EIGHTH REGULAR SESSION
Johnstown, NY August 10, 2020
Roll Call – Quorum Present
Supervisors: Argotsinger, Blackmon, Born, Bowman, Bradt, Breh, Callery, Fagan, Greene, Groff, Horton, Howard, Kinowski, Lauria, Perry, Potter, Vandenburgh, Wilson, Young
TOTAL: Present: 19 Vacant: 1 (City of Johnstown - Ward 1)
Mr. Stead, Administrative Officer, welcomed everyone and said this was the first in-person meeting of the full Board since March. He noted the new arrangements for seating for those in attendance. Mr. Stead then went over some “ground rules” for the meeting. He wanted Supervisors to understand that each desk is their own “island” and if they leave their desk for any reason, please put a mask on. He explained that the floor of the Chamber is reserved for Board members only. The media will sit in the gallery along with anyone from the public. Mr. Stead advised that if there are any one from the public present to speak, they will speak and address the Board from their own seat in the gallery.
- Communication from FitzGerald, Morris, Baker and Firth, Attorneys
Subj: Public Hearing Notice for NEXUS Renewables Solar Farm Project in the Town of Johnstown was held on July 28, 2020. (Supervisor Born requested a copy)
- 2019 Annual Report, Fulton County Industrial Development Agency
- 2019 Annual Report, Fulton County Board of Elections
- 2018-2019 Audited Financial Statements from Capital District Regional Off-Track Betting Corporation
UPDATES FROM STANDING COMMITTEES
REPORTS OF SPECIAL COMMITTEES
Adirondack Government Committee: Supervisor Horton advised that a “hot issue” on the Agenda was communication towers and trying to get a 10-foot height variance from the Adirondack Park Agency. There has not been much movement on this topic.
Soil and Water Conservation District Board: Supervisor Horton advised that the Board did meet and had its annual luncheon. He further advised that things are going well with Soil and Water and they have decided to hold back on some expenses due to anticipated budget constraints.
Chairman Greene read two (2) thank you notes that the Board Office had received. The first one was from Dolly Handy (Supervisor Richard Handy’s wife), who thanked the Board for all they have done regarding his recent passing.
The other thank you was from Charles Gagliardo, winner of the 2020 OTB Student Scholarship essay competition. He was awarded $1,000.00 because he was the only applicant this year. He is from Johnstown High School. Mr. Stead explained that we did not invite him to the meeting due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Chairman Greene then read his monthly report to the Board.
Welcome Back! This is the first in-person Board Meeting since March 9, 2020. All County employees are back as of August 3, 2020. The County Budget work is ramping up. It remains to be seen how much and when we will know what revenues we can expect from the state. If this year’s timeframes on COVID-19 guidelines is any indication, we probably won’t know until the last minute. My assumption, at the moment, is that any shortfall the state has endured with relation to COVID-19 will have significant negative ripple effects on the counties. Because of this, we need to remain fiscally conservative but flexible as we move along in the budget process.
In better news, proposed Resolution No. 1 (Resolution Urging Enactment and Implementation of the Johnson Hall State Historic Site Master Plan) is urging enactment of the Johnson Hall Historic Site Master Plan. The history of this plan goes back several years, and I would like to make note of the fact that Administrative Officer Jon Stead has been instrumental in providing input to the NYS Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation. We were very pleased to read that many of his recommendations were included in the Draft Master Plan, which was completed approximately two (2) years after the initial meeting. If this plan is implemented, it will represent a significant heritage tourism draw and an important boost to our local economy. Many thanks to Jon for seeing the heritage and economic potential of this historic site.
The “elephant in the room” unfortunately remains COVID-19 and its public health and economic ramifications. While driving home recently, I heard a news report that the Greek Orthodox Church that was destroyed in lower Manhattan on 9/11 is set to be built and reopened in September 2021, the 20th anniversary of 9/11. We lost 3,500 Americans that day. It occurred to me that now we are losing about 3,500 Americans every four (4) days. Imagine a 9/11 every four (4) days. I have always viewed this disease is a public health matter and still feel the first place to fight it is at the local level. This past week, Fulton County experienced a small uptick after remaining steady and down over the past two (2) months. Various national models are indicating that as a country we are on course to have 250,000 total deaths as a result of COVID-19 by December but that by simply wearing a mask in public, and social distancing where possible we can save 50,000 lives (the total population of Fulton County) with that same amount of time.
What the recent uptick with Fulton County indicated is that we need to take the personal responsibility necessary to mitigate this uptick BEFORE it turns into a spike. I ask all the citizens of Fulton County to take proper precautions such as wearing a mask in public, social distancing, and proper hand hygiene to help prevent the spread of this disease.
There is light at the end of the tunnel as there appears to be breakthroughs in the area of vaccines and therapies on the horizon. We all need to do our part to make sure we get there safely.
Resolutions on the Agenda were then deliberated upon.
No. 196 (Resolution Urging Enactment and Implementation of the Johnson Hall State Historic Site Master Plan): Supervisor Young commented that it was a great plan and it was important to correct some historical information and to show that Sir William Johnson was important to our area.
Mr. Stead advised that a few others in the county also have been involved in this Draft Master Plan such as Scott Henze, Planning Director and County Historian Samantha Hall-Saladino. He also mentioned that former City Councilwoman in the City of Johnstown, Helen Martin, was involved and attended the meeting in 2018.
No. 205 (Resolution Authorizing the Purchase of an Equipment Trailer for Use in the Solid Waste Department): Supervisor Potter asked what is the purpose behind Solid Waste purchasing an eight-ton equipment trailer. Mr. Stead explained that the Solid Waste Director is asking to purchase a mid-size trailer to haul small equipment such as a lawn tractor or a skid steer.
Supervisor Potter asked if the Solid Waste Director looked into purchasing a used one from an auction or maybe from another county or agency. Mr. Stead advised that the Solid Waste Director did not indicate that he had and that some things you can purchase through government surplus are not good enough for over the road, but work well on-site at the Solid Waste Department. Supervisor Potter further asked why the Solid Waste Department couldn’t use “in-kind” services and borrow one from Soil and Water Conservation District.
Mr. Stead advised the Board that he did not approve some large purchases during the COVID-19 pandemic and wanted each purchase to be reviewed by the Board of Supervisors before granting the purchase of them. That is why several of these Resolutions are being presented to the Board.
No. 206 (Resolution Authorizing the Purchase of a 20-foot Trailer for In-house Customization (Decontamination Unit) for Use in the Solid Waste Department): Supervisor Potter asked what the Decontamination Unit is being used for. Mr. Stead explained that it was for asbestos related work that the Solid Waste Department would be doing when they demolish buildings under Operation Green Scene. Mr. Stead further explained that now, the Department uses a tandem “box trailer” which is very old and worn out. The new one being requested would be smaller, more cost effective and would house a shower unit and other equipment to protect against asbestos exposure during demolition.
Supervisor Potter then asked how many open capital projects does the Solid Waste Department currently have. Mr. Stead said that the approval of the various pieces of equipment that the Solid Waste Department is requesting in these Resolutions this month should finish up their capital project requests for 2020.
Supervisor Fagan advised that the Solid Waste Department did solicit bids for a decontamination trailer and the costs were much higher. He further advised that with the customization being done in-house, it will cut down on the expense.
Supervisor Potter advised that the City of Gloversville is now out-sourcing the cleanup at certain demolition sites in the city and asked what private demolition contractors use to decontaminate. Mr. Stead said that he did not know what those private companies use.
Supervisor Potter cautioned the Board about approving these expenses during the COVID-19 pandemic.
No. 207 (Resolution Authorizing the Purchase of a Milling Head for Use in the Solid Waste Department): Supervisor Potter asked what the Solid Waste Department would be milling.
Mr. Stead said it will be used to rip up pavement and asphalt. Supervisor Potter again suggested that the Solid Waste Department borrow from another department or agency or use “in-kind services”. Mr. Fagan advised that the Highway Department may want to borrow the Milling Head in the future, so this would be an example of sharing of equipment.
PUBLIC HEARING: PROPOSED 2020-2021 FMCC BUDGET
Chairman Greene opened the Public Hearing at 1:38 p.m. for the purpose of receiving comments regarding the Public Hearing for the Tentative Budget for Fulton-Montgomery Community College as related to the financial share and obligation of Fulton County for the fiscal year beginning September 1, 2020, pursuant to Chapter 631 of the Laws of 1965.
Chairman Greene asked Dr. Gregory Truckenmiller to please come forward and provide a brief presentation on the proposed 2020-2021 FMCC Budget.
Dr. Truckenmiller advised that due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the budget is conservative and flexible. He also referenced the budget packet that was emailed to all Board members earlier in July. The budget for 2020-2021 is a 6.7 percent decrease over prior years. Dr. Truckenmiller explained that state aid was reduced and there has been delays in quarterly payments to FMCC. He further explained that with negotiations with the NYS Division of Budget, the cuts in state aide will be spread out in several quarters and not be all at once.
Dr. Truckenmiller also explained that FMCC does anticipate a decline in enrollment and there will be a modest tuition increase this year. Dr. Truckenmiller advised that FMCC is looking at reducing staff, reducing general operating expenses, looking at leases, and overall savings in personnel to help absorb the state aide reduction.
Supervisor Horton asked how the College was able to decrease its “benefit costs”. Dr. Truckenmiller explained by moving away from their current provider and finding a new major medical insurance. He also said there were savings also from Montgomery County for Workers Compensation insurance and satisfied obligations for that.
Supervisor Born asked if FMCC is in line with other community colleges and budget cuts. He said yes, they are in line with the whole SUNY system.
Supervisor Potter asked Dr. Truckenmiller if FMCC is looking for an increase in County sponsorship. Dr. Truckenmiller said no. Supervisor Potter asked what the tuition was for FMCC. Dr. Truckenmiller responded it was $5,040.00 per year.
Chairman Greene asked if anyone was present who wished to make comments regarding the 2020-2021 FMCC Budget.
There being no one, Chairman Greene advised that he would keep the public hearing open for a period of time.
(Resolutions continued to be deliberated upon)
No. 209 (Resolution Authorizing Contract with Auctions International Corporation to Sell Certain Surplus Equipment in the Highways and Facilities Department): Mr. Stead advised that the Solid Waster Director contracted Mr. Yost, Highway and Facilities Superintendent, and advised him that he was interested in a F350 pickup truck that was going to auction. He asked that the pickup truck be transferred to his department to use on site at the Solid Waste Department. Mr. Stead further advised that a 1994 Ford 10 Wheel Dump Truck listed would be offered, through the bidding process, to local municipalities before going to auction.
Chairman Greene called for any additional speakers for the 2020-2021 FMCC Budget. There being no one, Chairman Greene closed the Public Hearing regarding the 2020-2021 FMCC Budget at 1:56 p.m.
Supervisor Lauria advised that he gave Mr. Stead an article on the importance of filling out the U.S. Census because Fulton County is way behind.
Supervisor Fagan advised that this morning he and other local officials attended a ribbon cutting ceremony at the Local 5 and Dine in Northville. This is great and positive news for Fulton County.
Upon a motion by Supervisor Callery, seconded by Supervisor Fagan and unanimously carried, the Committee adjourned at 2:06 p.m.
Jon R. Stead, Administrative Officer/ DATE
Clerk of the Board