PERSONNEL - COMMITTEE

Wednesday, February 15, 2023 - 10:00 AM

 

 

 

Stephanie DeZalia, Chairperson

JoePete Wilson, Vice-Chairperson

 

Chairperson DeZalia called this Personnel Meeting to order at 10:05 am with the following Supervisors in attendance: Clayton Barber, Stephanie DeZalia, Charlie Harrington, Roy Holzer, Ken Hughes, Steve McNally, Noel Merrihew, James Monty, Tom Scozzafava, Matt Stanley, Ike Tyler, Joe Pete Wilson, Margaret Wood and Mark Wright.Shaun Gillilland was excused.Robin DeLoria and Derek Doty were excused.††† Davina Winemiller was absent.

 

Department Heads present: Jim Dougan, Judy Garrison, Dan Manning, Jennifer Mascarenas and Michael Mascarenas.

 

Also present: William Tansey, Amy Chapuk and Hugh Heron.

 

DEZALIA:We will call this Personnel committee meeting to order and weíll start with Jenn Mascarenas.

 

J. MASCARENAS:Good morning.I have my monthly report and I have the updated vacancy list.Still not much changes as far as vacancies.

I did want let everyone know Iím currently working on changing the rules to create Clerk to the Town Justice title in the exempt class.

 

DEZALIA:Thank you Jenn.

 

MASCARENAS:So the sixty-three, thatís full time right? That doesnít count the part-timers or is that total?

 

J. MASCARENAS:That is full time. We do have some per diems out there and part times without benefits.

 

MASCARENAS: Right, so itís about eighty something I think?

 

J.MASCARENAS:Yes.

 

WOOD:Is there a time frame on that completion of that Justice Clerk?

 

J. MASCARENAS:We have to have a public hearing and then Ė

 

MANNING: Yeah, once you get that done it should be relatively quickly.We have to publish it for three days in a row, notice of public hearing and have a public hearing and then Ė

 

WOOD:And then itís done?

 

J.MASCARENAS:Well, itís sent to the State and then the State approves it.

 

DEZALIA:So, itís not classified as exempt until it comes back from the State.It would be competitive until then.

 

WOOD: Right.

 

DEZALIA:Jenn, I see we have 70 applications though in January?

 

J.MASCARENAS:We did.We had, those include the exams too, not just four vacancies but still.

 

DEZALIA:Okay, good.

 

GILLILLAND:Codes & Building inspector exam, is that the whole state is just not putting that out?

 

J. MASCARENAS:Yes.I can check on it and see if they have an anticipated date but we are at the mercy of the State when it comes to that, so yes.

 

GILLILLAND:Okay, thank you.

 

DEZALIA:Anyone else have anything for Jenn?

 

SCOZZAFAVA:You mentioned codes and building inspectors, didnít we do Ė we did something on that we were going to go out and look to see if there was Ė

 

McNALLY:An RFP for the county.

 

SCOZZAFAVA:RFP for the county, yeah.Have we gone anywhere with that at all?

 

MASCARENAS: I donít think we have yet.Did we actually do a resolution to go out to RFP?

 

SCOZZAFAVA:Yes.

 

DEZALIA:Yes.

 

MASCARENAS:We did?Alright, let me double check that and we can get something out there for communities.Thanks for the reminder Tom.

 

McNALLY:A lot of the counties on that go out for the building inspectors, the zoning is done by the towns.

 

MASCARENAS:Right.I know I had spoken with Jim and we were trying to find some examples of communities at one point in time but Iím not sure where that fell through the cracks.

 

DEZALIA:Anything else for Jenn?

 

J.MASCARENAS:Actually Stephanie, I have one more thing while we are talking about the rules change.In the next couple of months I will be requesting another rules change for health program that the State has come up with for positions that we have trouble recruiting for that meet certain criteria that the State has determined.So, itís like our caseworkers, our psychiatric social workers, things like that.What they are going to allow is basically, the positions are going to become non-competitive so they wonít have to take a test hoping to recruit people so that will be coming in the next couple months.

 

DEZALIA: I did just see that the state also has decided to offer a full paid family leave, twelve weeks for their I believe their non-union employees so their executive people who are not covered under the union will get twelve weeks paid leave for paternity or foster or that type of thing.

 

MASCARENAS:Yeah, I saw that too.

 

DEZALIA:Anything else?

 

McNALLY:Are we getting new people coming into work at the county; is there still a lot of inter department transfers?

 

J. MASCARENAS:Yeah, there are some.

 

MASCARENAS: I do think what Jenn spoke of so everybody understands, it will help and Iíve got to compliment the State on waiving testing requirements for those hard to reach individuals.What happens often is people donít want to take a job thatís provisional so the testing requirements, especially the delay in testing thatís happening over the last few years is problematic for individuals they donít want to leave a job where they are getting paid to come here and wait two years for a test and then may lose a job so I think the State is really trying to help counties attract individuals and itís a step in the right direction.I think it has to be done annually.They are not waiving in perpetuity but they are going to allow us to try so I think itís important that we do.

 

J. MASCARENAS:Yeah, right now the program is only a twelve month program so anyone hired within that twelve months will not have to take a test and at the end of that twelve months theyíll be appointed permanently without having to take a test and then at the end of the twelve months I will have to change my rules back to make them competitive again.

 

DEZALIA:Anything else?Okay thank you Jenn.

Judy, Clerk of the Board.

 

GARRISON:Good morning.I submitted a monthly report and I do not have anything in addition to that unless anyone has any questions for me?

 

DEZALIA:Anything for Judy?Thank you Judy.

And Dan.

 

MANNING:Just a couple quick things.The county law provides that in respect to coroners, counties can contract with each other to use the other countyís coroner in the event that their Coroner is unavailable.Our Coroners have requested that we enter into an agreement with Clinton County.Clinton County has sent the agreement to me, Iíve looked it over itís fine.In essence, all it would be is if they need to call on our Coroner to do a particular case in their county they will be able to do that, we can do the same here.The only payment right now is for mileage neither county is going to remunerate the other for the Coronerís work so itís a good thing because there are only so many Coronerís around that are qualified and elected so I would ask for resolution authorizing Essex County the Chairman or the Board of the County Manager to enter into an agreement with Clinton County for mutual aid with respect to Coroners.

 

 

RESOLUTION AUTHORIZING THE COUNTY CHAIRMAN OR COUNTY MANAGER TO EXECUTE AN AGREEMENT WITH CLINTON COUNTY FOR MUTUAL AID WITH RESPECT TO CORONER SERVICES.Merrihew, Stanley

 

DEZALIA:Any questions on that?Okay, so moved.

 

MANNING:Okay the second thing is our hotel/motel, our occupancy tax as you know is 5% it changed about three years ago.It sunsets every three years so we have to renew it.Itís time to renew.Our ability to collect the tax will expire in the middle of April so we will need to pass a resolution so I would ask for a resolution introducing local law #2 of 2023, entitled Essex County Room Occupancy Tax which will continue the imposition of a hotel/motel occupancy tax in Essex County.This will continue the tax from 2023, for three years to 2026 and then 2026, we will be back doing this again.This requires a public hearing.I ask the public hearing being held, I think itís at our regular board meeting on April 3, maybe?

 

GARRISON:Yes.

 

MANNING:11:30 maybe?

 

GARRISON: Yes, that would work.

 

MANNING:Okay so weíll have the public hearing on April 3 at 11:30 Ė actually we are going to have to have the public hearing before.

 

GILLILLAND:In March right?

 

MANNING: No, in order to pass a local law weíve got to have two meetings so this will be introduced at the March meeting and then at the April meeting weíll pass the local law so we are going to have to have the public hearing on Ė

 

GARRISON:Do you want to schedule it at the Ways & Means in March?

 

MANNING:Sure, we will have the public hearing on March 27 at 11:30 a.m. and then this will be passed on the 3rd of April which is our regular board meeting.So, if I can get a motion and a second.

 

RESOLUTION INTRODUCING LOCAL LAW #2 OF 2023 ENTITLED, ESSEX COUNTY ROOM OCCUPANCY TAX LAW CONTINUING THE IMPOSITION OF A HOTEL/MOTEL OCCUPANCY TAX.Hughes, Wilson

 

DEZALIA:Any questions?All in favor, so moved.

 

MANNING:And thatís it for me.Unless anyone has any questions?

 

WILSON: I wanted to bring something up.To continue on our conversation just on Monday about Verizon and our contracts, I was wondering if the towns and the county, the towns effected by this and the county could meet, do a little strategy so weíre all approaching them in the same way and maybe have Dan or Bill present because my town attorney wanted to be a part of that meeting as well but just so that we are presenting a more unified front and hopefully giving ourselves some measure of leverage if weíre all on the same page, if that seems reasonable to people?

 

GILLILLAND: I thought that we were going to bring in that attorney that deals with the towers?

 

MASACARENAS:Yes.Jackie Murray has gotten, I donít know if you know this Dan they have gotten requests through Emergency Services.Jackie Murray has told us donít negotiate with them but I think she probably has the most information in regards to dealing with these types of companies, sheís well versed in it. Itís her line of work so Matt Watts was going to reach out to her on our behalf and set up something there.

 

WILSON:Perfect, so Iíll invite my attorney to attend as well.Thanks.

 

MASCARENAS:Yes.

 

DEZALIA:Okay anything else?

 

HUGHES:Hi, good morning. Thank you.I know that the retention and recruitment task force is going to be looking at transitioning some of the responsibilities work to Personnel committee and I just wanted encourage the inclusion in the agenda of some of those topics that are going to be sun setting out of the task force and infused into the Personnel and Administration committee.I wanted to share that I believe tomorrow Jim Dougan and myself as part of the educational pipeline conversation that weíve been having about establishing relationships with local academic institutions.Jim and I are going to be traveling up to Plattsburgh tomorrow to meet with Shari Snow.Shari is involved with Champlain Valley Education Services.She is the student support coordinator, thatís not the exact title but itís in the ball park and sheís very excited about working and meeting with us to discuss how she can get her students directly connected to our vacancies.So Iím looking very forward to that opportunity tomorrow and we hope to have some important and concrete options to report back to the committee next month.

 

DEZALIA:Okay and weíll turn it over to Mike.

 

MASCARENAS:Thank you.So what we put on your desks this morning is the ARPA.So the ARPA plan, weíve been talking about it for a couple of months.Itís something that I did to put in front of the board to get approval on so that we can get moving on expending some of these funds.

What I looked at when I developed this report were a couple of different areas, I just didnít grab things out of the sky and throw it into a report.One thing I looked at were projects that have a one-time impact on the budget so they are those projects that we are not going to have reoccurring costs that arenít going to continue to haunt us down the road.Those projects that avoid borrowing so anytime, you all are aware, you have municipal government, thereís maintenance, thereís O&M thereís those types of things that we have to deal with and if we can avoid borrowing we try to do that and it puts us in a better fiscal environment long term at the county.And then finally, projects that have been difficult to fund or simply have no funding opportunity to go after.So you look at one of the projects I have in here is the old jail demolition your simply not going to find another funding stream other than going out to your taxpayers that could fund a project like that so thatís in here because of that opportunity.So that was kind of the litmus test to develop this project some of the other things were the priorities of the board, what are we already committed to in terms of grant applications and maybe utilizing some of those match dollars so those projects can come to fruition so thatís how I looked at doing that.Now what I did and it really goes back to my old planning days, was I created a contingency within the report because one thing Iíve learned through the years is that the best laid plan sometimes just donít work out in the time frame that you would expect them to.Some of these projects can go over multiple years and simply fall through the cracks.Cornell Cooperative Extension Building is a good example of that. I have applied for that when I was the Planner on several occasions, didnít get the funding necessary to do that project and here we are all these years later still dealing with that kind of thing.

So, what I created for you folks that are familiar with environmental facilities Corp. is a funding line.So, if youíve ever looked at the IUP you know that there is a funding line in that IUP if youíre above the funding line, youíre in, if your below the funding line youíre just out.Now, how do you get above the funding line?You get above the funding line by a project falling off the IUP and thatís essentially what Iíve created here is a contingency so that we continue to move forward, hopefully meet the timeframes of those, get those expenditures out in a timely manner because again, we have to have these program funds spent by the end of next year.So, approval of this plan today is going to allow me to start the process of getting project people on board, getting RFPís out those types of things.The board is going to be asked to approve monthly on any costs that is occurred through these so this doesnít give us a blank check to go do the work it gives us a plan that we can now work from that we can do some of this work.

What I did was, each project is broken up with a brief narrative, reference numbers, project budget, spent to date and then a balance left.So you can see, some of these things have been approved in the past, thereís three or four projects there that the board approved, they are in the plan, the resolution numbers, the years and Shaun had his hand up so go ahead Shaun.

 

GILLILLAND:I just want to reiterate that I think the top four are already committed and executed.

 

MASCARENAS:Absolutely.Yes, so I didnít have any say in that in terms of those projects.I took what the remaining of the funds were, once I took the position last month and made the plan based on that.One change I can tell you in those first three projects was the daycare contract with ACAP initially this board had approved through the recruitment and retention committee a $100,000 contract that ACAP was going to try and expand daycare services throughout the county.Through no fault of their own they really struggled to do that. Theyíve spent to date about $6,000.I spoke to Alan Jones and renegotiated that contract because my concern was that they wouldnít spend the money in the timeframe and I was going to have to send that back in.With all the need we have in Essex County I simply donít want to do that so Alan was comfortable reducing that $100,000 contract to $50,000, it is captured in the plan so heís going to continue to do that work and try to expand daycare and all the different sectors of the county. Heís just going to be able to do less of it than he originally would have.

If you go to the last page what I really have there; because I donít want to keep talking I want to allow you guys to ask questions; is a summary of the projects.So premium pay incentive, payment to Essex County towns, daycare, solid waste, those were all projects that Shaun had eluded to were approved prior through board resolution last year at some point.

Projects five through eleven are radio system upgrades, information system security upgrades, removal of the old jail, the youth & Ag, that would be the ARPA amount that you see there thatís not the cost of the total project so the $2.5 million is the ARPA amount weíre looking to put towards that project but thereís also an additional $1 million through rural development that we have on that project.

Frontier Town revitalization we have, this board authorized the county to do a restore grant, that $218,000 that is in there represents what would be the countyís match if we were awarded. I feel that application in strong.I think itís worth putting that money in.If we arenít fortunate enough to be awarded that I still think we can do $218,000 worth of work there and I think that this board is committed to that project by passed resolutions which is why I put that in there.

Fish Hatchery improvements Ė I can tell you for years now and the Chairman mentioned it in his speech at the beginning of the year, years ago again when I was at the planning department I wrote the northern border grant and I wrote a DEC grant, itís eluding me, but to make a long story short we were awarded both those grants.It was for upgrades at the fish hatchery, we were going to do pavilions.We were going to do solar.We were going to do underwater cameras and tanks so we could have an interactive experience with our people.I think the vision of this board and the vision I share is to turn that into an educational opportunity for the residents of Essex County and eventually a destination that we can be proud of. What happened with was the grant dollars back then was the DEC hit us with a SPEEDES permit, we had to reallocate those dollars to elevate the concerns of the DEC and werenít able to do any improvements at the Fish Hatchery so again, continuing what I feel like has been a lot of board interaction over the last few years.Go ahead Steve.

 

McNALLY:But right now arenít we currently at that same stage, we are going to put money into that and the DEC wants to change all the laws and rules regulating that?

 

MASCARENAS:Yes sir.

 

McNALLY:The DEC is not going to partner with us.Every time we get a grant to update that facility we need to meet their requirements and we never actually see the improvements.

 

GILLILLAND:Iím in the process right now getting a letter drafted going back to DEC and it shows that we meet the standards, the phosphorus standard .2, the Region 5 Director told me that that was a target because it wasnít, typically didnít want to expand the operations there and we are not looking to expand the operations there so Iím writing a letter saying, this is what it is you know, moving forward and here are three options that we could do and in the letter we are going to say this is the option and basically put it back into DECís lap if they want us to build a waste water treatment there for them itís got to come through one of their grants and discussion with Zalewski, he admitted to that.So, right now he also said essentially, everything is on hold because the EPA is going to be coming back within I donít know, twelve to twenty-four months with a new TMVL requirements for everybody.Itís stupid because on our side of the lake the biggest contributor to phosphorus in Lake Champlain is the forest preserve alright?So that tells me thatís background noise and stuff so we canít control TMVL through fish hatcheries and little tiny sewage plants.

 

MASCARENAS: Thank you.Last project on there was Essex County land bank, that $300,000 is in there for seed money for the land bank again, the board is going to maintain control of the land bank through the inventory they handle land bank. This is a mechanism to get that process off the ground and allow that to happen.

The other major project is information systems and security upgrades that asked Hugh to come in case you had any questions for those of you who havenít met Hugh, heís phenomenal, heís from our IT department hopefully you will have the pleasure of working with him at some point.He developed that project.Thought behind that project is really built around fire walls, cyber security, upgraded telephone and essentially protecting our system. We havenít done a major upgrade or investment in a long time. This investment I think will set us in a good position for the next seven to ten years that we donít have to then go out to our tax payers and all of a sudden borrow to do this upgrade. Anybody who reads the newspapers sees what happened in Suffolk County when they got ransom ware and $2.5 million dollar ask turned into $5.5 million dollar investment on their end to correct some of the problems that they had so weíre cognition of that and we think that this is a wise investment.This is something Dan Palmer had also discussed briefly with the board and if you have any questions about any of the projects at all please ask.Iím going to be quiet.

 

SCOZZAFAVA:The old jail, $800,000 Mike?

 

MASCARENAS:Yes sir.

 

SCOZZAFAVA: I think you might be a little light on that one, with removing the pod and taking that jail out.

 

MASCARENAS:I can you Mr. Scozzafava and I have Jim here too, Iíve got the estimate from DPW.The estimate for the old jail is about $635,000, I thought maybe it was a little light too because of the pod and those types of things.Jim and I talked about it and we upped it to the $800,000 so that hopefully weíre being conservative in being able to meet that.I can tell you that as we go down these lists and they are prioritized, if it is above and beyond that something else is going to have to lose.Thatís just the way it is.What you see on that summary page is the priority order of those projects so if somethings over budget, if thereís an estimate thatís off then on the back in something else will have to lose because of it.

 

SCOZZAFAVA:Youth and Ag building, $3.5 million, $2.5 million in ARPA funding that is a new building?They are not doing anything with the Cooperative Extension Building correct?That building will come down?

 

MASCARENAS: No sir.

 

SCOZZAFAVA: I thought Mr. Tyler told us that we could get that building rehabbed for a lot less than $3.5 million at one point.Did that fall out of the window?

 

GILLILLAND:Only $1 million can be used when you start talking about history national register buildings so that old building because basically because of human pride the preservation of the building to stay there we still have a $550,000 grant hanging out there at the Department of State that hasnít been, the contract hasnít been released it is still itís going to review at the division of budget so eventually that will be used but I think Roy is heading this up, our concept is we will have a new building that will be there thatís a twelve month a year type building for community and for our contract agencies and programing and then the old building will be reverted back to a three season building and will be used for cold storage and for programing three seasons.

 

SCOZZAFAVA:My good friend from Westport, donít take any of this the wrong way but $3.5 million is a lot of money and this ARPA money is to benefit the county as a whole so is this building something that is absolutely needed at that location I mean we have other space problems also.

 

HOLZER:The building will be used by other county agencies like weíll put Cornell Cooperative Extension back there, weíll put soil and water back there.

 

SCOZZAFAVA: So it will free up other spaces where they currently are?

 

HOLZER:Absolutely and this will hopefully revitalize because the county already whether it is in Westport or Wilmington or wherever else the county already has a significant investment in those facilities over there so to turn a blind eye and say we shouldnít do this or we shouldnít do that I donít think in my opinion is the way to go.Iím just talking in general.

 

SCOZZAFAVA: Iím trying to justify that expenditure.

 

HOLZER: I think itís totally justifiable obviously I would like that number to be a little bit lower but I think weíve got the best case scenario here Tom as far as maintaining the history of local character of the Ag building, it will continue to be a three season building for the community there.Our building will hopefully be state of art, energy efficient and find a more central place for some of our county agencies.

 

SCOZZAFAVA: Okay, thank you and Mike my last question was on the last page, seventeen, where it says additional projects:ďthese projects are below the funding line and will only receive ARPA funds should other projects fail to meet the timelineĒ so 12-15 so if one goes out, they come in is that how that works?

 

MASCARENAS:Exactly so thatís my contingency plan.I think I owe this board a contingency plan.Iím going to tell you that every estimate is going to be right we know that, anybody who has done a project knows thereís fluctuation and estimates, there could be money left over, there could be not enough money in certain projects thatís just how an estimate works so, this also puts the board on notice that we do have other needs here in the county before Dan Palmer left he spoke of the need of starting a capital account. We have facilities here that are 24/7 in operation that now have been in service for a long time those buildings cannot fail so weíre going to have to look at those and take those challenges on in a way thatís responsible to the taxpayers that we serve.

 

SCOZZAFAVA: Thank you.

 

HARRINGTON: Yes, going back to your proposals involving Cooperative Extension Building, what is the plan for the current structure that is now functioning in Lewis?

 

MASCARENAS:We currently donít have a plan for that structure thatís functioning in Lewis.We would treat that property I am assuming and Dan Manning can jump in if he wants like county surplus property or however we would handle that either through private sale, through auction, if the Town of Lewis had an interest in it for a particular reason they would have the opportunity to put together a proposal for us for consideration.

 

MONTY: I will offer you a dollar.

 

MASCARENAS:The auction isnít today gentlemen.

 

HARRINGTON:I would add to that, that we paid more than a dollar for it so letís balance things out here.

 

MONTY:That was a joke Charlie.

 

GILLILLAND:We have lots of other things, I mean weíre renting buildings now, this allows us if they are freed up there and we have a building then we can start playing checkers and move agencies around and youíre right we do own that building and we probably should look at not paying rent in other buildings.So I think thereís a lot of flexibility here for us.

 

McNALLY:Iíd like to comment on the old jail removal, Iíve been here nine years and weíve discussed this for nine years and when we started this discussion we were talking about $200,000 nine years ago so this is an excellent opportunity to address this investment because if we do not address it at this time weíre going to be looking at this five or six years from now for $1.5 million dollars so I think we should push this along.

 

MASCARENAS: I couldnít agree more. I talked to several of you on this, you told me and I heard you loud and clear, this is the opportunity to take care of that process.†† Not only that Mr. McNally that jail takes up a large spot on our campus in terms of the physical space it holds. We have no ability to centralize our services and location without that jail being removed so because of the costs, because of the use that is non-usable and because of the future opportunity to use that space moving forward to bring back some of our other services on site it makes all the sense in the world.

 

SCOZZAFAVA:And incidentally, Sabre which is a huge demolition company out of Texas I believe, will be coming to Moriah in April and they are taking down Number 7 Mill, the old mine on Switchback so youíre going to have a company right here in town, this is what they do.

 

DEZALIA:Mike, I had a question.So on the premium pay, so I believe when we did that resolution there was an end date as far as how long we were going to keep that program and thereís $50,000 left in there, do you know what that end date was?

 

MASCARENAS:Yes.Iíve got to get an update to what is left.I do know what the end date was, it was December 31st of this year. The resolution wasnít clear on if the hours were met by the resolution so what I did was anybody who started prior to December 31st we awarded them the premium pay of 2022.

 

DEZALIA:So, the date was 2022?

 

MASCARENAS:That is correct.

 

DEZALIA:Alright and so is the referral program still going with that?

 

MASCARENAS:Yes the referral program is still intact.

 

DEZALIA:And vacation pay outs?

 

MASCARENAS:Vacation pay outs was something that Mr. Palmer brought to the board at the end of 2021, at that time we had a number of employees that werenít able to utilize and get down to the 30 daysí vacation that they had at the end of the year.The board authorized that we could pay out anything above and beyond those 30 days in a one-time payment so those happened and that is now done.

 

DEZALIA:Okay and then my only other comment I guess, on the broadband I donít know if this $200,000 would help with what Jim was talking about earlier. I can tell you I talked to Kevin Lynch about the four areas of last mile in my town and he gave me an estimate of $400,000 then thatís a very low estimate.

 

MASCARENAS: I agree.I couldnít agree more.The problem I was having with broadband when it was brought to my attention was how do I make that fair and equitable for every town in Essex County so the $200,000 that I was thinking was, maybe itís for planning, maybe itís for studying, maybe itís to get you to that point of being able to submit things.Iím not going to sit here and choose North Hudson over the Town of Moriah in terms of who needs broadband more I mean, having a process in how we do that may make some sense so basically, youíre right itís not enough money but it was more set aside for on the planning side.

 

MONTY: I could not echo Stephanieís statements more, I think you did a lot of hard work here and everything.Iím very disappointed to that we are going to get table scraps and itís no reflection on your work Mike but that money, weíve done things in Essex County that benefitted other communities far more than theyíve benefitted, just for example, the Town of Lewis and weíve gone along with that so the argument to me you canít see picking one community over the other, I understand that completely but I believe that money could be used in a way, as Stephanie said to help us, Essex County get that mapping done.I think that there is a lot of that that could be done and I just want it on record that I am disappointed that weíre on the bottom.

 

MASCARENAS:Well another and I understand that, another thing I looked at when I made that broadband decision below the funding line was the $600,000 payout that we gave to towns.So, the opportunity for communities to make that decision as the local level, broadband was an allowable cost for everybody that is sitting in this room and if they thought that that was important I assume they would have used it in that manner.

 

MONTY:And thatís what I did in Lewis with what the county gave me but again, having sat in this seat nowhere near as long as Tom but for seven years here and itís nothing about Crown Point but that Fish Hatchery has been a nightmare and I know like Tom says, youíre going to get all the people who like to fish here complaining about it but DEC continues to put regulations on us, continues to put obligations on us on a facility that was theirs but they gave up and gave to us and then immediately started giving us violations on it.

 

MASCARENAS:Yeah and I donít disagree with you Mr. Monty.The way Iím looking at it is the County Manager and the role Iím in is that the county has decided to keep these facilities, they voted to keep these facilities open and that the county has to be a good steward of the their property so Iím looking at that in terms of the Fairgrounds and in terms of the Fish Hatchery, that if weíre going to run and own and operate these facilities we need to do so in a manner thatís respectful to the people in the communities that weíre in.If the board doesnít want to operate those facilities then tell me and weíll reallocate that money elsewhere Iím happy with that but as long as weíre going to maintain those facilities we have a responsibility in those communities to do the best we can.

 

SCOZZAFAVA:Just, if I may to reflect on the broadband because we had this conversation in my own community and the way that I looked at this gift that indirectly that we are going to be paying back anyway through other tax means but you know it wasnít for one time flash spending you know weíre trying to do something that youíre going to see down the road, twenty-five or thirty years that benefits the community as a whole and Iíve got situations in my community where we can extent the broadband, it would cost us to the tune, through Spectrum like $15,000 to $20,000 so now youíre got to weigh it youíre going to say, well, this one individual is getting that benefit.What about the rest of the community?What are they gaining out of that?So I mean itís a catch 22 Jim you really got to justify the cost and how many of your constituency is actually going to benefit from that cost now in regards to the mapping and so on, I agree with that.That needs to be done absolutely so we have something that is 100% accurate, okay these are the areas that currently do not have that service and that way there is not argument from the providers you know, look it we know, you do not have service there.

 

MONTY:Iím speaking from the Town of Lewis perspective because I worked hard to get as many people connected as possible in Lewis and where we put this I ended, we are going to end up connecting 22 communities on it, 22 residents excuse me with my county ARPA money.Yes, thereís going to be areas that still arenít going to be covered but they are absolutely, literally the last mile.They are literally out there.This is one road I can put 22 residents up that was left out from the original broadband office bidding since this flocks.

 

SCOZZAFAVA:Which I agree with you.If you picked up 22 households thatís great, if youíre going to pick up one or two then youíre going to have to Ė

 

MONTY: No and Iím working on getting those houses taken care of.

 

SCOZZAFAVA: I mean, our County Manager he put this together with a lot of thought Iím certain.Dan and Iwe had some discussions on a lot of this thatís in here now you know, and I donít want to sound like Congress here I mean but this is a package that we may not all agree with but you know, thereís different things I would like to see inhere for my community.Different things everybody would like to see in their communities but the bottom line is we were wearing our county hats our here so you know, weíve got to try and do whatís best for the county.I mean, Iím not doing cartwheels over $3.5 million building in Westport you know, I certainly question, is it really needed but Iíll support the overall package.

 

McNALLY:Iíve spent the entirety of my money I received for ARPA to do that last mile of broadband.This is sort of like I feel Iím sitting on Santaís lap right now with requests here but on the Frontier Town revitalization thereís money there if we donít receive that grant, talking with the Supervisors in the southern end of the county that area the State put some pretty good investment there with the campground, Moeís put money into the A frame, the Brewery has put money in there and to keep attracting people to come to that area you know, if we donít get that funding we need something to draw people down there even if itís a small or large pavilion in the parking lot there just to build some interest.Hopefully the board will consider that for the southern part of the county.We have a pavilion in Minerva we built a couple years ago, itís brought a lot of interest to the town. We have groups from the Adirondack Mountain Club to Word of Life that use that facility all in all, that brings people to our community so thatís a large project down there with the arena and all that, millions of dollars but you know an initial investment on a $300,000 pavilion could mean all the difference in the world to stir some interest and also bring people to North Hudson so that the businesses that are taking and investing in that area down there will see some gain and itís not in my community but it is in the southern part and I think this is something we should consider. Thank you.

 

DEZALIA:I appreciate that thought on that but I think first and foremost on that property again, Mike has said this is county property and its dilapidated and our first goal has to be is to clean it up and I think this $218,000, if we donít get the grant that will help us do that, that will be our first thing we have to do is make that a more viable lot for the county whether itís developed or where it goes it needs to have, for public safety even because people are going there and itís not safe.

 

McNALLY:Thatís true but a lot of it is you have to be in front of people to get interest for investment and tearing that down, no one is going to see that and thatís something that we probably can do in house if it needs to be but building a facility down there will bring interest to that area.If that is used ten times this summer for different events, if you want to have a concert series or something like that to bring interest you know you need shiny things once in a while and tearing those buildings down is not going to bring any interest to that.

 

MASCARENAS:Yeah, and I donít think just tearing those buildings down is part of that process.I think we might not be able to do as much remediation or rehabilitation there as we can if we get the grant but I think the plan would be mixed use where weíd work with DPW on what things need to be removed and use our $218,000 to rehab what we can rehab on that site because there are a number of buildings that can be rehabilitated.

 

GILLILLAND:I think one of the messages that needs to go to the State on all the subjects, the biggest subjects on this list here is you need to tell us.The message has to be, finish what you started okay?I mean, $200,000 Jim, you know I am a massive supporter and thank god we have you who has been here like a rabid bulldog on this for years here but the dam State is still charging against to run fiber on poles and when the legislature called them on that then they are allowing these two big companies to charge for engineering.I mean, for God sakes to sit there and charge the broadband money when they did this to replace poles because they didnít meet the engineering standards but they allowed NYSEG and National Grid to operate unsafe poles that didnít meet engineering standards throughout the entire State?I mean, they didnít finish what they started in fact is what they did is said we are going to lose the games so we are going to declare victory and go home. They sound like Trump.To me, itís just absolutely crazy.Frontier Town finish what you started.We didnít start this thing it was Basil Seggos running around all those old buildings and stuff and getting all excited in building a campground and not have any trails.This is the message that needs to go to the State. You started this and you finish it.Unfortunately the clean-up team, Essex County has got to come in and fix it here as we always do.Moriah Shock, everything else. Weíve got to fix what the State doesnít or is incapable of doing.Sorry Iím off my soapbox on that.

 

MASCARENAS:No, it was well said.

 

DEZALIA: Thank you Shaun.

 

MASCARENAS:If there arenít any more questions basically I thank you guys for your time and I apologize that your meeting went over.

 

DEZALIA:First time, ever.

 

MASCARENAS:First time in the history.Folks, this is a working document. This doesnít mean it canít change.It doesnít mean that it wonít be amended and that it wonít change.What it means is, I need something from this board giving us the authority to move forward so that we can meet the mandate because we can argue about these funds all we want the bottom line is if we donít spend it by the next year weíre giving it back.

 

DEZALIA:So, you need a resolution for us to accept this working document as the American Rescue Funds Report.

 

MASCARENAS:Yes, thatís exactly it.

 

RESOLUTION ACCEPTING THE WORKING DOCUMENT SUBMITTED AS THE AMERICAN RECOVERY FUNDS REPORT.Stanley, Barber

 

DEZALIA:Any more questions on that?All in favor, opposed Ė carried.Okay anything else to come before this committee?Okay, thank you.

 

††††††††††† As there was no further discussion to come before this Personnel Committee it was adjourned at 10:55 a.m.

 

Respectfully submitted,

 

 

 

Judith Garrison, Clerk

Board of Supervisors