OLD TOWN HIGHWAY GARAGE IS OFFERED FOR SALE VIA SEALED BIDS Audit shows $124,000 Increase in Town General Fund – March 2022

By Peter Calvert

Town of Andes Board Monthly Meeting, February 11, 6:07 PM-9:07 PM

Present: Supervisor Bud Gladstone. Councilmen Ritchie Gabriel, Thomas Hall, Dale Cole, (Shayne Moshier, Absent and excused) Highway Superintendent John Bouton, Town Clerk Kimberly Tosi, Code Enforcement Office Alfred Mohr, Tom Suozzo-Cedarwood Engineering.

In the Town Hall: Karen Kropp, By the Books, August Vergallito, Anne Slevin, DJ Long, Jason Frank, Hilton Kaplan, Vincent Lopez, Daren Kwok, Bob Abbate, Chris Long, Don Green.

Others via Zoom: Mark Pezzati, Vinnie Comeratore, Lillian Browne, The Reporter; and Peter Calvert, Andes Gazette.

   Privilege of the Floor: 13 Residents of the area surrounding 4987 County Highway 1 signed a letter to the Board. Speakers: Anne Slevin, Jason Frank and Vinny Lopez presented regarding potential reduction of County Highway 1 Speed Limit from 55 to 45 for a stretch past the cemetery to protect pedestrian traffic and residents. Request lowering the speed limit heading South, past the Andes Fire Hall on County Highway 1. Specifically, this walking traffic exists for about two miles past the Andes Fire Hall heading South toward the Pepacton Reservoir. Supervisor Gladstone stated that the Board will examine ways the Board can help.

   Motions: Authorize Highway Superintendent Bouton, to move forward with the purchase of the 2009 International PayStar 5500i Dump truck with Plow, with a purchase price not to exceed $20,000.  

   Zoning Board of Appeals Andes appointed Dana Scuderi-Hunter as Member of the Zoning Board of Appeals.

   Sale of Former Highway Garage and lot: Sale of Former Highway Garage and lot located at 29467 State Highway 28 by bids in writing to be received by March 8th. Details on Town Website.

Surplus Equipment: 2004 Sterling LT9 Dump truck, for sale by bid.

   Assessor Report: The New York State Real Property Tax Service informed the Town of Andes of the need to raise assessments this year due to the large influx of new property sales at much higher Sales values to maintain our 100% equalization rate. Failure to raise the assessments will lower the equalization rate and cause the tax rates to go up without any notice to our taxpayers. To avoid that possibility the Town Assessor plans to do the change in a transparent manner, so the Property owners have a chance to know prior to receiving the bills. To file a complaint regarding assessment contact Tina Moshier, Assessor.

   Hamlet Sidewalks- A reminder to hamlet of Andes residents, home, and property owners. Town of Andes Local Law 2 of 2006 requires snow to be removed before 9 am each day from all sidewalks. This local law is available on our website for your review. A brief reminder will be placed on the envelopes of the outgoing water bills to bring attention to this matter.

Water District Homes-Another reminder to Andes Water District residents, we are expecting more cold weather in the following weeks. Please continue to run water to avoid freezing pipes!

Rural Cemetery Test Well: Tom Suozzo- Cedarwood Engineering presented ongoing need for funding for the proposed well for the Andes Water District #1, located at the Andes Rural Cemetery. Asked for Cedarwood Engineering to develop all required documentation for a NYS Water Infrastructure Improvement Act (WIIA) Drinking Water Grant. Following the presentation, the Board authorized Cedarwood Engineering Services to complete all required documents for the Drinking Water Grant application at a cost not to exceed $18,000 to make tests on the town well system.

   Annual Audit: Town Bookkeeper, Karen Kropp, presented regarding  the bank account balances and the state of each fund. The general fund increased its fund balance by roughly $124,000. Major reasons for this included increased building permit revenue and mortgage tax. Highway fund balance appears to have decreased but will correct itself when the CHIPS money is received by the Town in March. The fund balance in 2021 started at $780,000 and will end up increasing by roughly $200,000.  The Sewer District added $12,000 to its fund balance; however, the fund balance is still negative.  The Water district decreased its fund balance by roughly another $21,000. The “COVID” money is labeled as a liability in the General Fund at this time.

Hamlet Streetlamps: Bob Abbate brought to the board’s attention that the hamlet streetlamps need to be repainted. Councilman Gabriel suggested that they could be painted along with the benches in town in the Spring. Mr. Abbate will follow up with the Streetscape Committee.

Stevens Road: August Vergallito spoke regarding his request to Highway Superintendent Bouton to fix the Town of Andes portion of Stevens Road to make it passable. The Town never abandoned this section, and he would like it to be fixed and accessible if they made it seasonal. Bouton anticipates new financial burden maintaining this section of road. The highway committee will review this section of road in the spring to see the viability of this Stevens Road task.

New resident of Skunk Hollow: Mr. Hilton Kaplan introduced himself to the board and offered himself to any volunteering opportunities if need arises.

Supervisor’s Report: Bank erosion across from the upper end of High Street near the bridge by John Andrews’ house was reported. Bud reached out to Graydon Dutcher of Delaware County Soil and Water District to appraise the situation. Awaiting updates.

Frozen water line: An issue with a frozen water line on Delaware Ave. was a collapsed/pinched line over the river. The repair will be made in the spring.

Mechanical issue at the transfer station resolved thanks to Shayne Moshier overseeing the repair.

First batch free COVID test kits: Thank you to the Post Office who distributed the first batch free COVID test kits and the Emergency Squad for the distribution of the second batch.

Interest in opening a local gas station: Bud reached out to different gas companies for an interest in opening a station in Andes. In pursuing it. Bud discussed this idea with a gentleman who has interest and looked at different sites. Updates in the future.

Proposed county commercial ambulance service: Bud met with Jim, John, and Laurie Andrews regarding the County’s resolution to support the proposed county commercial ambulance service. The Andrews family supports this much-needed service in the whole county because of the dearth of volunteers. The contract will be with AMR and marked as Delaware County Ambulances.

The Streetscape group met to discuss further plans of repairing/painting the benches in the Hamlet. They will also be seeking Delaware County Tourism Grant funding to update the kiosk.

Code Enforcement Officer Al Mohr relayed 3 new permits were issued and 2 violations are outstanding. Also, 8 inspections and 6 municipal searches completed. 95% of the Town Court repairs are done. Tom Joyce and Al Mohr are overseeing the repairs.

Clean Heating and Cooling Campaign: Supervisor Gladstone attended a webinar on this project. More information will be provided when the project goes into effect. NYSEG customers and DCEC members will be eligible to participate in this program.

Ballantine Park Fundraiser:  The Town is seeking individuals to spearhead fundraising.  The maintenance of Ballantine Park is funded solely by donations. Please reach out to the Town Clerk’s Office if interested.~