February 25, 2012

A special meeting of the Board of Trustees was held on Saturday, February 25, 2012, at the Village Hall. Mayor Westcott opened the meeting at 9:00 a.m. Also in attendance were Deputy Mayor Conley, Trustee Blumrick, Trustee Hinkson, Trustee McAvoy, Police Chief Swick, Village Coordinator Dodge, and Clerk-Treasurer Schweigert. Mayor Westcott led the Pledge of Allegiance. There were a few members of the Middleport Fire Company in attendance, as well. Mayor Westcott opened the meeting cautioning all present that just because the Village passed the 2-percent tax cap override, the intention of the Board is to still stay within that constraint. Surrounding municipalities have done so, and he would like to keep the rate flat or perhaps even lower it. Fire Chief Sam DeChellis addressed the Board. He explained the background of the contracts with the towns of Royalton and Hartland and asked if the Village would consider increasing the amount for the fire department by 3 percent or cover the cost of 5 physicals. The Town of Royalton is looking for ways to lower their costs regarding physicals. It is Chief DeChellis’s desire to have the towns and the village “on the same page” so that everyone is sharing the cost. He asked if the Village could do a breakdown on the tax bill showing residents how much of their tax dollar covers the cost. It was explained to him that the unlike the towns, the village has one tax district, and there is no way to break it down by line item. He suggested a 2 percent increase if 3 percent is not feasible. Mayor Westcott advised that the Board went to a flat increase several years ago, doing away with a percentage increase. Chief DeChellis explained more could be done with a fire tax. It was explained, again, that the village cannot impose a fire tax. Mayor Westcott reminded the Chief that the Fire Company’s treasurer is supposed to be submitting quarterly financial reports, but he has not been doing so. Discussed this issue, and determined that the Village will create a form that can be completed and submitted by the Fire Company on a quarterly basis. Mayor Westcott reminded the Chief that when the State Comptroller’s office audits the Village’s books, they will want an accounting of where the money went. The Chief asked that a letter be sent asking for the quarterly reports. Jim Volkosh, a member of the Fire Company, asked if the village would consider a long-term contract. Mayor Westcott responded that due to the nature of the economy today, it would not happen at this time as the Village does not want to be locked into an amount. Discussion ensued as to why the Chief is not party to signing the contract. Will contact the village’s attorney regarding this. Since the Fire Company’s requests had been made, they left the meeting. At this time, the Board of Trustees discussed the remainder of the budget. The Board and the department heads discussed each line item. The following was discussed: Chief Swick has not ordered a new vehicle yet, even though it is in the budget. Governor Cuomo has put a hold on all state bid contracts so they can be reviewed, so he has been unable to purchase one through a state bid. He has asked the village’s attorney if it would be possible to purchase one through Niagara County’s bid. If he can purchase a vehicle through that, discussed the possibility of paying for half from the current budget and the rest from the next budget, to keep expenditures down. May possibly do this. Discussed the purchase of the truck that was budgeted for the DPW. Mr. Dodge has had the same issue of being unable to purchase a truck through the state bid process. This amount will be included in the next budget, as well. The DPW needs to purchase a new tractor. This cost will be done through a 5-year BAN, as it will be about $70,000. Included the down payment in the budget. Discussed Vernon/South Vernon Street. It is in desperate need of repairs, but it does not yet qualify for CHIPs money. The cost of repairs will be over $100,000. Other streets could be repaired using the CHIPs money, and the Village could float a BAN to cover the cost of the repairs to Vernon/South Vernon Street. Added $25, 000 for the first BAN payment. Discussed the stipend for the Zoning Board of Appeals and the Planning Board. They have been paid $12 per meeting, with the chair receiving $15 per meeting, for more than 12 years. Motion was made by Deputy Mayor Conley, and seconded by Trustee Hinkson, to increase the meeting stipend for the ZBA and the Planning Board to $25 per meeting, with the chairs receiving $30 per meeting. Carried. Chief Swick asked the Board advised the Board that he would like Officer Johnson to take the Sergeant’s exam. In order to call for an exam, the Board must create a position and notify Civil Service. A motion was made by Trustee Hinkson, and seconded by Trustee Blumrick, authorizing the creation of another Sergeant’s position and requesting an exam from Niagara Civil Service. Carried. As this would be a promotional exam, only Officer Johnson would qualify to take it. Discussed the need for another meeting for the budget as non-union wages must be addressed. A motion was made by Trustee Hinkson, and seconded by Trustee McAvoy, to hold a meeting of the Board of Trustees on Saturday, March 3, 2012, at 10:00 a.m. Carried. There being no other business, a motion was made by Trustee McAvoy, and seconded by Deputy Mayor Conley, to adjourn. Carried. Respectfully submitted, Rebecca A. Schweigert Clerk-Treasurer
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