Town of Stafford Board Meeting June 13, 2022

Apr 21, 2023 | Town Board Meeting Minutes

The Town of Stafford Town Board meeting was called to order at 7:30pm with the Pledge of Allegiance led by Supervisor Robert Clement. in attendance were Councilman Donald Mullen, Ronald Panek, James Duyssen and Robert Pacer. Also in attendance were Highway Superintendent Steven Boldt and Town Clerk Barbara Radley.

Also attending were Linda Call, Phyllis Darling, Ed Schramm, Terry Young, Andrew Miller, Bob and Michelle Wood, Andrew Darling, Julie Bolas Carasone, Dan Huntington, Eric Wies.

Councilman Pacer made a motion to approve the monthly Financial Report, second by Councilman Panek and approved on a 5-0 vote.

Councilman Duyssen made a motion to approve the May 9, 2022 Town Board meeting minutes, second by Councilman Pacer and approved on a 5-0 vote.

The Fire Department monthly report was read by Supervisor Clement; the Code and Zoning Officer Report was also discussed. Councilman Duyssen made a motion to accept both reports, second by Councilman Pacer and approved on a 5-0 vote.

Councilman Panek reported on the PUD project; he received inquires from the neighbors. The neighbors are entertaining a fence to replace the row of trees that functioned as a natural buffer which now died. It is unknown what the status is of the project and will be tabled until next month when Code and Zoning Enforcement Officer Wood will be here to update on the project.

Councilman Mullen reported on the Town Historian search. The candidate will be contacted soon and will be reported on at the next meeting.

Councilman Panek reported on the Cable Grant he was seeking for the Town of Stafford. Unfortunately, we will not be able to receive the Grant he was looking into; the grant cannot be awarded unless the Town is the owner of the cable network. Since we do not own the cable, we are not eligible for the grant. The Good News is that the County will install the broadband throughout the county in two stages; within 24 months, most of the county will have broadband coverage and by 36 months, all buildings will have broadband. Councilman Panek read the email that resident Andrew Miller sent regarding the lack of broadband service on Bartof Rd. It was explained that the initial internet service was given along Main Rd. and the more populated areas of the town  by Spectrum; and an analogy was given with the 1930’s and electricity, it was difficult to get electricity in the beginning the Federal Government stepped in, then the service was more widespread.

Eric Wies discussed WD #12; the project will be over budget due to rising Operation and Maintenance costs. The iron pipe has tripled in price, $36 per linear foot to $93 per linear foot. These pipes are made in the USA or Canada, with no price guarantees.

So far, we anticipate that we are over budget; and hoping the ARPA funds could help alleviate the debt. The USDA would like to have the ARPA funds used before we get a grant from this agency. After a discussion, it was decided that we could not use the ARPA funds, but we should look at keeping the budget under $989.00 per unit and increasing the amount we would receive from the USDA in the grants.

Along with this subject, a question arose with the Wescott Rd. and availability of water to this area. Eric Wies will investigate the possibility of hooking into another project with Bethany and getting water to this area.

Supervisor Clement read Resolution 28 Introduce Proposed Local Law No. 2 and Schedule a Public Hearing. After a short discussion, Councilman Duyssen made a motion to approve Resolution 28, second by Councilman Panek and approved on a Roll Call Vote as follows:

Councilman Mullen      aye

Councilman Panek       aye

Councilman Duyssen   aye

Councilman Pacer        aye

Supervisor Clement     aye

Councilman Panek made a motion to authorize Supervisor Clement if the needs are required, to enter into an agreement not to exceed $9500.00 with Eric J. Krathwohl at the law firm of Rich May Law from Boston, Massachusetts for the purpose of defending our Solar Law, second by Councilman Pacer and approved on a Roll Call Vote as follows:

Councilman Mullen       aye

Councilman Panek       aye

Councilman Duyssen   aye

Councilman Pacer        aye

Supervisor Clement     aye

Dan Huntington spoke on behalf of BW Solar Company about the setback requirements and escrow amounts. The Solar Company is satisfied with the zoning change for the 1000 feet set back changed to 200 feet with a buffer; however, he still is looking to remove the 2500 foot set back to neighboring properties and change that to zero feet. The escrow is excessive in his opinion. He also stated that his company is willing to pay an engineering firm to manage all the proper steps involved. The search for an engineering firm is ongoing an we will have one confirmed soon.

PILOT and Host Community Agreements were discussed as possibilities for helping with the cost of the project. Councilman Mullen was against a Host Community Agreement at this time. A PILOT could be in effect for 30-40 years. Councilman Duyssen also asked about the life of the company staying involved with the project and possibility of the company leaving before the end of the project.

Dan Huntington assured him that the company will be there through the life of the project and will maintain the natural barriers and grass land involved in the project.

Councilman Mullen shared his concern of the phone meeting that occurred between the May and June meetings; it was not a good idea to have this meeting without the entire board and public invited. He heard of the meeting the day of the meeting at 10:30am for a 1:30pm meeting. Councilman Panek reported that no decision was made, and no one spoke for the board specifically at that meeting. Dan Huntington then offered the BW Solar would pay attorney fees to have them attend a meeting; and offered that a special meeting may be needed.

The application is still in error, Councilman Mullen again asked for that to be corrected; Dan Huntington stated that he has not receive a formal letter with the errors highlighted so that they can be addressed. This also will be checked into before the July meeting.

Steve Boldt reported that Thwing Rd. is now paved; it was mentioned that the Highway crew did a wonderful job, and it is a pleasure to drive on now. Also reported on the auction items that we just closed on; the 2007 truck did well at $52,100.00, the plow was $4,650.00, and the other truck brought in $57,180.00. A truck is in Watertown, a second one will come here in October or November. A new pickup truck is anywhere from $48,000.00-$55,000.00 with little choice, if it is even available. Steve is still researching this, and it is difficult.

Councilman Panek has received complaints on our Assessor; she is stating that she should be allowed into homes to assess our homes. Councilman Panek has researched this and found that residents do not have to let her in, and she must comply with that. In NYS it is suggested that we pass a Local Law that if someone refuses to allow the Assessor entry, the homeowner will use photos, blueprints, etc. to challenge the assessment. Councilman Panek asked to allow him to write this up an have our Town Attorney review this; yes he can do this.

Town Clerk Radley spoke to the Board and thanked them for the opportunity to attend Town Clerk Conference in Albany this past April; she learned a lot and made connections with other Town Clerks that is very helpful. The Clerk’s Office has been busy cleaning out files and organizing the office and basement. The basement is very damp, and some records are affected. She has been sweeping the floor to alleviate the puddles of water with not much luck; that may be contributing to the dampness despite the dehumidifier running constantly.

Councilman Duyssen reported that Scofield’s are interested in helping fund the hanging of the banners Linda Snell has been looking into in Stafford; and asked the Highway to place them for us.

Councilman Duyssen made a motion to accept Abstract #6 Highway in the amount of $183,025.62, second by Councilman Pacer and approved on a 5-0 vote.

Councilman Panek made a motion to accept Abstract #6 General Fund in the amount of $39,036.05, second by Councilman Duyssen an approved on a 5-0 vote.

Councilman Mullen left he meeting at 10:00pm.

Councilman Panek made a motion to enter into Executive Session at 10:00pm, second by Councilman Pacer and passed on a 4-0 vote.

The meeting reconvened at 10:30pm where Councilman Panek made a motion to adjourn, second by Councilman Duyssen an approved on a 4-0 vote.

Respectfully Submitted,

Barbara Radley

Town Clerk