Essex County, New York
PO Box 338, Main Street · Bloomingdale, NY 12913 · 518-891-3189 · Fax: 518-891-6092

Town of St Armands Board Meetings

Tuesday, August 8, 2017 6:30 PM

These Meeting Minutes were approved on September 19, 2017.

A Regular Board Meeting of the Town of St. Armand was held on the above date at the Town Hall, Bloomingdale, NY.


Town Supervisor Charles Whitson, Jr., Deputy Supervisor D. Joseph Bates, Councilperson Donald Amell, Councilperson Jennifer Fuller, and Councilperson Dean Montroy.
A quorum of the Board was in attendance.


Highway Superintendent Roger Oliver, Water Superintendent Jeff Cotter, Wastewater Superintendent Stanley Ingison, Town Clerk Barbara Darrah, Town Assessor Donna Bramer and Town Historian Davina Winemiller.


Code Enforcement Officer Robert Hammond was excused from this meeting.


Sandy Hayes.

Notice was posted regarding the date of this meeting.

Supervisor Whitson called the Meeting to order at 6:30 p.m.

Councilperson Jennifer Fuller led the Pledge of Allegiance.

Town Assessor Donna Bramer presented a request to the Town Board regarding a new color printer and upgrading the Town Hall’s internet service. She thanked the Board for approving the purchase of a new computer that Essex County had recommended and stated the IT person from Essex County also recommended that we update our internet service in order to enhance technical operations of required communications in town business. The laser color printer w/scanner would cost $429.00. Our current internet provider, Time Warner, offers speeds of 10 download and 2 upload, whereas Spectrum offers 60 download and 5 upload, for the price of $99.00. When walking through the Town Hall during his first visit, the Essex County IT person also discovered the current power strips being used for most of the computers were not providing the surge protection needed and recommended Tripp-lite power strips which prevented power surge damage, at a cost of $35 - $50.00. There would be no set-up fee if Essex County did the work. Charles Whitson stated there is $750.00 set aside in the Assessor’s budget. The Board members discussed the approved the purchase of the new printer and upgrading the internet service in the Town Hall.


Roger Oliver reported that the paving projects planned for the summer are completed, adding that the cost of paving the Moose Pond Road ended up costing more than anticipated. He explained that pavement can only be done on one side of the road while the other side of the road remains open for traffic. More materials were required for paving one foot farther on each side of the road to allow room for passage resulting in an increase in the materials needed. The pricing quotes from Essex County also increased from $53.00 per ton in the spring to $61.00 per ton at the time of paving because of diesel fuel and tar costs going up. On the other hand, Maple Lane was paved with 1 and ½ inches rather than 2 inches in an effort to offset the cost of Moose Pond.

Roger also reported that the town crew went around the streets with the boom mower, trimming trees and brush. He stated some people were pleased and some were not. The pine trees are soft wood and the boom mower chews them up rather than giving a clean cut, leaving messy branches and shards of bark strewn about. He continued that the crew is now going around cleaning up the branches and debris, and clean-up should be completed by the end of this week.

Roger stated the 2009 Kubota tractor’s hydrostatic transmission has gone bad. It only moves in forward gear and the bucket is operational. The cost to replace the transmission is $10,000 and the work would be completed by Dragoons. Roger reported a new tractor of this type under state contract would cost $29,000. Roger stated this tractor is the most used piece of equipment they have and it is nine years old, adding the motor runs like a top because they kept up the required oil changes and maintenance. Councilperson D. Joseph Bates asked if there would be any trade-in value for the 2009, just the way it sits. Roger replied he would find out the next day, August 9th and he would also ask the mechanic if it is worth putting in a new transmission. Supervisor Whitson asked Roger to call him the next day with the trade-in value and other information and Charles would forward the information to the Board members. The Board discussed and agreed this item would need to be addressed at budget time in October.

Supervisor Whitson passed around the Essex County Department of Public Works Black Topping contract for the required Board member signatures and Roger Oliver’s signature.


Water Superintendent Jeff Cotter presented the following written report to the Board:

Town of St. Armand Water Report for the Month of July 2017

    1. Verified Water Readings - Verified 14 residence water readings for Barb following quarterly readings.
    2. Final Reading 26 Main - On 7/12/17, I recorded a final reading at 26 Main St. per Barbs request.
    3. Water Lab Class - On 7/12/17, I attended a Water Laboratory class in Plattsburgh to contribute toward 30 contact training hours for my water treatment certification. Laboratory training is mandatory.
    4. Test Ran Both Generators with no issues to report.
    5. Ordered New Hach Digital Chlorine Meter - This meter was required as our old meter was not a digital type chlorine meter. Charlie approved the purchase estimated at approximately $450.00.
    6. Inspected Water Meter at 12 River Road - On 7/18/17, I inspected the water meter inside the basement of 12 River Road residence. I found that the meter was not functioning and I advised the home owner to purchase a new meter.
    7. Located Residence Water Line and Curb Stop - On 7/18/17, I located the service line and curb stop for the residents at 12 River Road at their request. I found that the curb stop was full of dirt and not functioning. I advised the home owners of this. They were going to contact a plumber and possibly install a new curb stop.
    8. Installed New Reader - On 7/19/17, I installed a new reader at 4 Vine St. per Barbs request.
    9. Checked Out Reader Problem - On 7/20/17, I checked out an ongoing reader issue at the Cassavaugh residence. Their reader requires constant reprogramming. I checked out the wiring from the meter in the basement to the reader and could find no obvious issues. I recommended that the home owner replace the meter and reader.
    10. Meter Reading - On 7/20/17, I recorded a meter reading for Barb at 56 Prospect.
    11. Turned on Service - On 7/21/17, I turned on the water to 54 Main St. per the home owner request. They are up for the summer.
    12. Checked Meter Operation - On 7/24/ 17, I checked the meter operation at 32 River Rd. per Barb's request. The meter is not working. I advised Barb to contact the owner to have their meter repaired or replaced.
    13. Coliform Samples - I collected and sent out 3 Coliform samples for the month. All 3 came back negative.
    14. 4 Academy Way - I received an order to shut off the water service to 4 Academy Way on 7/27/17. The home owner requested to speak with Charlie. After speaking with Charlie, I was instructed to give the home owner another 2 weeks. (Board Discuss)
    15. Lead and Copper - On 8/1/17, I collected 10 Lead and Copper Samples for our required 3-year testing. I will report the results when I receive them. I also located a Curb Stop location for a resident on Rt #3.
    16. Ordered Risers - On 8/2/17, I ordered four 1 1/2" way box risers for paving projects.
    17. Wet Tap Service Question - I was contacted by Matt Bordeau to ask permission for a wet tap and service connection on School St. at the end of August. He would be charged the $250 rate for this project.
    18. Disinfection Byproduct - This testing is required once a year in the 3rd week of August. Samples will be collected from the River Rd. hydrant and Town Hall.
    19. Water Training - I have another water conference training tomorrow in Wanakeena. This training helps maintain my required 30 hours of training every three years to maintain my water treatment certification.


CEO Robert Hammond was not present at the meeting but submitted the following written report to the Board:

Status Report for the Month of July 2017

Applications Received: 5
Permit Application Conferences: 1
Notices of Incomplete Applications: 2*
*A written response was provided for the Permit Application Conference, details in Monthly Highlights.
Building Permits Issued: 3
Building Permits Pending Due to Payment: 0
Fees Collected: $175.00
Fees Pending: $0.00
Site Inspections: 15
Field Visits: 8
Notice(s) for Fire Safety / Property Maintenance Inspection(s): 1
Violation Letter(s): 0 (Certified), 1 (Non-Certified)
Notice and Order(s): 0 (Non-Certified), 0 (Certified)
Stop Work Order(s): 0
Appearance Tickets: 0
Certificate of Occupancy/Completion: 0
Temporary Certificate of Occupancy/Completion: 0
Record Search: 1

July Highlights:

Enforcement Action

• 15-SA-14 / 17-SA-024: Gladd, Monroe - 10 School St. - Enforcement Action
o Notice of Incomplete Application (NOA) returned with detailed commentary.
o Received call from Mr. Gladd requesting a meeting to discuss NOA.
o Discussed situation with Judge Swinyer, we share reservations of condition of existing structure and ability for it to be permitted.

• 17-SA-01PM: Dennin, Helen (aka: Absolute Repair)
o Notice of Violations sent for entire property.
o 31 August 2017 set re-inspection for full compliance.
o Full enforcement planned unless directed otherwise.

• 16-SA-034: Kasson, Joy & Matt - 1225 State Rte. 3 – Enforcement Action
o Notice of Violations sent for three (3) items.
o Homeowner responsive, one (1) item resolved.
o Contractor seems unresponsive on Permitted work and non-permitted work.
o Working to connect Homeowner with AG’s Office to assist with mitigation of issues with Contractor.

New Building Permits and Applications

• 17-SA-020: Lagree, Roger and Deborah - 22 Poplar Street – Alterations Level II
o Demolition Permit issued to allow for exposure of existing conditions.
o Incomplete Application response issued with commentary for guidance.

• 17-SA-021: Fortune, Tim - 299 River Road – Re-Roofing
o Complete Application Submitted.
o Permit Issued.

• 17-SA-022 (Preliminary): Pallack, Justin – 645 State Rte. 3 – Multiple Family Dwelling – Alterations Level II
o Pre-Application Meeting with building’s new Owner.
o Current information found building to be unpermitted at the time of occupancy to the Code. (Record Data 2003)
o This Office will continue to research records for evidence of variance.
o Written summary of Town’s position provided to new Owner: No CO shall be issued until brought into compliance with 2015 Uniform Building & Fire Prevention Code.

• 17-SA-023: Arnold, Joe / Perry, William – 154 Trudeau Road – Re-Roofing
o Complete Application Submitted.
o Permit Issued.
o Final Inspection Completed.

• 17-SA-025: Doerr, Cheryl – 1005 State Rte.3 – Chimney Relining
o Work started without permit.
o Owner and Contractor cooperated and provided all required information.
o Work Completed.


Wastewater Superintendent Stanley Ingison presented the following written report to the Board:

Summary of last month's activities for the August 2017 meeting

1) Recovery from the June power surge is progressing smoothly. All the equipment except the grit system and one float is back up and running. Some corrective changes have been made to the electronic control systems so hopefully the equipment will restart itself without tripping back off in the future. We wanted to get the parts needed to re-configure the grit pump to keep the motor above the flood zone in the future but the insurance company would not cover the cost for that. We are pricing out the cost of re-setting the grit pump motor so we can decide if we are better off financially to do it ourselves or not. The damaged float is scheduled to be replaced along with adjusting the high-level alarm float (to be out of the grease accumulation zone) by Aqualogics this Thursday. Core Climate is also coming this Thursday to replace the damaged gas sensor in the PTB operations room.

2) AES did send over one of their engineers (Walt Grey) to look at the blower room outside air vent unit and he did find the problem is with the motor starter and they are working on ordering the parts needed to correct it.

3) The transfer station and wastewater plant were gratified to receive the left-over asphalt of the last truck load from the Moose Pond road work which extended the pavement farther down the drive along with getting edges graveled to the drainage ditches.

4) Spectrum came to change us over from Verizon to their service. We called Aqualogics because he was concerned about possible SCADA system issues but they said it would be alright so we went ahead with it. It turned out that a correction made because Riznick hadn’t run a Cat-5 wire from the modem to the office involved a Verizon modem and the Spectrum system couldn’t travel through it. So, when Aqualogics is here to replace the lift station float, etc. on Thursday they will bring a new modem and install it at that time. We are told when that is done we will have internet service again.

5) As soon as we have the internet service back up and running we will make an appointment with the solar panel man (Kevin) to come do their operator training and hook us up to the web site for monitoring the solar operations.

6) The new truck is now on the road with the Town of St. Armand signage on it, radio installed in it and we are working on transferring the cab guard and plow light from the old truck to the new one so we will not have to purchase a new one. Of course, the old truck was a Chevy so it will take some reconfiguring to get it mounted to the Ford.

7) Keeping the grass mowed this year has taken more work than normal with all the extra rainfall feeding its growth.

8) Joe Watson of Core Climate was asking about getting a lap top to use at the Pre-treatment building instead of the tablet which was in the contract. I will find out if our lap top could be plugged in and used for more complicated tasks as needed but have the tablet there just to do quick daily checks when needed; and will let you know.

Discussion ensued regarding the Wastewater Treatment pump repair. Supervisor Whitson explained to the Board the Town’s insurance policy had a $5,000 deductible and they would not pay for raising the platform that the pump sits on due to it not being an existing platform; raising the platform was considered an improvement. Supervisor went on to say the quote for repairing the sensor was $2300.00 and the grit pump was $1541.00. Councilperson Donald Amell asked if not having a raised platform was an issue of poor design in the first place? Whose responsibility was the design, AES? He continued to state the 1st time flooding occurred was due to a hose left running over the weekend, and the inlet and outlet lines were plugged, so there was no input or output from the building. The second time was a lightening strike shutting everything down. Deputy Supervisor D. Joseph Bates asked if the alarm was still not working and whose responsibility is it that the alarm system was not working? He asked who hired Aqualogics, AES? Supervisor Whitson explained that Aqualogics won the bid to put the system in at the time and the engineering firm, AES, paid the bill the first time the system did not work. Supervisor Whitson continued to explain that with this current issue two of the companies that provided the initial work on the building are both out of business.

Councilperson Amell stated the Board needs a finite list of everything that is wrong with the system. Councilperson Dean Montroy asked if this was the second time or third time that system failed to work. Stan Ingison replied that this was the third time. He continued with explaining the first time it occurred, they were reconfiguring the wet wells, the setting was off by 2 feet at the main plant and they were going in and correcting it. Stan caught the flooding and it was not enough to ruin the motor. It was a first time operator error and the plant was not even opened yet. AES was aware that it had flooded. AES still states there is no reason it should flood but Stan pointed out that it HAS. Dean Montroy continued with stating that was his second point. Supervisor Whitson stated he will contact AES and ask them to attend the next Board meeting and explain to the Board what is happening and why. Stan Ingison then posed to the Board that wasn’t it worth spending this money to fix it, to prevent future issues? Councilperson Montroy then asked about the alarm company and why wasn’t Charlie notified when the pump wasn’t working? Stan Ingison replied the power surge damaged the alarm, scrambled the phone numbers and the third contact phone number listed, Charles Whitson’s, wasn’t notified.

Deputy Supervisor D. Joseph Bates stated, “We raised the water and service debt service and this plant is not operating properly and it should be working properly and if everything worked properly the job would be easier.” He then asked Stanley Ingison, “Is there any testing we can do to ensure the system will work properly? Stan Ingison replied, “Right now they are working and the alarms went out to all three contacts. They reset the system and corrected the phone numbers listed as contacts.

Deputy Supervisor D. Joseph Bates stated, “We raised the water and service debt service and this plant is not operating properly and it should be working properly and if everything worked properly the job would be easier.” He then asked Stanley Ingison, “Is there any testing we can do to ensure the system will work properly? Stan Ingison replied, “Right now they are working and the alarms went out to all three contacts. They reset the system and corrected the phone numbers listed as contacts.

Deputy Supervisor Bates referred back to and reiterated Councilperson Amell’s request in getting a finite list of all the corrections needed at the Wastewater Treatment plant and have a meeting with AES.


The payment abstracts for August were presented for the Board’s approval as follows: General Vouchers #201 - #223 in the amount of $31,097.93, Trust and Agency Voucher #3 in the amount of $2.50, Highway Vouchers #153 - #174 in the amount of $8,251.78, Highway Outside Vouchers #1 - #5 in the amount of $1,536.25, Water and Sewer Vouchers #106 - #119 in the amount of $4,356.65, and CDBG Housing Project Voucher #5 in the amount of $58,442.91.

Councilperson Dean Montroy made the motion to approve payment of this month’s bills; the motion was seconded by Deputy Supervisor D. Joseph Bates. All approved. Motion carried.


Supervisor Whitson reported to the Board the Supervisor’s Monthly Report for July was not available at the time of this meeting as the accountant did not receive all of the bank statements until today.


Town Historian Davina Winemiller pointed out an address correction for Jason Thurston under the Code Enforcement Officer’s report for July. The Town Clerk made a note and corrected the address on the Meeting Minutes. Councilperson Donald Amell made the Motion to approve the Regular Meeting Minutes of July 11, 2017. The Motion was seconded by Councilperson Jennifer Fuller. All approved. Motion carried.


Town Clerk Barbara Darrah gave the following report for the month of July 2017:

Spayed/Neutered Dog Licenses: 7 for a total of $35.00
Unspayed/Unneutered Dog Licenses: 1 for a total of $14.00

Total Revenue Earned: $63.00
Paid to Supervisor: $53.00
Paid to NYS Agriculture & Markets: $10.00


Water & Sewer Clerk Barbara Darrah gave the Water & Sewer Receivables Report of $72,122.54 due for all accounts. Current Age $51,466.64, Over 30 days $10,321.96 and over 60 days $10,333.94. At July’s meeting, a report of all outstanding water and sewer account balances was presented to the Board members. Discussion ensued regarding the customer that had been determined to have his water service locked out and a decision by Supervisor Whitson to allow the individual an additional two weeks to make a substantial payment.


Historian Davina Winemiller reported she met with the author who wrote the book about Black Americans buried at the Brookside Cemetery. She stated they went on a tour of the cemetery. Davina reported she found an old village notice regarding nuisance laws back in the history of the town, and stated it must have been really old because of it mentioning “teams and wagons” being parked in the street and livestock issues and sanctions. She asked the Board’s permission to frame the Old Village Notice and hang it in the Town Hall. The Board approved her request.

Davina also reported she located a photograph of an old building that existed in the Town of St. Armand on E-bay and purchased it from an individual in Australia. The picture indicates the old building belonged to E. R. Rickardson’s Boat Builders located on River Road and asked if anyone knew where the building was or what existing building might be in its stead? She reported that E.R. Rickardson had received several awards for the restoration of a boat called the “Spitfire”, originally built in 1888. Discussion ensued regarding the names of various builders located in the same vicinity. The names of Will McCaffrey and McDougall were exchanged, and someone thought the building might have been where the casket builders building used to stand. Davina stated the same photograph was on display in the Joan Weill Library located at Paul Smiths College.

Councilperson Dean Montroy asked that if the individual with the overdue water and sewer account that was determined by the Board to be shut off, paid their amount in full, would a determination be made as to another overdue account being selected for shut off. Supervisor Whitson replied the next overdue account with the largest amount due would be selected.


Councilperson Dean Montroy stated he is installing a new roof on his building which houses the Post Office and is seeking the Board’s approval in allowing him to erect staging on the side of the building for this purpose. The appropriate building permit is in place and the Board approved his request.


Supervisor Whitson asked those present if there were any other questions or concerns. Guest Sandy Hayes asked if the Town has been approached by the Village of Saranac Lake or BOCES to annex from the Town of St. Armand because apparently they are interested in connecting to the Village of Saranac Lake’s water line. Mr. Hayes stated he thinks it is against the law, due to the belief that they cannot annex BOCES from St. Armand unless they annex BOCES back into Saranac Lake. Mr. Hayes suggested the town seek legal advice on annexing if they are approached. He believes BOCES originally purchased property outside of Saranac Lake so they didn’t have to pay Village of Saranac Lake taxes. Supervisor Whitson replied he would check with Matt Norfolk, the Town’s attorney regarding this matter.

Councilperson Donald Amell asked if it’s possible to send a survey out to tax payers in order to get their feedback on some topics. He said after a brief conversation with the Town’s accountant, he had a couple of ideas he was tossing around. He stated he will bring his plan forward to the board once he has thought it through.

Supervisor Whitson reported he approved a request from Tina Moody, Town Accountant, to attend a course on Government Accounting and Budget Preparation in Plattsburgh at a cost of $40 in preparation for the Budget Work Sessions scheduled in October.


Deputy Supervisor D. Joseph Bates made the Motion to adjourn the Regular Board Meeting. The Motion was seconded by Councilperson Don Amell. The Regular Board Meeting adjourned at 8:41 pm.

I , Barbara Darrah, Town Clerk for the Town of St. Armand, do hereby certify that the above is a true and correct transcript of the Regular Board Meeting minutes held on the above-referenced date.

Dated: August 8, 2017 Barbara J. Darrah St. Armand Town Clerk

Town of St Armand
PO Box 338, Main Street, Bloomingdale, NY 12913 · 518-891-3189 · Fax: 518-891-6092
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