Town of
Royalton
Niagara County, NY
 Minutes 

November 10, 2008: BOARD MEETING MINUTES

Body:

REGULAR BOARD MEETING

November 10, 2008

A Regular Meeting of the Town Board of the Town of Royalton was held on Monday, November 10, 2008, at the Royalton Town Hall, 5316 Royalton Center Road, Middleport, New York. The meeting was called to order by Supervisor Richard J. Lang at 7:30 PM with the Pledge to the Flag.

 

The following were present:

Supervisor Richard J. Lang

Town Clerk Marie L. Little, RMC

Councilmen Jennifer Bieber, James Budde, Lee Criswell, Bradley Rehwaldt

Highway Superintendent Terry Nieman

Water/Sewer Superintendent Dan Morse

Assessor Thomas Arlington

Attorney Thomas Brandt

Also present were: See Attached Sheets

 

ADDITIONS OR CORRECTIONS TO THE MINUTES - Councilman Rehwaldt stated that he wanted to let everyone know why he voted "no" on the Union Contract. Councilman Rehwaldt stated that he was against the 2% pay increase for the employees. Councilman Rehwaldt stated that he felt the increase in the health insurance was enough.

 

PUBLIC COMMENT - Agenda Items Ms. Scott Wymczak asked questions about the 2009 budget. Discussion ensued.

Mr. Dan Bragg asked how the use of the fund balances would affect the 2010 and 2011 infrastructure and if it will be able to be maintained. Supervisor Lang stated that we are not reducing our fund balances by any large amount. We have good numbers now from the 2007 budget and he feels that we have enough money left over from the 2008 budget to reduce the different line items.

 

COMMUNICATIONS / PETITIONS

Town Clerk Little read a letter from the New York State Department of Transportation stating that our request for a speed reduction from 55 MPH down to 45 MPH on Gasport Road from Route 77 to the existing 45 MPH zone in the vicinity of Dale Road has been granted. The Niagara County Department of Public Works will be responsible for the new signage in this area.

 

NEW BUSINESS

DISCUSSION REGARDING 2009 BUDGET: Councilman Rehwaldt stated that he wants to express his concern. He does not know the budget very well and is concerned about using the fund balances and not raising any taxes. The sewer budget will be using fund balance and we know that we have a $1 Million project coming up in the next year or two. We just got good fund balances after going through this for the past ten (10) years. Supervisor Lang stated that he doesn't feel that we are depleting the fund balances and we are trying to look out for and help the taxpayers as well. Supervisor Lang stated that we realize that we are having rough times not only in the Town of Royalton, but in New York State. We all have to watch our money. Councilman Rehwaldt stated that we should be looking out for the taxpayer down the road as well. We know that we have projects coming and realistically he is trying to think ahead and is concerned about not raising the taxes this year.

 

Councilman Budde stated that he would like to go on record to reflect his thankfulness to his colleagues, the supervisor, and his confidential secretary and all others who respectfully allowed him to ask and sometimes re-ask the same questions on many points and positions during the budgetary process. As he was out-voted on a number of issues during this process, there were two (2) items that stand out and go against his fundamental principles. The first being pay raises for elected representatives in a non-election year in our town. Councilman Budde stated that he will continue to speak out against this tradition and plans to sponsor legislation in the near future and hopes that others will see as he does and only allow these proposed increases to come up for discussion in an election year in which these offices come up for re-election and not in the off years. The second issue has to do with the proposed title change in the Highway Department for a Lead Man position. Councilman Budde stated that he spoke out against this in a work session. It is part of the budget this year, it's not a lot of money, but has to do with a title change that we don't know will go through with the Union. Councilman Budde stated that he believes that it puts the ratio at 2:1 for Managers and hourly rate employees.  Councilman Budde stated that there was a straw poll taken early in the budget deliberation surrounding what each of the board members was willing to settle on in terms of this years budget. Councilman Budde stated that his answer was then and remains here tonight at zero or better, thus he has to regretfully vote "no" to this years budget.

 

Councilwoman Bieber voted "yes" to the 2009 Budget.

 

Supervisor Lang stated that he is voting "yes" to the 2009 Budget. He stated that the budget is made up of compromise. They have all had to compromise on different items that they feel strongly about. He feels that in any give and take situation there has to be compromise so he is voting "yes" to this budget.

 

Councilman Rehwaldt stated that he wanted to carry on a little about the 2% raises. No one was in favor of the 2% raise until it was given to the Union. They didn't feel that it was fair to give it to the Union members and not to the employees who work in Town Hall and hold the town together on a day-to-day basis. This is why they went with the 2% raise. Councilman Rehwaldt asked to have the newspaper reporter to correct something that was incorrectly reported last week regarding the fact that he was invited to the union negotiations. Councilman Rehwaldt stated that he was never invited to the negotiation sessions. Also, it addressed the 11th hour negotiations and Councilman Rehwaldt stated that his only comment about the budget was the 2% pay raises; he was not trying to renegotiate anything. Councilman Rehwaldt stated that he is voting "yes" on the 2009 Budget although he is concerned about using the fund balance, it is a good budget.

 

Councilman Criswell stated that he is voting "yes" on the 2009 Budget. Councilman Criswell stated that next year we will have to run a tight ship as the budget is right down to the wire.

 

RESOLUTION 149-08

ADOPTION OF 2009 BUDGET

On a motion made by Supervisor Lang, seconded by Councilman Criswell, the following was

ADOPTED by a Roll Call Vote of the board:

BUDDE NAY

BIEBER AYE

LANG AYE

REHWALDT AYE

CRISWELL AYE         MOTION CARRIED

 

RESOLUTION 150-08

UNPAID ITEMS ADDED TO 2009 REAL PROPERTY TAXES

On a motion made by Councilwoman Bieber, seconded by Councilman Rehwaldt, the following was

ADOPTED AYES 5 Lang, Bieber, Budde, Criswell, Rehwaldt

              NAYS 0 None             MOTION CARRIED

Resolved to authorize the unpaid water, sewer, refuse, and town charges to be added to the 2009 real property taxes in the amounts of:

Total Unpaid Water $80,117.52

Total Unpaid Sewer $ 6,604.49

Total Unpaid Refuse $ -0-

Total Town Charges $ 86.62

GRAND TOTAL $86,808.63

 

RESOLUTION 151-08

AUTHORIZATION OF ENGINEERING STUDIES

On a motion made by Councilman Budde, seconded by Councilwoman Bieber, the following was

ADOPTED AYES 5 Lang, Bieber, Budde, Criswell, Rehwaldt

               NAYS 0 None           MOTION CARRIED

Resolved that the Town of Royalton hereby authorizes TVGA Consultants (TVGA) to complete two separate and individual engineering studies as mandated by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation and as defined in TVGA's letter of November 5, 2008 to the Royalton Town Board. The studies involve Optimizing Wet Weather Operations at the Wastewater Treatment Plant and completing a Sanitary Sewer Evaluation Survey (SSES) for the Hamlet of Gasport Sanitary Sewer Collection System.

 

RESOLUTION 152-08

SHARED SERVICES GRANTS

On a motion made by Councilwoman Bieber, seconded by Councilman Criswell, the following was

ADOPTED AYES 5 Lang, Bieber, Budde, Criswell, Rehwaldt

               NAYS 0 None           MOTION CARRIED

Resolved to authorize Supervisor Richard J. Lang to sign the Memorandums of Understanding for the Shared Services Grants with the towns of Newfane, Pendleton, Wilson and the Village of Middleport.

Councilman Budde asked of the other towns will be sharing in the $2,250.00 we are paying TVGA to draw up the grant paperwork. Attorney Brandt stated that he will be writing a letter to each of the other towns and village involved regarding paying a portion of this bill.

 

RESOLUTION 153-08

WOLCOTTSVILLE VOL. FIRE CO. - NEW MEMBERS

On a motion made by Councilman Rehwaldt, seconded by Councilwoman Bieber, the following was

ADOPTED AYES 5 Lang, Bieber, Budde, Criswell, Rehwaldt

               NAYS 0 None           MOTION CARRIED

Resolved to accept in to membership of the Wolcottsville Volunteer Fire Department the following individuals: Jeanne Dombrowski and Lena Kate Dombrowski.

 

RESOLUTION 154-08

LINE ITEM TRANSFERS FOR TOWN JUSTICE BASS

On a motion made by Councilman Budde, seconded by Councilman Rehwaldt, the following was

ADOPTED AYES 5 Lang, Bieber, Budde, Criswell, Rehwaldt

               NAYS 0 None           MOTION CARRIED

Resolved to transfer the following: FROM A1110.1A $1,200.00

                                                TO A1110.2A     $ 50.00

                                                TO A1110.4A     $1,150.00

 

RESOLUTION 155-08

LINE ITEM TRANSFERS FOR TOWN JUSTICE RADUNS On a motion made by Councilman Criswell, seconded by Councilman Rehwaldt, the following was

ADOPTED AYES 5 Lang, Bieber, Budde, Criswell, Rehwaldt

               NAYS 0 None           MOTION CARRIED

Resolved to transfer the following: FROM A1110.2B $1,060.00

                                                TO     A1110.4B $1,060.00

 

RESOLUTION 156-08

LINE ITEM TRANSFERS FOR COURT OFFICES

On a motion made by Councilman Budde, seconded by Councilman Criswell, the following was

ADOPTED AYES 5 Lang, Bieber, Budde, Criswell, Rehwaldt

               NAYS 0 None           MOTION CARRIED

Resolved to transfer the following: FROM A2770.00 (Unclassified Revenues) $6,500.00

                                                TO A1110.2A (Judge Bass) $3,250.00

                                                TO A1110.2B (Judge Raduns) $3,250.00

This is a portion of the Office of Court Administration (OCA) Grant Monies received by the court to be used to purchase

a fire-proof filing cabinet for each of the court offices.

 

RESOLUTION 157-08

RECREATION & YOUTH SERVICES STATE AID

On a motion made by Councilman Rehwaldt, seconded by Councilwoman Bieber, the following was

ADOPTED AYES 5 Lang, Bieber, Budde, Criswell, Rehwaldt

               NAYS 0 None           MOTION CARRIED

Resolved to authorize Supervisor Richard J. Lang to submit the application to the NYS Office of Children and Family Services for approval for State Aid in the amount of $1,737.00 for Recreation and $1,542.00 for Youth Services.

 

RESOLUTION 158-08

LEAD PERSON POSITION FOR HIGHWAY DEPARTMENT

On a motion made by Councilwoman Bieber, seconded by Councilman Criswell, the following was

ADOPTED AYES 4 Lang, Bieber, Criswell, Rehwaldt

               NAYS 1 Budde          MOTION CARRIED

Resolved to authorize Attorney Thomas Brandt to discuss the creation of a Lead Person position for the Highway Department with the Teamsters Union representative. Attorney Brandt drafted a letter stating that they are looking for authorization to create this position. This will allow the Highway Superintendent to choose the individual to fill this position and this individual will receive whatever stipend the town board sets. This is just a letter of discussion at this time.

 

Councilman Budde stated that this is the issue he discussed earlier regarding a third layer of administration in the Highway Department. Councilman Budde stated that right now we have the Highway Superintendent, the Deputy Highway Superintendent and this position would create a third layer and raises the question of primary and secondary discipline. Councilman Budde stated that he feels that the Highway Superintendent has handicapped himself with his choice of a Deputy Superintendent and now needs this additional position in order to get the work done. Councilman Budde stated that he had voiced his concern regarding this issue throughout the budgetary process. Councilman Budde stated that he will be voting "no" on this resolution for this reason.

 

RESOLUTION 159-08

AUDIT OF CLAIMS

On a motion made by Councilman Criswell, seconded by Councilman Budde, the following was

ADOPTED AYES 5 Lang, Bieber, Budde, Criswell, Rehwaldt

               NAYS 0 None           MOTION CARRIED

Resolved that the Town Clerk be and she hereby is authorized to draw a warrant upon the funds of the Supervisor in the amount of $52,940.88 covering vouchers #1191-1267 for Abstract #11 for 2008 for the Town Hall, Highway Department and the Water/Sewer Department.

 

UNFINISHED BUSINESS

Supervisor Lang read a Proclamation honoring Paul Bruning for his thirty-one (31) years of service to the Town of Royalton. A plaque will be presented to Mr. Bruning by Highway Superintendent Terry Nieman as Mr. Bruning was not in attendance this evening.

 

Councilman Budde acknowledged Mr. Dan Bragg who is the newly elected Town Board member and was in attendance this evening.

 

PUBLIC COMMENT - GOOD & WELFARE OF THE COMMUNITY

Discussion ensued regarding the shared services grants and what we are looking at in terms of equipment we are looking to purchase.

 

Mr. Scott Wymczak stated that he would like to see the town prepare their budget before the November election next year. Mr. Wymczak would like to see a vote taken on this issue. Discussion ensued.

 

Ms. Donna Nieman asked Councilman Budde about the reason he is not in favor of giving elected officials a pay raise in an off year. Lengthy discussion ensued regarding this matter.

Ms. Nieman stated that she applauds the Town Board for going forward with the shared services grants. Supervisor Lang stated that he hopes the economic times won't hold us back in getting some of these grants.

 

Highway Superintendent Terry Nieman addressed Councilman Budde regarding the pay increases for the elected officials and the other employees. Mr. Nieman stated that any one of the department heads would be willing to take a 0% pay increase as long as you treat everyone equal. It would not be fair to give one portion of the employees a raise and not the others. Mr. Nieman stated that we should not be compared to other communities. We are working on the Town of Royalton budget for the Town of Royalton employees. Mr. Nieman stated that we all work hard and Councilman Budde should not try to separate one portion of the employees from the other.

 

Councilman Budde stated that business as usual in this community needs to cease. This is why he brought this issue up. This is not about one particular person but he wants to address the issue for a long-term solution which is why he will continue to pursue a Local Law to this effect. Lengthy discussion continued.

 

A resident brought pictures to the attention of the town board members regarding a situation that they have asked to have taken care of for several years and the Assessor has done nothing about it. Supervisor Lang thanked him for bringing it to their attention.

 

Mr. John McClintock asked about the issue with outdoor wood burners and how that may affect him in the future. Supervisor Lang advised him to get a copy of the proposed local law for his information.

 

There being no further information to come before this board, a motion was made by Councilman Budde, seconded by Councilman Criswell and carried unanimously that the meeting be adjourned at

8:15 PM.

 

Respectfully Submitted,

MARIE L. LITTLE, RMC

ROYALTON TOWN CLERK