Town of St Armand
Special Board Meeting - Rockledge Infrastructure
Thursday, September 30, 2021 5:30 PM
These Special Board Meeting Minutes were approved by the St. Armand Town Board on November 9, 2021.
A Special Board Meeting of the Town of St. Armand was held on the above date and time at the Town Highway Garage, 1705 NYS Route 3, Bloomingdale, NY. The meeting was also advertised as a webinar meeting. This meeting was the third Special Board Meeting held to discuss the Rockledge Water districting and Rockledge Sewer lines.
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:
Town Clerk Barbara Darrah.
Billy Allen, Sue Conroy, Rohan Estling, Becky Ladue, Alan Latourelle, Kevin McCarthy, Klaus Meissner, and Lisa Meissner, all presenting Rockledge residents.
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. Several maps of the Rockledge properties and water district were on display during the meeting.
Supervisor Winemiller had previously emailed the Rockledge residents the MJ Engineering estimate for a sewer line study of the Rockledge area. Some copies were also available at the sign-in table. Winemiller did a double-check on the wastewater users and it looks like eighteen.
Resident question: In speaking with other Rockledge residents, when the sewer system was established, the main concern is that there is no real entity in charge. Winemiller contacted the NYS Comptroller’s contact and asked him if he had ever heard of this before. He reported to Winemiller that he had and in most cases the Town has had to take over.
Question: Would it be the Town or would it be the Village of Saranac Lake?
Response: Winemiller replied it would be the Town of St. Armand.
Winemiller distributed another handout with the steps to initiate a petition for a Town District. She stated basically the question was do the property owners that are on the Sewer lines want the Town of St. Armand to take over the Rockledge Sewer? If they do, she reviewed the steps that would be needed to form a new Sewer District for Rockledge. A third handout was the Rockledge Area – Town of St. Armand Town Proposal. This handout described the current situation and the Town’s proposal to move forward with establishing ownership of the Rockledge Sewer District. Winemiller explained that this would allow the Town to apply for grants to assist with funding the necessary water and sewer infrastructure upgrades. It would have to be a majority of those resident, so approximately 10 out of the 18 residents.
Question: Who was the owner of the sewer infrastructure in the past?
Response: Winemiller replied it was Frank Cashier. Frank Cashier gave up the rights of the water mains to the Town of St. Armand and that is when the water district was formed. Frank Cashier never gave up the rights to the sewer lines.
Question: If Frank Cashier was the owner, how is it his estate is not responsible for this?
Response: I don’t know because I am not an attorney. I do know that back in the 80’s, Frank wanted to form a Homeowner’s Association but he wanted each property owner to have one vote. He owned the majority of the properties, so he would have the controlling interest of that and the others chose not to participate knowing that.
Question: How much would it cost the eighteen homeowners to form the district?
Response: It should not cost the homeowners anything to do the initial establishment of the district. What would happen is we would start charging a tax like we do on the water. Best case scenario if this is the scenario you want to go with, the Town would establish the district and then start the tax for the sewer district for repairs, etc.
Question: If I have this right, the Town cannot even work on the sewer lines if there is a problem right now?
Response: No. We can’t.
Question: What would the taxes be on the sewer district?
Response: It would be hard to say. Right now, we collect $7,500.00 for the Water Tax and I think it consists of 55 users. I want to say it is .83 cents per thousand. If that were the case, an assessed value of $100,000, the tax would be $83.00.
Winemiller reported she had a meeting with the Essex County Planning department on Monday, September 20, 2021. They are the grant writers for all of the towns in Essex County. If this is the way the Rockledge residents want to go, then a meeting will be set up with the Town of North Elba and the Village of Saranac Lake to propose making the Town of St. Armand the lead agency to apply for a grant for Rockledge Water (and possibly Sewer) Infrastructure for this proposed project. Before the Town can apply and prepare financial applications, the Rockledge sewer district must be formed; doing both projects simultaneously through water and sewer, engineering and construction is the most cost effective method. The proposal was a handout at the meeting. In speaking with the Village of Saranac Lake, it was recommended that eight-inch lines be installed in place of the four-inch. It would be multi-jurisdictional. We can still do that for water if the residents do not want the Town to take it over. The very first thing we would need to do is get the Engineering report on the Sewer and then make a determination.
Question: Why aren’t we following the engineering report’s recommendations?
Response: I am not saying that is what we are doing, I am saying that is what is recommended by the Village.
Question: What is the timeframe for a grant submission and what is the timeframe you are thinking of for working on that?
Response: It would really depend on when the grant applications deadlines are depending on what grants we apply for.
Question: So there are different deadlines for different grants?
Response: Oh, yes. Each grant type has different deadlines. Winemiller gave examples of the various grant types. From start to finish, it takes about one year. You have four to six months to submit your application, then you wait for the award. For example, we have a grant in for the disinfection aspect of our wastewater plant. We applied in 2017 and we have been working on it for five years, but now we have until 2023 to complete it. The grant would be written from the MJ Engineering report on the water. If we do a grant for the sewer, we would use the MJ Engineering report on the sewer.
Grants take time. No grant will cover 100% in New York State. There is always a matching grant fund. Right now, the St. Armand Sewer District, our matching grant for the disinfection is $113,500. We have been collecting $12.00 for our Capital Reserve Fund per quarter per sewer user to help in collecting the funds for that matching grant fund.
Comment: It sounds like you are doing the right thing, like applying for grants and trying to include the Village and Town of North Elba in them.
Comment: If the Village of Saranac Lake provides the water, isn’t the Village of Saranac Lake required to repair the water break?
Reply: The Town of St. Armand owns the water mains in Rockledge. If the water main breaks, the Village of Saranac is going to call the Town of St. Armand. It might be Fullers or Garrows that fix it, but the Town of St. Armand is responsible for the repairs.
Winemiller explained the property tax bill and how it showed the Rockledge water district tax that is included in that bill. The size of the lot does not matter. There is one tax bill per lot. If there are two lots owned, then there are two tax bills. Winemiller responded that there is a line item that is collected on the tax bill, which is used for repairs and improvements. We collected $7500.00 from the Rockledge Water District this year. I am thinking of boosting that to $9500.00 for 2022 so that whatever the match is for the Water, we would already be collecting for that.
Comment: An audience member commended Supervisor Winemiller and the Town Board for looking for grants and being willing to do the work that is required for the grant.
Response: Winemiller stated she is not promising the Town is going to get the grant but she would do everything possible to work on obtaining the grant.
Supervisor Winemiller summarized that if it is decided by the Rockledge residents that they want the Town of St. Armand to take over the sewer infrastructure:
Step One: Start the petition for St. Armand to take over the district
Step Two: Move forward with the Engineering report for the sewer lines.
She reiterated the grant process is going to be looking for “shovel ready” projects. We don’t know what it will cost until it goes to bid and we open the bid packets.
A copy of the Village of Saranac Lake Water Rules and Regulations was available at the meeting. Supervisor Winemiller suggested that the Rockledge Water District have their own Rules and Regulations for Rockledge so that everyone can be on the same page. She suggested mirroring the current St. Armand Water Rules and Regulations and making the necessary adjustments with regard to the Saranac Lake Village. Winemiller stated she would email the Village of Saranac Lake Water Rules and Regulations to the Rockledge residents on October 1st.
Finally, due to the change of seasons bringing colder weather, Supervisor Winemiller stated we would not be able to meet in the Highway Garage again this year. The Town Hall Board Room cannot accommodate more than 15 people comfortably, even less with COVID concerns and required spacing. The Town Board proposes the creation of a Rockledge Water Task Force be formed, made up of Rockledge property owners. There should be 4 to 6 members on the Task Force. These are the people who should attend the Rockledge meetings in person. The meetings will also be held on-line, as they are now, so everyone else can attend virtually. The Rockledge Task Force members can communicate with all of the Rockledge property owners, relay their questions and concerns and communicate with the Town Board moving forward. If everyone is in agreement with this, determine who the Task Force members should be. The Town can assist them in utilizing the GoTo Meeting platform to host virtual meetings with the other Rockledge property owners so that every can attend the Task Force meetings.
The next Rockledge Meeting date will be determined at the Town of St. Armand Regular Board Meeting scheduled for October 13, 2021. The Town Supervisor will notify the Rockledge residents of the date and time.
QUESTIONS OR CONCERNS:
Winemiller asked those present if anyone had any more comments, questions, or concerns.
Audience members thanked Winemiller for coordinating the efforts in resolving the situation
Winemiller reminded everyone that information is available on the Town of St. Armand website, such as Monthly Board Meeting Minutes, Special Board Meeting Minutes, the annual budget and the Monthly Supervisor’s reports. She then asked if there were any more comments or questions. There were none.
RESOLUTION # 66 OF 2021 AUTHORIZATION FOR REPRESENTATIVE TO APPLY FOR AND SIGN GRANT DOCUMENTS FROM THE
NYS JUSTICE COURT ASSISTANCE PROGRAM FOR
THE 2021-2022 GRANT CYCLE FUNDS
Deputy Supervisor D. Joseph Bates, who moved its adoption, offered the following Resolution:
WHEREAS, a Resolution of the Town Board of the Town of St. Armand is necessary to apply for and execute a Grant Agreement with the Justice Court Assistance Program (NYS).
THEREFORE, LET IT BE RESOLVED that the Town Board of the Town of St. Armand authorizes the Town of St. Armand Town Court to apply for a JCAP grant in the 2021-2022 grant cycle for up to $29,377.00 (Twenty-nine thousand, three hundred and seventy-seven dollars).
This Resolution was duly seconded by Councilperson Karl Law and adopted by Roll Call Vote as follows:
Supervisor Davina Winemiller AYE
Deputy Supervisor D. Joseph Bates AYE
Councilperson Donald Amell AYE
Councilperson Jennifer Fuller AYE
Councilperson Karl Law AYE
Barbara J. Darrah, St. Armand Town Clerk Dated: September 30, 2021
MOTION TO ADJOURN
Deputy Supervisor D. Joseph made a Motion to adjourn the Special Board Meeting. The Motion was seconded by Councilperson Jennifer Fuller and the Special Board Meeting adjourned at 7:06 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.