Poland May Need To Look Into New Library Site After Purchase Hits Snag
KENNEDY – Both current situations and future issues were discussed at the recent town of Poland board meeting. Board members felt they could see progress being made.
Under legal business, Supervisor Kelly Snow noted that the town had received word that they needed to designate a person to receive any notice of claims from New York state. Town Attorney Paul Webb stated that it was logical that the town clerk should be designated to receive such notices. Snow made a resolution, and it was unanimously passed.
Also discussed was the use of town facilities by the public. A public hearing will be held at the Aug. 13 board meeting concerning the rules for use of Hallquist Park. There is currently a procedure set up for private individuals and groups to be able to reserve the use of Hallquist Park. A fee structure has been set up for the reservations.
Under old business, Highway Superintendent Larry Mee stated that the soffit has been fixed on the town hall building. The new bucket truck worked well. A hose was purchased so the flower bed by the library can be watered. The librarians requested that a screen be purchased for one of the windows. Eric Stornes will paint the yellow stripes on the edges of the steps when weather permits.
Mee reported that Kennedy Pride had held their Flag Retirement Ceremony and it was well received. He noted the planned concerts in Hallquist Park.
Approval was given for a change in the site of a planned pavilion in Hallquist Park. Mee stated that he would meet with the contractor to discuss the final plans for placement and size of the structure. Permits can then be obtained. It is hoped to have the building completed during this season. One tree will be removed by town workers to enable the placement. Mee informed the board that Kennedy Pride approved the purchase of three new “Welcome to Kennedy” signs. They will be larger than the current signs and made of metal, so should last better than the current signs.
Dennis Stornes updated the board about the library. The possible purchase of another site for a new building has reached a snag. It is unknown at this time if the purchase will be able to go through, or a different suitable site will need to be located.
Dog Control Officer Brian King stated that he was continuing to work on the dog enumeration in the town. He asked if Kristin Sholl, who assisted with the rabies clinic and is a veterinary technician student, could assist him this summer during her break. Neither of his assistants are currently available. Sholl has already worked for the summer recreation program and is in the payroll system. Board members agreed that since he has funds in his budget, it was a worthwhile suggestion.
King said he is still working on a proposal for a small holding center on town property, to save the town the fees currently incurred by taking animals to the humane society. He stated that officials from the State Ag and Markets told him the costs could be recouped within a year or two. Even if no dogs are taken to the humane society in a given month, the town still pays a fee.
DRY BROOK CREEK
Mee reported progress on the DEC grant for work on Dry Brook Creek. He stated that he had received a call from Buffalo to meet them at the creek. An expert came down and looked at the blanket that was damaged by flooding several years ago. The town has the responsibility to maintain the blanket, but can do nothing without the directions of the DEC and the Corps of Engineers. After the examination at the blanket, Mee said that he was informed that the DEC would fix the blanket, using the funds from the DEC grant. Both Mee and Snow felt that state Sen. Cathy Young’s efforts to find out what had happened to the grant money was instrumental in getting the work done. It is estimated that the work would be completed by the end of the fiscal year, April 1, 2014.
In a related matter, Snow said she had met with some residents of Dry Brook Road before the board meeting. They have a serious erosion problem because of the creek. Mee told her that the creek is actually private property, and the town is not able to work on private property.
Previously, the town had done some work to stabilize the banks of the creek, but it was only allowed by written permission of all of the private landowners. Subsequently, one landowner withdrew permission for the town to work in the creek, effectively stopping the practice.
Councilman Terry Walker commented on the problem of the town doing work on private property.
“See, this is the danger you’re getting into, because I went up behind other properties, my parents live on the creek. And my father said, ‘Why are they fixing the creek for them down there? They ought to come up behind Herb Walker’s house.'”
He said you go up the creek to a lot of properties, and the owners get equipment and fix it themselves. Mee said if you start working on private property in one area, other homeowners would also want the town to do work on their properties. Councilwoman Kathy Stanton said residents should be informed as to why the town can’t do it. They should contact the DEC.
Board members decided they needed to get an official town policy about working on private property. A work session will be held to have a rough draft for the next regular Board meeting on Aug. 13.
Code Officer Alan Gustafson informed the board that the problem site on Route 394 was sold at tax auction. The new owner is planning on cleaning up the property and correcting any problems. There are still questions about the ownership of the property on Sprague Hill Road.
TOWN HALL BUILDING
Stanton reported on the June meeting of the accessibility committee. She passed out a copy of the proposal from the architects, Sandberg Kessler, which the committee recommended to the board. Since they had done previous work for proposed projects to the town hall building, their cost was considerably lower. This cost, $2,900, plus normal reimbursable expenses, includes all normal preliminary mechanical/electrical engineering required to develop the study.
They would develop a plan for accessibility with preliminary construction drawings, and prepare an estimate for costs of the completion of the project. A report would be prepared for the board. Stanton stated that Sandberg Kessler would credit the $2,900 paid now toward the future completion of the project when it moves forward. Stanton said that her committee has been thinking along the lines of a wheelchair lift for access, but are waiting for the architect’s recommendation.
Snow stated that since the library has not finalized plans to move to a new location, the architects should make their plans assuming that the library would remain in the lower part of the town hall building. Walker recommended going ahead with the proposal from Sandberg Kessler. He felt Sandberg was sincere in his meeting with committee members, and is committed to a project for the town hall. Board members unanimously approved a motion to pay Sandberg Kessler $2,900 to develop a plan for accessibility. Snow signed the authorization, so the project could move forward.
Snow updated the board on the new phone system. New wiring has begun in the building. The new phone system should be operational by mid July.
Town Clerk Barb Czerniak gave the board an update on the CHRIC applications. She noted that 20 residents have filed applications so far for interest in CHRIC assistance with their homes. Officials at CHRIC would like to see at least 10 more applications to show community interest in a grant.
Under new business, Snow informed the board of a Town of Poland Planning Board recommendation. They recommended that the town should move forward with an updated comprehensive plan and delegate financial resources. Gustafson told the board that a person well-versed in comprehensive planning is needed to guide the laymen on the planning board to develop such a plan. He gave the board a copy of what appears to be the last plan created for the town, which was completed in the 1970s. It is definitely overdue for updating. Board members agreed that the need is there, and passed a motion to have the planning board proceed. In a side issue, Gustafson asked the board for their direction on a proposal to update the fee schedule for permits. He said that in his opinion, fees should at least cover the expense for various inspections that are necessary to comply with current building codes.
A resolution was considered to allow Town Justice Judith Shields to apply for a grant from the 2013-14 Justice Court Assistance Program. The grant would be used to reimburse the town for the cost of the new telephone system. The cost was $9,552.81. As this was the basis on which the purchase of the phone system was originally approved, board members unanimously passed the resolution, approving the application for the grant.
Stanton provided copies of information about Chautauqua Opportunities for Development Inc. and their community services overview. It described the different programs they have, and what might be able to help local businesses. She said she would try to set up a meeting in the town to help explain to local businesses how to apply for assistance. Board members felt this was a great idea.
Mee reported that about 24 miles of roads had been worked on this year, out of 47 total miles of town roads. Included were parts of Grubb Hill Road, County Line Road, Scott Hill Road, Dry Brook Road, Mee Road, Carlberg Road, Eccles Road, Fisher Hill, Ericsson Road, East Cobb, Ellington Street, Middle Cobb, Sprague Hill, Buffalo Street Extension, Willard Street Extension, and Quaint Road. The new bucket truck is working well. They used it for tree trimming along roads as well as the work on the town hall. Loose stones have now been swept off roads that were worked on. Second mowing has started. Mee also reported that he had submitted the first phase information for the consultants for the county’s hazard mitigation program.
Zoning Officer George Gustafson noted that there had been increased activity in both permits and violations issued. Some residents are still not sure when permits are required for work on their homes and property. Discussions have been ongoing about the fee schedule, and the possibility of extra fees for those in violation of zoning ordinances.
The board will hold their next regular meeting on Tuesday, Aug. 13, at 7 p.m. in the town hall. A public hearing on the use of town facilities will be held.
Snow will be available at 5:30 p.m. to meet with residents about any concerns. The public is encouraged to attend.