The annual organizational meeting of the Town Board of the Town of Homer held on Wednesday, January 7th, 2015, in the board room of the Town Hall Building was called to order by Supervisor Frederick J. Forbes, Sr., at 6:30 p.m.
Frederick J. Forbes, Sr, Supervisor
Barry E. Warren, Councilman
Dan A. Weddle, Councilman
Kevin M. Williams, Councilman
Brian D. Young, Councilman
Patrick M. Snyder, Attorney for the Town
John R. Phelps, Highway Superintendent
Anita W. Jebbett, Town Clerk
Martin Sweeney, Town Historian
Michael McMahon, Planning Board vice chairman
Stuart Young, Planning Board member
Gail Bundy, resident
Linda Jones, Cortland County legislator
Larry Jones, resident
Donald Ferris, reporter, The Homer News
Eric Mulvihill, reporter, WXHC
PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE
The minutes of the December 29th Bid Opening and December 30th Year-End Meeting were approved as presented, on motion by Councilman Warren, seconded by Councilman Young and carried unanimously.
Presented for audit by the Board were:
- The Town Clerk’s monthly report of all receipts and disbursements for December.
- The Code Enforcement Officer’s monthly report of all building permits issued for December.
- The Dog Control Officer’s report of all activities for the months of November and December.
Presented for audit by the Board were:
1. The Town Clerk’s 2014 annual report of all receipts and disbursements.
BILLS TO BE PAID
General bills were approved as audited on motion by Councilman Williams, seconded by
Councilman Weddle and carried unanimously: RESOLVED: that General Fund vouchers #321 through #324 for 2014 totaling $1,192.41, and vouchers #1 through #5 for 2015 totaling $1,384.00 be approved for payment.
Highway bills were approved as audited on motion by Councilman Young, seconded by Councilman Warren and carried unanimously: RESOLVED: that Highway Fund vouchers #207 through #215 totaling $10,554.10 for 2014, and voucher #1 for 2015 totaling $30.00 be approved for payment.
HISTORIC ADVISORY COMMITTEE
Town Historian Martin Sweeney asked the Town Board for a letter of support for an application to the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA). He will be applying for a $200,000 “Our Town” grant to help fund their proposal to place statuary on the façade of the Town Hall to honor Homer’s native sons, Francis B. Carpenter, William O. Stoddard and Eli DeVoe, who all played important roles during the Abraham Lincoln administration. The grants will be awarded in October. He said that the Committee has plans to apply for any applicable NYS grants and will also begin a fund-raising campaign.
Sweeney discussed the visits by sculptor Frank Porcu to Homer and reviewed the latest proposal for statuary at the Town Hall. Porcu’s timeline for completion of the work would be 24 months. Sweeney asked for permission to apply for a sponsorship by CNY Arts, Inc., a not-for-profit artsoriented organization based in Syracuse, to be the “primary partner”. Any grant money received would come to the Town, but any non-grant monies raised would be handled by CNY Arts, Inc.
Attorney Snyder advised the Town to complete an environmental review of the proposal and cautioned that State or Federal agencies may have restrictions about any changes or additions to an existing building in a Historic District.
On motion by Councilman Williams, seconded by Councilman Young and carried unanimously: RESOLVED: that the Supervisor is authorized to sign a letter of support for the proposed Town Hall statuary project for a grant application to the National Endowment for the Arts, and that the Town Attorney is authorized to prepare an environmental assessment review form on the project for the Board’s review at the February meeting, with input to be provided by Mr. Sweeney.
Councilman Williams was excused to attend an interview of a candidate for assessor.
MANURE STORAGE FACILITY
Planning Board vice chairman Mike McMahon addressed the issue of manure storage facilities in the Town. Residents of the Foster Moore Road area were upset after the construction of a large manure pit by New Hope View Farm along that road and had submitted to the Planning Board a list of suggested changes to the Town’s Zoning Law. McMahon said that he had reviewed their suggestions with a representative from the NYS Department of Agriculture and all except a site plan review were considered to be unreasonable or excessive according to the Right to Farm Law and, if adopted, could be overturned if contested.
McMahon reviewed the Planning Board’s suggestions for a site plan review process. Planning Board member Stuart Young suggested that a more definitive description of the manure storage facilities that would require site plan review be developed, perhaps based on size of the lagoon. He also suggested a streamlining of the information required to be submitted for site plan review and said that more information could be requested by the Planning Board should they deem it to be necessary. On motion by Councilman Young, seconded by Councilman Warren, and carried unanimously (Councilman Williams absent): RESOLVED: that the Attorney for the Town is asked to draft an amendment to the current Town Zoning Law based on the Planning Board’s proposal requiring a site plan review for manure storage facilities to present at the February 4th Town Board meeting.
Tax cap filing – Supervisor Forbes said that Bonnie Johnson has helped the Homer Fire District with their New York State tax cap filing and will be working on the Town’s filing next week.
Appointment of new assessor – Forbes reported that the Towns of Virgil and Taylor and the City of Cortland have been working together with the Town of Homer to find an assessor to replace David Briggs who retired as of the end of the year. Briggs has already moved out of his building and turned off his phone lines. They have formed a committee with one representative from each municipality to conduct interviews of potential candidates. Forbes said that they are moving forward as fast as they can while avoiding making a poor decision. Forbes said that if the Village chooses not to return to the Town Hall, it leaves open an option for the new assessor to locate his or her office at the Town Hall for all the municipalities.
Building permit fee addition – On motion by Supervisor Forbes, seconded by Councilman Warren and carried unanimously (Councilman Williams absent): RESOLVED: that the building permit fee schedule be amended to include a $100 fee for solar panel installation.
Procurement policy – On motion by Councilman Young, seconded by Councilman Weddle and carried unanimously (Councilman Williams absent): RESOLVED: that the new Procurement Policy as written by the Town Attorney is hereby adopted (copy attached).
Suit-Kote mining application – Supervisor Forbes reported the receipt of a copy of the completed DEC mining application for Suit-Kote Corporation’s Homer Materials North Mine Expansion, located off Health Camp Road in the Town of Homer. The expansion is all on land that the company has devoted to mining for many years, and therefore the Town has no jurisdiction over this application.
Annual appointments and resolutions – On motion by Councilman Young, seconded by Councilman Weddle and carried unanimously (Councilman Williams absent): RESOLVED: that the following appointments and resolutions for the year 2015 are hereby approved:
County Landfill – There was discussion regarding the County Legislature’s consideration of various options for the County Landfill.
On motion by Supervisor Forbes, seconded by Councilman Warren and carried unanimously (Councilman Williams absent): RESOLVED: that the Homer Town Board hereby states for the record that they are opposed to “flow control” for the Cortland County Landfill.
On motion by Councilman Warren, seconded by Councilman Weddle and carried unanimously (Councilman Williams absent): RESOLVED: that the Homer Town Board hereby states for the record that they are in favor of the “ash for trash” proposal for the Cortland County Landfill.
Highway Superintendent John Phelps reported that one of his employees is currently in the hospital for tests. He will be hiring another seasonal worker for snow plowing to cover for that employee while he is unable to work.
He said that they have taken delivery of the new Chevrolet diesel truck and that he is in process of obtaining quotes for a plow blade for it. He will be selling the gas truck that was replaced by the new one in the spring. Phelps also said that he is looking into the purchase a new rear-mounted mower for the new tractor on State bid.
Councilman Young questioned the lack of a guard rail alongside a culvert pipe on E Homer Baltimore Road, a concern brought to his attention by a constituent. Phelps said that he would look into the matter.
ATTORNEY FOR THE TOWN
Attorney Snyder reported that he has written a letter to the attorneys for NYSEG regarding their subpoena for papers concerning the former manufactured gas plant on Route 11 informing them that the plant was not located in the Town of Homer.
The meeting was adjourned at 8:00 p.m.
Anita W. Jebbett