Village of Sherman trustees agreed at their meeting on Feb. 1 to repair and use their current sidewalk plow for another year in lieu of using available USDA loan funds to purchase a new one.
Department of Streets Supervisor Doug Crane reminded the board that the village still has $53,500 in USDA funds available, which would be in the form of a $10,000 grant and a $43,500 low interest loan. "We have to decide whether we're going to use the money or not," he said.
Crane said that while the old sidewalk plow needs new tracks, it should be possible to get by with it for another year. The trustees agreed to ask Village Clerk Janette Ramm to send a letter on behalf of the Village, declining the USDA funds.
In February of 2016, board members learned that they were approved for the USDA loan and grant to assist with equipment purchases. At that time, the board planned to purchase a compact tractor or a skid-steer with a five-foot snow blower with these funds.
Trustees also discussed the appointment of a new engineer for the village. Sewer and Water Plant Manager Jay Irwin told board members that the LaBerge group might help the village obtain almost $2 million in grants.
"If approved as our engineer, they will have a detailed cost to present to the village," Irwin said. He said the LaBerge Group provides engineering, planning, surveying, and grant services.
Ramm updated the board on several matters. She said the person at National Grid who quoted the cost of $750 for the village to replace current street lights with LED bulbs does not return her calls.
Ramm also said a contract has been signed for the purchase of the Swan property, by which the village will gain .32 acres that borders the village water/sewer plant. The land will be used to comply with state-mandated upgrade requirements. The survey must now be completed, she added.
In another matter, Crane asked the trustees if the village should purchase garbage bags. "If we're going to continue the service, I need to purchase new bags," he said. Crane noted that the village currently has only five boxes of garbage bags.
When asked if the income from the bags covers the department's expenses, Crane responded, "No, not even close." He said it will be necessary to raise the price of the bags to $3 or $4 each.
Trustee Donna Higginbotham asked if there was anyone who could collect the village trash. Crane said that he would call Casella and other garbage pick-up services. He noted that it is difficult to determine how many customers there are because anyone can purchase a $2 bag and set it out and it will be picked up.
Higginbotham also urged board members to "step up" and be more involved in the operation of the village. She said that she learned of some things that have been neglected in recent years, such as the annual filing of tax cap compliance reports and the submission of local procurement policies which must be filed with the state bi-annually.
"We need to be more involved. We need to be more responsible. We need to pay attention more and know what's going on," Higginbotham said. Deputy Mayor Isaac Grotto agreed, adding "With Janette on board now, we can clean all of this up."
In other matters, chamber of commerce representative Peter Baker spoke to the board about the proposed curfew for the village. He said chamber members will write a proposal and offer it to the trustees for their consideration.
Ramm told trustees that Mayville and Jamestown decided not to have a curfew because of the cost of additional police patrols. Baker said there would be no additional cost because Sherman would not be adding additional police protection. The curfew would be a local law which would give law enforcement the ability to fine people who are in violation, Crane noted.
Ramm asked board members if she should attend a 3-day governmental accounting course in Batavia, NY on April 11-13. Trustees were in favor of the training, which, according to the Office of the State Comptroller, is intended for individuals who possess some accounting experience, but are newcomers to governmental accounting in the state of New York.
Ramm additionally asked the board about Accela/KVS training, which can be done through webinars. Ramm said the KVS program that the clerk's office currently uses includes training in land management, budgeting, and utility billing. She noted that the Village of Sherman is not able to use a more basic program, such as QuickBooks, because there it offers no provision for utility billing.
Grotto told trustees that he received a letter from the community foundation asking for a nomination for an unsung hero. A nominee cannot be recognized for whatever he does as part of his job, Ramm told the board. Grotto said nominations must be in by the end of March.