Town of St Armand's Board Meetings
TOWN OF ST. ARMAND
Wednesday, October 10, 2018
Budget Work Session
Wednesday, October 10, 2018
These Minutes were approved on December 11, 2018.
A Public Hearing 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, Councilperson Donald Amell, and Councilperson Samuel Grimone.
A quorum of the Board was in attendance.
TOWN EMPLOYEES PRESENT:
Town Accountant Tina Moody, Highway Superintendent Douglas Snickles, Water Superintendent Jeffrey Cotter, Wastewater Superintendent Stanley Ingison, Town Clerk Barbara Darrah, and Town Assessor Donna Bramer.
Robert Gregory, Essex County ITS, and Karl Law, from the community.
Notice was posted regarding the date and time of this meeting in the Adirondack Daily Enterprise, the Bloomingdale Post Office, the Bloomindale Fire Department marquis, and the St. Armand Town Hall outdoor bulletin board.
Dean Montroy called the Meeting to order at 6:01 p.m. and led the Pledge of Allegiance.
Dean discussed the Introduction of the Tax Cap Override and the legal limit is unknown at this time due to budget figures not being solidified at this time. The Tax Cap will be approximately 2% according to our finalized budget figures.
RESOLUTION # 43 of 2018: : INTRODUCTION OF PROPOSED LOCAL LAW NO. 1 OF 2018 ENTITLED “A LOCAL LAW TO OVERRIDE THE TAX LEVY LIMIT ESTABLISHED IN GENERAL MUNICIPAL LAW ss3-c”
D. Joseph Bates, who moved its adoption, offered the following Resolution:
BE IT RESOLVED, that the Town of St. Armand Town Board hereby introduces proposed Local Law No 1 of 2018 entitled “A Local Law To Override the Tax Levy Limit Established in General Municipal Law ss3-c”, reading and providing as follows:
“TOWN OF ST. ARMAND LOCAL LAW NO. 1 of 2018”
BE IT ENACTED, by the Town of St. Armand Town Board as follows:
Section 1. Legislative Intent.
It is the intent of this local law to override the limit on the amount of real property taxes that may be levied by the Town of St. Armand pursuant to General Municipal Law ss3-c, and to allow the Town of St. Armand to adopt a budget for the fiscal year 2018 that requires a real property tax levy in excess of “tax levy limit” as defined by General Municipal Law ss3-c.
Section 2. Authority.
This local law is adopted pursuant to subdivision 5 of General Municipal Law ss3-c, which expressly authorized the Town Board to override the tax levy limit by the adoption of a local law approved by vote of sixty percent (60%) of the Town Board.
Section 3. Tax Levy Limit Override – Budget Authorization.
The Town Board of the Town of St. Armand hereby overrides the tax levy limit for the Town of St. Armand for 2019 and authorized the Town of St. Armand, after completing all required procedures for the adoption of a budget, to adopt a budget for 2019 that requires a tax levy that is greater than the tax levy limit calculated for 2019 pursuant to ss3-c of the General Municipal Law.
Section 4. Severability.
If any clause, sentence, paragraph, subdivision, or part of this Local Law or the application thereof to any person, firm or corporation, or circumstance, shall be adjusted by any court of competent jurisdiction to be invalid or unconstitutional, such order or judgement shall not affect, impair, or invalidate the remainder thereof, but shall be confined in its operation to the clause, sentence, paragraph, subdivision, or part of this local law or in its application to the person, individual, form or corporation, or circumstance, directly involved in the controversy in which such judgement or order shall be rendered.
Section 5. Effective Date.
This local law shall take effect immediately upon filing with the Secretary of State.
WHEREAS, by Resolution No. 43 dated October 10, 2018, the Town of St. Armand duly introduces Local Law No. 1 for 2018, entitled “ A Local Law to Override the Tax Levy Limit Established in General Municipal Law ss3-c”; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Town Board of the Town of St. Armand shall hold and conduct a Public Hearing on the foregoing proposed local law on the 8th day of November, 2018, at 5:45 pm to hear any and all persons concerning the adoption of said local law; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Town Clerk of the Town of St. Armand will publish a notice of such hearing in the designated Town newspaper at least five days prior to said hearing.
This Resolution was duly seconded by Donald Amell and was adopted by Roll Call vote as follows:
Supervisor Dean Montroy AYE
Deputy Supervisor Jennifer Fuller AYE
Councilperson Donald Amell AYE
Councilperson D. Joseph Bates AYE
Councilperson Samuel Grimone AYE
ADJOURNMENT OF PUBLIC HEARING: (04:13)
Dean Montroy asked for a Motion to Adjourn the Public Hearing for the Introduction of the Tax Cap Override. D. Joseph Bates made a motion to adjourn. Deputy Jennifer Fuller seconded the motion. The Public Hearing adjourned at 6:04 pm.
GUEST ROBERT GREGORY, ESSEX COUNTY, .GOV DOMAIN: (04:33)
Dean Montroy introduced guest Robert Gregory, Essex County ITS, for the purpose of presenting the G Suite, .gov domain email addresses for Town employees. Robert discussed the professional appearance of the .gov domain emails. Some employees have Yahoo, some have Gmail. Robert also brought up the fact that the security of the .gov domain, ensures people sending emails to “ at ny.gov” can rely that the email is going to that person, not a bogus made up “St. Armand ” mail account. Robert continued with the next point of FOIL requests. Most emails do not archive emails to comply with FOIL Requests. With the G Suite account, all emails are archived and available for search and retrieval by the administrator if necessary, even if a user has deleted their emails. The next point is secure access to email accounts. The main benefit to the G suite is it is a hosted service account and you can access it from any computer, phone or tablet that you use to sign into your account from. Another benefit is the familiar Gmail interface, although is a Google G suite account, and a business grade email, and a custom domain name, it still uses the same interface that you would use with any provider. Existing accounts provide the option of forwarding your emails to another address, so during the transition period, we can forward the emails to the new address. The forwarding option can be left in place for an indefinite period of time, unless you were changing your internet service provider. If you ever decide to cancel your internet provider, they usually close your email accounts at the same time and that would prevent us from doing any more forwarding.
That is one reason he recommends if changing providers, to migrate the emails well in advance of the time you would be cancelling your internet service.
The cost of G suite is $10.00 per user per month. Each User can have multiple email addresses but any emails sent to those addresses is delivered to the same inbox. The .gov domain is $400 per year for the registration.
Robert then asked if there were any questions. Donna Bramer asked if all the emails she had with every town, would it be possible to incorporate them all into one folder. Robert thought it might be possible to move the emails. He said he would look it up. Barbara Darrah asked if the user, IE: Town , Town Clerk, etc. each would cost $10. Robert: Yes. Think of it as inboxes. 2nd question, accessing mail from phone or home? Yes, anywhere you have internet access.
Don Amell asked the domain we have now is .com and we pay x amount for that already. If we have a .com domain could we migrate to .gov. Robert: Two options. The easiest and quickest is to simply redirect .gov domain to current .com domain. We can also move the website to a hosting provider and set up with a .gov domain. The only difference is when someone types in Town of St. Armand.ny.gov will the address bar redirect to St. Armand.com or will it still be at the .gov?. If our goal is to stop using .com domain entirely then yes, we would want to move the website to the new domain. Robert warned against cancelling .com domain too soon, to allow for forwarding to new domain.
Samuel Grimone asked a question of Dean; if he has determined how many users we would want? Dean replied he had not. He was waiting for the presentation to see if the Board was interested. Robert stated that with the number of users, we would have to add one user for Robert to manage the account. Dean asked if there would be a fee for Robert’s assistance and Robert stated it is managed on County time, there is no fee at this time. Donna Bramer asked if the County maintains websites as well? Robert stated one of their programmers helped build a website for the Town of Jay, but he uncertain if they were going to continue for others.
Donald Amell stated if we had the .gov domain and switched it over to the website provider, then Rainbow Graphics folks could maintain it as well as they do on the .com domain. Robert reported yes, and it is important to note the website content is entirely separate from the domain it is hosted on. You can buy whatever domain you want from a website and then choose whichever graphic design web development company you would like to build a website for you. Donald Amell asked if he could have the name of the programmer that developed the Town of Jay’s website. Robert stated it was Jonathan Ferguson at co.essex.ny.us. Tina Moody asked what the fee was for the .gov domain. Robert stated it was $400.00 per year. Barbara Darrah responded to the question of how many users there would be and she reported that she came up with 13 users, including Robert as the account manager. It was mentioned that perhaps the board members could share one account, so the number would be 14. Some towns have decided not to add the board members due to cost savings. He stated he would admit that it has been difficult to have some towns changing from something they were getting as free; the key is you are getting quite a bit more from a G suite accounts.
Donna Bramer asked Robert if he felt Gmail was more secure then Yahoo. Robert responded from a personal point of view, although he would not recommend any of those choices, he did feel Gmail was more trustful because it is run by Google, whereas Yahoo has traded hands many times, selling to AOL, Verizon, etc. therefore Gmail was probably more solid. G suites are a step above the regular gmail accounts because Google and Microsoft have set aside space in their data centers to segregate their government account from personal accounts and regular business accounts. The cost of the switch would be approximately $1,960 per year: 13 users x $10 = $130/month x12 months = $1,560 plus the $400 per year for .gov domain registration totals $1,960 per year. Montroy stated he hates to spend more money but feels very strongly that we should commit to this change.
Dean asked Robert what our next step would be if the Board approved it. Robert replied he would do a letter approving the registration and the Town would have to put the letter on letterhead, signed by the and once completed, he sends it to the .gov domain. Once approved, then we have to pay the $400 registration fee with a credit card. What is the length of time if we approve this? Robert stated it generally takes from the time he sends the registration letter for the domain, then activates the domain and pays for it, it would probably take about one week. Once the domain is paid for and set up, he would set up the G suite account, verify the domain, and create all the email addresses and at that point the emails are active and access is given to the users. Then, the migrations of the emails to the new mail accounts starts. Robert stated this process should take approximately 2-3 weeks at most. Robert stated if the Town wanted to do this, he could start doing it at the end of October. This concluded the .gov domain session. Everyone thanked Robert for his presentation and time.
The meeting then continued with discussion on the Tentative Budget.
Dean asked Jeff Cotter if he would like to go ahead and present his requests. Jeff stated he had a couple of questions regarding the budget forms. One question from last week was regarding the replacement of the lines at Rockledge in the older area. Jeff Cotter stated they may need to do a study to see what problems there are foreseeing. Where the line froze last year, the line was fairly new. Samuel Grimone stated another question from last week was on the budget request; Jeff had put in $15,000 for .4, the same was put in for the 2018 budget and 2017, but yet the total cost was only $7,000 for 2017, and only $1,000 thus far in 2018. Jeff stated chlorine only runs about $600 per year. Jeff asked if electric was in that figure. He felt the request was inflated. Tina asked if we could bring it down to $8,000 and Jeff readily agreed.
The cost of propane was used for heating the area of the generator pump (diesel). Sam Grimone asked for a fine tuning of the propane costs for the next meeting. Jeff stated the electric has dropped approximately in half because the well pumps were over pumping when he first started. Account 8340.4 was also discussed to plan for $10,000. Sam Grimone asked to wait until next week when the figures are more detailed. Jeff felt the $6,000.00 in 2017 was the new fire hydrant we had to purchase. Dean Montroy asked Jeff to be at the Public Hearing meeting on October 17, 2018 at 6:00 pm.
Tina stated the $41,000 listed in 8130.2 was the needed amount for the soft cost (engineering, and grant writing) for the anticipated grant for the Chlorination system. The planning company suggested that we put it in 8130.41. Donald Amell asked the reason the amount is in this year’s budget; why do we need to spend this money? Dean stated the chlorination system is mandated by DEC and has to be done by 2022. AES anticipated DEC would mandate this so that is why AES began the channel. Samuel Grimone asked if the town has signed an agreement for the design process. Dean stated we do not have to commit to that. Donald Amell stated the reason he is asking is because the main complaint he hears is why is the sewer bill so high?
Discussion ensued regarding the Treatment Plant and past and future construction and design.
D. Joseph Bates asked if we have anything in writing from DEC that this chlorination process will be acceptable? Dean replied that it is in the process. Stan Ingison replied that he does have something in writing that does say either chlorine or UV process will be acceptable. Samuel Grimone asked Stan if he includes budgeting throughout the course of the year, keep notes of anything that he anticipates, etc. Stan replied that yes, when something comes up that he knows he will need money for in the future, he makes a note of that. Discussion ensued regarding the flooding damage due to the power surge in 2017. Samuel Grimone stated the point is; budgeting should be an ongoing process and makes it easier for everyone in the budget process.
Dean asked Stan to go over his equipment requests to include the Miller Trip-pod, and Honeywell Gas Detector micron. Stan explained we had one detector model that was outdated and we sent it in to be worked on. The company stated it was outdated and they would send it back to us. Stan continued to describe the Union Street lift station, stating that trying to get in with proper gear was impossible. Stan can barely squeeze in without equipment. Dean asked if we had looked at grant money to repair these lift stations? Then, Dean said he would talk to the Planning Department to see if there was any grant money for this. Discussion ensued regarding the repair of lift stations. Samuel Grimone asked what needs to be done and what would it cost? Stan and Dean both agreed the Union Street lift station needs to be repaired. Samuel Grimone asked if we could have what the cost is going to be to repair this one by the next meeting? Stanley reported the lift station on Poplar Street, which Stan believes only serves the one trailer also needs to be repaired. Montroy stated that lift station was put in privately and we should not be maintaining it. He continued by telling Stan that he doesn’t want him to even go down there, because this is not our lift station.
Dean asked to continue going down the requests for equipment: Snow Blower money was put in for $250.00 to purchase a used snow blower but Dean stated he thought we had put in $500 for a new snow blower. Samuel Grimone asked if $500 was enough and then what should the amount be to set aside so there is enough? Stanley stated he looked at cheaper models. Dean stated he thought what Sam Grimone was trying to say is let’s get a good one, so let’s come up with a figure that is more realistic. The Board determined $800 would be more realistic and approved $800 for a new snow blower.
Dean asked Stan about the Replacement Gas Sensor for $5000. What is that? Stan reported this is replacement sensors for the Preliminary Treatment building. There are actually four sensors in the building all together, but one of them does not need replacing as often. Three only have a couple year life span. They are expensive so $5,000 would cover two of them if they need to be replaced. One has been replaced this year. Stan had worked with Core Climate and they determined there would be replacements necessary in 2019.
Dean asked Stan if the training he put in for was usually in Albany? Stanley reported he goes to several one day sessions, and the one he goes to every May is usually a 4-day training, and they are now trying to make it a three day with the same amount of hours. Stanley explained the conference is designated in different areas every year and in 2019 it is in Lake Placid. D. Joseph Bates asked if these courses could be taken online? Stan replied that yes, some of the classes are offered online but all of the courses online are more expensive because the State is regulating them.
Dean asked Stan to explain the request of $600 for moving a manhole out of a driveway area on School Street where a trailer was put in last November (Bordeau). Stanley tried to ask the person setting up the trailer to dig the line deeper to prevent freezing. The line is not owned by Bordeau, the original line was put it by the trailer park owner and it runs across Bordeau’s property. Samuel Grimone stated he doesn’t take spending $600 lightly, but felt it was worth it to move the line deeper because if that line freezes, it is going to cost the Town a lot more to repair.
Dean asked Stan to explain the cost of repairs of $1,000 to the Ford F250. Why do we need to replace the wiring? Stan explained the truck was ordered with a full plow package, but never included the installation of the plow light or wiring to the plow lamp. Stan talked to Ford and they can run the wires and install a light. The amount also includes the years’ worth of servicing or other possible work that comes up, etc.
The next item was manhole rebuilding supplies. Stan had to do some patching with concrete mix and hydraulic mix to repair manholes this year and anticipates more for next year. Dean asked Stan if he had a good sense on the Polymer needs for the year based on what you used in the past few months? Stan explained we have not used a year’s worth of the polymer because in the interim we used some other products that were cheaper.
Samuel Grimone asked Tina if SS9010.8 is directly tied to SS8130.1. Is that accurate? Tina asked him if he thought it might be health insurance? He said no. Tina responded that those accounts are the liability insurance amounts for the town. Tina then asked Dean if we had final insurance amounts at this time. He replied no, they are being worked on by Rob Reyell at Ayres, due to the possible reductions.
Dean asked if there were any other questions for Stan? There were none.
GENERAL QUESTIONS: (1:47:10)
Tina asked if the Board had decided whether to approve the .gov domain. Dean Montroy stated he believed we should go ahead with it, especially because of the security and professionalism it offered. Donald Amell stated the main issue to him was he thinks getting the transfer of emails would be more than the time frame Robert stated. He thought it would be more like six months. The internet provider is Spectrum and the email provider is Rainbow Graphics. He felt he was not convinced that we would be gaining that much as far as security, because any email can be hacked and what happens to our contract if we left Rainbow Graphics. Dean stated the only thing he was afraid of was using his personal email account and having it hacked again. Discussion ensued regarding different email options. Donald Amell stated he had no problem budgeting for it for next year, but a quick decision was not warranted, until more research was done. The money could be put away for it, and if we decided to go ahead with it, the money would be there and the change could possibly happen in July.
Samuel Grimone asked Tina in account 1620.4 in General Fund Page 2, what is the increase to $21,000, when $10,701 was spent in 2017 and what do we anticipate that increase might be for? Tina stated it has to do with the planned renovations upstairs and the alarm systems were also included. Samuel Grimone continued to comment about the 1990.4 account (the contingency account) stating luckily we did not use any of that this year. He asked if we are going to talk about using some of the fund balance money to reduce the budget? Dean stated we can, but we don’t have the final numbers yet but he stated the numbers were looking better compared to last week, so that was certainly a possibility. Tina then directed everyone to look at the Tax Rate Schedule Page 1. Donald Amell then asked if the Tax Cap directly pertains to the amount to be raised by taxes. Tina replied that yes, by the dollar amount. So where we are already, is below the amount to be raised by tax from last year. So, if all the numbers are right, then we can effectively lower the tax rate. Montroy stated, if all the numbers are right, that is correct.
Samuel Grimone asked what we planned for the cemetery. Montroy stated we had a three-year plan on fixing the walls, so we are continuing with the plan. Grimone then asked if there is any alternative to the source for our Workers Comp. Montroy stated no because it is the best and it is carried through the County.
Samuel Grimone asked when the last time was that we raised the salary for the Health Officer. Tina said it hasn’t been since she has been here. The Health Officer has never asked for more.
STATE CONTRACT: (2:03:32)
Samuel Grimone asked if we came to a decision on the State Contract. Dean Montroy asked Tina if she had a chance to pull the figures for the payroll and she had not. Samuel Grimone stated we can go back and asked for more money. He continued we have gone back in the past and presented to the higher costs at the end of the year to the DOT and he is certain we have gotten more money. Discussion ensued regarding the exorbitant costs. Dean stated Mark Bonfey, DOT, told him if we can compile three years of figures together, they will review the figures. Montroy stated we shouldn’t count on it.
Donald Amell asked a question: On the salaries in general; there was 3% in here to start off with? Tina responded a lot of the requests she received had 3% so she went with that except for those that requested more, then those higher percentages were put in. Dean stated the cost of living, too, he looked up and it was 2.8%. Donald Amell queried Social Security is expecting 2.8%? Donald Amell continued, So, the decision is are we considering the increase a cost of living increase or a raise? Donna Bramer stated a cost of living is not a raise. Don Amell stated that is why he asked how did we come up with 3%? Donna Bramer stated that is normal, a lot of towns do three percent on a regular basis.
Samuel Grimone asked a question regarding the Local Sources, Real Property Taxes and Services Other Government on Highway Townwide Fund: I want to know why the Real Property Taxes has such a big difference between last year and this year. Donna Bramer stated it was probably from the revals. Sam Grimone stated he was using last week’s printout for good reason and wanted to know why there was such a big difference. Tina explained the printout we have tonight she did not put anything there. So, Sam asked why did we make that leap of faith? Tina explained it was initially to make sure they balanced, but now that we have changes and we actually have the tax page, that’s what it is.
Dean asked if there were any other questions?
Donald Amell asked on salaries in general, should there be a differentiation between elected and non-elected positions? Last year we opted not to give elected officials anything and everyone gets at least 3% in this one. He continued by saying in justifying increases for elected positions, do we have to investigate what’s different, what is more involved or were there other responsibilities than there were last year? How do we justify an increase for an elected official? Montroy responded by saying he feels there is a lot more work involved then for the money they make. Donald Amell countered how would he know that he has only been in the position less than a year? Montroy explained he has a pretty good handle on things, but more comes up any given day that is mandated. Everything has a policy or procedure. Don Amell continued that coming to a budget process and asking for a raise demands justification. In general, if it’s a raise and not a cost of living increase.
Donna Bramer commented that she doesn’t know if it can be conveyed how much the public needs us as employees. It has become very very hard to work in local government. It is a lot of work and it’s a lot more than probably more than is conveyed on paper. We have some really good employees in this town that really care and go above and beyond and work very very hard for the taxpayers here and it’s getting harder and harder and harder.
Donald Amell stated he’s sure we all understand the reason his is playing devil’s advocate is because of the guy that says how come my taxes went up or how come my sewer went up and then you guys got a 3% raise? It’s always that question. Can we justify it? And that’s why to him, in his mind; is it a cost of living raise or is it a raise? Samuel Grimone stated he thinks it does make a difference because you have to do things for the right reasons and that’s the way it is. Dean stated he thinks as a politician it is not easy to give a raise, because this is always being scrutinized.
D. Joseph Bates stated you can’t do a raise without an eval. Sam Grimone asked if the union take evaluations out of the equation. Doug Snickles stated it does take it out. Samuel stated for years the board asked for evals but they never got them. And the union contract takes it away. Samuel continued that he is not opposed to no salary increases for elected officials and then that opens the discussion for a cost of living raise for those peoples.
Discussion ensued regarding the request for salaries, the position challenges and the justification for raises.
NYS STATE ROUTE 3 CONTRACT: (2:24:52)
Discussion resumed on whether or not to keep the NYS Route 3 state contract. Samuel Grimone stated that is a decision that needs to be made soon then. Sam asked, so we need to budget for doing Route 3 and Dean agreed yes we do.
Then Sam asked if we need to budget for the truck? Doug Snickles stated that is why we might want to continue with budgeting for the new truck, whether we do the State route or not. Samuel asked how would not having the contract affect the personnel issue? Dean stated it was definitely a possibility of eliminating a position. Last year we only had three drivers including Doug and they did everything and the State road. If we got rid of the State road, we would have four guys for the following year. It wouldn’t make sense to keep somebody else on if we did not keep the State contract.
Samuel asked: So, have we returned to salaries? Tina stated she hoped so because she would like to talk about hers.
Tina: I would like to go back to when I first started. I started at the very beginning of November. I came in at under what I was asking for when I came in to interview and I really didn’t see any type of increase. We had the audit and all these additional hours, and we talked about that last year. I only put in for 3% for myself here, but I now need to say that I really would like to see that increased if we are going to do something because I feel like I need to be brought up to where the position really needs to be and then it can be consistent with others. But, I am not being paid and I am not asking for additional hours. When I put the extra in, I put the extra in and that is all the time. I feel like the salary for the position needs to be brought up because there are more responsibilities. I didn’t come in at where it really should have been. There were other cuts and thankfully the board didn’t make changes with the budget officer and that was cut in half. My position wasn’t included in the increases for that first budget year that I was here. Where consistently if someone new was coming in to a position, still included whatever percentage. So, I feel like I’m way behind where I need to be.
Dean Montroy stated Tina was hired for a six hour a week job. I know that I see her a lot more than six hours a week. She tells me she averages about 15 hours a week. Some weeks. Some are ten. So an average is 12 ½, but working twice as many hours. But, I don’t think now it’s a learning curve and she’s been here 2 years in November and she’s done a wonderful job. She’s really turned things around and she got us on a good straight line. And, I think in order to keep people that are a good quality we need to make sure they are compensated for that. Don Amell asked how much? Tina stated if she could get 5%, she would be happy, at least she would feel that it would bring it up. Dean: I could go out on a limb and I personally think it should be more than that. I just want to reward somebody for the hard work they put in. It’s a lot more than six hours a week for doing all that she does. I’m sure she’s not over here playing on her computer and looking at the internet. That’s the other thing. It’s hard to even take a vacation. Between Barb and Tina and I, we interact so much together if one link is gone, then there are some things we can’t do.
Samuel Grimone asked how important to you (Dean) is Erica? Dean responded: She does one half of the vouchers. She is paid by the hour. She comes in extra hours to fix the computer or if I need something else during the week, she comes in. Donald Amell asked if she has asked for an increase and Dean stated no, she hasn’t said anything to him. The state and the Feds keep putting more and more on us and she comes in to help. Don Amell stated: Like Tina, again, if the position has changed, it takes more time to do what is expected than it did two years ago. Erica has not made a case for that? Dean stated no.
Tina stated her hours are 15 per pay period, so 7 ½ per week. She is paid hourly. Don Amell: So, when we say the positions has changed, then the answer is yes. Tina stated rarely does she work over that.
Sam: And she is paid additional. Tina: Yes, she is paid hourly so she is paid for the hours that she works.
Dean explained there are things that happen and if she comes in, I ask her to do it for me.
Don: So, the answer is yes, the position has changed.
Joe Bates: It could be more. It has the potential of being more.
Don: So, the position has changed.
Tina stated Yes. Most of us have had our positions change in the last couple of years.
Don: The position that you signed on for two years ago isn’t the position today; is the case you are making. It is that it takes twice as many hours a week to do what you had to do two years ago. So that’s a different position.
Barb: So, is that justification? Is that what you are giving us?
Don: I’m saying make the case.
Don: Nonsense. If you call it a raise, everybody didn’t work if it’s a raise.
Donna Bramer: Everybody’s position has changed. They keep adding more and more because the Governor has changed the program. So there is many many hours that will be spent on administering just the senior citizens exemptions.
Don: But tonight, you are making the case.
Tina: I’m trying.
Don: OK. So now you want five? Who’s next
TOWN CLERK/WATER AND SEWER CLERK (2:40:18)
Barbara: 5%, which I asked for last year. The stipend, actually I am losing money working here because I collect social security survivor benefits and because I got the stipend, they have cut that because I made too much money. So, I don’t feel a stipend is what I am looking for this year. I would like to see either the Water and Sewer Clerk be a separate position altogether and get another Town Clerk. I don’t think I want more hours because it doesn’t seem to matter if I have a 40 hour job, I take work home, as well. I think if you are going to go with elected officials not receiving a raise but hourly people will or non-elected people will, then I would like to see the W&S Clerk salary be reversed with the Town Clerk or paid hourly.
Sam: I would like to say that they are separate positions. They weren’t always handled by one person. They are separate positions there is no question about that. The reason in recent history that we made it possible for one person to hold both is because both of them pay so measly, quite frankly. No, I don’t see how anyone here can argue with that.
Don Amell: It’s the absolute truth.
Sam: It’s pitiful. But, they are separate. And, not that I am suggesting this Barb, I’m not, but you could excuse yourself from one of those positions and say you don’t want to be one any longer and we would either have to hold an election or have to appoint someone. But, they are not one.
Don: Does it seem to you like the two positions together are more than a fulltime position? One job may be a fulltime position, Water and Sewer the way I’m hearing it, but the Town Clerk maybe is only a two day a week job.
Tina: But in the budget, the Town Clerk is budgeted for $12,857.00 and then the Water and Sewer is much lower.
Sam: I am only going to guess at this, but I would say that evolved in order to keep some of the expense from the Water and Sewer accounts. Because as we all know, you can’t go outside that revenue.
Dean: Barb does put a lot of time in. A lot more than she is paid, well, what is it 15 hours for each job?
Barb: It does not say in the position description. It’s 26 hours, 24 and they allow 2 hours for the Town Board meeting.
Don: That’s for Town Clerk?
Barb: No. It’s for both total. And I’m not a person and I never will be a person to say I’m sorry I can’t do this. Or I’m not going to finish this. It’s on your desk as soon as possible.
Don: What I am trying to get at is, what is the balance? If you think Water and Sewer is a 40 hour position, is a fulltime position…
Sam: Is that what you meant by full time or did you mean it as 26 hours? Are you saying that all the time that you put in should be about the amount of time that the Water and Sewer Clerk does.
Barb: I don’t want more hours. I don’t want to be held to more hours. I work when I need to, to feel complete, that I have done the best I can do.
Don: My question is from your opinion, in the position that you are in, how many hours a week does it take to do the Water and Sewer position? Ball park.
Don: Town Clerk.
Barb: Six if it all happened in one day.
Don: Six hours a week. Are you serious?
Sam: That doesn’t leave the office open for people of the community to make payments.
Dean: Sometimes she has to come in, in all defense of Barb, to get her work done without having someone come in and interrupting her. When you are doing things like that and you get interrupted, you start to hit zero.
Sam: The Town Clerk may not have that problem. The Water and Sewer Clerk may, but the Town Clerk may not.
Barb: The Town Clerk is more open to interruptions, people coming in and out for whatever reason. The Water and Sewer takes a lot of concentration, a lot of communication, doing the adjustments, for accuracy. If you don’t care what goes out the door as far as bills, but it matters.
Don: I guess where I am heading is, it certainly sounds like we really need to redefine the positions. I don’t think we can do it tonight and I don’t think we can do it in the budget process. Having said that, like last year, what would you accept? You said you are okay with 5% for the budget. And I would strongly suggest (to Dean) that at some point in your position that you redefine these positions now before the next budget process. I will leave it at that.
Donna Bramer: I am fine with
Don: But to continue on this vein, do you (Donna) think the time has come to reassess the assessor position?
Donna: No, the only thing that really sticks in my craw and it’s nothing to do with this Board. I work right there (pointing to her office) and Joyce sat there with Georgia Murphy stuffing envelopes and I heard her tell Georgia Murphy that the girls don’t work as hard as the guys and we were eliminated raises for many years.
Dean: Coming from working with my hands and physical, I have never been so mentally drained and tired at the end of the day.
Donna: It is mentally draining. So, for many years, the girls never got raises and only the guys did and they also get health insurance paid for that us girls don’t get. We never got compensated for those raises for quite a while. The girls’ positions are way behind the guys.
Sam: When I was on the Board, there were several people that argued, you are 100 % right, I’m not denying it, but we did try to change that a little bit at one point, but you don’t make up that damage.
Don: You (Barb) are in a unique position to be in, elected and non-elected position in the point that the Town Clerk is not the most devouring part of what your day is. I wonder when you say 5%.
Barb: Oh, I am going to ask for 5% for both this year. We did that last year.
Don: I know we did. What I am thinking, we are seriously underpaying Water and Sewer, so, should we put that 5% increase on the Water and Sewer?
Tina: 10%. So, 10 % in Water and Sewer.
Don: Do you see where I am going? I am not trying to put words in your mouth. I am not hearing you ask for a raise as the Town Clerk, but you are asking for a raise for the Water and Sewer because that is the one that is devouring. That’s the one that needs the raise.
Discussion ensued regarding where the raise should be funded from and the changes in the positions and hours.
Tina: I don’t want to have to commit to a whole lot more for hours, because I work a third job that I make $30 per hour and I don’t want to give that one up.
Donald Amell stated it was determined we are going to have to have another meeting. Dean replied there is a Water and Sewer Public Hearing already scheduled for Wednesday, October 17, 2018, at 6:00 pm. Sam suggested perhaps we need another meeting in addition to next Wednesday. Dean stated he would ask Stan and Jeff to attend next week’s meeting as well. Dean asked if we wanted to go into Executive Session next week for salaries and the Board agreed they probably should. Discussion ensued regarding the various meetings, Executive Sessions, under which they could discuss salaries and the necessary timeframes allowed for holding a meeting.
More discussion ensued regarding 3% raise for elected officials and from where the Town Clerk/Water and Sewer Clerk salary would be funded.
More discussion ensued regarding the Wastewater Superintendent’s request for increase in salary and the Board’s decision was 3%. For all the other elected officials we didn’t talk about it would be 0%.
Tina asked if she could present a quick review: The majority of the elected officials are 0%, except for Doug who will be 3%. Town Clerk is still 0% because of what we are doing with Water and Sewer. Stan is 3%. Tina is 5%. Barb is 5% for the overall salaries and whatever that amount is, will be divided between and water and sewer. Donna is 3%. Stan and Jeff are 3%. Nancy is an elected official. Dean asked about all other employees. Tina stated everyone is at 3%. Code Enforcement Officer and Health Officer is 3%. Town Historian is 3%. Cemetery is 3%.
MOTION TO ADJOURN: (3:18:02)
D. Joseph Bates made a motion to adjourn the work session. Deputy Jennifer Fuller seconded the motion. The Budget Work Session adjourned at 9:18 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 Public Hearing and Budget Work Session minutes held on the above-referenced date.