Town of St Armand
Wednesday, October 20, 2021 – 6:30 pm Budget Work Session
These Budget Work Session Minutes were approved by the St. Armand Town Board on November 9, 2021.
A Budget Work Session of the Town of St. Armand were held on the above date and times at the Town Hall, Bloomingdale, NY, and virtually on-line.
BOARD MEMBERS PRESENT:
Town Supervisor Davina Winemiller, Deputy Supervisor D. Joseph Bates, Councilperson Donald Amell, Councilperson Jennifer Fuller, and Councilperson Karl Law.
A quorum of the Board was in attendance.
TOWN EMPLOYEES PRESENT:
Highway Superintendent Douglas Snickles, Wastewater Superintendent Stanley Ingison, Town Accountant Donna Bramer, and Town Clerk Barbara Darrah.
Taylor Munn, Water and Wastewater Back-up Operator
Notice was posted regarding the date of this meeting.
Supervisor Davina Winemiller called the Public Hearing to order at 6:30 pm and asked all to join in saying the Pledge of Allegiance.
BUDGET WORK SESSION
Supervisor Winemiller offered the floor to Donna Bramer, who wanted to discuss the Senior Citizen Exemptions Program to the Board. Donna distributed two handouts; one that explains the Assessor’s guidance for the program and one that Donna prepared, a tiered scale indicating the various options for income guidelines for this exemption. Due to Social Security increases, there are Seniors that are getting bumped out of the program. It will be effective in January of 2023. Currently, there are only seven individuals in this program, but only six who qualify. Donna explained the program was run through New York State in 2021 and the guidelines are very strict. The Town would need to have a Public Hearing because the tax payers would be picking up the portion of the exempted taxes for the approved seniors. The State of New York applies this program first, before they apply the STAR program. To be exempted, a Town Resolution would need to be passed after a Public Hearing before March 1st. Winemiller stated we could have a Public Hearing in November and then pass the Resolution at the December 14th, 2021 Town Board Meeting.
Supervisor Winemiller asked the Board to review the Code Enforcement Officer help wanted ad and asked the Board for approval. Deputy Supervisor D. Joseph Bates made a Motion to approve the ad. The Motion was seconded by Councilperson Karl Law. All in favor. Motion carried.
Supervisor Winemiller then moved directly into the Budget Work Session by introducing and inviting Taylor Munn, Wastewater and Water Back-up Operator to speak to the Board. Winemiller reported that the Board already approved a 3% for the backup operators.
Taylor Munn presented a request for an increase of more than 3% in the backup operator hourly rate. The appropriated hourly increase was from $18.00 per hour to $18.54 per hour for 2022. Taylor explained his reasoning for more than 3% was how if there was a problem, phone calls are answered any time of day or night and the position deserves more as a whole. He is certified in both 2A and 2B class for the licensed operator and he has a college degree for water treatment. He feels the position is worth more than $18.50. He further explained that the operators throughout the State are underpaid.
Jennifer asked Taylor if he had a number in mind? Taylor replied that the standard pay rate is $22.00 and that is what he is asking. Supervisor Winemiller thanked Taylor for his work and his explanation for requesting an increase in the hourly wage. She then explained how the Water and Sewer expenditures are user funded, meaning that the Water and Sewer rates that residents pay go directly to funding the Water and Sewer budgets. Any raises given would affect the Water and Sewer rates. Winemiller stated the Board would review his request and get back to him. Taylor thanked the Board for their attention and departed. Winemiller stated it is not a reflection that his work is not worth $22.00, but we are struggling to keep our Water and Sewer rates are affordable. Taylor thanked the Board for allowing him to present his request and that he did appreciate the raise.
Supervisor Winemiller invited Wastewater Supervisor Stanley Ingison to give any input. Stanley stated that he did lose most of his back-up operators. Taylor is licensed for water, but not for sewer. However, he does do both water and sewer. Cory is now licensed for water. Matthew Crane was licensed in Florida and is working on being licensed for Sewer in New York State.
The pay rate was $18.00 for 2021 and the 3% for 2022 brought the hourly rate to $18.54. Supervisor Winemiller asked the Board to take a look at the Water and Sewer Rate Worksheet she handed out at the current meeting and reminded them to keep in mind the raises would affect the rates. Discussion ensued amongst the Board members regarding an increase of more than 3% for the Water and Wastewater back-up operators. Supervisor Winemiller stated she did not want to lose the back-up operators. The Board determined they would increase the back-up operators by 4% to an hourly rate of $18.72. Position descriptions would be done in 2022 to differentiate the pay rate according to those who were licensed and those who did not have their license.
Stanley also added that the Wastewater Treatment Licensed Operator legally had to be within two hours of the Wastewater Treatment Plant.
WATER AND SEWER RATES
Supervisor Winemiller distributed the Water and Sewer Rate Worksheet to the Board members, Town Accountant Donna Bramer, and Town Clerk Barbara Darrah. Winemiller also displayed the worksheet on the virtual screen. The 2021 rates are as follows: Water Usage $6.18, Water Debt $1.70, Sewer Usage $14.25, Sewer Debt $71.00 and Sewer Improvements Capital Reserve Fund $12.00 per unit per quarter.
For 2022, the Water and Sewer rates will be as follows: Water Usage $7.12, Water Debt $1.70, Sewer Usage $15.32, Water Improvements Capital Reserve Fund .50 and Water Emergency Capital Reserve Fund .50 each, per unit per quarter and Sewer Improvements Capital Reserve Fund $11.60 per unit per quarter.
There is a Public Hearing scheduled for Thursday, November 4, 2021, at 6:15 pm at the St. Armand Town Hall and virtually for discussion of the 2022 Preliminary Budget and the 2022 Water and Sewer Rates.
Supervisor Winemiller reported the 2022 Preliminary Budget was under the Tax Cap by $2.00 and therefore a Tax Cap Override would not be necessary for 2022.
Supervisor Winemiller and Donna Bramer had a webinar with CDPHP (health insurance) through Triple AAA in upstate New York. Right now, the Cassavaughs do not have dental, vision or hearing. It looks like they will be able to have those coverages with the new insurance in 2022. The only difference is that the Cassavaughs will be receiving the bills themselves and paying the bill. The Town can pay the Cassavaughs directly and they can take care of the bill themselves. The same would be true for Stanley Ingison. Winemiller stated she would have more information at the next Board Meeting.
Winemiller stated this meeting completed the Budget Work Sessions for the 2022 Budget. The Public Hearing on the 2022 Budget and the 2022 Water and Sewer Rates will be held on Thursday, November 4, 2021, at 6:15 pm
MOTION TO MOVE INTO EXECUTIVE SESSION
Deputy Supervisor D. Joseph Bates made a Motion to move into Executive Session for the purpose of a personnel matter. The Motion was seconded by Councilperson Jennifer Fuller. All in favor. Motion carried. The Executive Session began at 8:01 pm.
MOTION TO ADJOURN EXECUTIVE SESSION
Deputy Supervisor D. Joseph Bates made a Motion to end the Executive Session. The Motion was seconded by Councilperson Karl Law. The Executive Session ended at 8:32 pm.
MOTION TO ADJOURN BUDGET WORK SESSION
Deputy Supervisor D. Joseph Bates made a Motion to end the Budget Work Session. The Motion was seconded by Councilperson Donald Amell. The Budget Work Session ended at 8:33 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 and Budget Work Session minutes held on the above-referenced date.