SECOND DAY OF ANNUAL SESSION
Johnstown, NY November 23, 2020
Roll Call – Quorum Present
Supervisors: Argotsinger, Blackmon, Born, Bowman, Bradt, Breh, Fagan, Goderie, Greene, Horton, Howard, Kinowski, Lauria, Perry, Potter, Vandenburgh, Wilson, Young
TOTAL: Present: 18 Absent: 2 (Supervisors Callery and Groff)
Chairman Greene called the meeting to order at 1:05 p.m. Following the Pledge of Allegiance,
Chairman Greene asked for a Moment of Silence for Thomas Walsh, Johnstown City Court Judge and local attorney who recently passed away.
Chairman Greene asked if there was anyone from the public who wished to address the Board. No one from the public came forward.
Chairman Greene then asked Ms. Laurel Headwell, Public Health Director, to come forward to provide an update on COVID-19 Virus prevention efforts in Fulton County.
Ms. Headwell advised that the COVID-19 infection numbers are rising. She provided statistics as of yesterday, November 22, 2020. Fulton County has 451cases overall, with 51 active cases. The number of people that are hospitalized stands at three (3). She further advised 365 residents have recovered. The COVID-19 deaths in Fulton County remains at 36 and overall COVID-19 tests done to date in Fulton County are 28,387.
Ms. Headwell explained that the numbers were stable until two or three weeks ago when an uptick occurred in the community and in schools. She further explained that Public Health research has found that people going to work while sick is a major source spreading the virus. Also, there are “super spreaders” arising wherein entire families are getting sick.
Ms. Headwell explained that the Public Health Department has been working seven (7) days per week, eight (8) or more hours per day because their workload has increased.
Ms. Headwell advised that COVID-19 testing is taking five to seven days to get results because labs are getting overwhelmed again. Ms. Headwell further advised that holidays are coming up and people need to be smart and use common sense. If you are not normally around someone, do not invite them for Thanksgiving or Christmas.
Supervisor Wilson asked Ms. Headwell for the number of people who have recovered from COVID-19 in Fulton County. She replied, “365”.
Mr. Stead explained that although Fulton County has had 36 deaths due to COVID-19, the County has not seen any additional deaths in three (3) or four (4) months. He further explained that the hospitalization trend is the number to watch for.
Supervisor Blackmon questioned why the Leader Herald newspaper lists only 28 deaths for Fulton County. Ms. Headwell said that number comes from the state data base and may not reflect the same counts from time to time.
Supervisor Horton asked Ms. Headwell if Fulton County should “change the way we are doing business now”. For example, in the Town of Caroga, he has half of his highway crew on and half at home. He is also worried about the number of COVID-19 cases rising in area schools.
Mr. Stead advised that Fulton County has tried to be consistent policy wise with State procedures. The County government has followed state guidelines across the county, not by town, village, or hamlet.
Chairman Greene advised that scientists and doctors have learned a lot from treating COVID-19 patients and a vaccine is forthcoming.
Supervisor Blackmon asked about rumors that there are going to be rules requiring vaccination proof before grocery stories let people in.
Ms. Headwell said that she has not heard of that as of this time. She did say, that when you do receive a vaccination you must follow-up at a later time for a second vaccination.
Mr. Stead advised that COVID-19 is now across all communities, not in one particular area, so it is no longer valuable to publicize what town or city COVID-19 positives are in. Using common sense such as washing your hands and wearing masks will prevent the spread.
Supervisor Blackmon asked how many Fulton County residents are being tested per day for COVID-19. Mr. Stead advised that between 200 and 300 residents per day obtain tests for COVID-19.
Ms. Headwell explained the difference between “quarantine” and “isolation” to the Board members.
Chairman Greene opened the Public Hearing to receive comments regarding the Tentative Budget for the County of Fulton for Fiscal Year Beginning January 1, 2021 at 1:32 p.m. No one present came forward to speak on the matter.
Chairman Greene then commented that the Public Hearing on the Tentative Budget for the County of Fulton for Fiscal Year Beginning January 1, 2021 would remain open for a portion of the meeting.
UPDATES FROM STANDING COMMITTEES
REPORTS OF SPECIAL COMMITTEES
Adirondack Government: Supervisor Horton advised that he was asked by the Chairman of the Board to attend a tree-cutting ceremony to promote NYS Christmas Tree Farms to Kick off the Holiday Season. Chairman Greene and Mr. Stead could not attend the event due to the Finance Committee meeting this morning. Supervisor Horton asked Supervisor Goderie to explain the event further because it occurred at his business.
Supervisor Goderie advised that the event was at the Goderie Tree Farm on County Highway 106 in Johnstown. NYS Agriculture Commissioner Richard Ball was present along with owners of the Goderie Tree Farm. The Goderie Tree Farm was asked to host the event for the first tree cutting in the state. Also, a plaque was presented.
Mr. Stead asked Supervisor Goderie where the tree is being placed. He said at the Welcome Center for the Mohawk Valley in Montgomery County along the Thruway.
Inter-County Legislative Committee of the Adirondacks: Mr. Stead advised that it was Fulton County’s turn to host the Inter-County Committee. It was held via Zoom. Planning Director Scott Henze provided a presentation on various projects being done with the County Drone.
Chairman Greene advised that today, the Board will be voting on the 2021Tentative Budget and hopefully adopt it. He said it is a remarkable achievement and the folks we represent will be happy.
He further advised that our region and county are experiencing an increase in COVID-19 infections. He said that he is convinced and hopes that all people follow the CDC guidelines. Mr. Greene stated that vaccines are at our doorstep and this is not the time to be reckless. Please think of your family and keep them safe this season and have a wonderful Thanksgiving.
Mr. Stead explained that each Board member was given a copy of the Center for Regional Growth’s new magazine – 2020/2021 Initiatives Guide to Fulton County.
Supervisor Fagan advised that the magazine is extremely well-done and will be distributed nationally and internationally. It showcases everything in Fulton County to do - work and play. He was very proud of it and it was a lot of hard work and this is a template for future magazines. “Hats off to the staff at the CRG.”
(Resolutions were deliberated upon.)
Chairman Greene again asked if there were any public speakers who wished to comment on the Tentative Budget for the County of Fulton for Fiscal Year Beginning January 1, 2021. Seeing none, Chairman Greene closed the Public Hearing at 1:44 p.m.
It was noted that the Average County Tax Rate for 2021 would be 10.89 per $1,000.00, which is the same as last year.
Mr. Stead advised that the next Board Meeting is going to be held on December 14 at 1:00 p.m., and that another meeting may need to be held after that date.
The Board recessed at 1:56 p.m. until Monday, December 14 at 1:00 p.m.
Jon R. Stead, Administrative Officer/ DATE
Clerk of the Board