Hector town board 1/11/11
Meeting: The Hector town council met Tuesday, Jan. 11, in the town hall, starting at 7 p.m.
Attendance: All council members were present. Four town residents attended.
Action: The Hector board voted unanimously on a range of standard business items, such as approving bills as audited and to continue software support for the town clerk’s operation in tax collecting. Also by unanimous vote the board approved a new community home on County Rt. 5 to be run by Arc of Schuyler County. Additional consensus votes approved sending the new Town Justice, Dan Fitzsimmons, to a special training for first time justices and to contribute $100 to the Schuyler County Historical Society in honor of the group’s 50th anniversary this year.
Discussion without action: Mike Griffin of the New York State Department of Transportation advised the board of a road construction project along Rt. 228 south of Mecklenburg in Smith Valley. The state intends to replace an old bridge, two nearby culverts and re-grade the road for better sighting while driving. The work will be scheduled for sometime in 2012, when a long detour will be marked for motorists through Watkins Glen and Montour Falls up to Odessa. NYS-DOT estimated the detour would take an extra 10 minutes for drivers traveling between Mecklenburg and Odessa.
• The board heard a proposal from Jay Arcangeli, highway superintendent, to use an international online auction service to sell salvage equipment. The site is open to municipalities and other governmental units. Arcangeli noted that other municipalities reported success in receiving higher prices from international bidders.
• Supervisor Ben Dickens commented on a list of resolutions to be taken up by the Association of Towns’ annual meeting. One proposed resolution especially attracted much comment from the board. The association opposes a state-mandated two percent cap on annual property tax increases. Gov. Andrew Cuomo is expected to sponsor a property tax cap bill in the legislature this month with substantial support among legislators. Dickens noted that two percent of Hector’s tax revenue from property tax sources amounts to approximately $69,000, less than the expected increases in costs arising from the state mandated retirement system and the cost of anticipated health insurance increases for 2012. “What else can we do? We will have to cut other services,” Dickens remarked.
• The Department of Health returned a report on Hector’s public water system with very few recommended remedial actions needed. Water Superintendent Robert Stapleton noted that this was the best report he had seen from the state agency. He assured the board that the remedial actions were already on his agenda for the coming months.
• The Trumansburg ambulance service for a corner of northeast Hector is still in controversy over billing for ambulance calls. The ambulance service, owned by the village of Trumansburg, serves the towns of Hector, Covert and Ulysses in three counties. Lawyers from the three towns and the village have delivered different opinions on whether billing for ambulance services directed only to those with health insurance coverage is legal. Wednesday, Jan. 26, at 6 p.m. in the Trumansburg Fire Hall, representatives from all the municipalities will hold a public meeting on the legal issues and alternatives for ambulance service delivery. Hector residents are encouraged to attend.
Upcoming meetings: The next town board meeting will be held on Thursday, Jan. 20, at 7 p.m.