Town of St Armand Organizational and Regular Board Meeting
Work Session – Cannabis Sales & Dispensary Local Law
Thursday, February 24, 2022
A Work Session of the Town of St. Armand was held on the above date and time via webinar and in person conducted at the Town Hall, Bloomingdale, NY. The Meeting was advertised and made available to the public.
BOARD MEMBERS PRESENT:
Town Supervisor Davina Winemiller, Deputy Supervisor Karl Law, Councilperson Donald Amell, Councilperson Stephanie Mikesell (on-line) and Councilperson Sheridan Swinyer were all in attendance in person or on-line.
A quorum of the Board was in attendance.
TOWN EMPLOYEES PRESENT:
Town Clerk Barbara Darrah.
GUESTS FROM THE COMMUNITY:
Warrene McCarthy, Carolyn (?), Lee Ann Van Cour, and (1) unidentified caller, all from the community.
Supervisor Davina Winemiller called the Work Session to order at 5:00 pm and asked all to join in the Pledge of Allegiance.
Supervisor Winemiller announced this was a Work Session to work on the Town’s Cannabis sale and dispensary local law. Winemiller explained she made some notes from the New York State law on the subject. The first thing we need to do is to decide if the Town Board wants to have a citizen task force with a couple of Board Member or did we just want to do it together as a Board and then move forward? Councilperson Donald Amell asked what Winemiller has been receiving as far as input from the residents. Winemiller explained most of the people reached out to her back in November and December when the deadline was looming. She described that there were basically two groups of people: one group of people didn’t want it at all, in any form, and the other group of people didn’t mind a dispensary as long as it was located in a reasonable area, but did not want on-site consumption. There were a couple of people that felt that we should just do what the State was doing and not changing anything from what they have. The only thing that concerns her is that there is another document that has rules and regulations that we have to abide by, but it has not been released yet, so we have no idea what that document is going to look like.
Councilperson Sheridan Swinyer asked what are the positive from having this? Winemiller responded that there would be tax revenue that the Town would receive, but from what she understands, the sales would have to be up in the million dollars a year, in order to get a percentage. The State gets the majority, the County would get 3% and the Town would get 1%. Discussion ensued regarding the monetary distribution of the revenue from the sales.
Councilperson Amell asked if Winemiller knew when the 2nd document would be received. Winemiller stated she did not and it was her opinion that if this was going to start in 2022, the document should already be distributed. Town Clerk Barbara Darrah stated she heard on the recent news that the date was being pushed to 2023. Swinyer stated he did not know what Towns were going to have the dispensaries and jump on the bandwagon, but he did not want Bloomingdale to be the Town that has the dispensary and none of the other towns do, so everyone comes here. Winemiller stated she did know that the Village of Saranac Lake did not opt out, so they are automatically in, exactly as it stands. So if someone wants to put one in the Village, they can. The Town of Harrietstown did opt out. More discussion ensured as to what jurisdiction would rule. The Village does have zoning, so they could have say in where it can and cannot go.
Winemiller stated she had an idea. For the record, Barb, were any petitions received? There were no petitions received.
Winemiller continued to ask the Board what they thought of a resident survey being conducted? It could be held over 2 days or a day and night. If people felt strongly, they could put comments on the survey as well. That way, the Town could actually be giving the Town residents an opportunity to have their voices heard.
Warrene McCarthy stated she thought that the Town was going to opt out in December and then in March, the Town was going to opt in. McCarthy then asked if Winemiller was saying that the Town may opt out of letting there be any sales in the Town of St. Armand? Winemiller replied that is why we are meeting here and discussing a survey to that everyone in the Town could make their position known. If the Town had received petitions and Essex County Board of Elections validated the petitions, then it would have been on the ballot.
Councilperson Swinyer stated that before we put more work into this, we should do the survey. Discussion ensued as to how we do what the majority of people want and how the survey would work. They would have to prove they are a resident of the Town of St. Armand. Age limits, days and times, prevention of duplicate votes, proof of residency and publicizing the survey were all discussed. The Board agreed
Warrene McCarthy asked why we needed 5 options on the survey? Warrene stated the only real issues are whether people want a dispensary, want on-site consumption or not want them. The Board agreed that keeping the survey options simple and adding a section for comments. Councilperson Sheridan Swinyer asked if there was a deadline? Winemiller replied there was not. Swinyer then suggested we wait until the Spring to conduct the survey. The Board agreed. Winemiller
stated she will draft a survey form for the Special Board meeting on March 9th. Then we can decide on the dates that the survey can be conducted.
Councilperson Stephanie Mikesell asked if we do a local law, and then the State comes out with the new regulations, where does our local law set? Winemiller and Councilperson Sheridan Swinyer both agreed that Town Law can be more restrictive than State law, but Town Law cannot be less restrictive than what State Law dictates.
Supervisor Winemiller explained that she would like to increase the hourly rate for the Transfer Station employees.
She reasoned the winter work is brutally cold, shoveling is involved. Councilperson Donald Amell stated we budgeted
$14.95 per hour for each employee. Why are we looking at increasing it? Winemiller explained the new employees did not want to take the job for $14.95. The Transfer Station has had a very high rate of turnover. In order to hire and retain employees at the Transfer Station, the hourly rate should be increased. This would assist us in providing the transfer station service to our residents. Councilperson Stephanie Mikesell asked if there was any idea what the current budget would accommodate without causing a problem? Winemiller replied that we always have contingency money. Winemiller did add that because we increased the prices of the bags, the increased salaries would be balanced by the increase. Winemiller calculated that based on the bag rates and Saturdays in the year, the Town could afford a $6.03 increase per hour. Winemiller pointed out that the attendants work one day a week, Saturday, which doesn’t pay the rent. Discussion ensued regarding aspects of the job and competitive pay.
Warrene McCarthy added that they deserve $20.00, but if the Town can’t afford to pay them $20.00, the Town should let them know that they deserve $20.00. Winemiller stated she would like to hire two more employees in addition, because no one wants to work the Transfer Station every Saturday. Discussion ensued regarding salaries. Winemiller asked all the Board Members to weigh in. All Board members agreed to an increase of $17.50 per hour and a Resolution will be done on March 9th and will be retroactive.
Supervisor Winemiller distributed the proposed Hoffman Appraisal invoice to the Town Board at the Regular Board
Meeting held on March 15, 2022, and asked to get a Motion of approval. Councilperson Stephanie Mikesell made a Motion to approve to pay Hoffman $500.00 for the appraisal on the Fawcett property. The Motion was seconded by Councilperson Sheridan Swinyer. All in favor. Motion carried.
Supervisor Winemiller presented the Help Wanted Ad for the Back-up Water Operator to the Board, adding it was necessary due the resignation of Dave Siskavich. Deputy Supervisor Karl Law made the Motion to post the Back-up Water Operator Help Wanted ad in the Adirondack Daily Enterprise. The Motion was seconded by Councilperson Sheridan Swinyer. All in favor. Motion carried.
QUESTIONS OR CONCERNS FROM GUESTS AND STAFF:
Warrene McCarthy asked if Supervisor Winemiller could explain about the appraiser of the Fawcett property. Winemiller explained this was something that had been discussed between the Town Board and the Fawcetts to sell a piece of their property that would expand and provide more parking at the ball field.
There were no other comments, questions or concerns.
MOTION TO MOVE INTO EXECUTIVE SESSION
Councilperson Donald Amell made a Motion to move into Executive Session for the purpose of a Legal matter. The Motion was seconded by Deputy Supervisor Karl Law. The Executive Session began at 6:04 pm.
MOTION TO ADJOURN EXECUTIVE SESSION
Councilperson Sheridan Swinyer made a Motion to adjourn the Executive Session. The Motion was seconded by Councilperson Stephanie Mikesell. The Executive Session ended at 6:22 pm.
MOTION TO ADJOURN WORK SESSION
Councilperson Sheridan Swinyer made the Motion to adjourn the Work Session. The Motion was seconded by
Deputy Supervisor Karl Law. The Work Session adjourned at 6:23 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 Public Hearing held on the above-referenced date.