported the Verizon lease did not start until June of 2011 with $1200.00 per month and 3% increase per year. AT&T is offering $1300.00 per month and 2% per year increase.
Dean stated the health insurance will go up about 3% per Tish Beisemeyer, who will be attending the Budget Work Session on October 17, 2018. Dean also reported Workers Compensation would be going up 31% due to the large accident in December 2016.
TOWN ACCOUNTANT: (18:34)
Tina requested a new chair for the Accounting Office from the .4 account. Supervisor Montroy asked if she wanted to put anything in for training. She replied that between her current full-time job and the time she has put in with the Town Accountant position, she would not be able to take the time to attend training. However, she did state she is looking at a new software program and would be putting in a request for the 2020 budget for that program, once she has researched it fully. She put $4,000.00 in the .4 to include the current annual software and other items.
Tina asked if there were any questions on what she had for General Fund. There were none.
B FUND: (21.28)
CODE ENFORCEMENT OFFICER: For the Code Enforcement Officer, a salary increase of 3% was put in and Tina put in a $400 buffer for his .4 budget. Dean Montroy stated the Code Enforcement Officer, being new, wasn’t quite sure what he would need, so it was determined to budget $1,000.00 at this time for materials and merchandise. He usually requests $500.00 per year for training. Dean stated the CEO needs a new chair for his office.
B Revenue: Sales Tax B1089 will be distributed according to Comptroller’s Audit direction to B fund, the rest of the income will be split up between Highway Outside and then the Fire Departments. The revenue must cover the B fund first. Tina put in the $4700 for building permits, but the rest must come from the sales tax.
HIGHWAY FUND: (25:46)
Tina reported the Union Contract required 2% salary increase for the year, so she included that in the Highway salary figures. In addition, Health insurance premiums was also in the contract and she included that figure in Highway .1. Tina stated in Highway equipment, .2, the Highway Superintendent put in for a new 2019 tandem plow truck for $220,000.00, a snow blower for the Kubota Tractor, $8500, a broom attachment, price would be upcoming shortly. Tina bumped up the equipment amount to reflect that cost, pending the actual cost, Moody Pond Project, $30,000 and a generator for the Highway garage for $5,000.00.
Dean Montroy supported the need for a generator for the Highway garage. For materials and supplies, .4, the requests were snow blades for $14,000, bristle brooms for $4,000, $1,000 fir shirts and vests, a grease gun, and chain saw. Tina put a $20,000 buffer in the Highway .4 account.
Tina stated she would like to give some input regarding the purchase of a new tandem. She reported we currently have the 2015 Tandem which we pay over $41,000 each year plus interest and the Kubota tractor payment. Last year we were supposed to pull the 2004 older truck out of commission, and yet we are still repairing it and putting money into it. Tina felt we should wait until the 2020 budget to buy the new truck until the other tandem is paid for in 2019. Doug Snickles reported that if we cancelled the State Contract for NYS Route 3, he could trade both the 2004 and 2009 toward the new truck. Discussion ensued regarding the State Contract. Dean reasoned if we could take one truck out of rotation, we would save almost $50,000. He continued that last year we only had three drivers, and this year we have four drivers.
Donald Amell asked if we kept the State Contract, could we let them know what we are losing and possibly offer to continue to do it, but negotiate what we would require for payment. Dean Montroy continued if we did not have the NYS Route 3 Contract, the department could possibly cut down on one position in the Highway Department. Tina stated she can pull the overtime amounts by just pulling the report for the code, she does not need the employee who worked the shift. Douglas Snickles interjected in his opinion, the only benefit the Town receives by doing the state contract is possibly the salt that they mix with the sand to use for other streets and areas. If we drop the State contract, we would have to buy our own salt. Dean Montroy reiterated if we continue with the contract, we need to make more than $5,000, as it is a headache.
Doug Snickles admitted the price of the Kubota Snow Blower was a little high, but he thought it might be a solution for the removal of snow clean-up at end of driveways, where most complaints are generated. Dean asked if it had to be a Kubota and Doug stated no. He continued to say the broom is from 1998.
Tina reported the Highway Revenue is coming from Property Tax. Supervisor Montroy stated if there was some money left from the budget, perhaps the extra could be put toward the purchase of a new truck in 2020. He suggested if we wait and see what happens with the older trucks. Tina suggested we remove $220,000 from .2 and adding $50,000 towards next year’s purchase of a new truck. Plus, she added $7,500 for the broom. The Board agreed on top of the $38,000 currently in .4, an additional $15,000 would be added for repairs and parts.
HIGHWAY OUTSIDE: (52:57)
Tina reported that as a result of the Comptroller’s audit in 2017, the 2019 expenses reflect the correct changes recommended by the auditors. She feels the amounts are accurate as to where they should be.
FIRE PROTECTION: (54:20)
Bloomingdale Volunteer Fire Department $ 38,000.00
Village of Saranac Lake Fire Protection $ 25,467.63
Town of North Elba Fire Protection $ 6,252.06
Saranac Lake Volunteer Rescue Squad $ 30,144.00
Dean Montroy explained the cost of Cancer Insurance for certified fire fighters - $1,875 will be split with Town of Franklin. There is a total of 15 people who are certified X $250 each divided by ½. St. Armand will pay one half and the Town of Franklin will pay one half.
WASTEWATER DEPARTMENT: (56:24)
Tina explained that the .2 in the Sewer Expense is Stanley Ingison’s request for a flat increase to $46,000 for a salary, and for the extra coverage salaries we pay for weekend coverage. Councilperson Sam Grimone asked what percent Stan’s salary request equated to and it was determined a little over 10.5%. His current salary is $41,616.00.
For materials, .4, Stan requested $20,525.00 a pump lift station for wet wells. Dean Montroy explained each manhole has different pumps and we should have a backup for the pump station transfer. Other requests were $300 for keys for valves, propane, $20,525 for diesel fuel, all totals $20,525, and Tina stated she added a buffer of $2,000. Councilperson Sam Grimone asked if it was possible to speak with Stan and go over his previous year’s expenses and see if the budget can cover anticipated needs. Dean stated we were gathering Stan’s reports from the meeting minutes and a meeting is being scheduled to review with AES, Todd from the County Planning Department, and Stan and Dean. Sam Grimone asked if the cost of the polymer is planned in the budget. Tina responded that yes, it is submitted at $12,000. Tina reported last year’s expense was $30,853 and this year the actual was down. Sam stated he wanted to ensure the proper amount is planned for 2019. Tina reported we are already over the 2018 amounts.
Donald Amell asked was the $41,000 needed for the chlorination plant that has to be in place by 2021. Dean Montroy explained the town needs to come up with 15% of the cost. Dean asked AES and the Planning Department in Essex County for grant writing and the soft costs of engineering. Sam: So, at this point it is assumed that we will get a grant for it? Dean: Yes, and we did get the extension from the DEC. Donald Amell asked if the sewer rates would be affected by this cost and Dean stated yes, they would. Dean reported we are mandated to have it up and running by 2022. Sam: Chlorination is the only answer. Dean: Chlorination is actually cheaper than the UV system. D. Joseph Bates asked who is designing this chlorine system. Dean stated it would be AES. D. Joseph Bates continued, “We had AES design a UV system that can’t be used because it was too small and now we are going to use AES to design the chlorine system. Dean replied we don’t have to. He continued to report he talked to Greg from AES, and Greg admitted they had concerns as well, and admitted they did drop the ball as well with contractors that went out of business. Dean responded to Greg that we may be considering another engineering company. Sam Grimone stated, “I won’t be here, but it might be time to consider another engineering company.” Discussion ensured regarding the issues with the Sewer plant and the State requirements. Dean contacted Betty Little’s office with the question that Region 9 is not required to have weekend coverage and why are we? The Planning Department is looking this as well.
Tina continued that Stan did request additional items in the .2 (equipment) account. A tripod system, $1695, $1,000 Gas alert Meter, Replacement Lift Station, Replacement Gas Sensor $5,000 and harness. It all totals just under $9,000.00 The Board agreed they were aware of those needs for safety. Supervisor Montroy reported the Highway crew is now certified in confined space rescue. Stan also requested a snow blower. The Board asked that Stan would be present at next week’s meeting.
WATER DEPARTMENT: (1:22:20)
For .2, Tina put in the 3% salary base increase. Tina reported Jeff Cotter requested $700.00 for equipment (sump pump to dewater trenches when dug.) For .4, he requested $15,000 for propane, water testing, diesel fuel, chlorine, and supplies. This is the same amount as last year. Supervisor Montroy stated he would ask Jeff Cotter to attend next week’s meeting.
Councilperson Grimone asked Dean if anyone made him aware of the fire hydrants that were available from AMA some time ago. Then someone said the hydrants belonged to the Village and John Sweeney said we can’t just take the hydrants out because they may be attached to pipes, etc. Sam suggested that Dean contact John Sweeney to see if there has been any mention of the hydrants that are on AMA property and acquire them for St. Armand. We could use them for parts. Councilperson Donald Amell stated if AMA sells, the new owners may not want to let the hydrants go. Discussion ensued, and Dean stated he would call John Sweeney and check into the matter. Tina asked if there were any more questions on the Water department. There were no questions.
Supervisor Montroy reported that John Sweeney said we should really think about replacing some water lines on Rockledge. John stated the lines were getting bad. Dean thought we could talk to Jeff when he was here next week. Dean stated he would talk about that with John and figure out a plan.
BUDGET AND TAX CAP: (1:31:45)
Tina asked if there were any changes to any other items thus far. Councilperson Donald Amell asked how much would the tax cap be? Dean Montroy and Tina Moody both stated they did not have it yet. Dean Montroy stated it would probably be about 2%. Councilperson Donald Amell then asked how much higher the proposed budget is than last year. Tina stated it was quite a bit higher……roughly $400,000 increase from last year’s budget. Samuel Grimone asked what was our total budget last year? Tina replied it was 1.7 million.
ALARM SYSTEMS: (1:34:02)
The Alarm system is under General. Dean talked about the alarm system for the Town Hall and the Highway Garage. Adirondack Alarms offered $4,585 for the Town Hall and the Highway Garage would be $3,875. Mahoney’s wanted $8,650 for the Town Hall and $11,935 for the Highway Garage. Adirondack Alarms monthly monitoring was also cheaper. The Board agreed to go with Adirondack Alarms.
United Way submitted a donation request. The Board agreed on a donation of $500.00. The Association of Towns is based on the Town’s revenue. Our payment amount is $998.00 and it is planned in the Budget.
TRANSFER STATION: (1:39:50)
Dean reported we are losing money with what the Transfer Station brings in verses the salaries to keep it running. Discussion ensured about the expense of outside entities. Sam Grimone asked if we had the tipping fees?
Supervisor Montroy replied we do, and they are going up from $62.00 to $87.00 this year. Dean continued, are we going to pay the cost, are we going to keep it or get rid of it or are we going to continue to run at a loss. Dean stated there was another solution which would be to have a tax levy. Tina stated the 2017 expense is under General Page 4, $5,748. The actual cost is $11,400 and revenue is on page 6 under Community $16,460. Sam Grimone asked what impact would it have if we raised the fees by.50 per bag to break even? Discussion ensued what price per bag would be needed. The Board agreed that the cost of each 15-gallon bag should be raised from $1.50 to $2.00 and the 30-gallon bag should be raised from $3.00 to $4.00.
Life Flight is the same as last year. Harrietstown Adirondack Airport is the same as last year.
WORKERS COMPENSATION: (1:57:05)
Our Workers Comp went up $12,000 due to 2 accidents; one in December 2016 and one in February 2018. Our health care went up about 3%.
UPSTAIRS RENOVATIONS: (1:58:10)
Dean reported the renovations are still being looked at by the Historical Society. If we are approved, we could receive up to $500,000.00. Betty Little committed to $100,000. The estimate for upstairs was $340,000. We would have to spend $2,000 for grant writing from the County. Discussion ensued regarding the building renovations and the historical building grant might control the renovations. Discussion also led to the discarding of old printers, electronics, etc. stored upstairs. The Board agreed the old electronics should be discarded, once a viable discard location is solidified.
Donald Amell asked about the sidewalk project. Dean stated the sidewalks on Main Street are all part of the Main Street repair planned for next summer.
MEETING ADJOURNED: (2:11:55)
Councilperson D. Joseph Bates made a motion to adjourn the work session. Deputy Councilperson Jennifer Fuller seconded the motion. The Budget Work Session adjourned at 8:42 pm.
I, Barbara J. Darrah, Town Clerk for the Town of St. Armand, do hereby certify that the above is a true and correct transcript of the Budget Work Session minutes held on the above-referenced date.