Editor’s Note: I recommend that you watch the July 19, 2018 meeting in full on the YouTube site which you can access directly on YouTube or by going to the official Town of Union Vale site (unionvaleny.us). On the bottom of the home page is a link to the most recently recorded Town Board meeting.
I will touch on the highlights of this meeting, but to get a true picture of what occurred, you really need to watch for yourself. Attitude is difficult to nail down, but it was very present in the leadership of this meeting. I acknowledge, having sat through so many of these meetings in an attempt to understand and critique the workings of our current Board, that listening to people say things with which one disagrees is disagreeable. But, according to the New York State Open Meetings Law, once the public is allowed to speak at a meeting, anyone wishing to do so must be allowed to do so with the same constraints applied to all. You be the judge.
Cash Flow:According to Ms.Maas at this point in the year, the Town of Union Vale is at 29% below its expected expenses. She and the Dept. Heads have reviewed and prioritized the Infrastructure List, and she has reviewed insurance and online credit card payments. (at the Work Session in June, Ms. Kelley raised the question of Ms. Maas having preemptively issued a credit card to a seasonal part-time worker without involving the Board. Although Ms. Maas did not deny having done so and claimed it as her prerogative as Supervisor, the issue of involving the Town Board in issuing credit cards was not addressed. This credit card issue had been brought up in the NYS audit which frowned on issuing credit cards to individuals. This issue was not addressed at the July 5 work meeting and was not even placed on the agenda by Ms. Maas at this July 19 meeting, although Ms. Kelley had asked her to.)
Ms. Maas said that there were 47 items on the Infrastructure list which needed to be dealt with and the projected cost would be about $864,000.
Board Members Reports:
Mr. Frazier: spoke of the need to upgrade the air conditioning
Mr. Walsh: spoke of the need to put roofs on the three silos and cap two: he has contacted a firm in PA to do this. He is concerned about the state of the salt shed and is working on a grant to get some monies to help update this building.
Mr. McMorris: spoke of an upcoming Veterans Day Parade to celebrate the Year of the Veteran. One hundred years ago World War I ( the war to end all wars as it was known) ended. Dave encouraged all Town residents to offer the names of those in Town who should be honored. Wheel chairs are available if needed. All the Board agreed that this was a fine tribute. McMorris also spoke of his meetings with various people regarding green energy. Shared services seem to be one of the answers to making this affordable.
Ms. Kelley spoke of her outreach to other towns to find out about their approach to allocation of personnel and funds. Ms. Kelley led the Board work discussion of much of the Employee Handbook. Many towns have already responded to her request for them to share their approaches to employee issues.
There were several taxpayers who spoke in favor of continuing library services. One phrase used by a speaker was that the library is part of the Town’s infrastructure. In the case of this speaker, she had purchased a home in Union Vale in large part because of its access to a thriving library. Other speakers talked of the library’s value to their children and the community as a whole. I spoke about the lack of promised discussion of the library at the July 5 Work Session and why this failure to discuss was directly attributable to the Work Session’s having no written, printed agenda and no written, printed minutes. At the Official meeting in June, the Town Board had passed a motion regarding the library discussion to which Supervisor Maas added that it would be discussed at the July 5 Work Session. Despite Ms. Kelley’s request for such a discussion at that July 5 meeting, this discussion never happened. Therefore, if the Town Board forgets its own statements, written documentation is a must. So also with a library, a library must consist in large part of printed material which provides a permanence that recent events in our national elections have shown electronics simply do not provide.
Animal Control Officer: The need to license and keep one’s animals on one’s own property was stressed.
Code Enforcement: Mr. Kolb gave a thorough report on his work with houses abandoned by owners and financial institutions.
Recreation sent in a full report of the many activities available at the Park.
Sign law is still being discussed.
Library Contract: Ms. Maas led this discussion. It is worth watching. The position Ms. Maas, Mr. Walsh, and Mr. Frazier took focused on what Ms. Maas referred to as a metric to tie to the town’s payment for the library use. These councilpersons felt the use of a library card would be the metric. (If one pursues this thinking, I wonder what the metric for the tax exemptions for those who do not actually farm but keep a couple of horses would be, or what the metric would be for the use of the constables? Is there a metric for the silos, and would that be aesthetic value since they are not used as silos? Given the few persons who actually work in or use Town Hall, what is the metric for updating the air conditioning?) Please listen to these discussions.
The Clove Rd. intersection with CR 21 was then discussed.
Once again, please watch this entire meeting. I have left out much, but the how of this meeting seemed to overpower the what. At one point a man, then unknown to me, who had entered late and sat in the front row turned to the row behind him and said, ” What are you looking at?”
P.S. Although I attended this entire meeting and have watched it on Channel 22 twice earlier this week, in an effort to make sure my statements were accurate I just attempted to watch it again. it is Sunday, July 29th and the Town Bd. meeting of July 26 is being aired on channel 22, but there is no sound.?! YouTube does have sound. Here follows the way to contact the members of the Town Board. I would recommend contacting all so that no one forgets he/she got an email or call.
Betsy Maas email: email@example.com ; office phone 724-5600
Dave McMorris-email: firstname.lastname@example.org ; phone 845-279-5412
Corrina Kelley -email:email@example.com ; phone724-3126
John Welsh -email:firstname.lastname@example.org ; phone 724-7060
Steven Frazier-email: email@example.com; phone 845-227-8475
Please have your say. Democracy depends on ALL the people being involved.