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Village Board Transitional Roadmap

March 20, 2015

Compiled by
Mayor Mark Swinnerton and Deputy Mayor Scott Gibson


Appoint members to the Planning Board, Zoning Board, Jefferson Village Board, Fire Department Advisory Board, Landfill Commission, Labor Negotiation Committees, liason to the department sub-committees and, especially, the Joint Project Committee.


The new budget starts June 1 but the proposed layout needs to be in place by roughly 45 days before, which is in about 2 weeks. Come up with a separate budget for water, sewer, and electric as this will identify the rate structure for the upcoming year.


-- West End Work: Construct a new reservoir tank past the end of Division Street. The hydraulics need to be at the same elevation as the sister tank at Padua with the intent to completely replace it. Conduct a benefit/cost analysis to determine what the best approach will be for the project.

-- Padua Main Replacement: Several water main replacement jobs in mind that would likely need to be constructed in concert with the new tank. An old 1920’s/1930’s cast iron main runs down from Padua Tank, behind Clifford's, and along Second Street. Water is running about $130/LF along neighborhood streets. Figure out how to budget a roughly $2M-$2.5M tank and main replacement project.

-- Route 409 Main Replacement: Water main replacement needs to be done along Route 409. The DOT resurfaced all the way into town a few years ago. In anticipation of us doing work after the fact, we had them asphalt surface the sidewalk that runs along the street (our main is under the walk) so that we aren’t jack hammering concrete slabs out to make way for the new pipe. A new main along that street could run anywhere from $160-$200/LF depending on what kind of utilities are in the way.

-- Idlewilde: The Vandenhurks who own the Idlewilde B&B have chronic rusty water problems. The short-term fix has been to flush the local hydrant in the area until clean but this wastes a tremendous amount of water and, consequently, lots of $$. Right now, the Vandenhurks have Village supplied water filters which they have been happy with. However, these are there at our expense and there is the hassle of us providing membranes for them every month or so. For the cost of an afternoon of troubleshooting, reestablishing a closed-off loop may in fact be the culprit for all of the rusty water. If this isn’t a valve issue, there may need to be additional pipe reconfiguration in that area to reestablish that loop, physically.

-- Raw Water Intake Extension: The raw water intake needs to be extended further into the lake. The project will help improve water quality by getting the intake out to a depth which will drastically reduce disinfection by-products production, keeping us in compliance, and hopefully reducing our chemical usage at the plant.

-- Water Works Project Utility Dispute: The Water Works complex run by Bruce Nelson is having a legal discussion with local neighbors about utility poles.

-- Water Works Project: Understand the history and what our commitments and responsibilities are from this point forward.

-- Hydrant Testing and Replacement: The Water Department needs to work with the Fire Department to identify the non-working, under pressured, and under yielded hydrants in the area and either replace them or their distribution systems. There are many that are still on old, outdated and likely heavily tuberculated 4” cast iron mains which are out of code with Ten State’s Standards requirements.

-- Franklin Street Bridge Water Main: The Franklin Street Bridge main froze yet again this year. There is a section that is somewhat exposed. A solution -- maybe to better insulate it, install heat tracing, or abandon the thing entirely -- needs to be done so that this doesn’t keep happening. The money we’ve spent on running around reacting to the problem could be better served in a permanent fix.

-- Disinfection by-products: Health Department disinfection by-product requirements include sampling, reporting, and chlorinating. You may need to upgrade certain things within the plant and/or rechlorinate elsewhere in the distribution system to ensure that we are meeting compliance at the distant points where water is older. All of this will come at a cost, of course.


-- Consent order and I/I: The wastewater plant has been out of compliance, off and on, for the better part of 20 years. The short history is that the piper came calling within the first week of our administration because, quite frankly, previous administrations were perfectly willing to kick the can down the road on 100-year-old infrastructure. The DEC fined the plant and issued a consent order soon after. Because we are a tourist community and the plant sees many load swings, its 50-year-old design can’t handle it. In fact, we haven’t been able to receive trucked-in waste for many years and so we lose out on $100,000 of revenue each year by sending it up to Ithaca every day. Coupled with the fact that our community is fraught with inflow infiltration problems, the DEC issued a consent order mandating that we do something about it.

The consent order gave specific instructions for us to first tackle the collection system problems. A study was conducted and our consultant identified the collection system hotspots. We have until mid-2016 to correct those deficiencies. As part of Project Seneca, we were able to secure grant funding to be able to afford the rehabilitation and just a week ago, we signed the financial parperwork for a $2.0M loan to be able to complete the repairs. You will need to immediately familiarize yourselves with the reporting and scope of services that involves this project. It is a state mandate and you have no choice but to complete it. This project alone will raise average sewer rates by about $5.00/mo. If previous administrations saw this day coming and started a reserve fund, we wouldn’t be in this mess.

-- Wastewater Plant Replacement: Regarding the plant, we spent a lot of money the first few years tracking down ghosts and making Band-Aid fixes, but even after that work, the plant was still out of compliance. It wasn’t until our operators lapsed and allowed the plant to go into upset during a wet weather event that the DEC threatened multiple 6-figure fines. We managed to negotiate with them by promising to come up with a permanent fix for the plant. They acquiesced and agreed to relax our permit limits for a period to buy us time to figure out how we were going to rebuild the plant. Doing nothing is not an option and they will tell you that.

-- Yaws Environmental: The plant has been operating without a Chief Plant Operator for some time. We secured the services of Yaws Environmental to fill that role to buy us time. (The state mandated that something be done here to avoid more fines).

-- Project Seneca Representation and Expectations: Immediately assign two trustees and the Mayor to sit on the Joint Project Committee which meets roughly once a month at a rotating location. Review the SEQR report, preliminary design report, all of the bonding agreements, intermunicipal agreements, and three years worth of meeting minutes to understand the details about the site selection process, environmental review, public workshops, frequently asked questions, the reasons for selecting the merged option over other alternatives, the rate structure, and all of the power point presentations that were done to bring the community up to speed.

-- Stakeholder Group: Stakeholders include the entire Montour Falls Board, Rick Weakland (project manager), Barton and Loguidice (WW project consultants), Michael Printup (President of Watkins Glen International), Judy Cherry (SCOPED), all of the folks from Three Rivers Development group, Tim O’Hearn (County Administrator), Stewart Thomas (DEC), the Fish and Wildlife people (can’t remember the contact name), Jeff Smith (Muncipal Solutions, our financial consultants), and the folks from the Environmental Facilities Corporation (they will be the ones who issue and help us maintain our 0% interest hardship financing). Get to know the ins and outs of the $6M in cash grants and low-interest loan eligibility that we anticipate. It would also be advisable to introduce the new board to Assemblyman Palmesano and Senator O’Mara, who have direct links to Governor Cuomo’s office.

-- Plans for WWTP Property: Current plan is to lease the original property of the WWTP to a lucrative developer to turn the property back to the public. This could be a park, an extended marina, or, whatever. Leasing seems to be the best option because of the revenue that it could generate. You’ll need to come up with a strategy for that.

-- County Sales Tax Revenue Sharing: This is very, very important. The County distributes about 20% of its sales tax revenue back to the municipalities. There is nothing that requires them to do this but it is something that has always been in our budget and it certainly helps us operate. A hit of about $250,000 to our budget would occur each year if we lost this. Watkins Glen generates the lion’s share of sales tax for the county; running the risk of losing all of that revenue became contrary to our involvement in Project Seneca. So, we devised an agreement with the County to fix sales tax revenue sharing at 20% for the lifetime of the new sewer plant loan (30 years). If this plant does not go through, you will need to cover an almost certain $250,000 loss to your budget.

-- WWTP Hire: We have several lucrative candidates for the future of the new WWTP.

Regional WWTP:

-- New WWTP: Sewer Rehabilitation (Consent Order) – Design/Bid

1. Funding: (V) received Rural Development (RD) Preliminary Funding Eligibility (PFE) letter w/ $500,000 grant for $1.83M project; Municipal Solutions/B&L working on Full RD application by 4/1/15 due date for funding in 2015 pool; bond resolution passed at last (V) Bd. Mtg., Form E budget sheet finalized

2. Survey: entire (V) was flown in 2014; ground control & elevation survey for open-cut repair areas will be completed/to B&L by April 10th by B&Ls WBE Subcontractor (Ramie Survey, same for Regional WWTP)

3. Design: developing base mapping for trenchless lining sections; site visits w/ (V) Sewer Dept. in next couple weeks/when snow clears

4. Schedule:

*Regulatory Agency Review/Comment -- July 3rd
*Bidding -- July 24th
*Award -- August 3rd
*Contract Execution -- August 28th
*Notice to Proceed -- August 31st
*Construction Completion (6 mnth. construction/3 mnth. winter shutdown) -- May 27th (Consent Order Deadline – June 1, 2016)
*Final I/I Effectiveness Report to DEC -- July 31st (Consent Order Deadline – September 1, 2016)

LGE Study ($43,900 grant for Joint Study w/ Montour)

1. DOS Contract Extension: Contract Time extension to 3/31/16 submitted to DOS 2/11/15

2. Sub-consultant agreements: M/WBE Utilization required; drafting Scope for (V) to contract direct w/ Municipal Solutions (WBE) for Municipal Advisor services; LDG to be subcontracted by B&L for (V) Mont. Falls related assistance, Tasks 2, 3 and 5

3. LGE Study Tasks:

Task 1 -- WWTP Consolidation Alternatives Analysis – completed under Regional WWTP alt. evaluation
Task 2 -- Collection System O&M Consolidation – rec’d Collection Systems, workforce, equipment, etc. inventories from Mark Specchio; waiting on similar info. and budget info, etc. from (V) Montour & Donna
Task 3 -- Regional Bio-solids Composting Facility
--Preliminary Watkins/Montour historical sludge data reviewed and compiled. Waiting for additional requested sludge data including Part 360 metals data.
--Preliminary compost sizing requirements completed; will be refined once additional data obtained from Villages.
Task 4 -- Regional Septage Receiving and Solids Handling
--Regional solids handling facility preliminary design concepts developed for both aerobic, anaerobic and combined heat and power facilities.
--Preliminary capital and O&M costs developed.
--Preliminary projections of septage and high strength waste required for cost effective waste gas-to-energy production facilities have been developed.
--ClearCove to be contacted for anaerobic/CHP alt. eval.

1. UDS Land Abandonment: Several mtgs. w/ Canals to date, ~8-acre WWTP site map prepared/submitted to Canals with Land Abandonment application; Use & Occupancy (U&O) Permits modified to cover design work needs (soils, survey)

2. WWTP Site Geotechnical Report: received by B&L (from Brierley), under review; WWTP site conducive to pre-loading as alt. to pile supported foundation, both to be evaluated for $, schedule, permitting, etc.; will be sent to DEC as requested

3. Pump Station, Force Main and Supplemental WWTP Survey: scheduled w/ Ramie; final Watkins Glen PS force main alignment under final review; alt. alignment from pump station east on Rt. 414 to Boat Launch Rd. being considered for benefits to Clift Park PS, future service to (V) Burdett; reduced easement/permit needs vs. railroad parallel; site visit w/ Mark Specchio next couple weeks for utility disc.

4. SPDES IIA Permit: application underway for new outfall.

5. WWTP Buildings & Architecture: WBE Architectural sub-consultant has been retained; Initial conceptual brainstorming meetings complete relative to potential building sizing and layout;

6. WWTP Site Design: WBE Landscape Architect sub-consultant has been retained; Initial conceptual brainstorming meetings complete relative to PS/WWTP sites, access road layout, screening, stormwater.

7. WWTP Facility Design: WWTP site ground control/topographic survey completed; preliminary WWTP site layout, grading and hydraulic profile has been developed and are being refined with input from architect and landscape architect; concept site captured in SEQR documents.

8. Design Flows/Loads: final design flow/load development underway, updating PER eval. w/ most current Watkins/Montour flow/load data; site visit to Montour WWTP in next couple weeks (coord. w/ Sewer Rehab visit)

9. Process Equipment Design: Meetings with manufacturers of major process equipment (pumps, screens, grit removal, SBR, filter and UV disinfection) have been completed; final equipment proposals are being developed with each manufacturer, respectively.

10. Schedule: updated schedule provided to/reviewed at JPC March Meeting….review as you see fit w/ any key milestones

11. 2015 CFA Applications: time to start thinking about these, and what will be submitted for construction funding; may open in May, typically due by August; coord. mtg. needed w/ Project Seneca Steering Committee


-- Rate Study: NYPA has embarked on an electrical rate study for our community. They haven’t done this in many years, but our electrical utility has been running near the red for several years and they feel it is time to review our agreement. Early estimates expect electrical rates to go up about 10%. The study results will likely come back by the beginning of summer.

-- Review the NYPA agreement and understand why our rates are the way they are.

-- Bucket Truck: The Electrical Department is marketing for a new bucket truck which will cost the utility about $250,000.

-- Electrical Union Rep: Assign someone to the Electrical labor contract committee.

-- Pole Inventory Report: Review Minard’s pole inventory and get to know which ones will need to be replaced in the future.

-- Third Party Lease Agreement: We have agreements in place with Empire and other third-party utilities for the leasing of our service poles.

-- Xmas Lights: We were looking at getting a sub-committee together for new Christmas decorations. Our existing ones are between 10 and 15 years old now and are showing their age. They have already been rebuilt once but they will be needing attention again. You need to do a benefit cost analysis to determine the payback of purchasing new ones up front again vs. continuously rebuilding them at $100 per unit.

-- IEEP Study: An incentive-based program to green up the community by replacing incandescent bulbs with LEDs in the home, energy star appliances, insulation, etc. Essentially it’s an account that’s been built into the electrical rate that squirrels away money for the program.

-- Street Light Replacement Program: We were embarking on a street light replacement program. We wanted to see some historical period lighting fixtures go in along Franklin Street to help re-standardize the 4 or 5 different type of modern fixtures that are sprinkled throughout the Village. There is only one electrical trunk that runs down the side of Franklin and to light the entire street with the same lumens that is offered by the existing fixtures, we’re told that we’d need about twice the number of period lights. To do this, an additional trunk would need to be run across the street to the other side. The DOT may be doing some resurfacing in 2016 and this would be the optimal time to run that leg.

Fire Department:

-- Tanker Truck: The FD has just purchased a new $300,000 tanker truck. This was a 100% cash grant-funded project that was initiated by the FD. You need to wrap a new maintenance and equipment line item in the budget for it.

-- Generator: A new generator has just been purchased for the Department and the install will be happening over the next several weeks. To save on costs, we are using Charlie Scaptura (he volunteered) who is donating his time to the project.

-- Fund Raising: The FD has been having bingo nights as a fund raiser. These have been trial-based to determine whether noise or complaints would be generated due to excess traffic. To date, none have been reported.

-- Fire Company vs. Fire Department: Understand the difference between the Fire Department and the Fire Company, and what that means to the budget and equipment purchases. These are legally two completely different entities and the confusion between them is very common among staff, the board and the public.

-- LOSAP: The Length of Service Awards Program (LOSAP) needs to be considered over the next year. It is a retirement account that is maintained by the Village for the volunteers, and the Fire Department was considering it as a way to recruit new firefighters. Essentially, the Village places roughly $750/year/volunteer in an account that the volunteer can draw from upon retirement from service. The volunteer must meet certain membership requirements and be vested to be eligible and (Chief) Jud (Smith) can fill you in on that. LOSAP started under a grant seed fund which would be turned over to the Village if they wanted the program to continue. There are legal requirements which must be considered to make it work and our administration decided to defer the account throughout this year to identify whether this was right for us and to plug the public into the process since they’d have to vote on it under referendum. See Jud and Donna for details.

-- Equipment Bonding and Reserve Fund: Understand the current equipment bonding payoff plans and continue squirreling money away for truck replacement. The ladder truck is due in roughly 10 years and at $1M, that’s a huge chunk of change to be saddled with.

-- Radio Frequency changeover: The emergency communication system bands across the whole region will be transforming to high frequency, which will affect all radios, particularly the 50 or so used by the FD. There has been much talk of grants at the county level to help balance the burden of cost while we transition to the new tower. If the Village gets saddled with the cost, this could easily be a six-figure hit.

Police Department:

-- Police Consolidation Study: This was the study that we had performed a few years back to see if there needed to be any improvements to staffing efficiency and/or budget. The public was largely concerned at the time about having the Sheriff’s Office just a few blocks down the street and why this wouldn’t be considered redundant. In a nutshell, the study found that we are properly staffed and funded, and the community was unwilling to give up any of the current services performed by the Department. Also, with the influx of tourism each year, the Village requires its own force. It's a good study to have because it can be referenced in a moment’s notice if the issue ever comes up again.

-- Police Labor Representative: Immediately appoint two trustees to the police negotiation labor committee.


-- SCOPED Projects, Lakeside and Clute Parks: SCOPED currently has an RFP in place to see what interest firms might have to develop the sand lot in the west end of lakeside park, among other ideas in Clute Park. We were thinking something boat-in near the skate park, which could be moved somewhere else on the property.

-- Pavilion: Ideas to reinvent the pavilion were going to be implemented in the upcoming term. The pavilion is used by the public for about 3 weeks during the year; it stays dormant for the rest. Not a good use of public property. Also, the locals really don’t use our parks, and yet they pay for their service. If we could find a way to work with SCOPED and turn the pavilion into a modern catering center or something similar to what Auburn has just done, that might be the way to bring people back.

-- Community Center: The Community Center needs to be reinvented as well. Where the pavilion was once the community center and then the Center supplanted that, we’re seeing Center usage less and less by the public as the hotel and wineries are now supplanting it.

-- Docks: We had rebuilt all of the docks at the Village marina. This should get us by for many years yet.

-- Boat Launch: There was talk of doing something lucrative with the boat launch area. Right now, it’s a giant empty dirt lot. Seems something more efficient can be done with this that won’t saddle the community but one that can get revenue coming in.

-- Clock Tower: Lafayette Park pavilion foundation was rehabbed so that shouldn’t give you any trouble for many years. Somewhere, floating around SCOPED, is the remnants of the Catharine Valley Trail program where they were supposed to get a fundraising program in place to put in one of those historical looking, decorative clocks at the corner of the northwest end.

-- Privatizing Lawn Care: We successfully led the charge on privatizing some of the cemetery and general right of way lawncare services which turned out to be much cheaper and simpler than having Village staff do it. Those bids usually come up annually.

-- TEP Grants: SCOPED has several TEP studies sitting on its shelves for the revitalization of our northern and eastern gateways to our community. They’re basically concepts. I doubt we could do 100% but there were some really good ideas in them. One was to take advantage of ecotourism at Tank Beach with a kayak launch and kiosk. Also, to construct a boardwalk into the marsh for ornithology and fishing. The other was to construct a traffic calming median between the north and south routes heading into town in front of the Frozen Food Locker. There would be welcome signs, some landscaping, and some sculptures. Again, we ran out of time to pursue these projects.

-- Movies in the Park: The Taco Cart will be doing movies on the lake this summer in a trial run with the idea being to draw more people down to the area. We were in discussions about how much to charge the service vs. how much they would be charging the public, if anything.


-- CHIPS Funding: Donny gets a CHIPS fund from the state every year to assist the community with street improvements. It’s usually only enough to repair one or two streets at best but includes new curbs and surfaces.

-- Backhoe Replacement: We are currently evaluating the merits of leasing a new backhoe in lieu of replacement. Need a benefit cost analysis to compare one over the other, the maintenance of the equipment, and the lifetime payoff.

-- Parking Stall Striping: It’s probably time to restripe parking stalls around the business district. This has the advantage of ensuring optimal parking efficiency.

-- Storm Utility: Storm sewers are abysmal. Like many communities, there are many that are undersized, collapsed, or are piped from locations where we don’t know where they come from or where they go to. One plan that we had to help fund a true rehabilitation of the system was to develop a rate structure under a new storm utility, similar to what Ithaca has just done.


-- Assign a Teamster’s Representative: The Teamster’s contract will be up at the end of 2016.

-- Duties of the Mayor: The Mayor had periodic coffee talks, weekly morning and late afternoon meetings with members of the Project Seneca team, WGI, Watkins Promotions, John King of Montour Falls, Tim O’hearn, SCOPED, and other members of the business/development/municipal community, etc. to discuss the active happenings around the area. This was a good way to distribute information to each other and promote lasting partnerships, and plan for events and the future.

-- Duties Continued: The Mayor needs to attend the Council of Governments meeting quarterly, which sees representation on the board from all of the municipalities in the County. This is a good way to share information, equipment, staff, and develop lasting intermunicipal partnerships as you broker agreements to better their communities and yours.

-- Duties Continued: Mayor will be responsible for many speaking events, including speeches at Memorial Day, Veterans Day, ribbon cutting ceremonies, etc.

-- General Agreements: Water and sewer rate agreements that we have developed with our districts. Particularly the water agreement with Reading because it’s a little confusing as to who is responsible for what. These rate understandings and professional studies were developed between us a few years back.

-- Glen Motor Inn: We have an ongoing issue with the Owner of the Glen Motor Inn and how they have been billed in the past.

-- Events Review Process: Event reviews in community. There are many new ones and we have developed a review system to make sure that Department Heads know what’s going on. There are traffic and detouring details, emergency plans, utility service needs, trash agreements, etc.

-- Staff Reviews: There is an employee evaluation process/form that Donna should be able to provide for you.

-- WGI: Watkins Glen International initiatives. Watkins Promotions.

-- Chamber initiatives.

-- Christmas tree. We tried several different locations, and settled on Gifford Park just from the perspective that you could see it from the other end of 4th Street. It really belongs in the center of Lafayette, but the Christmas festival isn’t centered around that any longer. Continue to work with Watkins Promotions to improve this.

-- Security System and Network: Village security system was installed and there is a phone app available for monitoring. Inexplicably with all of the emphasis on vulnerability in public office, this was left out of the original municipal rehabilitation project 6 years ago.

-- Tax Cap: There is a 2% salary tax cap on local government. You’ll need to familiarize yourself on the rules that you’ll need to follow. However, there’s really no reason, with proper budgeting and management that we shouldn’t see another tax decrease this year as we saw each year previously. Other administrations continued to raise taxes without really needing it. A little hard work goes a long way for the community.



© The Odessa File 2015
Charles Haeffner
P.O. Box 365
Odessa, New York 14869