TOWN FORUM MTG MINUTES 3-18-06
Record of the Brant Town Forum Gathering held on
March 18, 2006 @ 1:00 PM at the
Brant Town Hall
Supervisor Leonard Pero
Councilman John D. Arrigo
Councilman John D. Chiavetta
Town Clerk Thea Ells
Highway Superintendent Joseph Giambrone
Assessor Joseph DeCarlo
Zoning Board of Appeals Chairman, Clark Borngraber
Planning Board Chairman, Joseph Gardyjan
Dog Control Officer, Donna Marien
Betty and John O?Donnell
Meeting opened with the Pledge to the Flag
Supervisor Pero introduced the town officials listed above to the residents in attendance, and then acknowledged the residents present. Happy St Patrick?s Day and Blessed St Joseph Day to all.
Statement from Leonard Pero: What I am about to say is in no way criticism to the prior administration and the state of the Town report as of today on March 18, 2006. What this Board has accomplished in the past two and a half months is remarkable, and a tribute to what open fair government can do. I am very pleased with our town government and everyone has worked very hard to move forward and bring about this positive change. It wasn?t easy to begin with as we inherited a government that was very confusing and much misinformation due to the prior administrations policies of uncooperativeness and selfishness. There was a complete lack of help from the former supervisor and or his secretary, for example there was a total shut down on the computers due to password codes. there are personnel files that have still not been found. We started with a negative balance of $20,000.00 in the checking account. We had to start from scratch. We implemented a payroll service for the Town Employees so that no matter what happens to the secretary it guarantees that mandatory reports are filed on time so as not to impose fines on our town as is what happened last October. This service only costs the town $80.00 a month which I back 100%. The reason I?m bring all of these out is so that everyone knows where we stand and we can bury this all now.
We stabilized the out flow of our town tax payers? dollars by implementing a wage freeze with our employees and many of our vendors? contracts, due to the overspending of unbudgeted expenses that affected our reserve accounts in various departments. We are in the process right now of recouping monies ( Pero had incorrect figure actually should be approx. $8,000.00) in interest funds from variable CD with our tax dollars which will help our financial stability, this practice was not done in the past. We have moved to electronic banking in some departments, so that we can receive funding easier and transfer funds easier. These items were done with the help of our town clerk, Thea Ells and me discussing these issues. We saved a $60,000.00 grant which would have been lost due to contract disputes; we would have only got about half out of our money. We got an extension and can now take our time and get the full value for our money and allow the public to have a say as to how our town park memorial corners will look.
We inherited the duty of hiring a new police chief, within one month?s time which is near impossible, and this should have been done 3-4 months prior to this January. We have met the challenge and are very confident about our choices, and know that this community will be satisfied when the process is done very shortly. We inherited a water project which should have been done over 10 years ago, when the first water project was performed, its now caused the problems that are being addressed by this board.
We inherited civil service and retirement issues that were either ignored or not brought forward and completed, which this board is in the process of rectifying. We inherited the
Negotiations with the Village of Farnham over the Water Contract which was due in October of 2005, and we are currently negotiating a meeting with Farnham. We have applied for and are waiting to hear about approximately $50,000.00 in grant money that would help with our Town Park and Buildings. There are more grants that are being applied for that will also bring in more tax dollars.
I am proud of the response our town workers and administration give to our residents which was lacking before; when someone calls we are better at getting back to them.
I am proud of the fact that we have a good working relationship with our neighboring communities as witnessed by the attendance at our board meetings of officials from other communities. Besides attending 10 Brant public meetings and 3 rounds of interviews our board members have attend other communities meetings to spread good public relations.
I?m proud of sending out a newsletter as soon as we did to inform the public and keep them informed. We have implemented a driver training program which will begin April 22.
The attendance at our meetings has been overwhelming and the participation has been great ? showing that open government does work. Residents coming forward to volunteer to the new committees that are coming together for the continued support of our government and to bring pride back to this town and village.
I am proud of the fact that all the town workers are now on the same page working together for the good of this community and I want to thank each and every one of you, because you?ve stepped forward to work for the community. And a special thank you to Thea Ells for helping with the Supervisors position and the office. And to you Joe thank you, things seem to be working more smoothly, and to all the town workers and their believing in this program.
Our rebirth can not be achieved unless we believe in ourselves and work together to bring about this positive change and this open forum gathering is an example of this progress.
I am proud of everyone and we have accomplished a lot in two and a half months
John Chiavetta and Len Pero discussed further the idea of revolving the money and getting interest out of the money if we get the bulk of it at tax time and then it?s in limbo for a period of time and the actions to make money on the money. This is a good time to do this as interest rates are up per Chiavetta.
Pero expressed his support for the education of the board members and the different officers of the town and how important it is, these trips to classes, meetings, etc. This first month has been very chaotic, but the schooling (in NY was 18 hours each Arrigo and Pero) in NY, and the charges were kept down as low as possible.
Time for public questions and comments:
Mr. Kellogg questioned a citation he received for operating a trucking business at his home, the code officer was not present and the board discussed their recent actions concerning the formation of a Code update committee and that the code officer and the attorney are beginning work on amendments concerning independent truckers and parking, etc. Pero responded that we do not want to interfere with anyone?s livelihood but we need to be respectful to our community and neighbors.
Bob Catalano expressed concerned over a citation received from a State DOT officer for driving his truck on a road in North Collins into Brant. The attorney and the code officer are looking into this matter. There was some discussion concerning the trucks on the different roads in the town and neighboring roads with different regulations on state, county and town roads.
V. Fininzio questioned whether the town was going to update and repair sidewalks in the Town of Brant. Board responded that this is an ongoing issue which involves the state and county as they are their roads, and the right of way. Fininzio requested a sign or map at the Memorial Park directing people to the Town Hall.
The O?Donnell?s? thanked the Highway Department for reacting so fast for clean up on the roads Betty O?Donnell was concerned with protecting what we do have and that with new people on the board who will realize there is more to Brant than just the four corners and to know that the decisions will not always make everyone happy, and that they look at the health and welfare of those who choose to live here. The code is in need of updating, and she is aware that this board has started to set up committees and that it will be a long process. Her concern is that we know we need some business to help with the tax base but to consider those already here and preserve our community. There is property near theirs that while clean and nice people ? they have been allowed for four years to set up campers and trailers each year and they don?t have to pay residence tax just for vacant land. These things should be addressed in the code and our code has nothing about towers, windmill and solar energy. She suggested having a mix of people from the different areas of the town reviewing and working on the code. Betty asked if any representation would be attended by the Town with the Chamber as it has not been in the past.
Donna Marien informed the board that delinquent license letters went out.
There was question as to the publication of these meetings to the public. The board and Clerk assured that they are posted in the paper, post office and town hall.
There was discussion on the new water lines that may come down 62 and or the town?s participation in a South Town Water Consortium.
The Board thanked all those in attendance and there was some distribution of memos concerning building concerns and vouchers, etc.
Respectfully submitted by,
Thea A. Ells
Brant Town Clerk