Town of St Armand
Special Board Meeting - Rockledge Infrastructure
Mondday, December 6, 2021 5:30 PM
These Special Board Meeting Minutes were approved by the St. Armand Town Board on December 14, 2021.
A Special Board Meeting of the Town of St. Armand was held on the above date and time at the St. Armand Town Hall, 1702 NYS Route 3, Bloomingdale, NY. The meeting was also held virtually. This meeting was the fourth Special Board Meeting held to discuss the Rockledge Water districting and Rockledge Sewer lines.
BOARD MEMBERS PRESENT:
Town Supervisor Davina Winemiller, Councilperson Donald Amell, Councilperson Jennifer Fuller (on line), and Councilperson Karl Law.
A quorum of the Board was in attendance.
TOWN EMPLOYEES PRESENT:
Town Clerk Barbara Darrah.
Deputy Supervisor D. Joseph Bates.
Chris Brescia and Rhan Estling were in person. On-line attendees were Phyllis Magnus, Klaus Meissner, Judy Odell, Ben Shubert and Daria Vashchylenko, all presenting Rockledge residents. Other guests were Stephanie Mikesell (on line) and Sheridan Swinyer, both from the community.
Public Notice was published in the Adirondack Daily Enterprise regarding the date and time of this meeting, and posted on the Town of St. Armand’s website and Facebook page. Emails were sent to the Rockledge Water District users, advising them of the meeting date and time.
Supervisor Winemiller called the meeting to order at 5:30 p.m. Winemiller asked everyone to stand and join in the Pledge of Allegiance. Winemiller thanked everyone present for attending this meeting
Supervisor Winemiller asked the Rockledge residents what they are looking to do? The partial task force that was present at the meeting, they felt the response was they wanted to do a petition to do an official sewer district. They continued that if Winemiller had not received a letter yet, it would be forthcoming. The map has already been created. Winemiller reported as soon as she receives the petition, the Town can start moving forward in that direction.
Winemiller continued that the reason she wanted to hold the meeting tonight, is that if in the future the Town of St. Armand takes over Rockledge sewer, when we apply for grant funds, we want to apply for water and sewer grant funds, not just water. It makes sense to do everything together so that we can get the most bang for our buck as far as grant funds. In lieu of that, the next thing we should start working on is the Rules and Regulations. Any grant you apply for, there needs to be rules and regulations established. There are rules for Rockledge, but they are based on the Village of Saranac Lake Rules and Regulations. She felt they need to blend the rules and regulations in order to apply for the grant funds. She suggested the Rockledge residents take a look at the St. Armand Rules and Regulations on the Town’s website, and the Village of Saranac Lake’s rules and regulations that Winemiller had already distributed to the Rockledge residents and review them so that when we are ready to apply for grants, that step is already done.
Winemiller stated the petition would be quite simple. It simply has to say that the Rockledge residents understand that the homeowners are the owners and maintainers of the sewer mains and we don’t have a homeowner’s association; or have any means to do any repairs or work and we ask the Town of St. Armand to take the district over. Winemiller stated once the district is established in 2022, the goal would be to start collecting funds (taxing) in 2023 and we could do the mapping and the MJ Engineering survey on the sewer lines. Hopefully, they would have the grant rules hashed out and we could start applying for these things.
Question: Can the sewer district be expanded if others want to join the sewer district?
Response: In the St. Armand District, we have rules and regulations in place, that a sewer lateral building permit is needed in order for a new connection to be made. The Wastewater Superintendent and Code Enforcement officer are involved when the connection is made. That is what happens here all the time, so similar language can be added to the Rockledge rules.
Winemiller continued that once all of these items are laid out, then Winemiller will meet with the Town of North Elba and the Village of Saranac Lake and request that the Town of St. Armand be the lead agency for the grant funding process. There are a lot of steps before we are ready to do that. We need the petition and start working on the rules and regulations.
Winemiller opened the floor to any question, concerns or comments:
Question: Was the Rockledge tax rate increased?
Response: It was .88 cents per $1,000.00 last year and it was increased to .90 cents per thousand. The increase was minimal because any increase would affect the tax cap and the Town wanted to stay under the tax cap in order to maintain our current funding. Some “Cares Act” money was received and we can spend it on water and sewer.
Question: Would the sewer tax that is on our property tax bill only be going on tax bills for people who have sewer, is that correct?
Response: If your property is not participating in the Village of Saranac Lake sewer collection, then you would not be billed for sewer on your tax bill.
Question: Is the sewer going to run down Saranac Lane?
Response: There is always a chance the sewer could expand. These are all things that will be discussed when we work on the language of the rules and regulations. The Real Property Law states vacant lots also have to be charged a portion of debt service if water and/or sewer lines are running by the property. Some property owners decided to combine their properties into one lot in Bloomingdale to avoid paying the debt service on vacant lots.
Question: How far does the Sewer district go beyond Chris’s (Brescia)?
Response: There are different lines. St. Louis is the last one on that side and Chris is the last one on the right side.
Question: On the sewer district, are we talking about the sewer lines on the map, or can the lines be modified?
Response: The data gathered from the Village of Saranac Lake billing was used to contributed to the map that I am displaying.
Question: Are we talking about expanding to people who don’t use the sewer at all?
Response: Right now it is only the existing residents that are connected to the sewer line. In the future, it might be more advantageous to allow others to connect.
Comments: The water rate is 2X higher than the base rate because they are outside of the Village. People need to remember that they will be paying twice the rate if it is sewer as well as water. The bill says every October the price is adjusted. It could be three times or four times the rate.
Response: Every town has to change the rate based on the budget.
Comment: We would like to see an agreement between the Village of Saranac Lake and the Rockledge residents. It really feels like they are taking advantage of the Rockledge residents.
Response: That can be addressed with the Village of Saranac Lake when we get to that point.
Question: The Village of Saranac Lake does the hydrant flushing, don’t they?
Response: Yes, it is the Village.
Discussion ensured regarding the rates and that there needs to be some sort of agreement. A questions was brought up regarding the power line and what tract of land that would be on the map. The response was because it was a right of way, not a separation of the lots.
Question: Was there a task force formed?
Response: Rhan Estling, Chris Brescia and Klaus Meissner are the Task Force. There are 5 different communication groups including the Rockledge Neighborhood group, the Rockledge Facebook group and the Group me page. Rhan responded to Judy Odell that he will contact her on the Group me page.
Question: Was there any discussion as to which option to use in enhancing the water flow in the district?
Response: There really has not. The engineering report will be used to apply for the grant, and the best solution for the water infrastructure will be based on the engineering report. That is why these grants take so long.
The next Rockledge Meeting date will be determined at the Town of St. Armand Regular Board Meeting scheduled for January 18, 2022. The Town Supervisor will notify the Rockledge residents of the date and time.
QUESTIONS, COMMENTS OR CONCERNS:
Winemiller asked those present if anyone had any more comments, questions, or concerns.
There were no further questions, comments or concerns. Audience members thanked Winemiller for her work coordinating the efforts in resolving the situation. The Rockledge Task Force thanked the Board for scheduling the Rockledge Special Board Meetings on Mondays.
MOTION TO ADJOURN
Councilperson Jennifer Fuller made a Motion to adjourn the Special Board Meeting. The Motion was seconded by Councilperson Donald Amell and the Special Board Meeting adjourned at 6:26 pm.
I, Barbara J. Darrah, Town Clerk for the Town of St. Armand, do hereby certify that the above is a true and correct transcript of the Special Board Hearing minutes held on the above-referenced date.