Village Of Sackets Harbor

December 24, 2008: Mayor's Report


Village of Sackets Harbor

Mayor's Report

December  2008

Happy Holidays and a best wishes for the New Year from all of us at the Village of Sackets Harbor!

I will be attempting to shorten up my Mayor's Notes at the request of numerous concerned citizens who already have enough other material to read. 

A lot is going on in the Village as always.

         Fort Pike Commons - At the last Village Board meeting the Board approved a request by Fort Pike Commons to amend the Madison Barracks Planned Development District by changing an apartment to an office with sleeping quarters.  The Planning Board recommended that the change be allowed, and should the office be removed from that site, the zoning will revert back to residential.  The Village Board approved the amendment to the PDD, the Planning Board will address questions of external style, color and design.

         The Hounsfield Senior Citizens Group requested an expenditure of $740 for a bus trip with Birnie Bus Service to go to Syracuse and see Godspell and then view the Lights on Onondaga Lake.  The Board approved the request.

         NYSERDA Energy Audits - Lonny, Genie McKay and I met with auditor for two hours to discuss upgrade suggestions to the various Village buildings.  The suggestions included installing interior storm windows in every building, door seals and making all lighting fluorescent.  I am reviewing the cost/benefits with the DPW Superintendent.

         RidgeviewTel Update - I have been in communication with the Technical Director from RidgeviewTel about some wiring issues and other outstanding issues.  We have been told that the downtown Hot Spot will be worked on next, but it will be several months before software is available for Voice Over Internet Protocol phone service because they are switching to a more advanced service.  The Trustees discussed the fact that RidgeviewTel has benefited from the contract for the past 9 months, while the Village has not received the agreed upon services in compensation.  After much discussion, the Board agreed a letter be sent to RidgeviewTel concerning the above issues and state that the contract will be terminated if the VOIP phone service and Hot Spot are not up and running by 1/12/08 or that an agreement for monetary reimbursement has been reached by that time. 

         Community Forums:

o        The Recreation Forum has been moved to January 22, 2009.  Recreation Trails, Town/Village Recreation Commission and other items will be discussed.  All are encouraged to attend.

         Sackets Harbor Fire Department Update - Sackets Harbor Fire Department Inc, has been awarded a grant for $129,900 to be used for air packs for the entire fire department.  Fire Department Board of Directors is still working on the new bylaws. The Village Board wants the new bylaws completed by the first Village Board meeting of the new year.  Helene Stewart-Rainville was elected the new EMS coordinator - The Board approved.

         Green Initiative Update - Heritage Area Director, Dave Altieri and I traveled to Kingston, Ontario with Lee Wilbanks from Senator Aubertine's office, to meet with Kingston officials and discuss how we can work together in the future on not only sustainability issues, but also joint ventures in tourism, old-time baseball, regional promotion, etc.  The meeting was very exciting and all are looking forward to getting together again in January.

         Water Tower Update - Village Engineer, Kris Dimmick informed the board that the final draft of the tank inspection report is being finalized and will include additional recommendations as requested by DPW Superintendent, Lonny Reinhardt and Village Engineer, Kris Dimmick.  The report includes the opinion that it will cost $250-$275,000 to rehab the tank to prolong its life for another 10-15 years. The tank is over 100 years old and has had a lot of steel structural loss. The project may be a good candidate for a shared services municipal efficiency grant program from the Department of State (grant amount $250,000).  Mr. Dimmick recommends making the application to replace the tank.  The new Town of Watertown tank out on Rt. 3 is about the same size and height as what the Village would need.  It cost approximately $1mil.  Mr. Dimmick believes the Village needs to start working on a plan for the tower and the grant application process should begin.  Mr. Dimmick answered questions regarding the need for a second tank to manage the water program for both the Village and Town, and the required size for that tank; he noted that there is no significant savings with a smaller tank and that one of the regulatory requirements is to store enough water for "one days operating use".  A motion was requested from the board authorizing the Mayor to sign and support the application to apply for a shared services grant.  The cost of preparing the application would be approximately $1,000.  After much discussion, the topic was tabled until the next meeting.

         Chamber of Commerce Report- The combining the Marketing Advisory Committee with the Chamber Marketing Committee is being discussed.  The Chamber now has 110 members.   I thank them for their work on the Village lights and the Christmas festivities.  We are going to see how we can partner more effectively with the Chamber.

         Town Supervisor - Marty DelSignor - Congrats to our new Town Supervisor.  Marty and I had a very good introductory meeting and I am optimistic that we will be able to continue to work together on the many issues facing both the Village and the Town.

         Sackets Harbor Heroes - "Wings Over Iraq" - Captain Crispin Burke a resident of Sackets Harbor, now deployed in Iraq, has emailed the Sackets Harbor Heroes Committee and invited members and residents of Sackets Harbor to visit his blog, read and comment: Also, the Sackets Harbor Heroes Committee had another successful Send-off Reception on 12/11/08 at the Playhouse.  A special thanks to all our military for all they have sacrificed and continue to sacrifice in the defense of our nation.  We never can thank them enough.  Also, thanks to all the community members who turn out and support and/or coordinate these fine events.

         Hamilton Street Stormwater Interceptor Project - We had our final project meeting for the year in December.  The contract will finish the asphalt and landscaping in spring.  Village Engineer, Kris Dimmick reviewed third change order which included the additional road base preparation, sidewalk repairs and replacements.  There is still a landscape allowance that should come back as a credit and even out the budgeted amount.  Some of the berms around the pond are not finished but the drainage is functioning well.  The project will end up coming in about $30,000 under budget thanks to the good work of all involved.

         Sewer rates - vacant lots and buildable lots.  The Board reviewed current sewer law which requires that every vacant parcel with access to sewer be billed for 25% of a unit charge.  Currently there are 38 vacant parcels that are not on the billing program and many are not big enough to build on.  I proposed changing the wording in the law to "buildable" lots and asked the board for authorization to work with an attorney to define "buildable" lot and re-write the law to more accurately and fairly address the sewer billing issue. The Village Board members will review the vacant lot list before the next meeting.  Topic tabled until next meeting.

         Village Board will be meeting with all Department Heads to discuss personnel issues and how we can be more efficient in our staffing for next year.

         New water meter reading system is in place, the new read has gone quickly (taking about half the time) and glitches are being worked out.

         The new rebuilt sewer lift station grinder was reinstalled.  It had been on line since early 70's.  The rebuild cost 1/3 the replacement cost.

         Sidewalk Policy - please note that individual property owners are responsible for clearing snow from their sidewalks.  The Village attempts to clear snow on some sidewalks (Main Street, etc) when possible, but would need to add another full-time employee for the winter if the community wished to have the Village responsible for clearing the sidewalks regularly (which would increase the tax burden).

The next Village Board meeting is Tuesday, January 13 at 7 pm.  If you have any questions on any of the above or any other Village issues please feel free to call me at the Village office at (315) 646-3548.