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2002-05 Council Minutes

 

Minutes
 
Town Council Meeting - May 1, 2002
 
Mayor Sam Pierce, Council Members Ronnie Blacksten, Neal Roop, Ed Palsgrove, Terry Petry and Jay Gullo, Town Attorney Michelle Ostrander and Acting Town Clerk Cindy Welker. There were 45 people in attendance.
 
Call to Order: Mayor Pierce called the May 1, 2002 Monthly Town Council Meeting to order at 7:00 p.m. Mayor Pierce then led the Pledge of Allegiance.
 
Recording and Agenda Policies: Mayor Pierce stated that the Town Meeting is recorded by electronic means, and that the meeting will follow an Agenda. Anyone who wishes to have a matter placed on the Agenda needs to submit the topic to the Mayor in writing by the last Wednesday of the month.
 
Previous Meeting Minutes: A motion to postpone the approval of the April 3, 2002 and Public Hearing, April 24, 2002 minutes was made by Councilman Gullo and seconded by Councilman Petry. Motion passed 5-0.
 
 
 
OLD BUSINESS
 
Minutes from March 6, 2002: Councilman Gullo asked whether the Council was going to address March 6, 2002 minutes at this time. Mayor Pierce stated that they could be addressed at this time. At April’s meeting, there were corrections made to the March 6, 2002 minutes in regards to the statement made by Union Bridge’s Mayor, Perry Jones, stating that Union Bridge went with the Resident Sheriff Deputy’s Program because of the cost factor. Councilman Gullo asked that this statement be removed from the record because he felt that Mayor Jones did not make this statement. After the Acting Town Clerk relistened to the tape, Mayor Jones did make this statement so with the advice of the Town Attorney, it was kept in the March’s minutes. Another correction was made by Councilman Palsgrove as to the statement of ”people setting out 1/2 their house on bulk trash days”, this too was actually stated for the record, but it was kept as corrected to sound more proper. There was an action to approve the corrected March’s minutes. Since this was done, the Council needed to take another action to approve the minutes with Mayor Jones’ statement left in and the correction to the wording about bulk trash. A motion was made to amend the record for the March 6, 2002 meeting and strike the amendments that were made at the April 3, 2002 meeting regarding Mayor Jones statement, but leave the correction that Councilman Palsgrove made regarding the bulk trash. Councilman Palsgrove seconded this motion, motion passed 5-0.
 
 
 
NEW BUSINESS
 
Charter C3-8: Mayor Pierce stated that Councilman Gullo requested that a discussion on Charter C3-8, which deals with the Council Rules for Procedure. Councilman Gullo passed out a resolution, which stated what he felt the procedures should be for meetings. He read this resolution aloud. This resolution was named Resolution #5-1-02. Councilman Gullo moved to discuss this resolution and seconded by Councilman Blacksten. Councilman Gullo stated that the rationality for this resolution was because he felt it was very hard to prepare for the Council Meetings. He felt that there were simple things they could discuss with their common sense, but he could not remember an item that the Council has talked about that hasn’t involved the history of what has been going on. Councilman Gullo also felt that the resident’s should be informed as to what will be discussed at the meetings so if they are interested they will come. He stated that this was his attempt of making this happen. He stated that the Council has operated under this informally; he just wanted to formalize it. Councilman Roop stated that he felt that the Council should have a month to look over this resolution before adopting it. Councilman Palsgrove felt that if this is what the Council was going to operate under than there was no need to make mention of what has happened in the past. He suggested removing the statement ”Whereas, each Town Council meeting has been held under a vague agenda policy; and”. Councilman Palsgrove made a motion to amend the resolution by removing the second ”Whereas” statement and seconded by Councilman Gullo. Motion passed 5-0. Councilman Gullo made a motion to make the amendment that Mayor Pierce suggested, under sub point #3 adding ”These matters must be submitted in writing one week prior to the meeting to the Town Hall”. Councilman Petry seconded the motion, and it passed 5- 0. A motion to adopt Resolution #5-1-02 was made by Councilman Gullo and seconded by Councilman Blacksten. Councilman Roop stated that he would like a month to look over this resolution and get Michelle’s opinion on it. He also stated that the idea of the Resolution was to have time to look over items and Councilman Gullo just handed it out five minutes ago and expects the Council to vote on it. He felt that this was defeating the purpose of the resolution. Councilman Gullo stated that he recognized that fact, but had put it on the agenda so that it could be discussed. However, Councilman Gullo felt that it was so obvious that it only formalizes what the Council has been doing. With no further discussion, the motion was passed 5-0.
 
 
 
UNFINISHED BUSINESS
 
Sprint Contract: Mayor Pierce stated the next item of business was the Sprint Contract. He turned the meeting over to Michelle, but first introduced Mr. John McQuire, who represents Sprint and stated that the Council had a copy of the letter from John to Michelle and her opinion on this matter. Michelle stated that it was her understanding that everyone has the information requested by Councilman Gullo as to the expenses incurred by the Town for engineering fees while NEXTEL did their work on the tower. Michelle had one question for John. That was that the PCS site agreement contemplates or appears to, the first 1SO days the rent overall would be $ 1,000.00. She stated that this was a feasibility study period. She was asked whether in effect the period between when the Mayor signed the agreement in August 2001 and Sprint signed in March 2002 was that effectively in lieu of that 1SO day period and so if the Council ratifies this, would the regular rent begin to apply now or is Sprint still looking for that six months at $1,000.00 now seven months after the original execution. John stated that his recollection is that the agreement states six months after the ratification of the agreement, which began when Sprint executed the agreement in March 2002. Michelle then asked the Council if any of them had any further questions for either her or John. Councilman Gullo stated that he did not have a question, but stated that he was the one that requested the information and after reviewing all the information he discovered that the Town spent less than $10,000.00 on preparing the site and recouped some of that from the second user, NEXTEL. Then there was the $1,000.00 signing bonus and also there are provisions in the contract to deal with reviews that need to be done. Councilman Gullo then apologized to John and Sprint for delaying this project three weeks. He stated that he was under a misimpression that the deal was closed and not going to happen as of October. He felt that John’s letter stated very clearly that he had dealings with the Mayor in the intervening months and that there was no in house communication, because Councilman Gullo knew nothing about it and was not sure whether any other Council Members knew of the Mayor and John’s discussions. Councilman Gullo made a motion to ratify the Sprint PCS contract.
 
Councilman Petry had a few concerns before a vote was taken. He asked John what the time frame would be. John stated that he had sealed construction drawings. He then stated that he was instructed to file for a building permit this would take about 2-3 weeks. Councilman Petry then asked when would Sprint start paying rent. John stated that according to the agreement, Sprint would start paying rent six months from March 31, 2002. John stated that the Town had a contract with NEXTEL with the understanding that NEXTEL would do the painting. The Sprint contract was negotiated with the understanding that this would all be done by NEXTEL and then Sprint would come along and the tower would be ready. John stated that Sprint didn’t just pull off on its own whim, NEXTEL stopped work and the tower was not ready. Councilman Petry stated that the last communication he saw stated that Sprint was no longer interested. John stated that there was a lot of communication with the Mayor on this site because Sprint wanted the Town to know where they stood. John stated that there was a lack of interest because internally Sprint would not take on the liability of painting the tower Councilman Petry read from a letter from John stating that Sprint has asked him to inform the Town that it has decided not to enter into the PCS site agreement. Councilman Petry’s understanding of this letter was that Sprint was not interested any more. John stated to read on, to the end of the letter, where it stated that if the Town discovers additional facts or circumstances, which may bear on the suitability of the water tank, I would be more than willing to pass on this information to Sprint. Michelle asked when the painting was completed. It was stated that it was completed late December, early January. Michelle then stated that there was at least a three-month delay between when the painting was completed and when the documents were completed. She felt that there was some legitimacy in the Town’s questions. She stated that later on in the meeting there would be some discussion on new construction at the water tower in regards to a new booster pump station being installed. She stated anything that Sprint is going to do needs to be reviewed by the engineer who is looking at the booster pump station to make sure that what ever is done now will not effect anything that is going to happen in the future to this site. There was a motion by Councilman Gullo to ratify the Sprint contract. With no further discussion, Councilman Roop seconded the motion and it passed 5-0.
 
FY03 Budget: Mayor Pierce apologized for not being able to attend the Public Hearing on the budget due to illness. He also apologized for any confusion there was with the budget and the revised budget. He stated to the Council that they had in front of them the proposed budget and a revised budget. The Mayor suggested that they review these budgets together. It is the Council’s prerogative to approve the budget and they can amend or change any figures they wish to. He then suggested they come to the Work Session on May 20, 2002 to finalize and have any discussion regarding the two budgets at that time. The budget can then be approved at the June 12, 2002 meeting.
 
Councilman Gullo stated that he took it upon himself to do the comparison between the two budgets and was prepared to discuss the two budgets. Councilman Gullo handed out a worksheet that showed the Town’s actual disbursements through March 2002. He stated he took the information that the Council was given every month and made a spreadsheet showing what was spent on ever vendor. Councilman Gullo then passed out a budget worksheet. He stated if a category had an * it meant that they were not reflected in the budget that was presented by the Mayor. If a category had @@@ it meant that it was a new category that the Mayor proposed. Councilman Gullo went on to state that he was submitting to keep the tax rate the same at .16. He stated that he looked at the Auditor figures from last year and saw that the fund balance for tax money was $686,625.00. He then stated that the last two years there has been a surplus.
 
He further stated that the Town is not supposed to take tax monies and use them for water and sewer projects. The two funds are supposed to operate independently because there are people in town that pay taxes, but don’t use water and sewer. He stated that the water and sewer system did not have any money in the bank to draw upon. He went on to state that the Council met with a gentleman from MDE’s finance department. This gentleman informed the Council that with the current water rate the Town could borrow about 1/2 million dollars, but the Water Task Force is talking about borrowing 1.2 million dollars over the next three to five years. A water rate that was discussed was to raise the rates 20% in one year. This would allow the Town to be eligible for special monies with an interest rate of 2.5%. If the water rate were raised more than 20% the interest rate would be 1.75%. This loan can be amortized over a 30-year period. If the water rates were raised 20% they would go from $15.00 to $ 18.00 minimum.
 
Another fact Councilman Gullo discussed was the assessments. That these assessments have been going up every year, so with the same tax rate and the assessments going up, the Town will generate more tax monies. He stated that over the last five years when the tax rate was lowered, the Town brought in the same amount of money because of the assessments going up.
 
Councilman Gullo stated that what he was proposing tonight was on the right hand side of the budget worksheet. He stated that he proposed this tonight because he felt that the Council needed to deal with this issue because the Council never dealt with an issue, they always put it off to a later date.
 
He then went on to the second page and went through and tried to figure out what the Town needed to do. He highlighted the changes that were made beginning with the Council’s salary going up $ 100.00. Next was the Professional Training, which he felt, needed to go back into the budget at $2,000.00. This would allow the Town to have a retreat where someone comes in and speak with the Council about the priorities of the Town. His next change was the Clerk’s salary. When it was discussed about hiring a clerk, the salary was to be $12.50/hour with about 30 hours a week. In Councilman Gullo’s budget figure was included for a raise at 10% for cost of living. Another change was to the Audit fees. He stated that the Town has a signed contract with Rager, Lehman and Houck for three years in the amount of $7,700.00. Moving down further he came to the codification figure. He stated that this figure was to recodify the codebook. He felt that the Grant Administrator be zeroed out because when the County Commissioners visited New Windsor, Councilman Roop asked them if the Town could use the County Grant Writing Department. His next change was that he reduced the postage under Municipal Building by $300.00. He did some calculations to figure out what exactly the cost of postage would be. Another deduction was to the Zoning Administrator’s Salary. He kept this figure at $500.00, which it was budgeted at last year. He did this because at this time there is no Zoning Administrator and the last item was the Planning Administrator’s Salary, which he zeroed out because he did not know exactly what the Planning Administrator was. He then went to Public Works where he stated that there were significant changes starting with the labor. He decreased this figure by $20,000.00 because he went to the actual worksheet and stated that there are only four Public Works employees. These four men have been paid to date $ 11,906.00. He continued down the page to Street Lights. He once again went to the actual worksheet under Allegheny Power and stated that $23,676.00 was spent through March. He felt that this category needed to be increased. Next was the trash collection. He stated that it has been budgeted in the past at $55,000.00, but is now being suggested to increase it to $ 60,000.00. He calculated this figure out according to the contract the Town has with Hughes Trash Removal for the next three years. Councilman Gullo stated that the Town currently has 514 units to be picked up. You multiply 514 by $1.29 per unit per week. This cost will increase from $1.29 to $1.31. This is how Councilman Gullo came up with his budget figure.
 
He then went to the last page and stated the change to the Christmas Decorations. He felt that this figure needed to be put back into the budget. This figure was not for purchasing Christmas decoration but to have the put up and take down by an electrician, if needed. More changes on this page was to the Insurance category by decreasing it to $12,500.00 and the Main Street Fund. He explained that this category was for spending the money now to do the Main Street Project. He stated that the engineers needed to be hired. He put this category back in at $10,000.00.
 
Councilman Gullo stated that the Contribution to Capital Budget was removed from the Miscellaneous section and placed in its own because the Administration can change individual line items but they can’t change from category to category. This amount was raised from $57,343.00 to $59,501.00. He stated that his proposed budget was for $360,362.00 and the Mayor’s revised proposed budget was $380,628.00. He stated that there was about a $20,000.00 difference.
 
He then went on to the Capital Budget and stated that he felt these items needed to be dealt with separately but stated that the $59,501.00 could be used to resurface a street without touching any money in the bank. He removed the $11,000.00 for Open Space Match and put it towards Street Resurfacing.
 
His next explanation went to the Water and Sewer System. Councilman Gullo stated that he used the Mayor’s number of 12 for his calculations. This was the number of units that was anticipated to come on line per the Mayor’s budget. He stated that this number was used in determining Water Hook-up fees, Sewer Hook-up fees and U & O fees. He raised the U & O fees from $2,400.00 to $14,400.00. He put the Administrative Fee back in the budget because once again he felt that this was a misconception. He stated that this fee was for posting termination notices, cutting off fee, and the interest. He then moved on to Water Receipts. He stated that the figure proposed by the Mayor was $ 60,000.00. He stated that he did a calculation of 500 homes at $ 15.00 four times a year gives the Town a minimum base of $30,000.00. If you would increase the rates by 20% would give you about $59,000.00. The next change was under the Lease Income. He raised this figure from $31,000.00 to $49,000.00 because of the contract signed with Sprint, which will bring in an additional $1,600.00 per month.
 
He then went to the Water and Sewer Expenditures and stated that he really didn’t touch these figures because those figures he felt were set by contract with MES who does most of the water and sewer daily operations. He did make a change to the Development Expense, which he felt needed to be at $36,000.00. He explained that this category was for work done for the developer that the Town pays. Once again this figure was based on the number 12. If this amount were not under Developer Expense each item would have to be budgeted separately. Since the Town would not know these figures it is placed under Developer Expense.
 
 He then stated that the Contribution to Capital Budget is down because the Town would not be able to give $21,100, which was proposed by the Mayor even if the water rates were increased. There would only be a contribution of $ S,600.00 to the Capital Budget.
 
Councilman Gullo then went on to the Capital Budget items. He stated that the Emergency Generators was one item that the Town needed to go forward with and purchase them and that the Evaluation of the water and sewer lines on Main and High Streets needed to be done but felt that the Town would not do the Main Street Line Replacement until the Main Street Revitalization Project starts. This was the end of Councilman Gullo’s explanation of his proposed budget. He stated that he would be happy to answer any questions that anyone had.
 
Mayor Pierce stated that Councilman Gullo was about six weeks too late because there was a budget workshop for the Council to attend and the only Council Member that attended was Councilman Roop. He felt at that work session that some of the items discussed tonight could have been resolved then.
 
Councilman Palsgrove asked Councilman Gullo if the $59,000.00 water receipt figure included the 20% increase in the water rate. Councilman Gullo stated that it does, but does not take effective until October 1, 2002.
 
Councilman Blacksten asked the Mayor about the projects that could not be kept up. Mayor Pierce stated that there is a lot of mowing, and several buildings need maintenance. He stated that these are things that don’t get done do to only having one full-time/part-time employee and the other three are only part-time.
 
Councilman Roop asked Councilman Gullo why he removed the Open Space Money. Councilman Gullo stated that he went back to the motion on the skateboard park where the resolution was passed. It stated that before the Town would spend any money the Town was to make sure there were some feasibility studies done.
 
Councilman Gullo stated that he knew there was a Budget Work Session he felt that one thing the Town needed to do for future budgets is to set out the priorities. He felt that if there was a list of tangible things then prices could be put next to them. If prices are put on these items then you can prorate the budget. He stated that is what a budget is for. He stated that this was not done at this time. He felt there was a lot of confusion caused by the miscalculation on the tax rate. He also felt that there was a lot of unanswered questions because unfortunately the Mayor was not able to attend the Public Hearing on the budget to answer these questions and give his explanation to his budget. Councilman Gullo stated that he would really like to deal with this issue and be done with it. He would like to see this budget passed tonight for two reasons: 1. People came to this meeting to hear about the budget. 2. He stated that if the Council were unable to meet in June 2002 for whatever reason, the budget wouldn’t be passed.
 
Councilman Gullo proposed an ordinance to adopt the budget and the Council could decide what to do from there. He read a draft copy of the Ordinance. Councilman Blacksten seconded the motion and it passed 5-0.
 
Blue Ridge Pump Station: Mayor Pierce stated that the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), drawn up by Michelle, was handed out to the Council. He stated that she had asked for comments back from the Council and heard from a couple Council Members. These items have been incorporated into the MOU. Michelle stated that there were two items still unresolved. She stated that Councilman Palsgrove stated that in her original draft she referred to a high-pressure line. He suggested calling it a high elevation zone because it wasn’t a matter of pressure changing it would just serve the higher elevation of Town. Mr. Ned Cueman stated that in the Master Plan this is referred to as high elevation pressure zone. Michelle stated that is what she would refer to it as in the MOU.
 
Michelle stated that this afternoon Mr. Bill Schneider and Mr. Erich Boner came to her office to discuss the Tibbetts Lane Fee. She stated that the prior administration had the information she calculated. Michelle went back and got the PWA for Blue Ridge Manor Phase 2A which is already developed. In that PWA that sets the Tibbetts Lane fee at $ 1,200.00 for Blue Ridge Manor, but ordinarily the fee is $1,000.00. The early homes that were built in Blue Ridge Manor did not pay a fee so when the PWA for 2A was drafted, the calculations were done to include in the funds for the first ten units that did not pay the full fee. This calculation was done based on 84 lots. She then stated that in the event that it is anticipated, but not confirmed, that there will ultimately be 87 units. Michelle questioned how the difference should be handled for the extra 3 lots. She did the calculations and came out with $1,154.00 per remaining lot. Councilman Gullo stated that the difference was $600.00. He also stated that there was an agreement with the County that stated for every line that hooks onto the Tibbetts Lane waterline, the Town has to pay the $1,000.00. He stated with 84 houses, that would be $84,000.00, but the first 12 houses did not pay anything. Once this was realized, the Town decided that they needed to get $ 12,000.00 in addition. So instead of writing a check for $ 12,000.00 they decided to have Blue Ridge Manor gives an extra $200.00 per house. So Councilman Gullo felt that it should not be prorated down any more because if the developer builds three more houses they will owe $1,000.00 per house.
 
Michelle stated that in the chart on 07 for the Tibbetts Lane Fee it should state that the first 10 houses the fee is $1,200.00 and for the last three houses $1,000.00. In #7i the text will state the above fees reflecting in the total amount due by the developer. If there are more than 87 units then the additional units will pay the $1,000.00. Mr. Boner had one comment as to the ending language in 7i and 7ii where it states ”not approved”. He felt that this was too strong and would like it removed. This language was removed and ”if final plat approval is not granted, this subsection, as it applies to New Windsor Heights, will be null and void”.
 
Councilman Gullo stated that he asked Michelle to change one other issue and that was regarding the fire flow protection. He stated that it was 1ast left; Chester Engineers was to give a letter stating that there was adequate fire flow. Councilman Gullo’s concern was to put in ”if adequate fire flow isn’t certified”. A motion to accept the MOU, with the corrections stated at this meeting, was made by Councilman Blacksten and seconded by Councilman Roop. Motion passed 5-0.
 
Michelle stated that she would like someone from the administration to help with the PWA for the booster pump station. Councilman Palsgrove asked Michelle if she was looking for a volunteer or a nomination. With that statement, Councilman Palsgrove was nominated to help Michelle.
 
Phase 2B: Mr. Boner stated that Mason Dixon Builders went to the Planning Commission with plans for Phase 2, Section B for signature. Michelle stated that the Planning Commission moved to table the approval of Phase 2, Section B of Blue Ridge Manor until such time as the MOU was completed and executed and a PWA for the booster pump station was in place. The other action that Planning Commission took was to recommend to the Council that they go ahead with the construction of the entire 8” line in Graybill Court. Councilman Gullo asked New Windsor Partnership what they wanted from the Town. It was stated that they wanted approval from the Mayor to direct someone to the construction of the 8” line.
 
Councilman Gullo asked that they go back to the issue of getting Phase 2B approved. He asked what the hang up with this section was. It was stated that the water pressure issue was still a problem. It was Mason Dixon Builder’s understanding that this issue was resolved by building the booster pump station. Councilman Gullo stated that the Council cannot tell the Planning Commission what to do and with that being said, the process is that the Planning Commission approves the plans and then it comes before the Council to be matched up with bonds, bids and PWA.
 
Waterlines: Mr. Boner stated that the lot where the 6” and 8” line are going in has been sold and they would like to start construction. He stated that he would have Joe look at the design and will wait for the approval from ARRO. They were asking permission to move on this so that they could begin building the house. Councilman Palsgrove stated that the Town should contact ARRO and have them look into this matter. This issue was tabled until the work session on May 20, 2002. Councilman Roop stated that he would not be at this work session, but he had no problem with this issue being discussed in his absence.
 
It was asked of the Council, by the Schneiders, that they approve the go ahead on the S” line in the lower section of Graybill Court since there will be a time delay in getting the booster pump station design approved.
 
CCRC: Mayor Pierce stated that he had received the FY03 budget from the Carroll Cable Regulatory Committee. They were asking the Town to ratify this budget. He explained that the Town received 5% of cable fees and pays 2% back. Councilman Gullo asked what the other Towns were doing? Also, the Mayor was asked to get more information on some of the figures and have them for the May 20, 2002 work session.
 
 
 
RESIDENT’S CONCERNS
 
Mrs. Sharon Nobles: Mrs. Nobles asked to review the water bill payment process in regards as to how many days you have to pay, when the late fee is charged, etc. She then handed the Mayor a letter requesting information in regards to the different check registers and the trial balance for the late fees for the water and sewer bills.
 
 
 
ANNOUNCEMENTS
 
Carnival – Mayor Pierce stated that the New Windsor Volunteer Fire Company Carnival would be held June 3-8, 2002. He stated that the Fire Company would appreciate any help the residents could give.
 
June Council Meeting – Mayor Pierce stated that due to the Fireman’s Parade, the June Monthly Town Council Meeting was changed to June 12, 2002.
 
Work Session – The next Council Work Session will be May 20, 2002.
 
Water Conservation – Mayor Pierce asked that the residents still try to conserve water even though we have had some rain.
 
MML Recommendations – Mayor Pierce brought to the attention of the Council that he had received a letter from the MML asking if there were any items that should be considered for Legislation in 2003. These ideas need to be in by May 31, 2002.
 
May Days – Councilman Roop reminded everyone that May Days would be held May 4, 2002. There will breakfast served by the Lions Club, lunch by the Ladies Auxiliary and an Antique Car Show.
 
Rec. Council – Councilman Roop stated that the New Windsor Rec. Council needs volunteers or else he is afraid that it will fold.
 
Council Committees – Councilman Roop suggested to Mayor Pierce that he might want to make up Council Committees. He stated that there were committees in the past. He stated that one Council Member can chair the committee with two other Council Members. He felt that this might help things to be discussed a little bit better and hopefully there won’t be any last second ideas.
 
Adjournment :With no other business to be brought before the Town Council, Councilman Roop made a motion to adjourn and seconded by Councilman Petry. Motion passed 5-0.
 
Next Town Meeting: The next New Windsor Town Council Meeting will be held June 12, 2002 at 7:00 p.m. in the New Windsor Fire Hall, 209 High Street.
 
Cindy L. Welker Acting Town Clerk
 
 
 

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