Lebanon supervisor reports town board actions from June 8 meeting
Submitted by Supervisor James Goldstein
The town of Lebanon took the following actions at its town board meeting via Zoom June 8.
- Authorized the town highway superintendent to purchase a new pickup truck and plow for approximately $37,000 on state bid as the low bid and the highway superintendent will sell the oldest pickup and keep the other one around for use on construction projects by town workers when needed.
- Authorized renewal of the town’s municipal insurance through the New York Municipal Insurance Reciprocal and David Craine of NBT for approximately $21,500 which includes all buildings, vehicles and liability protection.
- Reaffirmed authority for the town highway superintendent to contract for emergency work without town board approval through the town supervisor during town emergencies or FEMA level events. The last such event was the Oct 31 2019 floods that washed out several town roads and required assistance of outside contractors for emergency repairs.
- Discussed the status of the town’s old highway garage used for storage which is in disrepair and need for tearing down by fall. The town will have to rebuild a pole barn storage structure as the facility is still used for storage of town highway equipment especially during winter. Town officials discussed ways to draft specs and estimate costs for bidding and constructing a new storage building given the current financial limitations of the Coronavirus 19 crisis that impacts state and local funding, and the status of town reserves that have been set aside for years for this purpose.
- Discussed delivery of a new Stadium International Heavy Duty Truck this summer and payment options.
- Discussed plans with Town Justice office of Brian Forsythe, Justice, over reopen plans and requirements/restrictions including procuring plexiglass portable protective shields for Justice bench and signage and hands free sanitizer machine and extra gloves and masks as well as potential protocols. The state has set July 6 as a potential opening date but final decisions on town court openings have yet to be made. Town officials reviewed $1,000 state reimbursement funds available through Justice courts to pay for town office adjustments.
- Town Clerk Joann Colins reported new system of appointments and using outdoor enclosure area for conducting business with town residents as working well.
- Dog Control officer Gordon Baker reported on dog licenses and pursuing fines against chronic violators who have not licensed dogs.
- Code Enforcement Officer Aaron Camp reported he has been meeting with residents by appointment and has been very busy with permitting and enforcement actions. He said that the town construction activity has been very busy and has reported more compliance from the Amish community with regards to permits and projects.
- Highway Superintendent Alex Hodge discussed upcoming road projects and road patch. Supervisor Jim Goldstein reported that the Town and Madison County has received notification via email from New York State on confirmation of 80 percent of state Consolidated Highway Improvement Program (CHIP) funds for town road projects mainly involving Betts Hill Road. State cannot guarantee 100 percent of funding without federal aid that is pending and uncertain in Washington DC as part of larger package of aid to state and municipal governments that has been approved by the House of Representatives but is awaiting action in the United States Senate.
- Discussed status of Phase 2 and Phase 3 reopening in region and Madison County. Concern is over lack of consistent compliance by residents with regard to social distancing and wearing of masks particularly in neighboring northern Chenango County. Town officials will continue to urge compliance and cooperation by residents and businesses.
- Discussed Madison County office building slow opening of services to the public and status of COVID 19 cases. Current cases are dropping and recoveries are high but deaths are also up due to nursing home outbreak and other factors South county cases in decline but key to keeping numbers down is compliance with social distancing and mask protocols.
- Discussed plans to continue to keep town office closed except by appointment with highway department working full time but highway garage closed to public except by appointment. All town employees and officials will continue to socially distance, wear masks and sanitize regularly. The public is asked to cooperate and residents or visitors who show up to appointments without masks will not be admitted or serviced. Email, phone and regular mail correspondence is encouraged for most town transactions.
- June 23 primary will be consolidated into one voting district at town office and Madison County Board of Elections will be responsible for implementing social distancing, mask, sanitizing and other protocols. Town residents who wish to vote but have safety concerns are advised to vote by mail and if they do go to the polls, to wear masks and gloves. Those who have not received an absentee ballot should contact the Madison County Board of Elections. Early voting is also occurring through the office in Wampsville.
- Town finances are being watched carefully, according to Supervisor Goldstein but the town highway revenues for ice and snow removal of county roads have almost met budget totals with an entire winter ahead so revenue wise, town is in better shape than anticipated for now. Major concern is over loss of sales tax revenue for next year as town sales tax from Madison County is delayed a year so this year’s revenue will be part of next year’s anticipated revenues and sales tax has ben down 40 percent for April in the county but internet sales tax was way up and it is unclear if, how and when the state will distribute these funds.
- Next town board meeting will be via Zoom Monday July 13. Public hearings on changes in local land management law regarding road frontage have had to be delayed until town board is able to schedule an actual public hearing due to broadband limitations and reality that some town residents do not have phone or internet access to Zoom technology to offer public comment.
- Residents with questions can reach out to the town office via phone or email. The main number remains 315-837-4220 and the Town Supervisor can be reached at email@example.com
Stay safe, socially distance when out in public and wear a mask and keep good hygiene for safety. A successful reopen requires rigorous compliance with social distancing and mask guidelines.