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Regular Meeting – March 6, 2019

The regular meeting of the Town Board of the Town of Homer held on Wednesday, March 6, 2019, in the Town Hall Senior Center was called to order by Supervisor Frederick J. Forbes, Sr., at 6:30 p.m.

PRESENT

                Frederick J. Forbes, Sr., Supervisor

                Michael R. Park, Councilman

                Barry E. Warren, Councilman

                Kevin M. Williams, Councilman

                Patrick M. Snyder, Attorney for the Town

                Anita W. Jebbett, Town Clerk

ABSENT

                Larry R. Jones, Councilman

John R. Phelps, Highway Superintendent, in Albany for Highway Superintendents’ Lobby Day

OTHERS PRESENT

                Kelly Preston, Cortland County Legislator

                Shenandoah Briere, reporter, Cortland Standard

                Don Ferris, reporter, The Homer News

PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE

MINUTES

The minutes of the February 6th regular meeting and the February 20th special meeting were approved as presented, on motion by Councilman Williams, seconded by Councilman Warren and carried unanimously.

MONTHLY REPORTS

Presented for audit by the Board were:

  1. The Supervisor’s report of all receipts & disbursements for January.
  2. The Town Clerk’s report of all receipts & disbursements for February.
  3. The Code Enforcement Officer’s report of all building permits issued for February.
  4. The Dog Control Officer’s report of all activities for the month of February.
  5. The Tax Collector’s summary of all taxes received as of the end of February.

BILLS TO BE PAID

General bills were approved as audited on motion by Councilman Park, seconded by Councilman Williams and carried unanimously:  RESOLVED: that General Fund vouchers #38 through #61 totaling $143,871.33 are approved for payment.

Highway bills were approved as audited on motion by Councilman Warren, seconded by Councilman Park and carried unanimously:  RESOLVED: that Highway Fund vouchers #33 through #49 totaling $52,172.69 are approved for payment.

Trust & Agency bill was approved as audited on motion by Councilman Warren, seconded by Councilman Park and carried unanimously:  RESOLVED: that Trust & Agency Account voucher #9 totaling $1,100 for the Rhoda Beebe historical marker is approved for payment.

NEW BUSINESS

Supervisor Forbes thanked Councilman and Deputy Supervisor Michael Park for all his extra work to fill in for Forbes while he was on vacation, and Clerk Jebbett for her extra efforts as well.

Court audit – Forbes reminded Councilmen Williams and Jones about conducting an audit of the Town Justice Court’s 2018 records.

Office Renovation Project change orders- Supervisor Forbes reviewed three change orders proposed by W. L. Kline, the general contractor for the office renovation project.

On motion by Councilman Park, seconded by Councilman Warren and carried unanimously:  RESOLVED: that the Town Board approves of Kline’s change order #4, to provide and install a new 32” by 52” counter to match the existing counter in the Village office reception area, for a total of $550.

On motion by Councilman Warren, seconded by Councilman Williams and carried unanimously:

RESOLVED: that the Town Board approves of Kline’s change order #5, to scuff, prime and paint the ceiling in the existing cross hall for cost of $4,000, and of Kline’s change order #6, to scuff, prime and paint the existing east wall and wipe down the existing trim for a cost of $1,900, contingent upon adding an accent color to certain architectural features on the proscenium and the ceiling.

                Councilman Park said that the electrician will also be using the scaffolding to be built for painting the ceiling to install the antique light fixtures planned for that space.  There was discussion about the antique fixture to be hung in front of the balcony window.  Councilman Warren suggested that the smaller fixture be used as suggested by Architect Randy Crawford.

                Supervisor Forbes said that he will be offering the old Town Clerk counter to the Highway Department or Village since it will no longer be used by the Clerk.

                Pine Street Bridge – Councilman Park reported that the engineers, Barton & Loguidice, will be going out to bid for the repair of the bridge in near future, and have taken care of any state requirements in closing out the Haights Gulf Road Bridge project completed last fall.

                Workers’ Compensation Insurance – Councilman Williams reported on a meeting he attended on the topic of the County’s self-insured workers’ compensation plan.  The Village of Homer has chosen to leave the plan which has caused some concern about additional costs for the remaining municipalities.  Another meeting is scheduled for March 13th to help resolve some of the issues of cost and lack of transparency.

                Tax collection – Clerk Jebbett reported that the Town has collected 85.22% of the 2019 tax levy as of February 28th.  This percentage is slightly higher than in the past.

ATTORNEY FOR THE TOWN

Attorney Pat Snyder said that last fall, although he was questioning it at the time, he had advised the Town to participate in the County’s PILOT agreement for future commercial solar farms so that the Town would not lose out on any income from such a project.  Since then, after speaking with Assessor Brian Fitts and Assessor Clerk Colleen Brown, and doing more research after Victor Siegle’s presentation, Snyder said he would advise the Town to consider its own agreement with any large commercial solar projects, and not participate in the County’s PILOT plan.

Following much discussion, a motion was made by Councilman Park, seconded by Councilman Williams and carried unanimously:  RESOLVED:

WHEREAS Cortland County Local Law #1 of 2018 adopted a PILOT program for commercial solar energy projects, and

WHEREAS the Homer Town Board adopted a resolution on October 3, 2018 stating that it wished to participate in the County program, and

WHEREAS the Homer Town Board has received further information and input from the public and the town’s real property assessment office, and

WHEREAS the Town Board has concluded that it would be more equitable and in the public interest to either opt out of the Real Property Tax Law Section 487 exemption, or enter into more equitable PILOT agreements, now

IT IS HEREBY RESOLVED that the Town of Homer will not participate in the County program, and

IT IS FURTHER RESOLVED that the resolution of October 3, 2018 is rescinded, and

IT IS FURTHER RESOLVED that the Town of Homer will consider PILOT agreements for commercial solar energy projects individually on their merits.

Supervisor Forbes will ask Assessor Fitts and Assessor Clerk Brown to attend the April meeting for further discussion, and thanked Attorney Snyder for all his work on this issue.

COUNTY LEGISLATOR

County Legislator Preston reported on issues addressed by the County Legislature over the past month, including repairs at the County jail after ice and snow caused the roof to leak.  They had also discussed using recycled glass for cover at the landfill, and hiring a county administrator and auditor.  She noted how the actions of a Meals on Wheels volunteer had led to prompt medical care for an elderly person in need, and the important role the volunteers play as a daily check on seniors, especially those who live alone.  The Board thanked her for the update.

The meeting was adjourned at 7:35 p.m.

                                                                                                                                Anita W. Jebbett

                                                                                                                                Town Clerk