The regular meeting of the Town Board of the Town of Homer held on Wednesday, November 6th, 2019, in the Town Hall board room was called to order by Supervisor Frederick J. Forbes, Sr., at 6:40 p.m.
Frederick J. Forbes, Sr., Supervisor
Larry R. Jones, Councilman
Michael R. Park, Councilman
Barry E. Warren, Councilman
Kevin M. Williams, Councilman
Patrick M. Snyder, Attorney for the Town
Anita W. Jebbett, Town Clerk
Martin Sweeney, Town Historian
Shenandoah Briere, reporter, Cortland Standard
Donald Ferris, reporter, The Homer News
Patrick Clune, Trustee, Village of Homer
The minutes of the October 2nd regular meeting and the October 23rd special meeting were approved as presented, on motion by Councilman Park, seconded by Councilman Jones and carried unanimously.
Presented for audit by the Board were:
- The Town Clerk’s report of all receipts & disbursements for October.
- The Supervisor’s report of all receipts & disbursements for September & October.
- The Code Enforcement Officer’s report of all building permits issued for October.
- The Dog Control Officer’s report of all activities for September & October.
Presented for audit by the Board was:
- Town Historian’s annual report from November 1st, 2018 through October 31st, 2019.
- Dog Control Officer Inspection Report completed on October 22nd by NYS Dept. of Ag & Markets finding all services as “satisfactory”.
- Municipal Shelter Inspection Report completed on October 22nd by NYS Dept. of Ag & Markets finding all dog shelter services as “satisfactory”.
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 #249 through #278 totaling $33,437.71 are approved for payment.
Highway bills were approved as audited on motion by Councilman Warren, seconded by Councilman Jones and carried unanimously: RESOLVED: that Highway Fund vouchers #187 through #203 totaling $34,217.01 are approved for payment.
Town Historian Martin Sweeney read through his written report covering the past year which outlined many office visits, phone calls & emails that he responded to, as well as numerous public presentations that he made during that time period.
Sweeney’s research and writings on the history of education in Homer was published as a booklet, “A Brief History of Education in Homer: 1819-2019” by the Landmark Society. He also applied for and obtained grants for three free historic markers which were installed over the last year: one honoring early settler Rhoda Beebe, a marker indicating the Glenwood Cemetery as a National Historic Site, and a marker recognizing 200 years of state-approved education on the Village Green.
Sweeney thanked the Town Board for his new office on the “stage” level of the Town Hall which he moved into in August following the extensive Town Hall renovations. He noted the compromise made by the Town to preserve the graffiti dating from the 1910’s through the 1940’s on either side of the stage opening. Among the many items donated and evaluated by Sweeney were numerous items from the movie theater era of the Town Hall that were found during the balcony tear-down. He has donated them to the CNY Living History Center where they were put on display.
Sweeney briefly discussed the controversy over David Hannum/Harum and the Village’s new “welcome” signs, and noted his venture into historical fiction as a way of educating about the past.
On motion by Councilman Williams, seconded by Councilman Park and carried unanimously: RESOLVED: that the annual report of the Town Historian is accepted with thanks and gratitude; that his dedication and enthusiasm remain a benchmark in keeping Homer’s history in the hearts and minds of the Town of Homer residents.
Old copiers – Supervisor Forbes reported that the Town Clerk’s Office now has a new Toshiba copier that also replaces the fax machine/color copier.
On motion by Councilman Park, seconded by Councilman Jones, and carried unanimously: that the Toshiba E-studio 255SE copier formerly used by the Town Clerk’s Office be donated to the Village DPW for their use.
On motion by Councilman Warren, seconded by Councilman Park, and carried unanimously: RESOLVED: that the HP LaserJet 4630 formerly used by the Town Clerk’s Office as a fax machine/color copier is of no value.
The Justice Court Office will also have an old copier that could be used by other offices in the near future. They have obtained a grant from the NYS Office of Court Administration for their current copier to be replaced.
Photographs of Village Mayors – Supervisor Forbes noted that David Quinlan, a Village resident and former art teacher, hung all the photos of the mayors in the new center hallway after being asked to do so by Historian Martin Sweeney. Village Trustee Clune agreed that they will reimburse him in some manner for all his work.
Homer Solar meeting – Forbes said that Jack Honor of EDF Renewables will be holding a public hearing on their proposed solar farm to be located at the intersection of the Towns of Solon, Homer and Cortlandville on Thursday, November 14th at a McGraw school if any Board members are interested in attending.
Seasonal roads resolution – On motion by Supervisor Forbes, seconded by Councilman Warren and carried unanimously: RESOLVED: that Town of Homer Highway Superintendent John R. Phelps has designated certain Town highways and portions of Town highways as seasonal limited use highways and is hereby authorized by the Homer Town Board to temporarily discontinue snow and ice removal and maintenance on those Town highways and portions thereof from December 1st, 2019, to April 1st, 2020 as follows:
Foster Road .50 miles
Burhans Road .50 miles
Wolf Road .25 miles
Grange Road .75 mile from Rice Road to Brake Hill Road
Brake Hill Road .50 miles
Rice Road .50 miles
Carroway Hill Rd .25 miles
McDonald Road .25 miles
Sessions Hill Rd 2.50 miles
Vern King Road 1.25 miles from house #5937 to Sessions Hill Road
Maxson Road 1.70 miles from Sessions Hill
Forbes Road .87 miles
Chapman Road .75 miles
Searls Road .50 miles
Dillon Road .25 miles
Fire alarm system proposals –Councilman Williams reported that he has contacted two other contractors for quotes for an updated fire alarm system in the Town Hall. He suggested that the Board give them a little more time to respond. So far only one quote has been received.
Town Hall repairs –Beard Electric was asked to replace the outdoor lights on the building addition when it came to Forbes’ attention that they were not working properly. There was concern about adequate lighting for the upcoming voting to take place. Beard also replaced the outdoor light over the back parking lot, which also had not been working, and added an additional light. Since he had his lift truck, Beard was asked to wash the large front window over the main entrance. Supervisor Forbes had received a quote from a local contractor for cleaning the Town Hall windows which was much too high.
Forbes said that he would like to have more work done in the balcony before winter, including insulating the floor and the walls.
On motion by Councilman Warren, seconded by Councilman Park and carried unanimously: RESOLVED: that $3,000 be allocated for labor costs to be paid at an hourly rate yet to be determined, with the Town to provide the materials for insulating the former balcony to improve the space for future use as a storage area.
ATTORNEY FOR THE TOWN
Attorney Pat Snyder reported on the status of the Speedway assessment lawsuit. He commended Assessor Brian Fitts for creating a record which provides the necessary background for the Town’s case. Snyder said that he is working in coordination with the attorneys hired by the County and school district, Mackenzie Hughes, LLP, of Syracuse. Oral argument will take place at 2 p.m. on November 26th at the Cortland County Court House, where they plan to file a motion to dismiss.
Councilman Jones made a statement of his support for both newly re-elected legislators, Linda Jones and Kelly Preston, who were unable to attend. He said that both Linda (his wife) and Kelly have been mistreated and attacked by other officials over the course of the past two years and especially prior to the election. He said he knows first-hand how hard they both work – how much research they do, and how much effort goes into doing the best job possible. Town Board members said that they agreed and were very proud to have Linda and Kelly as their County legislators. Councilman Jones also commended the Homer Town Board for their ability to work together even when they may not agree.
The meeting was adjourned at 7:45 p.m.
Anita W. Jebbett