TOWN OF WATERTOWN
November 7, 2019
Members Present: Joel R. Bartlett, Supervisor
Paul V. Desormo, Councilman
David D. Prosser, Councilman
Timothy McAtee, Councilman
Joanne McClusky, Councilwoman
Supervisor Bartlett opened the meeting with a roll call of members present at 7:00 pm. Attorney Russell was also present.
Supervisor Bartlett moved to adopt the minutes from the October 3, 2019 Regular Meeting and October 24, 2019 Special Meeting, Councilman Prosser seconded.
Supervisor Bartlett introduced proposed Local Law 3 of 2019. A Local Law to repeal Local Law 2 of 2019 a Local Law to override the tax levy limit established by Section 3-C of the New York General Municipal Law.
Supervisor Bartlett moved to schedule a public hearing December 12, 2019 at 7:00 pm to introduce Local Law 3 of 2019. This is a Local Law to repeal Local Law 2 of 2019 a Local Law to override the tax levy limit established in General Municipal Law SS3-c, Councilman Prosser seconded.
Supervisor Bartlett opened the public hearing concerning the review of the year 2020 Budget detailing appropriations, revenues and expenditures for the General, Highway and Special District Funds. The floor was opened to the public:
Susan Burdick, Town Court Clerk, addressed the Board concerning a written request from the Town Justices to forgo their raise this year and pass them on to the Court Clerk and Court Typist positions. Taking into consideration the new state laws being imposed starting January 1, 2020, and the increase of work that is created in these two positions it warrants a raise in salaries. After discussion, the Board agreed to increase the court positions 6% each and keep the Justice salaries the same as the 2019 budget.
Tom Compo a property owner at 18929 US Rte 11 approached the Board. He asked the Board for direction and help concerning a sewer issue he has on his property. There is a problem between his sewer grinder pump station and the road. In the past, the town has assisted in maintenance to the property. After reviewing this situation it was determined that this system was installed by Mr. Compo’s contractor 10 years after the district was established. The town’s responsibility to the district grinder pump stations are limited to the original ones installed and financed at the time of the inception of the district. New construction after this time would be the responsibility of the property owners. Mr. Compo feels that considering the expense he has incurred over the past 25 years in ad valorem taxes, he should be entitled to some help with the maintenance of his system. After further discussion, Supervisor Bartlett asked if Highway Superintendent Rohr would investigate the situation to see if there was anything the town could do to help. He will also follow up with the Town Engineer’s for advice or assistance.
No other member of the public wished to speak; the public hearing was closed at 7:25 pm.
Supervisor Bartlett adjourned the regular session of the Town Board meeting at 7:26 pm.
Supervisor Bartlett convened the Town Board Council as the Town Public Health Board at 7:27 pm.
Attorney Russell verified the Oberton’s have been served notice of an Order to Appear for the public hearing.
Thomas Boxberger, Town Health Officer was asked to stand and raise a hand to be sworn in as a Public Health Expert concerning this case. Supervisor Bartlett asked Mr. Boxberger under oath to solemnly swear the testimony he is about to give is true and accurate: Mr. Boxberger agreed.
Mr. Boxberger introduced himself to the public as the Town Health Officer. He informed of his qualifications as specified in Part 11 of State Sanitary Code and Department of Health Administrative Rules and Regulations, based on his experience where he served as an employee of the NYS Department of Health for 34 yrs with the first 12-13 years as a Public Health Sanitarian, and the remainder as the Director of Watertown District Office. Following his retirement he served as a Public Health Officer for 5 municipalities including the Town of Watertown.
Mr. Boxberger informed the public of facts concerning this case against Thomas and Mark Oberton, 22997 Co Rte 67, Watertown, NY 13601:
• August 2016; the town received a complaint concerning an excessive cat population at the above residence and neighboring properties.
• August 18, 2016; Mr. Boxberger visited the residence and met with the Oberton’s. At that time he witnessed numerous cats there and neighboring properties including the Town of Watertown property. When he asked of the status of vaccinations he was informed none of them were vaccinated. He advised them that needed to be done promptly.
• September 26, 2016; Mr. Boxberger returned with Jefferson County Sheriff Keefer, and again, explained the seriousness of rabies vaccinations. Jefferson County is an active rabies county. Rabies is a disease that is fatal to humans. There was still no compliance as of this visit.
• 2018 after yet another complaint Mr. Boxberger returned with Jefferson County Sheriff Rice who again explained the seriousness of the rabies vaccinations. At that time the Oberton’s did make an attempt to get some of the cats vaccinated. They did not complete the task and did not continue with the boosters to ensure the continued coverage for those that were vaccinated.
• October 3, 2019; the town received another complaint, and at that visit Mr. Oberton guessed there were between 20-30 cats, none of which were vaccinated for fixed.
The history and evidence shows the town has not been able to obtain compliance and achieve safety from the public health perspective. Mr. Boxberger handed out information packets to the Board and the Oberton’s.
Supervisor Bartlett offered the floor to the Oberton’s to respond:
• Mark Oberton asked for an extension of time until spring when the rabies clinics start up again.
• They are not in a financial position to comply with the vaccination and surgeries to have them all fixed.
• They inquired of a humane way to dispose of them without breaking the law.
• Mark Oberton questioned if it was a law that the animals are required to be fixed. He was told by the sheriff that is not a law and could not be enforced.
• Mark Oberton contended the reason the cat’s are on the neighboring property is because they feed them.
Mr. Russell advised that the main problem before the Board was the danger to the public safety created by the large number of unvaccinated cats roaming at large. It is very hard to determine which ones are vaccinated because there are so many running free. If the Oberton’s did not comply to the order of the Board, and could not find homes for them, the town would hire an animal control person to trap the cats and dispose of them humanely. The cost would be placed back to the owner of the property.
Supervisor Bartlett offered a motion that after reviewing substantial information from the Town Health Officer that there is a significant public health issue regarding the growth of the cat population in the area. An Order to Remedy the Situation within 30 days will be issued to the Oberton’s. At that time they would need to provide evidence of compliance or proof of proper disposition of the animals, seconded by Councilman Prosser.
No other member of the public wishing to speak; the Public Health Board session was closed at 7:49 pm.
Andrew Buckley introduced himself as the Project Manager from Boralex. Mr. Buckley informed the Board they are in the beginning stages of a large solar project being proposed in the Towns of Watertown and Hounsfield. He gave a brief overview of the project including information handouts to the Board. This will fall under the Article 10 process with New York State because the project is larger than 25 megawatts. There will be two open houses being held for any interested persons. Notice will be advertised in the local newspaper as well as mailing of notice to neighboring property owners. Construction is planned for 2022 with completion 2023.
Mr. Boxberger, Planning Board Co-Chair addressed the Board. The board received the Comprehensive Plan with possible updates for their review. He asked the Board to consider setting a date for public hearing for public involvement. A final draft will be available by the end of next week.
Supervisor Bartlett moved to schedule a public hearing December 12, 2019 at 7:00 pm to introduce proposed changes and revisions to the Town Comprehensive Plan. The floor will be open to the public for input and comments. Meeting will be held at the Municipal Office, 22867 Co Rte 67, Watertown, Councilman Desormo seconded.
Jason Poplaski, Esq. 19880 Co. Rte. 65 introduced himself to the Board. In light of the upcoming vacancy in the Justice Court due to Judge Renzi being elected to the Jefferson County Court position. Mr. Poplaski expressed an interest in filling the Town Justice position. He presented a letter of interest along with his resume to the Board.
Supervisor Bartlett explained next month they would advertise for the said position for interested parties to fill the term. At that time the Board would review the candidates to determine who would best fill the position. Mr. Poplaski’s information will be kept for that time.
Susan Burdick, Town Court Clerk’s asked if the Board would consider reviewing the Town Personal Policy concerning the vacation time. It was changed in 2002 so any employee hired after that date time would have vacation time capped at four weeks. This change only effects three position in the town with her’s being one of them. She asked if the Board would consider following in line with the highway employees of 5 weeks after 15 years of service.
No one else wished to speak; the floor was closed.
Supervisor Bartlett offered a motion to amend the Town Employee Personal Policy Vacation Time. This would extend vacation for employees with 15 years consecutive years of service to 5 weeks off to fall in line with the highway employee’s schedule, seconded by Councilman Prosser.
The Board discussed the 2020 year budget. Supervisor Bartlett updated Councilman McAtee on amendments that were discussed at the November 21st, 2019 budget workshop meeting. This included the increase to D-5130.4 Machinery Contractual Account of $20,000 and increase to A-5132.4 Garage Contractual Account for roof repairs of $40,000. These changes will be off set with Sales Tax Revenue. Supervisor Bartlett informed there is a need of a new boiler system for the municipal building, the system has broken down and they can no longer get parts for it. Attorney Russell advised the amount of $30,000 can be offset by a budget note to be financed next year.
Highway Superintendent Rohr asked about the funds appropriated for the Jefferson County Emergency Radio System. They have received the equipment but the County is behind on the installment process. They will not accept the monies for the equipment until it has been installed and working. Supervisor Bartlett will encumber the funds over to the 2020 year.
Councilman McAtee asked about creating a rotation schedule for the replacement of aging highway equipment. He is concerned about breakdowns of emergency vehicles or the need to replace them all at one time due to the age of the existing equipment. He thinks the town should have a plan in place to spread out the replacement over the years to keep equipment updated. Supervisor Bartlett suggested setting up a capital reserve fund using surplus sales tax revenue dedicated to the replacement of highway equipment. The Board agreed to revisit the issue the second quarter of 2020.
The Board agreed to increase the Court Clerk and Court Clerk Typist positions to a 6% raise and reduce the Town Justice positions to a 0% raise for the budget year 2020.
A Resolution of the Town Council of the Town of Watertown adopting a Budget for the fiscal year commencing January 1, 2020 and ending December 31, 2020 making appropriations for the conduct of Town of Watertown Government and establishing rates of compensation for officers and employees for such period.
WHEREAS, at a regular meeting of the Town Council held on Thursday October 3rd, 2019, the Tentative Budget for the Fiscal Year 2020 was presented to the Town Council as required by Section 106 of the General Municipal Law, and
WHEREAS, the Town Council thereafter has reviewed the Tentative Budget, and upon completion of such review, the Tentative Budget with any and all revisions and modifications thereof became the Preliminary Budget for the Fiscal Year 2020, which was filed in the Town Clerk’s Office and made available for public inspection; and
WHEREAS, notice of a public hearing on the Preliminary Budget for fiscal year 2020 was posted and published as required by law, and on Thursday November 7th, 2019 at 7:00 pm, at the Town Municipal Office, a public hearing on the Preliminary 2020 Budget for the Town of Watertown, which includes the preliminary budget estimates for the Town of Watertown General Fund, Highway Fund, Water Districts 1, 3, 4, 5 and 6 and Sewer Districts 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6, and all persons interested therein were provided an opportunity to be heard.
NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED by the Town of Watertown Council as follows:
1) This Council has met at the time and place as specified in the notice to the public on the Preliminary 2020 budget and heard all persons desiring to be heard therein.
2) The preliminary budget as amended and revised is hereby adopted for the Fiscal Year 2020, and that the several amounts stated be hereby appropriated for the objects and purposes specified, and the salaries wages stated therein shall be and are fixed at the amounts shown therein, effective January 1, 2020.
A motion to adopt the foregoing resolution was made by Supervisor Bartlett and seconded by Councilmember McAtee, and upon a roll call vote of the Board was duly adopted as follows:
Supervisor Joel Bartlett yes
Councilman Paul V. Desormo yes
Councilman David W. Prosser yes
Councilman Timothy L. McAtee yes
Councilwoman Joanne M. McClusky yes
Supervisor Bartlett moved to pay the following abstracts as audited.
Utilities paid prior to the meeting
General Vouchers # 207 to 209 Total $ 11,804.87
Highway Vouchers # 141 to 141 Total $ 19,939.58
Spec. Dist. Vchrs. # 80 to 80 Total $ 2,378.60
Vouchers approved for monthly meeting
General Vouchers # 210 to 223 Total $ 5,558.27
Highway Vouchers # 142 to 159 Total $ 27,225.92
Spec. Dist. Vchrs. # 81 to 87 Total $ 130,546.58
Councilman Prosser seconded the motion.
Councilman Prosser moved to adjourn the meeting at 8:29 pm, seconded by Councilman McAtee.
Pamela D. Desormo, Town Clerk