Meeting Triple Header in Andover (A Novella)
This weeks meeting blitz began with the ACS Board of Education meeting on Monday at 6pm in the auditorium. All the board members were present, as well as Jennifer Joyce and Jamie Coyle with the interim superintendent absent. There were 8 members of the public present which was noted to be fairly high for their meeting.
The main takeaways from the ACS BOE meeting is that the Andover/Whitesville sports merger is moving ahead. Lots of coaches were approved. The sports code of ethics was approved as well as the Shared Athletic Program Agreement. However, the Agreement between the memorandum of agreement between the Andover Teachers association and the ACS School district for the merger was tabled for later discussion. The elementary library declared a bunch of books obsolete and they'll be donated or rotated into the little free library near the playground. The CSE chairperson's resignation was accepted, and a member of the public asked at the beginning of the meeting if this position would become an admin position as apposed to a teaching position. It was determined that was a teachers union/superintendent kind of question that the board would look into.
The auditorium was stuffy and overly warm. However the meeting lasted 15 minutes, which was concise and I've come to appreciate that. I would recommend going to a ACS Board of Education meeting. I think they enjoy having an audience and seemed a little bummed that only one out of the 8 members of the public in attendance had anything to add during the public commentary section. Brainstorm with a friend for fun topics to bring up! 7.5/10
Next up was the Andover Town Council meeting was called to order around 6pm on Tuesday. The meeting was held at the town office with 6 in attendance and a late comer joining after the meeting was underway. The office had a nice cozy, intimate ambiance and the air conditioner was very appreciated.
Following an approval of the previous meetings minutes and no communications or petitions. Dog control officer Lorie Rumfelt's report was read. She reported 13 call outs, 5 dogs at large, 1 dangerous. Three (3) dogs were missing and 3 dogs were found. They're still looking for some dogs reported on Davis Hill and Indian Creek. There was one reported dog bite with ER trip and one noise complaint.
Highway superintendent Jim Frungillo reported a bunch of road work both completed and pending. They've mowed the shoulders for the 3rd time. They have been exceptionally busy due to the amount of rain and the damage that rain has caused.
Jim also reported that the county and a company called LaBella has stabilized the bridge with some fill and a steel plating. This should hold until the bridge replacement scheduled in 2023. The bridge will be 1 lane until it's replaced. CTC will be coming in to place some signage soon that should make the new traffic pattern on the bridge more clear. Jim, Matt Zengerle, and Gus Webber all stressed that the steel plate NEEDS to be stayed off of in order to maintain the bridge safety and stability. It was noted that folks have been moving the barrels in order to get across the bridge with vehicles with wider turn radius and leaving the barrels misplaced which isn't cool. If you move the barrels for any reason you need to move them back to their original placement. Gus is driving by nightly to move them back each time. There was a lot of discussion about different barriers that might be installed to prevent the issue, but most of them would be a lot heavier which may mean that the bridge would have to lower the already lowered weight limit of 15 tons, which wouldn't be ideal.
The Town Clerks report was accepted before moving into the Justice report. There were 9 cases and one case was sealed. There wasn't a code enforcement report as Chuck was on vacation. The police report had a fair amount of tickets and 111 complaints or requests for assistance (which includes the village). The Police report is at the bottom of the article if you're interested in the breakdown.
The fishing derby is coming up on 8/21 which is a Saturday and the Town and Village Officials are invited to help give trophies at 2:45. Senator Young will be in attendance for the 30th anniversary so that's exciting.
There was some other minor business, but the followed by a discussion of whether or not the town wanted to accept cannabis revenue entirely, on a case by case basis, or make a local law to not allow it. The town is under the impression that the village has already passed a law not allowing cannabis growth or sale in the village, but the town would like to have the advantage of the tax revenue. Gus said the town council should do some research the issue as a decision needs to be made before December 31st.
The meeting adjourned at 6:43. Overall it was a productive meeting with a lot of ground covered. Good discussions were had. They're planning a public hearing in September and Public hearings are just by nature cool. I would totally recommend attending an Andover Town Council Meeting. They didn't seem to expect anyone to come so it'll be a fun little treat for them. 8/10
The final meeting in this lineup was the Village Board meeting which was also held at 6pm on Tuesday. You might ask how I managed to attend this meeting as well since it is inconveniently (for me, probably convenient for the folks on the board) scheduled at the same time as the Village meeting, but that is just a mystery for another day. The village clerk Maria who was very missed last meeting, was in attendance. All board members were present with 6 members of the public attending.
Deb Jackson was first on the agenda to ask what was up with the tree in the creek that had fallen during the storms and was causing flooding issues on her property. Mayor Truax stated that the property owner that the tree had fallen from had already agreed to remove the tree. Apparently blocking a creek is the DEC or soil conservations concern and it is generally handled by the county.
Next up was Steve Hubric who came to present a petition to the board in regards to the speed bumps that were voted down at the last board meeting. His petition had a few dozen signatures of Dyke and East Greenwood Street residents requesting that something be done to slow traffic in this area. Steve made an impassioned request that the board do something to protect the children from reckless drivers on this road. Steve said he was open to speed bumps, speed tables, ruble strips or really anything that would get drivers to slow to a more reasonable speed on Dyke St. Steve stated. "I'm open to compromise, but something needs to be done to keep these kids safe."
Board members were fairly unanimous in wanting to wait for the data to be collected on the issue via the mobile speed trailer on loan from the county. Mel Thorpe had brought some specs of potential speed impediment devices that could be used which she shared with the board. Scott Updyke expressed his opinion that it wouldn't work and "speeders are gonna keep on speeding." Several other members of the public in attendance had questions about the cost and concerns that if speed impediments were placed on Dyke street then other village residents would want them placed on their roads as well which would not be possible without additional funding. It was questioned if there were more pressing infrastructure issues that should be addressed before spending funds on speed impediments. There was discussion of a bunch of different ways to get folks to slow down from patrolling the area, lowering the speed limit, and increasing police patrols. Nothing was settled and it was tabled pending further research.
Since Brian Perkins happened to be present as a member of the public, Mayor Truax asked him about a letter coming from his office in regards to some funds that had to be returned to the county as the summer playground program had not taken place this year. Brian explained that any unused recreational funds returned to the county go to Rushford Lake Park. Normally this is not a large amount of money, but since a lot of recreational programs didn't happen this year (shocker) it was substantially more this year. In order to keep the funds in Andover they would need to be used for a village recreational project open to the public and as The Grove was not designated as a "village park" the funds couldn't be used for it. So the board made a motion to designate The Grove as a village park and that passed unanimously. Brian suggested that maybe the next years funds could go to installing some disc golf or other recreation at The Grove. It was misunderstood and a brief discussion on outdoor discos ensued.
Shocking no one following the Town Meeting there was no code enforcement report as Chuck was still on vacation. Jim was also not there to give his Justice and Police report, but it was the same one that was provided to the town.
Matt Zengerle joined the Village Meeting after giving his reports to the Town meeting and explained his request for about $10k to be spent in substation maintenance. Apparently the substation has been hit by lighting a bunch this year and the lightning arresters are fully blown. There was also something about some equipment needing oil changes and it's not regular oil it's super serious will kill you oil so it's got to be handled by a specialist. The funds were approved as it's needed maintenance if the village wants to keep the lights on.
Matt discussed all the road patching his crew has done which you've all seen around town. All the planned patches are completed at this point. The town crew had also pulled a tree out of the creek behind a house on Rochambeau as it was impacting the waterflow under the damaged bridge. Speaking of the damaged bridge... he mentioned all the things that Jim Frungillo and Gus Webber had said at the Town Council meeting, primarily that folks needed to knock it off with moving the barrels.
There is also a drain box situation on Barney Street due to an unmapped drain junction that had been buried and sodded over since at least the 80's. The rampant rain this summer caused it to flood. Matt and crew dug it out, but the structure is crumbling and replacing it would be several thousand dollars. Matt suggested instead of replacing the 4x8ft drain box that they just pipe together the junction and bury it. The board agreed. Matt also stated that they've been finding a lot of boards and construction material in some drains. So if you're doing any outdoor construction projects perhaps clean up your boards and bits so they don't float off and cause back ups during the next heavy rain.
Matt then brought up the Town Council being under the impression that the Village had voted to not allow cannabis growth or production in the village. The Mayor and other board members adamantly denied any such decision had been reached and in fact they'd not discussed it before. Mayor Truax suggested all board members research the issue and they'd discuss it at a future board meeting.
The meeting closed with an approval to send Matt and Bryce to water class so they can maintain their certifications and also to pay the bills. The fishing derby was also mentioned and the board was encouraged to go support the event. Mayor Truax called for any new business and Mel thought she had something she'd wanted to bring up, but couldn't recall. And the meeting closed at long last at 7:50
Overall the meeting was nice although I was expecting a more heated exchange on the speedbump issue, but everyone insisted on respectful discourse. The previously too cold village office was just right on such a hot day. The meeting was a bit long, but there was a lot of ground to cover so that's a wash. 7/10
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