GLEN SPEY, NY — Personnel changes and legal mandates highlighted an ambitious agenda at the Lumberland Town Board December 9 meeting. Two resignation letters were at the top of the list of …
GLEN SPEY, NY — Personnel changes and legal mandates highlighted an ambitious agenda at the Lumberland Town Board December 9 meeting. Two resignation letters were at the top of the list of monthly communications mentioned by Supervisor Jenny Mellan.
The first was from Jeanne Mulcahey, one of five members of the Board of Assessment Review who serve on the “quasi-judicial” panel. The unit is trained by the New York State Office of Real Property Tax to render decisions about the reduction of assessments. The review board hears grievances on the fourth Tuesday of May, at which time residents can file complaints and requests to reduce property assessments following the May 1 release of the tentative assessment roll.
The second was from the assistant building inspector/building clerk Christy Flynn effective December 1.
The board has been making a continuing effort to fill the vacant code enforcer’s position. Qualified applicants were interviewed, but expectations for compensation exceeded what the board initially budgeted. In an effort to address that issue, the town reduced the number of weekly hours required for the job and voted to include health benefits. Lumberland joins a number of neighboring towns that are encountering a similar problem. The position requires state certification and civil service eligibility.
After years of measured but steady growth, the area has experienced an uptick in sales of existing housing stock. Residents with summer homes are deciding to stay through the winter months. New builds require a review of plans, issuing of building permits and certificates of occupancy. However, upgrading a home to meet winter’s demands or renovating to modernize and expand also require adherence to town codes. The position can be one of “advice and consent” that puts a premium on experience and communication skills.
During the initial stage of the meeting, some of the provisions of Local Law 2 of the 2020 Environment Assessment Forms were discussed and finalized. Later, the Moratorium on Solar Energy projects was repealed. The vote to adopt the Solar Energy Law has been a meticulous and prolonged process. After the vote, board members expressed satisfaction. Mellan noted that the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Environmental Notice Bulletin should be informed.
Decades have passed since the Town of Lumberland stopped operating a landfill on Kalin Weber Road. The DEC mandates that such facilities must have “post-closure” care for 30 years. Although the waste remains in the ground, it is inspected, maintained and monitored by the engineering firm of Barton and Loguidice. The service is provided at a cost of $5,100 per year. The resolution to continue this agreement was approved by the board.
Somewhat overshadowed by a lengthy agenda, two gifts to the town were accepted. The town museum received a donation of an 11 piece “Nippon Cocoa Set” (five saucers, five cups and a cocoa pot) from Marianne Van Loan. The antique had originally belonged to former Pond Eddy residents Josie and George Brennan. Additionally, an appreciative family donated $100 towards the maintenance of the Circle Park to honor three teachers from the school: Sue Schadt, Linda Hazen and Ann Marie Grzwaczewski. Circle Park is situated directly across from George Ross Mackenzie Elementary School.
In new business, the board established a team to lay the groundwork for a Pandemic Operations Plan. The governor has mandated that all public employers create a plan to protect their employees and contractors in the event of another public health emergency. It has to be finalized and submitted to the NYS Department of Labor by April 2021. The town is required to inform the unionized workers of the highway department by Thursday, February 4, 2021 in order for them to review and comment.
A roadmap to meet the challenge of the new mandate was provided by councilwoman Karen Ward from suggestions from “Talk of the Towns,” a publication of the Association of Towns of the State of New York. Its membership includes over 95 percent of New York’s 932 towns. Lumberland has already utilized some of the association’s planning suggestions during the ongoing pandemic.