WORKSHOP MEETING, TOWN OF MOUNT HOPE, MARCH 16, 2015
The workshop meeting of the Mount Hope Town Board was held at the Mount Hope Town Hall, 1706 Route 211 West, Otisville, on March 16, 2015 at 7:30pm with the following present: Supervisor Chad Volpe, Councilman Matthew Howell, Councilman Gary Ketcham, Councilwoman Janet Sutherland, Councilman Dominick Cambareri and Town Clerk Kathleen Myers.
OFFICIALS PRESENT: D. Hassenmayer/H’way Supt., Police Chief Rickard & Attorney D. Bavoso.
Following the Pledge of Allegiance, Supervisor Volpe called the public hearing to order at 7:15PM. (Supervisor asked for everyone to silence their cell phones.)
PUBLIC HEARING TO DETERMINE WHETHER A FIRE PROTECTION DISTRICT IS IN THE BEST INTEREST OF THE RESIDENTS OF THE TOWN OF MOUNT HOPE:
Supervisor Volpe asked for any questions. He asked for the attorney to explain what the public hearing is for. Atty. Bavoso explained: Under the town law of the State of NY, the town has the obligation of providing fire protection for the residents within the town. That can be achieved in a # of ways one of which is a fire protection district which is a mechanism of the town board in which the town board itself is responsible for contracting for fire protection services. In order to proceed with the creation of a fire protection district this public hearing needs to be held. The town board has to adopt 2 resolutions. The 1st resolution stating that determining that a fire protection district is in the best interest of the town. The 2nd to actually establish a fire protection district by stating the boundaries of it and what properties are contained wherein. Upon adoption of the 2nd resolution, that resolution (certified copy) needs to be filed with the Orange County Clerk and the Division of Audit & Control of the NYS Comptroller. Procedurally this public hearing has to come first before any resolution can be adopted.
Supervisor asked the Town Clerk when the notice was in the paper. Clerk stated it was in the paper on March 6. A copy of notice is available with the clerk.
J. Kowalczik: the dissolution should be done between April 24 to 30.
RESOLUTION TO CLOSE PUBLIC HEARING:
MOTION offered by Councilman Cambareri seconded by Councilman Howell to close the public hearing @ 7:20pm. All in favor: Howell, Ketcham, Volpe, Sutherland, Cambareri; carried.
RESOLUTION OF THE TOWN BOARD OF THE TOWN OF MOUNT HOPE TO DETERMINE THAT A FIRE PROTECTION DISTRICT IS IN THE BEST INTERESTS OF THE TOWN: (read by Attorney David Bavoso):
RESOLUTION OF THE TOWN BOARD OF THE TOWN OF MOUNT HOPE TO DETERMINE THAT A FIRE PROTECTION DISTRICT IS IN THE BEST INTERESTS OF THE TOWN
WHEREAS, the laws of the State of New York require that fire protection be provided to the residents of the Town of Mount Hope; and
WHEREAS, fire protection within the Town of Mount Hope is currently provided by the Mount Hope Fire District; and
WHEREAS, upon completion of the dissolution of the Mount Hope Fire District, fire protection will need to be provided to the residents of the Town of Mount Hope; and
WHEREAS, the Town Board of the Town of Mount Hope held a public hearing at 7:15pm on March 16, 2015, at the Town Hall to determine whether it is in the best interests of the town of Mount Hope; and
WHEREAS, the Town Board has heard all who wish to comment on the matter; and
WHEREAS, the Town Board of the Town of Mount Hope determines that it is in the best interest to provide fire protection to the residents of the Town through a fire protection district;
THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED That the Town Board of the Town of Mount Hope hereby determines that it is in the best interests of the Town of Mount Hope to establish a Fire Protection District for the purpose of providing fire protection within the Town.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that this determination is made pursuant to Section 170 of the Town Law of the State of New York.
Dated: March 16, 2015
MOTION by: Councilman Cambareri – Seconded by: Councilman Howell
AYES: Howell, Ketcham, Volpe, Sutherland, Cambareri.
RESOLUTION OF THE TOWN BOARD OF THE TOWN OF MOUNT HOPE ESTABLISHING A FIRE PROTECTION DISTRICT FOR THE TOWN OF MOUNT HOPE: (read by Attorney David Bavoso):
RESOLUTION OF THE TOWN BOARD OF THE TOWN OF MOUNT HOPE ESTABLISHING A FIRE PROTECTION DISTRICT FOR THE TOWN OF MOUNT HOPE
WHEREAS, the Town Board of the Town of Mount Hope, upon its own motion, wishes to establish a Fire Protection District within the Town for the purpose of providing fire protection to the residents of the Town; and
WHEREAS, a public hearing to determine whether the establishment of a Fire Protection District is in the best interests of the Town was held at 7:15pm on March 16, 2015 at the Town Hall of the Town of Mount Hope; and
WHEREAS, the Town Board of the Town of Mount Hope adopted a resolution determining that a Fire Protection District is in the best interests of the Town;
THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Town Board of the Town of Mount Hope determines that it is in the best interests of the Town to establish a Fire Protection District for the purpose of providing fire protection to the residents of the Town of Mount Hope, and that the property and owners within the Mount Hope Fire District are benefited and included within the bounds of the Fire Protection District,
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Fire Protection District of the Town of Mount Hope shall take effect on May 1, 2015 or as soon as the Mount Hope Fire District has concluded its dissolution.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that a description of which properties are to be included in the Fire Protection District shall be annexed hereto and made a part of this resolution.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that a certified copy of this resolution shall be filed with the Clerk of Orange County and the Division of Audit & Control of the NYS Comptroller within 10 days of adoption.
Dated: March 16, 2015
MOTION by: Councilman Cambareri – Seconded by: Councilman Howell
AYES: Howell, Ketcham, Volpe, Sutherland, Cambareri.
Discussion ensued re: fire protection district:
Atty. Bavoso added – having been established with the date to take effect to be upon the completion of the dissolution of the district, if the board wanted to start the bidding process for the fire protection services, it would be a good idea to get that started shortly. That way you could have a contract in place at the time the protection district takes effect. Supervisor Volpe: we need a new contract for when it’s dissolved? Atty.: yes. Supervisor: can you write that for us? Atty.: sure. Clerk: is that for the May1st date? Atty.: yes. Councilwoman Sutherland: I thought we were covered through May 31, 2016. Atty.: not according to my interpretation of the law regarding protection districts and the fire district. The fire company did have a contract with the Town under when it was a fire protection district however when the fire protection district was dissolved and the fire district was created that took away the power of the town to be in that contract therefore the contract essentially ceases to exist. A new contract would have to be created to provide fire protection moving forward. Sutherland: what? Atty.: the town was initially being provided fire..Sutherland: we have fire protection through May 31, 2016. Atty.: no. Sutherland: with the fire company. Atty.: no. When the fire protection went from being a fire protection district to a fire district, the town had no power to be in a contract with the company. It was the district that then became the contractor with the company to provide those services. So that contract was essentially terminated upon the conversion of that scheme from a fire protection district to a fire district. In my opinion a new contract would be needed going forward, starting on May 1st to provide the fire protection under the new fire protection district. Sutherland: May 1 of this year? Atty.: yes. Sutherland: when were you going to let anybody know that? Atty.: I’ve been letting everybody know that throughout the process. Sutherland: no. Atty.: I believe I’ve stated that in a number of meetings. Sutherland: Am I the only one who was unaware of this? My understanding, we’ve been talking this entire time, that there has been coverage until May 31, 2016. That was when the contract was signed with the Mount Hope fire company for fire protection. Atty.: correct. But that contract essentially was terminated when the power to be in a contract with the fire company was taken away when the district was created. K. Coppola: should that have been advised of the public by the board that did form the fire district and take the fire protection district away? Shouldn’t they have notified the public at that time? Instead of you getting hammered that you’re doing it now? That should have been done a year ago by the old board. Atty.: I can’t speak whether they’ve been notified or not. Coppola: they took the action They’re the ones that should have notified everyone. Supervisor: Matt you’ll bring the map for the boundaries and all of that in to Kathleen? Councilman Howell: correct. Supervisor: Kathleen, you have to file it with…David will explain it. Mr. See: Will you be awarding a contract starting May 1st for 3 years or 5 years or you don’t know how long a contract or just up until that 2016 that used to be? Supervisor: I don’t know. I know prior to this 3 year contract, it was done on a yearly basis. I would actually ask the Assoc. of Towns what their recommendation is. Normally they don’t ask you to go out more than a year. Obviously whatever the board decides.
RESOLUTION TO ACCEPT PRIOR MEETING MINUTES:
MOTION offered by Councilman Howell seconded by Councilman Cambareri that the minutes of the March 2, 2015 and February 18, 2015 meetings as presented are approved. All in favor: Howell, Ketcham, Volpe, Cambareri; ABSTAINED: Sutherland; carried.
1. Supervisor’s report for 2/2015
2. Letter from Senator Bonacic re: receiving the opposition to O&R rate increase resolution
3. Corres. From H’way Supt. re: Advocacy day he attended in Albany
4. Corres. From HV Water Co. re: major repair to pump house on Wedgewood Lane
5. MHFC report through March 16
6. MH Police annual report 2014
7. Copy of proposed local law re: dangerous road conditions.
POLICE DEPARTMENT by Chief Rickard:
Chief Rickard is looking for a resolution to surplus old office equipment: 2 broken desks, 2 bookcases and file cabinet. He spoke to the County re: J. Corcoran. They still haven’t heard anything back on Corcoran. It hasn’t been 30 days yet and the state has a turn-around of about 30-45 days.
HIGHWAY DEPARTMENT by H’way Supt. Hassenmayer:
Supt. Hassenmayer stated they are working on the trucks and cleaning. The bids are this Wed. for the dumpsters for spring & fall clean up at 10am. Councilman Cambareri asked about the Advocacy Day. Supt. explained that approx. 500 highway supts. attended in Albany. They met in small meetings with Assemblymen and Senators or their staff to ask for more money on their CHIPS allotment. Last year they gave us an increase for one year. They gave us $40 million more. This year we asked for a $200 million increase over a 5 year period. We had a lot of support. The CHIPS program hasn’t really received much of an increase in the last 10 years.
PLANNING BOARD: Meeting is Wednesday. Councilman Ketcham will attend as liaison.
MOUNT HOPE FIRE by Chief Doty:
Report read by Chief Doty. Report will be on file in clerk’s office.
SUMMER RECREATION by Trustee Loeven:
Ad was in paper. Notices will go home with the kids at school either on the 23rd or 25th. Info is on village website and town website.
VILLAGE OF OTISVILLE by Trustee Loeven:
Village elections are this Wednesday. Polls open from 12-9.
Supervisor Volpe: Website is a work in progress. Minutes format is a little different. Getting better everyday.
SUMMER CONCERT SERIES by Supervisor Volpe:
He’s been putting together a summer concert series with the village. It’s going to be at the big pavilion starting July 7th 7pm (about 1 ½ hrs.) through August 18th every Tuesday night. Hope to have all details by 1st meeting in April. We will promote the bands up there. Paul is aware for police coverage. Dean is aware so pavilion gets set up properly. Rain or shine. No cost for the concerts. Light concessions will be done through the Minisink Valley Rotary Club; that way town has no dealings with any money. Any money the Rotary makes will be donated back to the community.
RESOLUTION TO APPROVE SUPERVISOR’S REPORT:
MOTION offered by Councilman Cambareri seconded by Councilman Howell to approve the February 2015 supervisor’s report as presented. All in favor; Howell, Ketcham, Volpe, Cambareri. Abstained: Sutherland. Motion carried.
CORNELL RIBBON CUTTING by Supervisor Volpe:
He met with Lucy Joyce last week. Councilwoman Sutherland: you met with Lucy? She wanted to know why she and Matt were not included. Supervisor Volpe added that Lucy came last week to promote July 22 ribbon cutting at the Cornell site. The 25th is going to be a chicken BBQ open to the public. As the dates get closer they hope to have the literature to be able to promote it so the residents can come and see what Cornell is all about. Supervisor Volpe stated that Lucy walked through the door and asked to talk with the Supervisor for a couple minutes and now he’s conveying to everyone.
RESOLUTION TO APPROVE FINANCE SCHOOL FOR BOOKKEEPER:
MOTION offered by Councilman Cambareri 2nd by Councilman Howell to approve the finance school for the bookkeeper in Saratoga Springs on May 5 & 6th, for approx. $500.00. All in favor; Howell, Ketcham, Volpe, Cambareri. Abstained: Sutherland. Motion carried.
PROPOSED LOCAL LAW RE: DANGEROUS ROAD CONDITIONS:
Atty. Bavoso explained that it was the recommendation of the insurance company for the town that the town adopt a local law which essentially mirrors a portion of the town law, Section 65A, which provides that if an individual is looking to sue the town for damages or injury based upon a condition on a town road, that a notice of the dangerous condition has to be filed with the town first to put them on notice of the fact that there is a dangerous condition. The local law itself can be adopted by towns except for some slight changes identifying the town and all. It’s essentially the same language as the state law. The policy behind it is that state wants to protect highway departments in the event that they don’t know that a dangerous condition exists. In other words in a situation like this past winter, there’s probably pot holes on the town roads, if there’s damage or injury caused by one right after one is created, then it puts the town in a difficult place because they may not have known about the situation. The law provides the notice so that the town has the opportunity to correct it and then provides for remedies or allows the plaintiff to sue the town if there’s gross neglect so that a period of time goes by without the dangerous condition being addressed then in that circumstance the individual would have a cause of action. Basically it’s a little added protection to the town and highway department for being able to be aware of dangerous conditions and to be able to correct them before someone files suit against the town for that condition.
RESOLUTION TO SCHEDULE PUBLIC HEARING FOR PROPOSED LOCAL LAW RE: DANGEROUS ROAD CONDITIONS:
MOTION offered by Councilman Howell 2nd by Councilman Cambareri to set public hearing for April 6 at 7:25pm for the proposed local law. All in favor; Howell, Ketcham, Volpe, Cambareri. Abstained: Sutherland. Motion carried.
RESOLUTION TO SURPLUS/DESTROY POLICE EQUIPMENT:
MOTION offered by Councilman Cambareri seconded by Councilman Ketcham to surplus/destroy 2 broken desks, 2 bookcases and file cabinet from police department. All in favor; Howell, Ketcham, Volpe, Cambareri. Abstained: Sutherland. Motion carried.
Mr. Stack introduced himself. He came to propose a 10 acre piece of property off Mount Hope Road next to the senior center. He proposes to put in 10 homes there and they’re primarily built for 1st time home buyers and veterans. The homes would sell for $200,000.00 with a grant would drop to $160,000.00. They are 1600 sq.ft., 2 car garage, some have full or half basements. There’s very little housing in Orange County for 1st time home buyers or veterans. He would put in the 10 homes and any questions you have I can answer. Supervisor Volpe asked what it is he is looking for? Mr. Stack: he is looking for a vote for the town to be part of this development. The next step is to go to the state to request the property be brought back . Many years ago we were going to develop that into an athletic field and that didn’t go. I think the town gave it to NYS as parkland or open lands. He would like to bring that back and place those homes there. Councilman Cambareri asked if he was looking to purchase the property? Mr. Stack no. The property at one time was mine. It was deeded to the town for an athletic field. That didn’t work. From there, gave is to the State of NY as an open park or open field. Councilman Cambareri: the town still owns the property. The state doesn’t own it. It was dedicated as parkland. To take it out of parkland to do anything with it, we would have to petition the state of NY. Do you expect us to give it to you? Mr. Stack: I’m not looking for the town to give it to me. I’m looking to bring it back for a good cause for veterans and 1st time home buyers. I would need the town to petition to the state to bring it back to us. Councilman Howell: you didn’t answer the question. You want the town to take it out of parkland but are going to purchase it? Mr. Stack: so we can put these homes on there exactly. Supervisor Volpe: are you looking to have the property donated back to you to build on? Mr. Stack: not really. I would have the town take control of the property. As we receive buyers for different lots you would release that lot to veterans/1st time home buyers. Supervisor: so we would own the property and they would own the house? Mr. Stack: no the property & house would be owned by them. K. Coppola: if the town partnered with you for this, do they get ½ the profit once house is sold? Mr. Stack: no. These houses are gonna end up for probably $175,000.00. K. Coppola: so there’s no profit in the whole thing? Mr. Stack: to do the project, there is some profit. K. Coppola: so why wouldn’t they get ½? Mr. Stack: I don’t know. 1st time the question came up. On that price for that kind of house, there’s very little profit. J. Musial asked Mr. Stack if there’s 10 acres elsewhere that he could purchase with the grant money he is suggesting? Mr. Stack: the grant is to the homeowner not the property. $25,000.00 grant would bring the price of the house down. J. Musial: the town owns that property not just those 5 people. It’s a wonderful project in mind, however I am suggesting you should maybe purchase some property. Councilman Cambareri: asked Mr. Bavoso if we could do this legally? Atty. Bavoso: there are some issues. It is dedicated parkland. Not only would he be petitioning the state government, but he’d be asking for an act of the legislature to pull it out of parkland. In order to do that, the town would need another piece of land of the same value to dedicate as parkland. NYS is strict in the rules. If a town has an amount of parkland, you can’t un-designate it as parkland. You have to make up for it someplace else. The fiduciary duty of the board as the keeper/manager of the property owned by the town, they have an obligation to the town to seek the best possible return on that if they were to sell it.
That would go into a bidding process. Any decision made to transfer or sell the property, would be subject to at least a permissive referendum possibly subject to mandatory referendum. The town isn’t able to transfer properties to people for free unless it was maybe a museum or not for profit. He doesn’t think they could do it for free. As far as town partnering for actual construction, that then makes it a town project which then they’d have to go out bid which would potentially put it to prevailing wage and cause a new set of issues. Unless there’s property as the same value as those 10 acres that could be dedicated to parkland, the only way I could see that happening is if that land is donated, the state legislature agrees to remove those 10 acres from parkland and then a private entity were to buy that 10 acre parcel in order to do it – it raises a lot of liability issues for the town. He also spoke with Mr. Sobo about it. Councilman Cambareri doesn’t see the town wanting to be in the real estate business. Councilwoman Sutherland, Councilman Ketcham & Councilman Howell are not in favor of this. Mr. Stack thanked the board.
RESOLUTION TO AUDIT THE CLAIMS:
MOTION offered by Councilman Howell seconded by Councilman Ketcham to approve the following bills:
GENERAL A: #113-145 $105,197.16
GENERAL B: #17-21 $ 7,671.76
HIGHWAY: #29-38 $ 65,453.72
SEWER: #17-21 $ 2,259.42
CAP RES GEN A: #3-5 $ 4,512.15.
All in favor; Howell, Ketcham, Volpe, Cambareri. Abstained: Sutherland. Motion carried.
D. Loeven: Hometown Helper training will be on March 23 @ Village Hall 6:30-8:30pm.
L. Dodd: asked about the fire contract. The fire district was created only on paper. He is president of fire corporation & never signed over the contract, never signed over the money towards the fire district; he doesn’t know how anything is null & void.
Atty. Bavoso: it was made null & void when the fashion in which the fire protection was provided was changed. L. Dodd: it’s a word on semantics. Bavoso: it’s a legal distinction. Dodd: can you show where the fire corporation turned over the contract for fire protection to the district and the money? Bavoso: no, that’s not the important aspect of it. The town board at the end of 2013 disbanded the fire protection district, created a fire district therefore the town had no power to be in any type of contract with a fire company. Dodd: Who has protected the town during the transition? Who has protected the town during the time of petitions, voting, dissolution & dissolution of the fire district? Bavoso: district. Dodd: no. Bavoso: yes – that’s who is responsible for providing the fire protection. Dodd: the district never got turned over the fire protection. Who has ever been providing the fire protection to the community is the fire department corporation- MHFC corporation has been providing the protection. Bavoso: right, providing the people on the ground, the district was required at its creation to provide the fire protection through contracting with a fire company. The town was no longer in power to do so once that district was created. Dodd: what do you expect us to do? We have been supplying the fire protection towards the community. What do you want us to do? Bavoso: If the town board chooses to, we can sign a new contract. Dodd: for what time period? Bavoso: whatever the parties agree to. Councilwoman Sutherland: what you’re saying is that the contract that we signed that gave fire protection through May 31, 2016 is null & void. Bavoso: correct. Sutherland: why? Bavoso: when that contract was signed, the fire protection was provided through a fire protection district which gave the town board the power to contract with a fire company. The second that the fire protection district was disbanded, and a fire district was created, it became the responsibility of the fire district to provide the fire protection through contract with a fire company. The town board no longer had any power to be involved in that contract. Cambareri: you as a fire district when it was in place, were supposed to have signed a contract with the fire company for fire protection. We had asked that question many times in the meetings, have you signed a contract? That was the old fire districts responsibility to do. They were supposed to sign a contract. Dodd: but you also have to look at it from the past fire commissioners, from the moment that there’s a fire district created everyone was out to dissolve the fire district. Why would the fire company corporation who wants to supply fire protection to the community, sign over their destiny to serve the public? Bavoso: legally that’s what you were required to do. That’s the point of creating a fire district. It takes the fire protection out of the hands of the town board. Dodd: what is the time frame that that has to take place? Bavoso: immediately. The second that fire district was create it was charged with providing fire protection by contracting with a company. Dodd: that’s a play on words. Bavoso: how? Dodd: what do you request the MHFC to do at this time tonight 8:06PM? Bavoso: submit a contract proposal to the town board. Dodd: now? Bavoso: when you’re able to submit it. Dodd: our proposal that we have at 8:06 tonight is the same contract that we propose to you and if you’re willing to sign that contract for the next year and 1/2, that’s our proposal. Bavoso: ok, it’s the town board’s responsibility to determine if that’s how they want to move forward. Dodd: you have a contract in place that never went more than 2% so at 8:06pm tonight, what do you want to do for fire protection? Do you accept our contract that you presently have, that we’ve been honoring, whatever the circumstances may be, do you honor that contract?
Cambareri: til when? Dodd: another 1 ½ years. Dodd: we have no way to come up with another contract. The contract you have is the one that was agreed upon. Bavoso: it’s not up to me to determine if it’s fair. It’s up to the board. Legally, it’s a proper proposal but that doesn’t mean the board has to accept it. Councilman Ketcham: you would be reinstating the contract that’s in place? Bavoso: if the board chooses to do that – it may. J. Musial: are you saying that as of 8:06 we don’t have fire protection? Dodd: no ma’am. Bavoso: the district is still in effect- until it’s dissolved you still have fire protection. Musial: unless they sign a contract right now, we’re not gonna have fire protection? Dodd: I’m on the minutes. I’m here as the president of the MHFC corporation, we’re at 8:09…we’re willing to give you the contract (conversation is between Dodd & Musial) for the last 1 ½ yrs of the contract. Musial: asked when they were paid through? Supervisor Volpe: they are paid through June 1st of this year. Musial: I’m curious whether or not you paid for fire protection through the previous district along with the district we have now that’s in place to be dissolved. Volpe: I believe it’s June 1st through May 31st each year. Musial: so they’ve been paid. Volpe: they would get paid again June 1, 2015. D. Loeven: MHFD has not been dissolved, correct? Volpe: correct. Loeven: this board voted to have a MH fire protection district upon the dissolution of the district, correct? Volpe: yes. Loeven: even if you wanted to sign a contract with the MHFC tonight you couldn’t do that because the protection is still being provided by the MHFD? Volpe: correct. L. Maurizzio: what happens to that money when the district is completely dissolved if the MHFC isn’t awarded another contract? Volpe asked him to repeat the question. Maurizzio: if the district ends at the end of April – what happens to that money? Volpe: you’re saying for the month of May. I would imagine we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it. I don’t see anything changing. Dodd: the fire district has no money. They have the money that they’re applying to the dissolution. They don’t have the fire protection money that’s protecting the community. They have the money to dissolve it. They don’t have the money to put gas in the firetrucks. That was never signed over to them by me as the president of the corporation. The president of the MHFC corporation is responsible for supplying fire protection to the MH residents and surrounding areas in a mutual aid agreement. We offer to you the rest of our contract budget year. We are here to serve you & the community for the remainder of the contract. J. Doty: I agree with Lou. I’ve been coming to all these meetings except for the last couple because of work and have never heard even once, it was always said that when everybody was arguing for or against, that there was still going to be fire protection coverage by MHFC until June 1, 2016. If the lawyer knew this, when we all submitted our budget proposals last year, why wasn’t something said earlier? Because now I’ve got 2 months to do a contract. Sutherland: Mr. Bavoso, you stated that this is in the minutes and I’d like to know what minutes it’s stated in that you let everybody know this is the case. Bavoso: I expressed this in all 3 of the joint public hearings that we had regarding the district. I’ve been talking about it for months. I believe I’ve even been quoted in the paper. Sutherland: I highly disagree. I will go back and…Doty: only thing I read in paper that the contract with MHFC is until 2016. I was at the last public hearing and I didn’t hear you say that. We can get a contract to you by May 31st but that’s a little unfair. Cambareri: how many times, John, at all these meetings did I ask if the fire district had signed a contract with the fire company yet because that was their responsibility? I asked that every time we had one of these meetings. As soon as that fire district was created they were responsible to sign a contract with the company to provide the district with it. It was never done. Now as far as honoring your contract Lou, you stated how good you’ve been at honoring your contract, how many times did we request to sit with you guys to go over your books. Twice. Hasn’t been done yet. Dodd: I handed over…Cambareri: not with the district the company. As per the contract you are required to meet with us. Dodd: Dominick, I supplied to the attorney our complete audit, our complete books and our complete expenditures to you. Bavoso: I never received that. Cambareri: we have none of that. You haven’t honored that that part. You’ve stated over the phone. Dodd: didn’t we bring in the paperwork and all our books were turned over to you? Cambareri: for the company or district? Dodd: company is what you asked for. Cambareri: you sent us a letter saying that it was a FOIL request & it would take some time. It wasn’t a FOIL request it’s a contractual obligation. Dodd: you got all of our expenditures. You got everything from us from the accountant for everything we’ve spent. Musial: asked the board if they’ve ever received the paperwork from Lou from the fire company? Bavoso: at one point from their attorney about a 2 page sheet listing what they had in their bank account. I never received an audit. I never received a list of expenditures. K. Coppola: if the contract is up, do you legally have to put it out to bid or can you just sign a contract? Bavoso: I’d have to research it. I think they could sign a contract but I’d have to research if they have to put it out to bid. Dodd: Where does the town board stand? Are you willing to accept our 1 ½ year rest of the contract for fire protection or do we need to come up with a bid proposal for the next 1 ½ yrs? Volpe: we don’t have to do anything tonight because the district is still in place. Dodd: you just said the district has no power. The district has no fire protection. Bavoso: I didn’t say that. I said the district is still providing the protection while its in place. I just said that 10 minutes ago. Dodd: I understand but how? Bavoso: the same way they always do. The same way since they were created. Dodd: you said they didn’t sign any documents. The fire district doesn’t have fire trucks. The fire district is not paying for the fuel, insurance. Bavoso: They should have been through the money they have raised by taxes since the creation of the fire district. Dodd: How do we legally move forward since this has been brought to light? Bavoso: I believe I’ve already stated, you submit a proposal for the contract. Dodd: how does the fire district protect me as a tax payer?
Bavoso: by contracting with a fire company which is what they should have been doing since they were created. Sutherland: but the town had already signed a contract. Bavoso: the town had no power to be in that contract any longer once the district was created. Sutherland: but as soon as the district got started it was dissolved. Dodd: I understand. Tonight – how do we go and protect the community legally? Bavoso: you continue to protect the community just as you have been under the fire district until the fire district doesn’t exist. Then you would do it under a contract with the town board when the fire district…Dodd: we are not attached to the fire district. Bavoso: right. That’s the point. The company would have to contract with the town board. Just like you as the company would have to contract with the fire district if that’s what was providing fire protection. The fire district should have been providing it through the company by contracting it with the company. Councilman Howell: why is it the town’s responsibility to fix what should have been done? It was the district’s responsibility upon it’s conception. Dodd: I don’t disagree. But when you start into something and then something is formed and then the moment its formed its being destroyed. Sutherland: if the contract was entered into before the district was formed I’m not quite clear what…Bavoso: at the time the contract was signed there was a fire protection district in the town. This means that legally it’s the town board that’s responsible for contracting with a fire company to provide fire protection for the T/O Mount Hope. Sutherland: and that was done. Bavoso: then that fire protection district was dissolved and a new fire district was created. At that time the town legally had no basis for being in a contract with a fire company because the job of providing fire protection to the T/O Mount Hope was taken on by an independent fire district. It was then the district that would have legally been permitted to contract with a company. The town had no power at that point to be in a contract with a fire company. Volpe: and the town currently has no power to be in the contract with a company while the district is still in place. Bavoso: think of any of the surrounding towns. T/O Greenville has a fire district and the fire district is who contracts with the fire company to provide fire protection. The reason being is because if a fire district exists, the town has no power to enter into that contract because that power has been delegated to an independent fire district who creates its own budget & sets its own tax rate and those are paid over after taxes are collected. Because that district exists that destroyed the contract with the town because the town no longer had the legal authority to be in that contract. Sutherland: And this is somewhere in the minutes? Bavoso: I am sure it is. I’ve explained it a few times – yes. Musial: The fire district was in place when the fire company was paid for this past year. They get paid from June through the end of May, correct? And the fire district was in place at that time however, who was the check sent by? The fire district or the town? And does that cover us and continue to cover us if they cash the check, the fire company, by whoever provided the check through May 31, 2015? Bavoso: the payment should have been made to the district. The only way that money could have been raised while a district existed is for the district to technically raise it. If the district then signed over all that money to the company or the company collected a check directly that’s up to the district and the company. The town should have been paying the district directly. Musial: so regardless of who ever paid it, the town or the district directly to the fire company, would the fire company then be obligated then through May 31st? Bavoso: no. Musial: then they’re really only contractually obligated through what? April 30th? Bavoso: Far as I ‘m concerned, the contractual obligation was through the date the district was created. Musial: but they got paid money. Bavoso: if the district no longer exists then it can’t contract. Chief Rickard: then the town doesn’t have the power so basically they would keep that as a free month. Bavoso: that would come through with the dissolution process that the commissioners are already working on. If the money had already been paid over to the company then it’s not money the district has to make as part of their dissolution process any more. As of May 1st when the fire protection district goes in this board has the time to create a contract with a fire company to provide fire protection when the fire protection district goes into effect. Dodd: the check was made to the MHFC corporation; was paid to us during the time the district was in effect. Volpe: Lou, you were the chair of the district and the company. At the time the check was written you were the top commissioner. Dodd: I was the chairman of the fire commission. D. Loeven: the concern on both sides is obviously that there’s no time that lapses with no fire protection. Is it legal for the MHFC to submit a formal proposal – not just come to the board – that they would like to reinstitute the old contract from the time that the district is dissolved til the end of the ending date of that contract? Bavoso: absolutely. Loeven: Would it be appropriate for them to do a formal proposal of that type now so people did not have to worry? Bavoso: absolutely. Dodd: that’s what I just said that we’re willing to honor the contract. Loeven: but it has to be in form of writing is what I said. You can’t just come to a board meeting and say it. Dodd: you just can’t put it in the minutes what the president of the corporation is saying. Cambareri: gotta have something written up Lou. Dodd: already have something written up. I’m telling you it’s sitting there in front of you. It’s the contract that we’ve had. You’re staring at the contract we have for the next year and a half. It’s null & void per se but it was accepted. If we wanna pay more of the taxpayers money on coming up with another contract and attorneys and accountants ok. Musial: couldn’t you just zerox and change a couple dates on that contract if that’s what he’s proposing? Dodd: and I would sign it. I’ll tell you there is no time that anyone in this town from what we have of those fire trucks and those fire fighters that any one is gonna be waiting or wondering about fire protection. I am offering that we have a year and ½ left to go, it’s a mess. Let’s take the fear out of everybody. I don’t want to spend $1,000’s of $’s on attorneys, we have 14 months.
Bavoso: all they have to do is submit a letter to the town board saying our proposal is that we honor the remainder of the contract that was signed as of whatever the date was. Dodd: so that’s all I have to say? 150%? Bavoso: I have to do some research on that. Sutherland: supposedly you’ve known this entire time. Dodd: we’ve just scared everyone. You don’t know that? Sutherland: David said he’s been telling everybody all along that this was going to happen. I don’t recall in any meeting or any minutes and if that’s the case how do you not know the answer to that? Bavoso: I apologize. I don’t have the answer right now. Sutherland: if you’ve been telling us this all along then you should have the answer. Which means that isn’t the case. When you look at this room people are gonna leave this room and go out and scare the crap out of people. Otisville is terrific but now you’re talking about Howells, Greenville, Slate Hill, Pocatello; very far distance. Dodd: would you like a letter from the fire company, notarized that we will honor the next year and ½ contract? Volpe: providing that legally we don’t have to go out to bid. Dodd: okay. Sutherland: when will you have the answer to that? Bavoso: you’ll have it tomorrow. (to Lou) you were on the board the last time that contract was signed so did it go out to bid? Fire protection? Sutherland: absolutely it went to bid. Bavoso: then there’s your answer. Sutherland: but considering it’s earlier than it’s supposed to be. Dodd: our letter’s gonna state that we honor our contractual agreement for the next year and a ½. Is that agreed upon? Howell: with the dates from the original contract 14 months whatever the duration is. Volpe: Lou, call me before you go to work tomorrow. I’ll have an answer of which direction we’ve gotta go. Dodd: if I have to bid for this, then I have to competitively bid for fire protection. Maurizzio: when the town spends money, isn’t there a cap when they have to go out to bid? Bavoso: yes it is in the procurement policy. Chief Rickard: professional services are exempt.
Councilwoman Sutherland: absolute disappointment and disgust in the way things transpired this evening.
RESOLUTION FOR ADJOURNMENT:
MOTION offered by Councilman Ketcham seconded by Councilman Howell to adjourn the meeting at 8:40pm. All in favor: Howell, Ketcham, Volpe, Cambareri. Abstained: Sutherland. Motion carried.
The next meeting is scheduled for April 6, 2015 at 7:30pm at the town hall meeting room.
Kathleen A. Myers