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Andover Village Board of Trustees: As the Village Turns

The Andover Village Board meeting began promptly at 6pm yesterday evening (7/12/2022) hosted by Mayor David Truax. Following the pledge of allegiance there were two members of the public on the agenda to speak, Wayne Grant and Mary Lipnicki. Both citizens were there to address tree matters.

Wayne Grant addressed the board about a problematic tree at Legion Park. Apparently there had been some mystery as to who owned the tree, but it has been determined that the tree is on Legion Park property and so the Legion is moving forward with having the tree removed. This removal should happen sometime later this week or early next week or whenever Aaron McGraw can fit it in. Andover DPW and the Town will be assisting as there are electrical lines involved.

Mary Lipnicki had concerns about the health and stability of a large maple on the Church Street side of her property that is between the sidewalk and the road. She requested the tree be evaluated as it has been dropping larger branches as of late and she has concerns about the electrical lines entangled in the tree. The board said they would have DPW look into it and perhaps get a quote for removal from McGraw while he's in town handling the Legion's tree.

Code enforcement officer Chuck Cagle gave a report on present code issues in town. There are some issues that he's in progress on dealing with on Main Street and Dyke street as well as a few other mowing situations. While the addresses are part of public record it's probably not my business and it sounds like the new village lawyer plans to address several of them at the upcoming July 18th court session. The board also asked Chuck about a couple other code issues that they had seen around the village and Chuck said he'd look into it.

The Department of Public Works report was given by Bryce Erdman as Matt Zengerle has resigned as supervisor. Bryce reported that they are monitoring the water levels and things are going well. There is a pilot program doing some 30 day testing on some filters or something for the new water project that will probably happen next spring and that's going well. He said a lot of things about filters that were probably important. He also reported that Lynch-Casey Road and Oil Well road had been improved somehow and that there were continued plans for other stuff to happen there with a plan to have it re-topped next year.

Police Chief Rumfelt went next and introduced new officer Alicia Dacey who is replacing the newly retired Clark Brown. She seemed nice when we chatted after the meeting, but admittedly I wasn't committing any crimes at the time. You may see her around the village with Rumfelt in the coming weeks as she has 80 hours of field training to complete as part of her welcome to the department. Feel free to say hi and introduce yourself especially if you do crimes on the regular. It's always good to get to know new people in our community.

new police officer
80 hours of training with Chief Rumfelt? Living. The. Dream.

Rumfelt went on to give reports on the recent arson on Dyke St. He thanked many departments for their cooperation, aid, and quick actions. He said that it's not often you're able to get an arrest for arson while the fire department is still on scene, but he was pleased with the quick thinking of other officer Rumfelt in discovering evidence that lead to a confession. Chief Rumfelt stated that the situation could have been much worse as the residence was occupied at the time and he was thankful it was not. Chief Rumfelt was also commended on saving the residents birds.

The rest of Rumfelt's report centered around the new local bear population that seems to be invading the village. He reiterated that folks should bring their trash cans in and take down their bird feeders. Removing their food sources is key to getting the bears to mosey on out of town. Rumfelt did also comment on the food truck in town and stated that it is fully legal and permitted/licensed. He went on to remind the board that Tall Pine's Mud Prom is this weekend as well as an outdoor band at the Village Pub.

A couple members of the public who were not on the agenda were invited to speak at this time. One resident inquired if roosters were legal to have in the village. The board reviewed the law and while roosters were not listed in the farm animal law they were excluded on the application to have farm animals and owners can be charged under the noise ordinance. Apparently there are several roosters in the village and their owners may be receiving letters from the village on the matter. So just FYI if you've got a rooster in the village, they did notice.

Another resident asked about what is being done to replace former DPW supervisor Zengerle. The board said they'll be listing the job shortly. The resident then went on to state that to get a qualified person with the appropriate certifications they may need to pay more than they're presently offering. The board said they'll be looking into that, but the budget is what it is.

Mayor Truax then went on to discuss board correspondence. Apparently one fella wants to get 4 hens. The board agreed that the Mayor could approve the application once the letters of the guy's neighbors were submitted per the standard process. Another resident wanted to have pheasants which the board did approve as the paperwork was in order.

Following correspondence Mel Thorpe wanted to discuss what was going on with water sales. Apparently some folks have been buying truck loads of water from the village and she wanted to be sure that this wasn't impacting our water supply for residents. Bryce stated that it is not impacting supply for residents and he is monitoring the situation. Apparently DPW has been approached with other requests to buy water and they have denied them at this time. The board did state that if water production at the well drops below 90K gallons per day that no outside water should be sold, which DPW agreed with and will continue to monitor. The mayor did also want to see any contact information or contracts involved with the sale for review.

At this point the meeting was well past the one hour mark and Mayor Truax requested that the village board should not be held to my one hour meeting standards and not be penalized. I did bring that up with the Andover Exclusive Executive Board and the request has been denied at this time.

The meeting carried onto new business where it was approved to hire Matt Zengerle as part time coverage for weekends and back-up during the week so the village will stay in compliance with our water system. The position will be part-time until the supervisor position is filled or the village can be otherwise in compliance.

mayor truax
Mayor Truax daydreaming about being exempted from the one hour rule

Trustee Dr. Gavin then went on to discuss her meeting with NYMPA on the matter of the village electric company. The village cannot sell the electric company or otherwise hand over responsibility as it is under contract until 2025. NYMPA did offer assistance with infrastructure and rate reviews that should help keep the electric company in village hands. There is apparently a lot of paperwork involved but the board is up to the task, we're assuming. Also ARPA funds may be able to be used to assist as well. When asked if there has been any luck collecting the tens of thousands of dollars in outstanding balances from accounts in arrears the board did state they're working through a state program to get reimbursed for some of that.

The board went on to approve the paying of bills. The board also approved a DPW quote and request to purchase some pipe sadles needed for the water system. The board also inquired into a police cruiser related bill which was revealed to be for 2 new tires, exhaust and inspection. Mel asked why the cruiser was always running (as she generally does at least every 3rd meeting) and Rumfelt gave her a comprehensive explanation of the electronics system that requires the car to be running or otherwise needs a 30 minute reboot which is not ideal in an emergency situation. We expect he'll explain that again in about 3 months when it's inquired about next.

The board meeting adjourned at 7:30 which was half an hour over the cut off for my attention span. The meeting is a 0/10 but could have been 9/10 had things been a little more timely. There were 5 members of the public present which is kind of a lot for the village and it was nice to see the turn out and community engagement. It was nice to meet Officer Dacey. Overall a lot of good information in this meeting and forward progress.

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