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Special Meeting – October 23, 2018

A special meeting of the Town Board of the Town of Homer with representatives from the Phillips Free Library held on Tuesday, October 23, 2018, in the Senior Center in the basement 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

                Larry R. Jones, Councilman

                Michael R. Park, Councilman

                Barry E. Warren, Councilman

                Kevin M. Williams, Councilman

                Anita W. Jebbett, Town Clerk


                Margaret Little, President, Library Board of Trustees

                Priscilla Berggren-Thomas, Library Director

                Mark Barrett, Trustee

                Rachel Hyde, Trustee

                Heather Slade, Trustee

                Nora Burrows, Finger Lakes Library System


Nora Burrows of the Finger Lakes Library System said that the New York State Library System, under the State Department of Education, is encouraging “Association Libraries”, like the Phillips Free Library, to adopt referendum funding to ensure proper funding.

Library Director Berggren-Thomas said that the Phillips Free Library’s charter was amended in 2010 to include the entire Homer School District, rather than just the Town and Village of Homer.  This increased their service area from about 6000 residents to 12,000 residents.  To better serve those in outlying areas, they have had various outreach programs for both children and adults.  They also work with the Homer school system on various programs.  Board President Little praised the Director and her excellent staff for all their hard work to develop numerous programs, clubs and workshops at the Library.

Berggren-Thomas said that while currently they raise a portion of their annual budget as a line item on the school tax bill, the proposed change would result in their entire budget being on the tax bill after receiving approval on the May school district ballot.  That would eliminate the Town and Village having to budget funds to support the library because the entire school district would be paying for that support.

Burrows said that the process could take 18 months to 2 years in order to get on the ballot.  Most of that is time to educate the public about the change.  Little said that they have been considering this for a couple of years and are hoping to make the change all at once next year.

Supervisor Forbes discussed the Town’s annual payment to the library of $36,500, which is paid one-half in June and the other half in December.  For 2019, he has budgeted the same amount.  If the library decides to adopt referendum funding, he may remove the payment from the Town budget which will need to be adopted in about two weeks.

Library Trustee Barrett and others expressed concern over the chance that the full library budget is not approved by the voters.  Burrows agreed that is a possibility.  Berggren-Thomas said that one-half of the 2019 amount budgeted by the Town had been included in their 2018-2019 budget as they follow the school calendar with a fiscal year that begins July 1st.

Board members agreed that both the Town and the Village of Homer would continue to provide support to the library should that happen.  However, Supervisor Forbes said that he was fairly certain that residents would vote to support their local library. 

The library representatives thanked the Town Board for all their support. 

                Asbestos removal – Supervisor Forbes said that due to all the construction dust in the building, a more specific type of testing would be necessary in order to complete the asbestos abatement in the balcony area of the Town Hall.

On motion by Councilman Williams, seconded by Councilman Park and carried unanimously:  RESOLVED: that additional collection and more specialized testing of air samples in the balcony area by Arctic Enterprises to complete the asbestos abatement project is approved for a cost of around $650.

                Lighting for Town Hall renovation project – Supervisor Forbes and Councilman Warren said that better quality, longer-lasting light fixtures that are made in America are being considered for the project, as compared to less expensive Chinese-made alternatives.

On motion by Councilman Warren, seconded by Councilman Jones and carried unanimously:  RESOLVED: that the contractor Beard Electric be directed to purchase the American-made version of the fixtures as discussed which the Board understands have a longer life expectancy and have better LED bulbs.

On motion by Councilman Williams, seconded by Councilman Warren and carried unanimously:  RESOLVED: that a change order for an extra $388 for additional electrical outlets on the front of the stage is approved.

                Laserfiche workshop- Town Clerk Jebbett said that she would be attending a workshop on Wednesday in Ithaca on Laserfiche, a document management system by which digitized documents are organized, accessed and stored for better records management. 

                Sidewalk repairs – Councilman Warren presented two bids for the widening and reinforcement of the sidewalk in front of the Town Hall:   Tom Kile Construction, Homer – $11,775.00, and Complete Construction Concepts, Homer – $7,500.

On motion by Councilman Warren, seconded by Councilman Williams and carried unanimously: RESOLVED: that the Town Board accepts the low bid of $7,500 from Complete Construction Concepts (CCC) of Homer for the replacement of sidewalk in front of the Town Hall.

The meeting was adjourned at 8:00 p.m.

                                                                                                                                Anita W. Jebbett

                                                                                                                                Town Clerk