Story by Christina Hedding
The Village of Florida held their monthly regular business meeting on Wed., Dec. 14. Many proposals that had been discussed during the past meetings and work sessions were voted on.
The Board of Trustees gave their monthly reports and then Mayor Jim Pawliczek opened the floor to public comment. Patricia Rotella voiced a few final concerns about the benefit policy for non-union full-time employees and elected officials. Rotella asked how much the Village would pay per person for health insurance. Mayor Pawliczek stated that the Village pays about $592 per person and about $1,500 for a family. He said that the new policy would have no immediate change on how much the Village paid. The main change would come when an employee of the Village retires. However, the Village has, in conjunction with the new policy, a plan to change the insurance policy to keep costs down. The mayor also said that if passed, the policy would likely be for the life of the Village as it will not be taken away.
The Board than broke the proposal into pieces and voted using a roll call vote on each section. On the section regarding vacation time, sick time, personal days and pay increases, Board members John Barzcak, Tom Fuller, Craig Olejniczak and Brian Slattery voted yes, Mayor Jim Pawliczek voted no. On the section about longevity, all the Board members voted yes. On the section regarding health insurance, which states that for employees hired before June 1, 2005 the Village will pay for 100 percent of health insurance for each employee and dependents, for employees hired before November 1, 2016 the Village will pay 100 percent of health insurance for the employee and 70 percent of coverage for spouse and dependents, increasing by ten percent each year for three years that the employee works for the Village. For this section, Board members Barzcak, Fuller, Olejniczak and Slattery voted yes and Mayor Pawliczek voted no. On the issue of retiree health insurance, all the Board members voted yes. The new policy passed and will begin retroactively for the 2016-17 fiscal year.
In new business, Board member John Barzcak reported on the progress of New York State grants for major infrastructure improvements to the Village, saying that he spoke with State Senator John Bonacic’s office and the proposals are proceeding fine and there will be money freed up for public work grants this year. Barzcak will continue to pursue the grants for the Village.
Seward/Mapes House Restoration Project Updates
Trustee Brian Slattery asked Building Inspector Adrian Mateosian for an update on the Seward/Mapes House project. Mateosian said that the roof is completed except for the caps. He also stated that work on the house would probably slowdown in the winter months. Mateosian said that the Village has received over $147,000 back from the state towards the restoration project.
Roger Dowd, head of the Seward/Mapes House Restoration Committee, also spoke about the project and thanked contributors for a $5,000 check which brought a total of $9,000 donated overall from sponsors.
Energy in the Bank Bid
Village Attorney Bernard Kunert gave a report on the contract with Energy in the Bank. The Village is seeking to transfer their electric contract from O&R through Energy in the Bank in the hopes of decreasing the cost of electricity in the Village. The proposal is for a 20-year contract with Energy in the Bank. However, there are issues that Kunert is still negotiating. As the Village is required to bid out electric every year, not going through with the contract this year will not be major for the Village as they will continue to go through O&R. Kunert said he was fighting with Energy in the Bank for a 30 day probation period instead of the 90 days they asked for. After some discussion, Mayor Pawliczek and Kunert came to the decision that Kunert should return to Energy in the Bank with terms of a 30 day trial period. If the contract does not go through, the Village will stay with O&R with no changes and bid out again the following year.
Glenmere Lake Project/No Winter Lake Activity
Mayor Jim Pawliczek met with John Tucci from Lake Savers regarding the aeration project on Glenmere Lake. As reported at a previous meeting, a SCUBA diving team checked the aerators in the summer and reported that they were helping to break up the silt layer in the lake and improve conditions. According to Mayor Pawliczek, Tucci was very positive about the work being done on the lake. However, he said it would be difficult to get contracts for any more work on the lake due to the presence of the endangered northern cricket frog in the lake. A decision to rotate the aerators in the lake was discussed but the contracts are still in question. At present, the aerators are doing their job and it may be costly to move them. The board decided to discuss the issue further at a later date.
Lastly, the Board discussed the winter conditions of Glenmere Lake. The entire Board was in agreement that due to the aerators, winter activities on the lake should be prohibited as the lake ice is too thin. The board agreed that more signs should be posted in Glenmere Park and around the lake to discourage residents from going on to the unsafe ice. No ice fishing, ice skating or other activities will be allowed on the lake this winter.
Local Law Amending the Zoning Law
The Board spoke briefly about a possible amendment to the Zoning Law as it pertains to Planned Adult Communities. The Village received an example of a local law from another town and plans to edit it to make it pertain to the Village. The motion was made to hold a public hearing regarding the amendment only after the Village Planning Board had a chance to discuss it at their monthly meeting. The motion was passed and a public hearing will be held after the Planning Board has a chance to discuss the Local Zoning Law and the new amendment.
Anita Lesko Day
The Board declared Wed., Dec. 21, 2016 to be “Anita Lesko Day” in honor of Anita Lesko, who served the Village as a crossing guard since April of 1982. For her service to the community a proclamation was read at the Board meeting and a copy of it will be presented to Lesko at a later work session.
Aubrey’s Request Denied
The Board discussed the request of Serge and Sylviane Aubrey’s request for a reduction to their October water bill. The Aubrey’s water heater burst while they were away and the resulting bill was $709.65 as opposed to their typical monthly bill of $144. The Board felt for the unfortunate situation but ultimately denied the request as the charge was no fault of the Village.
The Village of Florida will hold their annual Menorah Lighting on Wed., Dec. 29 at 4 p.m. on the front lawn of the Village Hall, located at 33 S. Main St. The ceremony will be in conjunction with Temple Beth Shalom.
The next Village of Florida Board meeting will be held on Wed., Jan. 11 at the Village Hall, located at 33 S. Main St. in the Village of Florida.