Adirondack Town Of Franklin
Adirondack Town Of Franklin

Town of Franklin Board Meetings

Special Town Board Meeting And Work Session
August 13, 2007 - 7:00 pm

The Town Board of the Town of Franklin held a regularly scheduled Board meeting on Monday, August 13, 2007 at 7:00 pm at the Vermontville Town Hall.

Board members Present:

Supervisor Mary Ellen Keith
Councilman Gene Goff
Councilperson Janet Ordway
Councilman Walt Kretser

Board members absent:

Councilman Tim Goff

Others Present:

Highway Superintendent James Rascoe
Assessor Douglas Tichenor
Town Clerk Sandra Oliver
Jean Baltzly
Frances Oliver
David Dekkers Paul Capone
Vincent Fallica
Richard Jarvis
Al Berg


Supervisor Keith called the meeting to order; the Pledge of Allegiance was recited; the Town Clerk called the roll, and announced a quorum was present.


The following claims were presented and reviewed by the Board:

GeneralWarrant #8Claims 151 - 163$2,187.58
HighwayWarrant #8Claims 129 - 142$10,083.20
Prepay GeneralWarrant #7Claims 39 - 44$2,023.50
LandfilWarrant #3Claim 4$776.34

In response to a query concerning the $300.00 bill from All Seasons Tent & Event, Supv. Keith explained the Town received a $300 donation to cover the cost of tent rentals for Town Celebration Day, on July 21st.

Motion to approve bills and pay same (W.Kretser-J.Ordway m/s/p) ALL AYE


The minutes of the July 9, 2007 monthly board meeting and July 18, 2007 special meeting and subdivision workshop were accepted as presented.

Motion to accept minutes as presented (J.Ordway-G.Goff m/s/p) ALL AYE


Balances on hand at July, 2007

General FundCK$325.90
Highway FundCK$4,829.72
Cap Proj Hwy$24,288.02
Cap. BuildingCLASS$145,337.09

Motion to accept Supervisor's Report (W.Kretser-J.Ordway m/s/p) ALL AYE


Highway Supt. James Rascoe presented the following report:

1. COUNTY HIGHWAY SUPERINTENDENTS ASSOCIATION. Town and Village Highway Superintendents are negotiating with the County for an increase in plowing and sanding reimbursement. Nothing has been finalized as yet. Currently the Town plows 28.1 miles of county roads, in addition to its own 67 miles. Supt. Rascoe explained all roads are classified "A", "B", and "C". Reimbursement depends on road classification. Roads in the Town of Franklin are all classified "A" and "A-minus".


a. a. Rock Street. Finished the difficult job of cutting very large trees on Rock Street. This work had not been done in several years, and the department employees worked hard on eliminating overhanging trees.

b. Paye Road. In progress, but lost two days because a cylinder had to be replaced on the backhoe. While backhoe was being repaired, crews dug up rocks and stumps. There is a huge rock in the middle of the road which Town's equipment cannot handle.

c. Blue Spruce Drive. Filled in potholes with crusher run.

d. Goldsmith Road. Most of crusher run is on hand. When the balance is delivered, department will work on Goldsmith Road.

e. County Paving Schedule. County is 5 weeks ahead of schedule. Department is working energetically to get road preparation done in time for County paving, scheduled for August 21st.

f. Hard Rain. During the hard rains, County Rt. 26 had a washout and because the Town of Malone had so many washouts, County crews could not deal with the Co. Rt. 26 problem. Supt. Rascoe and the department volunteered to take care of it. They also performed preventive work near Seven Keys and Rock Spring.

g. Mowing. Jim Canty is performing mowing operation this summer and has been doing an excellent job. Supt. Rascoe is receiving many compliments from residents.

h. Employees. Employees in good spirits. They are hard workers, and the Town is certainly getting its money's worth. Chris Nichols, a very good worker, is leaving to train as a corrections officer, and Mr. Rascoe is sorry to lose him. This means the department will be down 2 employees.

i. Use of old sidewalk. The Town of St. Armand asked to dump an old sidewalk at the former dump on Norman Ridge. Supt. Rascoe agreed because the County uses discarded cement chunks to build culverts. This saves taxpayer dollars on shot rock.

j. Breakaway Signs. Supt. Rascoe will attend a meeting concerning this issue at the end of August, and will report at the next Board meeting.


a. Grader. Rear seal replaced

b. Chainsaws. Two Jonserds have been replaced. Burke Farm Supply gave the Town a 20% discount. Supt. Rascoe noted Stihls wear better than Jonserds.

c. New Tractor. New tractor is fine. Department uses the Ford tractor for mowing.


1. COMMENTS ON DEPARTMENT. Couns. Kretser and G. Goff said they had received very favorable comments on the work the Highway Dept. was doing.

2. BREAKAWAY SIGNS. Coun. Kretser suggested counting the number of signs (including missing ones) needed in the Town.

3. BRUSH CREW. Camp Gabriels was to have supplied a crew to remove brush in April. Supt. Rascoe telephoned, but crew supervisor is on vacation. He will contact Jeff Tedford.

4. PAYE ROAD. The Highway Committee agreed that contracting with Mark Trudeau to remove the huge rock on Paye Road was a good idea.


In response to a query about resurfacing Sinkhole Road, Supt. Rascoe replied that Sinkhole Road would be resurfaced in the future - but not the sinkhole.



a. REAPPOINTMENT. Mr. Tichenor thanked the Board for reappointing him to another 6-year term.
b. TOWN OF HARRIETSTOWN. Mr. Tichenor stated he has applied for the position of Assessor in the Town of Harrietstown.
c. STREAMLINING THE ASSESSMENT PROCESS. In process of reevaluating his position as assessor for six towns in Franklin County, he concluded that the biggest problem in the assessment community is the equalization rate. He has been considering ways to streamline the assessment process, having listened to many taxpayers who are demanding more transparency in the assessment process. He noted the following information is a possibility - it should be contemplated by the Town Board as a possibility. The State of New York is trending towards consolidation of and cooperation between municipalities. With respect to assessment, current law offers options for assessing units to achieve greater efficiency in administering property tax. The law provides for a one-time payment of up to $7 per parcel (max of $140,000 per municipality) as incentive for towns to take any of the following 3 steps, each of which requires towns share the same assessor. They are for (a) two or more towns combine to form new, consolidated assessing unit; (b) two or more towns coordinate their assessing function to form a coordinated assessing program (CAP); or (c) two or more towns coordinate assessing function and contract with the county for all assessment services. Each of these options offers a way for towns to introduce cost efficiencies, new technology, valuation expertise and a change from part-time to full-time assessors. In addition to the $7 per parcel, supplemental aid of $5 per parcel is available to CAPs that are implemented or expanded for 2007 or 2008 assessment rolls. This additional aid is not available to assessing units that have previously received aid for participation in a CAP. In more detail:

(a) Cooperative Assessment Agreement (2 or more towns).
This is how Mr. Tichenor now operates
Different grievance day (other than State-wide 4th Tuesday in May)
Different assessment rolls
Different equalization rate
Different uniform percentage of value
Different revaluation years

(b) Consolidated Assessment Unit (2 or more towns).
A single assessor is appointed
One assessment roll is prepared
All assessments are at same uniform percentage of value
Single equalization rate is established
Revaluations will be conducted simultaneously
A single grievance day is held under one Board of Assessment Review
Larger pool of sales to reinforce assessment values

(c) Coordinated Assessing Program (2 or more towns)
Separate assessment rolls prepared for each municipality
Same percentage of value for assessments
Same assessment calendar
Separate grievance days
Identical equalization rate is established, although separate equalization rate challenges can be filed
Separate and different tax rates used for each municipality

Mr. Tichenor believes the Consolidated Assessment Unit would work best for this area. Optimally, he would like to combine the Towns of Franklin, Brighton, Duane and Santa Clara into one consolidated assessment unit, and, if investigation proves it could be successful, the Town of Harrietstown also. He would resign as Assessor from towns in the northern portion of the County. In this way, all municipalities in the Saranac Lake Central School District would comprise a single Consolidated Assessment Unit with one assessment roll, one Board of Assessment Review, the same uniform percentage of value, the same equalization rate, and revaluations would be conducted simultaneously. Providing the municipalities agree, it would take 3 years to implement, and the Unit would be able to apply for State aid under a shared services grant. While there would be no immediate advantages to taxpayers, a consolidated assessment unit would keep the equalization rate stable. At present the Town of Franklin has an equalization rate of 65%; if Mr. Tichenor had not insisted, the State would have given the Town 45%. Our next revaluation update is scheduled for 2009. If consolidated into one assessment unit, it would make assessing run more smoothly as he would hire additional staff. Additional staffing is necessary for data collection; the Town's basic assessment data was collected by Cole Layer Trumble in 1990 and then reviewed and updated 1997, the last revaluation. He stated he is also reviewing the assessing situation in view of his eventual retirement.

Supv. Keith asked if the equalization rate change affects the Town's State aid. Mr. Tichenor responded that each town has its own dynamic, and each is different. Market dynamics in the towns he would like to see consolidated into one assessing unit are the same.

Coun. Gene Goff asked about the Village of Saranac Lake which utilizes Harrietstown's assessor. Mr. Tichenor replied that the Village would be considered another neighborhood. He also noted that middle-income homeowners are selling their properties in the Village of Saranac Lake and purchasing in the Town of Dickinson.

Coun. Kretser noted the consolidated assessment unit would standardize procedures in assessment administration. He asked, providing the Town of Franklin chose to be part of the Consolidated Assessment Unit, whether it would be unable to opt for County wide assessing. Mr. Tichenor responded in the negative and noted only two counties in the state, Tompkins and Nassau, have countywide assessing.

d. CHATEAUGAY WOODLANDS (DOMTAR) LITIGATION. The Town's attorney is filing a motion to dismiss this action. Mr. Tichenor was contacted by Attorney Mike Gerston, who represented International Paper in assessment litigation, and met last fall to resolve differences. Apparently, Chateaugay Woodlands will be changing its exemption from the old Fisher exemption to the ยง480a exemption. Mr. Tichenor opined the Town could look forward to the resolution of this matter.

The Board thanked Mr. Tichenor.

2. NYS RETIREMENT SYSTEM. Town Justice Roger Symonds has requested the Town Board to join Plan 75i of the NYS Retirement System. Upon his employment with the Town, he was required to join and contribute to the Town's current plan, which is a basic plan. Under the Town's current plan, he contributed over $5,000. As Tier 2 member of NYS Retirement Plan under his employment with the Saranac Lake Central School District, upon his retirement (August 31, 2007) he will be unable to recoup the $5,000 he contributed to the Town plan in a lump sum. If the Town adopts Plan 75i of the Retirement System, Justice Symonds (the only Tier 2 employee of the Town) will be able to recoup his contribution in a lump sum.

Motion for resolution authorizing participation in Plan 75i of NYS Retirement System (M.Keith-W.Kretser m/s/p) ALL AYE


At a meeting of the Town Board of the Town of Franklin, New York, on August 13, 2007, Supervisor Mary Ellen Keith offered the following resolution:

WHEREAS, the Town of Franklin has a basic plan with the NYS Retirement System; and

WHEREAS, adoption of Plan 75i would be beneficial to Justice Symonds and would be of no cost to the Town; NOW, THEREFORE,

BE IT RESOLVED, that the Town Board of the Town of Franklin does hereby elect to provide the additional pension benefits of Section 75-c, 75-e, 7g and 75i of the Retirement and Social Security Law, as presently or hereafter amended; and BE IT

FURTHER RESOLVED, that the effective date of such shall be the 14th day of August 2007.

Town Board hereby authorizes upgrade of the Town's participation in the NYS Retirement System to Plan 75i.

Those voting aye:

Supervisor Mary Ellen Keith
Councilman Gene Goff
Councilperson Janet Ordway
Councilman Walt Kretser

Those Absent:

Councilman Tim Goff

Those voting nay:


3. REPEAL OF LOCAL LAWS #1 OF 1986 AND #1 OF 1993 (BUILDING CODE). The State of New York has rewritten the State's Building and Fire Code and requested municipalities to adopt the language as their own local laws. The suggested new law has been reviewed by James Maher, attorney for the town.

Motion for resolution repealing #1 of 1986 and #1 of 1993 (W.Kretser-G.Goff m/s/p) ALL AYE


WHEREAS, the State of New York has rewritten the Unified Building and Fire Code; and has requested municipalities to adopt same as their local law; NOW, THEREFORE,

BE IT RESOLVED, that the Town Board of the Town of Franklin hereby repeals Local Law #1 of 1986 (Building Code) and Local Law #1 of 1993 (Amended Building Code)

Those voting aye:

Supervisor Mary Ellen Keith
Councilman Gene Goff
Councilperson Janet Ordway
Councilman Walt Kretser

Those Absent:

Councilman Tim Goff

Those voting nay:


4. ADOPT NEWLY REWRITTEN BUILDING CODE AS LOCAL LAW #1 OF 2007. The State of New York has rewritten the State's Building and Fire Code and requested municipalities to adopt the language as their own local laws. The suggested new law has been reviewed by James Maher, attorney for the town.

Motion for resolution Adopting Local Law #1 (J.Ordway-W.Kretser m/s/p) ALL AYE


WHEREAS, the State of New York has rewritten the Unified Building Code; and

WHEREAS, municipalities are requested to adopt same as their local law concerning the Building Code; and

WHEREAS, said rewritten draft law was reviewed and approved by James Maher, Attorney for the Town of Franklin; NOW, THEREFORE,

BE IT RESOLVED, that the Town Board of the Town of Franklin (Franklin County) hereby adopts the newly rewritten Unified Building Code as Local Law No. 1 of 2007.

Those voting aye:

Supervisor Mary Ellen Keith
Councilman Gene Goff
Councilperson Janet Ordway
Councilman Walt Kretser

Those Absent:

Councilman Tim Goff

Those voting nay:


5. BUDGET AMENDMENT. The Town received a grant of $28,156 for records administration from the NYS Archives. Supv. Keith stated the budget would have to be amended to reflect same, and Bookkeeper Richard Meagher will contact the State Comptroller's Office to determine how this could best be structured. Tabled to September board meeting.

6. INTERNET SECURITY. The Town Clerk stated she is researching prices for the purchase of additional computer security equipment. Thus far, it has been determined a replacement router with firewall and hacker protection should be purchased. Tabled to September board meeting.


1. INFRASTRUCTURE UPDATE. The Building Committee met with three engineering and consulting firms and has obtained RFPs from them:

Earth Science Engineering, Willsboro; AES, Plattsburgh; and LaBombard, who met today with Supervisor Keith (he would hire subcontractors for the project). Each firm agreed with the conclusions of Yellow Wood Associates to approach the project as a whole, phasing it in. Supervisor Keith opined she was most in favor of ESE from Willsboro and thought Mr. Ferris would be easy to work with. David Dekkers, Chair of the Building Committee and Jean Baltzly agreed. Mr. Dekkers stated once the Town involved NYSERDA, there would be more grant funds available. Supervisor Keith asked Mr. Dekkers and Mrs. Baltzly if the Building Committee would recommend pursuing a contract with Earth Science Engineering, and they responded affirmatively. Mrs. Baltzly indicated she thought ESE was already involved and interested in the project. Coun. Gene Goff stated he had been on the Board for eight years, and the Building Committee had been working on this project for seven. He was glad to see such progress. Supervisor Keith requested the Board adopt a resolution authorizing her to pursue a contract with Earth Science Engineering.

Motion for resolution authorizing Supervisor to pursue contract with Earth Science Engineering (G.Goff-J.Ordway m/s/p) ALL AYE


WHEREAS, the Town's Building Committee met with several engineering firms in order to determine which should be general contractor for the Town's infrastructure project and recommended Earth Science Engineering; and

WHEREAS, Earth Science Engineering agrees with the conclusions of the Town's infrastructure consultant, Yellow Wood Associates on the "green technology" (environmentally friendly building techniques) and approaching the project as a whole, in phases; and

WHEREAS, Earth Science Engineering is a firm capable of performing the potential contract; NOW, THEREFORE,

BE IT RESOLVED, that the Supervisor is hereby authorized to pursue a contract with Earth Science Engineering of Willsboro, New York

Those voting aye:

Supervisor Mary Ellen Keith
Councilman Gene Goff
Councilperson Janet Ordway
Councilman Walt Kretser

Those Absent:

Councilman Tim Goff

Those voting nay:


2. FIRE/RESCUE UPDATE. Coun. Gene Goff reported he would meet with the Saranac Lake Area Fire Advisory Board later in the week. The Board is trying to persuade the Village of Saranac Lake to hire a full time EMT. The Village, citing budget issues, is wary of doing so, even though it budgeted for same.


a. Sinkhole Road. Coun. G. Goff reported he met with Jason Cogar, Bloomingdale Fire Chief and they evaluated the site on Sinkhole Road and found an adequate placement for a dry hydrant with the new configuration near the bridge. Coun. G. Goff telephoned three individuals to install the unit, but has had no response thus far. However, it will be constructed before winter.

b. Plank Road. In response to a request from resident Gary Haggert, Coun. G. Goff met with him and appraised a site near Mr. Haggert's property. However, it was determined the best source for water was Franklin Falls, which already has a dry hydrant in good condition.

4. E-911 HOUSE NUMBERS. While in the Franklin Falls area, Coun. Gene Goff noticed there were no E911 house numbers situated near the road or visible to rescue and fire trucks. He spoke with one of the renters of the Remillard parcels. The individual told Coun. G. Goff the landlord had been informed that the fire departments had Global Positioning Satellite (GPS) capability and visible house numbers and addresses were not necessary. Coun. Goff informed the person the Emergency Services dispatch center in Malone had GPS, but not local fire departments, and therefore visible house numbers and clearly marked street names were absolutely necessary.

5. SUBDIVISION REGULATION UPDATE. Coun. Walt Kretser reported Board members had been given copies of APA-derived and Town of Bethlehem subdivision regulations to revise for the Town of Franklin's purposes. The next special board meeting and subdivision workshop was scheduled for Monday, August 20th however Coun. Kretser will be out of town. The special board meeting and subdivision workshop was rescheduled to Wednesday, September 12th. In the meantime, Board members will submit their revisions and suggestions to the Town Clerk.

6. SPEED LIMITS ON COUNTY ROUTE 60. The Board and Highway Supt. Rascoe corresponded with Franklin County Highway Superintendent Jeffrey Smith requesting a speed limit reduction and repositioning of signs in the Hamlet of Onchiota.

July 24, 2007

Jeffrey B. Smith
Superintendent of Highways
County of Franklin
14981 State Route 30
Malone, New York 12953
Re: Speed Limit Onchiota, New York

Dear Mr. Smith,

The Town Board and Supt. of Highways are requesting two changes involving the 35 MPH Speed Limit in the hamlet of Onchiota, NY.

We are requesting the Speed Limit to start at the Indian Museum on County Route 60 rather than starting at the entrance of Buck Pond Campsite.

Second request is to re-locate the "Speed Zone Ahead "sign and"35 MPH "sign on the entrance to Onchiota on the Oregon Plains Road from where it is now back to the area of the old landfill. This would give the motorist more time to comply with the 35 MPH speed zone before entering Onchiota.

Thank you for your consideration, any questions should be directed to the Town Supervisor or the Highway Superintendent.


Mary Ellen Keith, Supervisor, Gene F. Goff, Councilman, Timothy Goff, Councilman, Walter Kretser, Councilman, Janet Ordway, Councilperson, and James Rascoe, Supt. of Highways

Mr. Smith's office responded, asking the Town to complete forms which will be returned to Mr. Smith and then sent to the NYS Dept. of Transportation. The request to NYS DOT requires a resolution.

Motion for resolution requesting repositioning 35 mph signs on County Route 60 in hamlet of Onchiota (W.Kretser-J.Ordway m/s/p) ALL AYE


WHEREAS, residents of the hamlet of Onchiota on County Route 60 have complained about on the speed at which vehicles travel County Route 60; and

WHEREAS, the Town of Franklin Town Board and Town Highway Superintendent have requested the Franklin County Highway Superintendent to relocate the 35 mile-per-hour speed limit signs on County Route 60 in the hamlet of Onchiota as follows:

35 mph speed limit to start at the Six Nations Indian Museum rather than at the Buck Pond Campsite

Relocate the "Speed Zone Ahead" sign and 35 mph sign at the entrance to Onchiota on the Oregon Plains Road back to the area of the old landfill.

NOW, THEREFORE,>BE IT RESOLVED, that the Franklin Town Board does hereby formally request the sign relocations on County Route 60 in the hamlet of Onchiota.

Those voting aye:

Supervisor Mary Ellen Keith
Councilman Gene Goff
Councilperson Janet Ordway
Councilman Walt Kretser

Those Absent:

Councilman Tim Goff

Those voting nay:


7. BOND ANTICIPATION NOTE. Supervisor Keith stated the Bond Anticipation Note ("BAN") in sum of $110,000 finance the purchase of the 2007 International truck from M.A. Jerry in September of 2006, is due for payment on September 14, 2007. She reported the BAN offers the Town the discretion to pay half of the amount, $55,000, and the budget can tolerate that amount. The Town is in good financial shape. Bookkeeper Richard Meagher is preparing financial statements, and Supervisor Keith requested authorization from the Board to obtain quotations from different area banks about refinancing the balance of the BAN.

Motion to authorize Supervisor to obtain quotes from area banks to refinance

balance of $55,000 of Bond Anticipation Note (G.Goff-W.Kretser m/s/p) ALL AYE

8. REPORT ON RETAIL SIZE CAP MEETING. Supervisor Keith and Town Clerk Oliver attended this meeting held August 7th at the Harrietstown Town Hall, as well as Rick Gonyea of Vermontville. The Village and Harrietstown are in process of updating their Comprehensive Land Use Plan, and invited representatives of surrounding communities to attend and speak about the needs of their municipalities. A retail size cap of 40,000 sq ft for a single store and 68,000 sq ft for a shopping mall (as in Lake Placid and North Elba) has been proposed by a group of residents. Of the approximately 25 people who addressed the joint boards of Harrietstown and Village of Saranac Lake, 5 spoke against the retail size cap. Supervisor Keith spoke and asked the joint boards to keep the needs of the surrounding communities in mind.


1. RECREATION COMMITTEE. The summer youth program ends this week. Thus far, 454 child-hours have been logged in. The program is a success with many parents staying and helping.

2. CELEBRATION COMMITTEE. July 21st was a success, held in conjunction with the Morehouse family reunion, presentations on the underground railroad and talks were held. The Press-Republican published a very nice article on the day.

3. CEMETERY COMMITTEE. As part of the July 21st celebration, families toured the historic local cemeteries and promises of donations for restoration of some headstones in the Merrillsville Cemetery.


A fax was received confirming the delivery date (August 10, 2007) for the two fireproof cabinets.


Special Board meetings and budget workshops will be held on Monday nights, October 15 and 22, 2007.


As there was no further business to discuss, the meeting adjourned at 9:

10 pm. (J.Ordway-G.Goff m/s/p) ALL AYE

Respectfully submitted, Sandra J. Oliver, Town Clerk

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Town of Franklin
P.O. Box 209, Route 3, Vermontville, NY 12989  ·  Tel: 518-891-2189  ·  Fax: 518-891-6389  ·
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