October 20, 2008

A regularly scheduled meeting of the Board of Trustees was held on Monday, in the Village Hall. In Mayor Maedl’s absence due to illness, Deputy Mayor Conley opened the meeting at 7:00 p.m. Also present were Trustee Bateman, Trustee Sarchia, Trustee Westcott, Police Chief Swick, Clerk-Treasurer Schweigert, and Daniel E. Seaman, attorney. Village Coordinator Dodge joined the meeting via teleconference at 7:05 p.m. as he was away at NYCOM DPW School. Trustee Westcott led the Pledge of Allegiance. There were a few people in attendance, as well. A motion was made by Trustee Bateman and seconded by Trustee Sarchia to approve the minutes of the September 15, 2008, meeting. Carried. A motion was made by Trustee Westcott, and seconded by Trustee Bateman, to authorize payment of bills on Abstract 5X in the amount of: General - $68,320.02; Water - $16,391.41; Sewer - $9,159.28; Total - $93,870.71. Carried. A motion was made by Trustee Bateman, and seconded by Trustee Sarchia to authorize a budget transfer in the amount of $147.90 from A7310.12 to A7145.1. Carried. A motion was made by Trustee Westcott, and seconded by Trustee Bateman, to approve payrolls 8, 9, and 10 for weeks ending September 20, October 4, and October 18, 2008. Carried. Treasurer’s reports submitted for the months of August and September 2008. Public Works’ report submitted for the month of September 2008. Deputy Mayor Conley noted that he was unaware of the fire in the DPW garage. Chief Swick advised that the investigation was turned over to the Niagara County Fire Investigators and Criminal Investigators. A juvenile is suspected of having started the fire. Village and Town Police reports submitted for the month of September 2008. Trick or treating hours in the Village were set. They will be 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Friday, October 31, 2008. Newspaper will be notified. There will be no party at the Fire Hall this year. Notice will be sent to the paper that the overnight parking ban will be enforced effective Sunday, November 2, to April 5, 2009. This year that information will also be printed on the November water bills. Correspondence was read: Thank you and pictures received from the Roy-Hart Cross Country team for use of the Scout House for their year-end dinner. Coordinator Dodge updated the Board on the following items: DPW personnel have been working to clear brush at the dam. They have cleared one side, having spent an entire day doing this. Clearing the other side will be more difficult, as it will have to be done by hand since they will be unable to get any equipment to it. They have received permission from nearby homeowners to access this area. When the clearing is done, Mr. Dodge will contact the DEC regarding the next step. Mr. Seaman advised he has been in contact with the DEC, and will take care of getting an update. Mr. Dodge advised he will be attending a session the next day regarding dam maintenance (given by the DEC) and perhaps will be able to get helpful information. Trustee Westcott asked for an update on 31 Main Street. Mr. Dodge advised that the asbestos inspection has been done. We were fortunate that it cost more than $1,000 less than anticipated. He forwarded a copy of it to four contractors to get bids for demolition. He has received back one, so far. Two contractors have inspected the building, but as they came to the Village when Mr. Dodge was unavailable to meet them, they were unable to see inside. He hopes to have more information for the Board by next week. Mr. Seaman asked that he be contacted when all of the estimates are in. Mr. Dodge has been in talks with Royalton Council member Jennifer Bieber and Royalton Highway Superintendent Terry Nieman regarding applying for a shared services grant. They are discussing funding for a new street sweeper, as ours is over 30 years old. They are also discussing the purchase of a new sewer vacuum truck. Should the Town and Village be fortunate to get these grants, the Village’s share would be about 10-percent of the cost of both, approximately $16,000. Discussed the advantages to purchasing these two pieces of equipment with the Town. A motion was made by Trustee Westcott, and seconded by Trustee Bateman, authorizing submitting an application for shared services grants for these two pieces of equipment. Carried. Mr. Dodge will follow up with Council person Bieber regarding this. Discussed the local law that Mr. Seaman has recommended that the Village pass regarding residency of known sex offenders. This law would require that any registered sex offender be prohibited from residing within, or entering within, a radius of five hundred feed from schools, daycare centers, nursery schools, pre-schools, child care facilities, playgrounds, or parks. Trustee Westcott introduced the local law entitled “A Local Law of the Village of Middleport Establishing Residence and Proximity Restrictions in the Village of Middleport for Sex Offenders who have Committed Criminal Offenses Against Minors.” A motion was made by Trustee Bateman, and seconded by Trustee Sarchia, to schedule a public hearing regarding this local law on November 17, 2008, at 7 p.m. at the Village Hall. Carried. Trustee Bateman asked Chief Swick about replacing retired police officer Ronald Riley. Chief Swick will consider this in the spring when the academy is in session. Clerk Schweigert advised the Board of several issues that came up at the October meeting of the Niagara County Municipal Clerks Association: The State has taken $500,000 of dedicated funding from the Local Government Records Management Improvement Fund to help address the state fiscal crisis. This money is collected by local governments for records management purposes. It is recommended that municipalities write to express their disapproval of this. Middleport has not applied for one of these grants in a long time, but we are working on a records inventory to be able to apply in the future for storage and filing equipment. Clerk Schweigert authorized to draft a protest of this action. Recently changes were proposed to the public health law, consolidating local registrars of vital statistics, and moving this activity to a county level. This would be inefficient and costly for municipal residents, who now get birth, death, and marriage records from towns and villages. The NYS Town Clerks Association recommends protesting this change. The following resolution was offered by Trustee Bateman, who moved its adoption, and seconded by Trustee Westcott: WHEREAS, the New York State Local Government Commission on Efficiency and Competitiveness has made certain recommendations to the Governor which effect the operation of local governments, and WHEREAS, one of the recommendations of the Commission was to move all Registrar of Vital Statistics duties to the county level under the direction of the New York State Health Commissioner, and WHEREAS, the NYS Department of Health has developed a program bill that would allow the Commission to consolidate the function of the local registrars of vital statistics, and WHEREAS, New York State Department of Health has inappropriately attached these proposed changes in the structure of the Registrar of Vital Statistics duties to the “Pandemic Flu and Public Health Emergency Preparedness Law,” and WHEREAS, the Commissioner could consolidate these services without County legislative approval, and WHEREAS, the local city, town, and village Clerks have provided this service professionally and efficiently over the years, and WHEREAS, losing this business would have a financial impact on the local governments, and WHEREAS, many citizens are under financial stress due to high fuel costs, and WHEREAS, the county’s geography would increase this burden since services would be located further from the residents, WHEREAS, the local registrars presently charge $10.00 per certified copy and the State proposes that the County will charge $30.00 per certified copy, and NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that in the interest of good government, the Middleport Board of Trustees opposes the consolidation of the function of local registrars of vital statistics, BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that a copy of this resolution be forwarded to our Governor and state elected officials to encourage their support. The vote on the preceding resolution was as follows: Ayes: Deputy Mayor Conley, Trustee Bateman, Trustee Sarchia, and Trustee Westcott; Nays: none; Absent: Mayor Maedl; Abstentions: none. The resolution was duly passed. Discussed that the costs of elections are being passed on to residents, but the County doesn’t give a breakdown of what’s being charged. Clerk Schweigert will contact the NC Board of Elections for a breakdown and to find out if the Village will be able to use the mechanical machines for Village elections. May chose to use paper ballots this year. Clerk Schweigert reported that a salesperson had stopped into the Village Hall with information on accepting credit cards for payment of bills. This company does not have any charges like the company who did the presentation to the NC Municipal Clerks Association last spring. Will get more information for the Board. Lori Cruz, of Philo Farms, addressed the Board asking what the future plans are for 31 Main Street. She and her husband are leasing to own 29 Main Street, and they would like to see the demolition of 31 Main put off until spring. They would like to assess the damage to the wall next to 31 Main, and they don’t want the wall exposed to winter weather that could increase the damage. Attorney Seaman explained that it isn’t likely that demolition will be held up until spring. The building is falling down rapidly, and it is unlikely that it will last through the winter. The Board declared the building unsafe and is in the process of collecting prices for the cost of demolition. They will proceed as necessary. The next regular meeting of the Board of Trustees will be Monday, November 17, 2008, at 7:00 p.m. A motion was made by Trustee Westcott, and seconded by Trustee Sarchia, to move into executive session for the purpose of discussions with the attorney for the Village. Carried. Deputy Mayor Conley opened executive session at 7:50 p.m. A motion was made by Trustee Bateman, and seconded by Trustee Sarchia, to return to general session. Carried. Deputy Mayor Conley reconvened general session at 8:12 p.m. There being no further business, a motion was made by Trustee Westcott, and seconded by Trustee Sarchia to adjourn. Carried. Meeting adjourned at 8:12 p.m. Respectfully submitted, Rebecca A. Schweigert Clerk-Treasurer
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