REGULAR MEETING, TOWN OF MOUNT HOPE, September 5th, 2017
The regular meeting of the Town Board of the Town of Mount Hope was held at the Mount Hope town hall, 1706 Route 211 West, Otisville, NY on September 5, 2017 at 7:30pm with the following present: Supervisor Chad Volpe, Councilman Matt Howell, Councilman Brian Carey, Councilwoman Janet Sutherland, Councilman Dominick Cambareri and Town Clerk Kathleen Myers.
OFFICIALS PRESENT: Highway Supt. Hassenmayer, Police Chief Rickard, Attorney G. Plotsky.
Following the Pledge of Allegiance, the Town Supervisor called the meeting to order at 7:30pm. He asked for audience members to silence their cell phones.
MOTION TO ACCEPT PRIOR MEETING MINUTES:
MOTION offered by Councilman Cambareri 2nd by Councilman Howell that the minutes of the 8-21-2017 meeting as submitted by the Town Clerk are approved. All in favor: Howell, Sutherland, Cambareri, Volpe, Carey. Motion carried.
1. Impound report for August 2017
2. Flier from Otisville Presbyterian Church re: Sunday of Service 9-10-17
3. Bid for fire protection services from Pocatello/Mount Hope fire company
4. Notice from T/O Deerpark for Memorial service on 9-11-17 @ Deerpark town hall
5. Copy of Notice of Violation & Order to Comply re: Otisville Village Fire Dept.
BOARD MEMBER REPORTS:
Councilman Cambareri reported that the final bill for the sewer plant project has been received. Everything is in order and has passed final inspection.
Councilwoman Sutherland reported there are people here about the planning board.
Councilman Carey reported he received a call from little league about damage to the fields during the fair. He has reached out to Sue and discussed it. He will meet with Jim or have little league do it. Football fundraiser at the fair was very successful. All games will be on Sundays. He asked Chief Rickard how successful the last prescription pick up was at Devan’s Gate. Chief stated they got some. Various people call whenever they have stuff. Nothing has been as successful as the 1st time. Sometimes they get a call for an officer to come pick it up. Councilwoman Sutherland added the last one we did (Janet, Chief & Jim) there were 3 there with stuff to turn in. We talked to them about scams. Councilman Carey added that some people dump their old prescriptions down their septic. Is there info anywhere that explains what happens when you do that? Chief doesn’t know that it specifically addresses septic. Have them call me and I will send someone to pick it up. There are signs in the meeting rooms (at Devan’s Gate). 574 likes on facebook. Carey: Historical Society penny social 9-9-17 at senior center doors open at 5:30. Moon Festival is on 9-16-17 from 12-8 at town park at Finchville Tpk. Bountiful Harvest is on 9-16-17 at the education center at the 4H park from 5-8.
Councilman Howell reported the master plan committee didn’t meet last week. It will be the 7th or 8th of this week. Supervisor added that it is looking like Friday, 9-8-17 at 3.
Supervisor Volpe reported the following: NARCAN class 9-23-17 at senior center, it’s free, 1st come 1st serve put on by Catholic Charities, good for 2 years. Suicide Prevention seminar 10-18-17 from 6-7:30, it’s free for resident/non-resident put on by Shawn who’s done them for Middletown & OCCC. AED/CPR training 10-5-17 & 10-6-2017, 1st come 1st serve, proceeds from Community Day will pay for any resident from town/village, non-residents pay $30. First Aid training 10-12-2017 at senior center 6pm for approx. 2 ½ hr class, free for town/village residents, $30 for non-residents. These are on website and will be added to facebook.
Supt. Hassenmayer reported:
1. Final walk through for roof was done. Everything is good to go. Paperwork will be processed for the 10 year warranty.
2. Trucks are ready for winter, salt has been coming
3. Salt shed roof has some roof damage that’s been repaired. Eventually will need to do that roof. Hope to get a couple more years out of it. Areas repaired today – plywood was rotted but it was replaced. Two leaks on both sides of the roof.
4. Plugging away to get things ready for winter.
5. Requested executive session for a personnel issue.
Chief Rickard had nothing to report unless anyone has questions. Councilman Carey spoke re: certain towns he drives through that have speed signs strapped to telephone poles. He asked if this is a government/state grant. Chief stated there are no grants. It can be purchased for about $5,000. Some actually record data ie: how many cars passed, speed range. County used to have one they rented out but it didn’t really work. Supt. Hassenmayer reported T/O Wallkill purchased 3 of them about 3 years ago; mounted on 2” poles, solar operated. Lost one – someone came through and cut the pole off and took the top. Supervisor Volpe noted there’s a walk through with the Moon Festival group on Thursday 5pm. Chief will be touring Dragon Springs tomorrow
BORREGO SOLAR – P.I.L.O.T.: John Cappello (with Jacobowitz & Gubitz)/Rob Garrity from Borrego Solar – project manager.
Mr. Cappello spoke re: proposed PILOT agreement. NYS as part of the program to encourage solar and reach 30-50% carbon reduction by 2030 adopted a law to promote solar and exempting solar from real property tax for a period of 15 years for all new installations. There’s a provision where a municipality might opt out but if you do you need to tax everybody large & small installers. Most have chosen not to opt out. Those that have opted out have said no to large solar installations. There’s been an influx of solar in the area. NYS has risen in the ranks of state & in the top 5 producing solar & the job creation from solar is greater than any of the energy job growth. Solar has been greater than any of the energy providers in recent years. Part of it is the recognition that any new product/technology there is some assistance due to the importance – all utilities have certain advantages that they’ve been able to take to grow. It also provides the municipalities the right to negotiate a PILOT agreement. Borrego has voluntarily met with the assessor & supervisor to discuss what the appropriate amount would be. 1st step is to come up with if not tax exempt what the appropriate method to assess it. Numbers were exchanged between Borrego & the assessor. It came out to about $7400/megawatt would be the full tax value the town would get based upon the assessment of the utility produced. Garrity: that’s the maximum the town could ask for in a PILOT is the maximum assessment. We worked with Mr. Ketcham on that & came to an agreement. Here’s the assessed value, applied the rate for the town, this is the ceiling the town would ask for underneath the PILOT. Cappello: now we’re here to discuss the appropriate amount to give the town back something so you’re not left with nothing but allow Borrego to install a facility so they can operate efficiently, make a reasonable profit on it & also pass those savings on to your customers and once installed Mount Hope residents will be provided the opportunity to purchase electricity from the end user of Borrego at a reduced rate than they are producing now. We are trying to balance what’s fair. We provided draft PILOT’s to your attorney using the forms that the state has come up with and the issue now is the amount. We put in the forms was $5,000-$5400/megawatt that Borrego would comfortably be able to pay which would still provide you with $20-22,000/year in revenue. Garrity: when you look at other projects, there’s so many variables. He gave a couple examples of other towns. They’ve been through a lot with the Piersons, the planning board, the town. They appreciate all the cooperation. They were taken aback by the PILOT request. In addition, there’s still the special districts we are paying at the full assessed rate. Gonna lose the ag exemption. It’s not a huge number. After 15 years it’s full taxation from the town, school, county. Would like something that’s fair for everybody. Supervisor asked the total cost of the project. Garrity: about 5.3 megawatt – around ten million $. Councilman Howell: thought you said it was 2. Garrity: Sorry it’s 4 megawatt AC. Howell: 5.3 is? Cappello: AC that feeds in is converted. Bu tit’s the maximum that the utility will approve. Supervisor: obviously there’s a couple questions I have. Through the planning board there’s a couple of these coming down the pike. Talking to the assessor & Glen – he wants to make sure everything is uniformed. Regardless of price, he wants it to be uniformed because they’re all residents here. As long as we’re consistent and it’s based on the megawatt or based on the amount of the project, the assessed value, however it comes through as long as it is fair.
He’s not against green energy. Solar is good. This is for profit. You’re both here because this is what you do. Cappello: 5,400/megawatt that Borrego is offering is on the higher scale of what is being paid for in the town. Supervisor asked once it’s built how many jobs it will bring. Garrity: very few jobs. Cambareri: at the $5,400/megawatt you’re projecting about $22,000 in town taxes or was that at the $7,000….Cappello: there’s 4 megawatts. Cambareri asked about school tax. Atty. Plotsky: zero. School tax they would only pay what they’re paying right now because they don’t get taxed at all on the improvement. County tax they only pay what they’re paying now. They have to pay nothing on the improvement. For the special districts, whatever they might be, they have to pay 100% on the dollar of their tax rate which is probably in the 1-2% range of the total tax. They pay 100% of that on the improvement. You have the authority under the state law to request a PILOT of up to the amount you would have received had you opted out of the law & therefore be able to tax at whatever your tax rate is on the improved value. Any town that opted out is not gonna be approached by any solar company because there’s no incentive for them to build there. Assessor (Ketcham) explained the calculation. It’s a one time payment. Cambareri asked what the projection for savings would be. Garrity: roughly 10% off of what the bill would be. Plotsky clarified that the # agreed to was $7,562/megawatt as the assessed value ceiling. Garrity: something to think about if you’re having other projects approach you & the county or school opt out, their ability to withstand a PILOT if you wanted to make it uniformed going forward – if it’s gonna be 100% at the town –it’s gonna be challenging for them to absorb that if there’s other taxes in the future. Sutherland asked the bottom line with the numbers. Cappello: we’re asking $5,400 vs. $7,600 so it’s $21,600 year one as opposed to $28,000 if it was $7,000/megawatt. Supervisor: when you say year one when would the town enter into…we would get money next year? Garrity thinks it’s when it’s commercially operational then the assessment comes in we ask for the 487 so it would be next tax roll. Ketcham: it wouldn’t be 2018 for the town, they would most likely get their solar completed by the taxable status date which is March 1st 2018, so it’s not gonna be for 2019. Most likely it’s not gonna be for the town until 2020 at this point. Garrity: we might be able to get it done by 3-1-18 – it’s possible. Our projection is by March 2019. Planning board approval is holding us up. Cappello: if there was no opt, it would be the same. Plotsky: Janet to answer your question, it‘s $30428 maximum, $21,600 is what they’re proposing. Howell: the $7,400/megawatt max. rate set by the tax department of the state or? Ketcham: I’m responsible for the assessment portion of that of which I’ve worked with Borrego on. Some of the info they’ve provided to me – I don’t have the ability to verify – it’s their contracts & tariff agreements they have with O&R – so I have to take them at face value which I have. I don’t overly dispute the total valuation they’ve come up with. After that it’s just my assessed value multiplied by the current tax rate. Garrity: the tariff referred to is a publicly available document – it’s the tariff for O&R that’s cited in the most recent order from the public service commission. That’s where our # comes from. Not sure if it included the discount or not. Howell: if the tariff changes, does it change the value of the project in 5 years? Plotsky: yes but once set it – you set it. The PILOT is a 15 year agreement. Ketcham: for the purposes of this – what Borrego has proposed (& he agrees with) is an average value over the 15 years so that will have the same payment yearly. Opposed to that, the value of their project is the highest 1st year in then it decreases over the next 15 years. Rather than changing that PILOT over time we’ve averaged the 15 years to come up with a set # throughout the life of the program. Councilman Carey thanked him for the explanation. Plotsky explained the motion. They’re asking for it to be $5,400 & after our initial meeting we’re proposing $7,000. The # cannot exceed $7,562. If you entertain that motion and adopt it by resolution, they would have to make a decision as to what they want to do next. Once the PILOT is agreed to by the town, that would satisfy one of the conditions of the approval of the planning board. Another condition is the decommissioning arrangement and protections. Mr. Cappello and I have come up with a number that everybody agrees on and a mechanism called the letter of credit. That would be good for 20 years; the life of the PILOT plus 5 years & is extendable and it gives the town the ability to go to the bank that issues the letter of credit to say ‘they haven’t removed it, we’ve demanded them to remove it, give us money so we can remove it’. Those 2 things are gonna be required as part of the approval. They are otherwise set up to be potentially approved at the Sept. meeting. Howell asked what happens if the bank goes out of business that holds the line of credit. Plotsky: don’t know that that’s ever happened. In order to continue their approval – get another line of credit. Cambareri: asked if decision had to be made tonight or can it be held off a meeting. He would like to give it a couple days and mull it over. He would like to do more research.
Councilman Carey is ready to vote. Howell asked Glen if he or David has prior experience working with these PILOT programs – any in place they can see. Plotsky: the problem is the formulation – the statute sets the parameters in terms of the maximum amount you’re allowed to request. Nobody really has a lot of experience in this. As far as the PILOT agreements themselves, basically we’re taking agreements for other programs and utilizing them to formulate the agreement itself. Dollar amounts are set by the statute. It’s a function of negotiation. We rely on the Assessor who relies on info provided by the applicant in terms of coming up with those base numbers. My communication to the applicant where I proposed the $7,000 pointed out that because the county did not opt out or request a PILOT because the school district did not opt out or request a PILOT effectively there’s an 86% reduction in their tax liability from the get-go. The town needs to determine whether they should accept $5,400 a year times 4 ($21,600) on property that currently doesn’t pay that much & that will essentially not tax the services of the town. Garrity: The figures are right on line with NYSERDA. Supervisor Volpe asked the board about a dollar amount. Sutherland: we’re talking about an $8,400 between the 2. Plotsky: It’s $8,828 difference & they’re asking for approx. 29% reduction off the maximum. Howell: with the savings from the school and county, 86% is quite a savings when you at the whole piece. Thinks $7,000 is good on our end. Garrity: we didn’t start there. If the county & school had opted out we wouldn’t have looked at this at all. We did our research. Carey: had no questions; he is good with what they proposed. Sutherland is comfortable with what’s proposed. Cambareri: asked which proposal she is comfortable with. Sutherland stated with their proposal. She thinks maybe that’s not the case with some of the other board members. She suggested splitting the difference. $6,200. She would like to see the town work with Pierson’s and Borrego to make this happen. Cambareri: these men are here to negotiate the best deal they can negotiate for themselves. We have the responsibility to negotiate for our taxpayers. His view – we shouldn’t be going after $7,562, but he would like to protect our taxpayers and get some of our money back. Being nothing is paid to school & county tax he doesn’t think we should forfeit 18-20% of maximum fee. Supervisor suggested $6,000/megawatt. $6,500 would be approx. 86%. Sutherland: if we did difference between the 2 it’s $1,600. Plotsky: $6,000/mw is about 79% reduction.
MOTION TO AUTHORIZE SUPERVISOR TO SIGN A PILOT AGREEMENT WITH BORREGO SOLAR:
MOTION offered by Councilman Carey 2nd Councilwoman Sutherland to authorize the Town Supervisor to sign a PILOT agreement with Borrego Solar in the amount of $6,000/megawatt. All in favor: Howell, Carey, Volpe, Sutherland, Cambareri; carried.
Supervisor passed out the example of the newsletter. He hopes to have it go out later this week. There are a few issues with it. Councilman Carey asked who did the newsletter. Supervisor: can’t say yet.
SENIOR CENTER SLEEP-OVERS:
Supervisor asked town clerk how often the sleepovers happen. Town Clerk: probably 4-5. Supervisor: they called and requested to have sleepover. He didn’t know if the board would still be comfortable with people sleeping there. Atty.: is insurance provided by them? Supervisor: any group like that – yes. Carey asked if they knew about the cameras. Town Clerk: that was the issue. Carey: if we agree on it – he can go to police station and disconnect the cameras for the night – if everyone agrees on it. Discussion. Cambareri is ok with them using it.
HUDSON VALLEY REGIONAL COUNCIL:
Will put on agenda for next meeting.
Supervisor noted that the 1st budget workshop meeting will be on Sept. 13, 2017 at 6:00pm at town hall. 2 department heads have requested to meet with the board.
MOTION TO AUDIT THE CLAIMS:
MOTION offered by Councilman Cambareri 2nd Councilman Howell to approve the following bills for Abstract 17:
GENERAL A: #518-532 $ 45,804.13
GENERAL B: #66-69 $ 3,684.98
HIGHWAY: #130-134 $ 20,500.12
SEWER: #65-69 $ 3,048.19
CAP RES GEN B: #12 $ 9,660.00.
All in favor: Howell, Carey, Volpe, Sutherland, Cambareri; carried.
Jim Kowalczik asked for clarification on political signs and private property. Atty. Plotsky: if you have permission from property owner you can place sign on private property. Mr. Kowalczik had election signs for Melton, Willis, Sutherland & Jennings. They’re not welcome to put them there. Doesn’t want to be associated with them & what they represent. Atty. Plotsky added that his comments have to be about town business – can’t do this type of politicization at a town board meeting.
Paul Barth spoke re: sleep overs at senior center. The fire alarms are not done there. He asked about battery operated smoke detectors being put there and carbon monoxide, too. Hassenmayer believes the carbon monoxide was done already. Cambareri: the fire alarm that’s there does work. Barth: negative. Hasn’t worked. Not even powered up. Discussion over proposals.
Kerry Clair spoke re: volume of the bands on Tuesdays, at the fair and the 4H announcements. She lives a mile away and can’t sit on her porch because of the volume. She wanted to know if it can be lowered. She asked if consideration could be given for the future. Supervisor Volpe will reach out to Lucy. Councilman Carey will reach out to football and little league.
Tim Selg spoke re: sleep overs at senior center & video cameras and issues of privacy and safety/security.
Diane Loeven Spoke re: senior trip on 9-18-17 thru 9-21-17 to Wildwood. She spoke re: deposit bottle container possibly being put at the senior center. Supervisor suggested putting it on the back deck. She also spoke re: prescription drug collection. She invited Chief Rickard to come to any meeting. Supt. Hassenmayer would like to see a deposit bottle container at the basketball courts. Councilman Carey noted about the town supplying clay for the little league and if the village does the same. She does not know but will check on it. Mr. Carey added further that the town & village maintain the fields as far as mowing but don’t have anything to do with putting the clay down.
Wayne Melton spoke re: charging for the police department. He thinks it needs to be fair across the board. He gave examples: village yard sale extra officers were brought in and that’s for profit; a car off the road for before/after school (Chief added there’s no car taken off the road for school detail); Moon festival gets charged; can’t charge for Halloween but that’s an expense, it’s good to have the officers out there. He spoke re: the DEC has pamphlets to be given out re: the prescriptions & it says what it will do to your septic/sewer systems. He spoke re: copies provided of Otisville fire department PESH violations the state came in and looked at. There were 9 violations – 7 were serious. Hopefully they’re getting corrected.
Paul Barth spoke re: “slow down for pedestrians” signs at the park for the middle of the road. Hassenmayer suggested painting a crosswalk by the football field and in spring for the little league.
Councilman Howell thinks it’s a good idea for lines on the road.
Councilman Carey spoke re: fence around the pavilion hopes to have more info for the meeting on 18th. Sept. 12th is primary day – polls are open 6am-9pm. He attended a road dedication of a road “Ben Gilman Way” on 8-24.
Councilman Cambareri thanked the guys for doing the roof. Saved us a ton of money.
Supervisor Volpe spoke re: inter-municipal agreement. He asked Diane how much the electric went up during community day. She did not remember. The town was not invoiced for this. He asked if the garbage was picked up for community day. She said yes. Town was not invoiced for this. Police at yard sale was not charged to the village. No extra police come in to cover the school in the morning. No extra police for football or little league.
Moon Festival will have extra police come in but they will be paying for it. Lions club fair had extra police come in – they will pay for it.
MOTION TO ENTER INTO EXECUTIVE SESSION:
MOTION offered by Councilman Carey 2nd Councilman Howell to enter into executive session at 8:49pm to discuss a personnel issue. All in favor: Howell, Carey, Volpe, Sutherland, Cambareri; carried.
MOTION TO RECONVENE REGULAR MEETING:
MOTION offered by Councilman Howell 2nd Councilman Carey to reconvene regular meeting from executive session at 9:17pm. THERE WAS NO ACTION TAKEN AT THIS SESSION. All in favor: Howell, Carey, Volpe, Sutherland, Cambareri; carried.
MOTION TO ADJOURN:
MOTION offered by Councilman Howell 2nd Councilman Carey to adjourn the meeting at 9:17pm. All in favor: Howell, Carey, Volpe, Sutherland, Cambareri; carried.
The next meeting is a budget scheduled for September 13, 2017 at 6:00pm.
Kathleen A. Myers RMC