Thursday, December 18, 2014

YES, there is a Santa Claus...and his name is Andrew Cuomo!!!


And a VERY MERRY CHRISTMAS it will be!  Thank you Santa Cuomo! Bet the Brookfield Town Board feels  a sigh of relief! And a special THANK YOU to Larry Krauss for an OUTSTANDING ad in this week's WATERVILLE TIMES!
 

ALBANY — The Cuomo administration announced Wednesday that it would ban hydraulic fracturing in New York State, ending years of uncertainty by concluding that the controversial method of extracting gas from deep underground could contaminate the state’s air and water and pose inestimable public-health risks.


Monday, December 15, 2014


BROOKFIELD TOWN BOARD MEETING - Dec 8 Regular Meeting....

The DECEMBER 8, 2014 REGULAR MEETING of the BROOKFIELD TOWN BOARD covered a number of issues.  Below are some of the "selected highlights" ....please refer to Waterville Times for more coverage and details....

BROOKFIELD TOWN BOARD – December 8 2014 – REGULAR MEETING (Town Hall) - Attendance:  John Salka (Supervisor); Jeff Mayne, Dewitt Head, Joe Walker, Clint Abrams (Council Persons); Sherri Perretta (Clerk); Bob Piersma (Highway Superintendent).  Approximately 15 members of the public attended.


PART 1: “THE BAN” & "RULES OF CONDUCT"– DEMOCRACY IN BROOKFIELD – DOA

BOARD STOPS COMMUNITY EFFORT TO BAN HYDROFRACKING IN THE TOWN OF BROOKFIELD:  A Ban against Hydrofracking in the Town of Brookfield has been a topic of heated discussions among the Board and the Community. Finally, after YEARS of discussions, moratoriums and promises,  a Town wide straw poll was taken during this past November’s general elections.  By an overwhelming margin of 3:1, TOWN residents voted AGAINST HYDROFRACKING in the Town of Brookfield.
YET, Three BOARD MEMBERS VOTED AGAINST moving forward to institute a BAN ON HYDROFRACKING:  Jeff Mayne, Joe Walker  & Dewitt Head.   While clear that Walker & Head will never vote to support a ban (Walker has a lease; Head says neither he nor his family has a lease); perhaps most disappointing was Mayne’s  “NO” vote because  “he didn’t know enough” about the topic. 
Opponents of the Ban claim it is a form of “land use regulations”  and therefore violates their private rights to do anything they want with their property;  the welfare of neighbors and the Community are not their responsibility.  They see zoning and land use regulations as a form of control by the liberal “mobs” to bring creeping communism to Brookfield.  Ironically, many of these PRIVATE PROPERTY RIGHTS advocates are among the largest benefactors of land use in the form of AGRICULTURE DISTRICTS.
Despite Salka’s efforts to rush past the subject (allowing less than TWO MINUTES of Board time to the subject) the “Public Comment” period re-opened THAT CAN OF WORMS -- requesting a poll of the Board --- something the Supervisor was UNWILLING to do.  
After the results and excuses given, the Board received from the audience an overwhelming message of disappointment , frustration and disgust with the outcome.  No wonder Salka had the new RULES OF DECORUM for the Public to conduct itself during Board meetings.  
RESPECT is EARNED --  a four page list of rules for the public isn’t going to do it.  Several requests for copies of the NEW RULES & POSTING ON TOWN WEBSITE were DENIED BY SALKA until AFTER they are APPROVED !  If we want to see them, he has directed the TOWN CLERK to send us to the TOWN OF DERUYTER WEBSITE.... so here you go.....talk about political cowardice.  !  Go to  DERUYTER WEBSITE to see them:  http://www.deruyternygov.us/sitebuildercontent/sitebuilderfiles/rulesfordecorum.pdf     
SUGGESTION: we have  started a list of RULES OF DECORUM for THE BOARD!!!  and already received NUMEROUS SUGGESTIONS!!!

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

TOWN BOARD - Outrageous Contempt for Public


The December 8 board meeting was another display of a Town Board with no leadership or direction and rife with contempt for the Public.   Rather than addressing issues most important to this community they clearly demonstrated that they are a Board “deaf” to the community and its needs.  To add insult to injury the Town Board not only REFUSED to consider a Ban on Hydrofracking , Supervisor  Salka had the unmitigated gall to present a four page list of rules for conducting future meetings.  The objective is to clearly point out that the PUBLIC  is there only to “OBSERVE” – if you have something to say, that is what a PUBLIC MEETING is for.  So, basically, Salka and his Board advocates a “SIT DOWN & SHUT UP” attitude toward the public. 
I will follow up with notes on the meeting, but this display of contempt for the public is an outrageous act against the community. Respect is EARNED.

Monday, November 24, 2014

MADISON CO SUPERVISORS' 2015 Salaries - with their 16% INCREASE

MADISON COUNTY 2015 Budget - SUPERVISOR SALARIES = Salary + Insurance + Retirement ....this does NOT include their TOWN Salaries, which each Town pays separately....and they DESERVED a 16% increase...they don't even get taxed on the health insurance....Salka receives another $5,640 from his Town Salary.


COUNTY :      
SUPERVISOR Salary Health Ins. Retirement         TOTAL
Balll, Darrin     15,000      29,221     2,876              47,097
Bargabos, Richard     15,000      28,966     2,876              46,842
Becker, John     30,000      29,221     5,753              64,974
Bono, Ronald     15,000      21,352     2,876              39,228
Bradstreet, Sr., Roger     15,000      21,352     2,876              39,228
Carinci, Lewis     15,000      17,779     2,876              35,655
DeGear, Daniel     22,500      10,605     4,314              37,419
Goldstein, James     15,000      29,221     2,876              47,097
Henderson, Scott     15,000        9,840     2,876              27,716
Jones, David     15,000        9,415     2,876              27,291
Moses, Clifford     15,000          935          -                15,935
Pinard, Joseph     15,000             -            -                15,000
Rafte, James     15,000      21,352          -                36,352
Reinhardt, John     15,000      21,352     2,876              39,228
Salka, John     15,000      28,966     2,876              36,352
Shwartz, Eve Ann     15,000      28,966     2,366              46,332
Stepanski, Alexandr     15,000      20,417          -                35,417
Walrod, Paul     15,000      20,417     2,876              38,293
Zupan, William     15,000      21,352     1,605              37,957
  307,500    370,729   45,674  $         723,903

WHY DIDN'T SALKA KNOW?


Last Week we saw Madison County Government in action.  This is how the annual meetings go...if in doubt, check it out....
 
1.  Pass a resolution waiving any notification requirements for last minute resolutions to be added to the agenda ;
 
2.  Pass a resolution which has the effect to limit public comment to those chosen to speak by the Chairman ;
 
3.  Pass a resolution to giving yourselves a 16% salary increase;
 
4.  THEN....Blame our fiscal mess on the STATE!
 
 
Why wasn't our Town Supervisor, John Salka, made aware of this increase ?  
 
At our November 10 regular board meeting he surely would have mentioned it during his overview of the County Budget and again, when the subject was raised about the Supervisors' salaries and free family health insurance;
....and he is on the Finance Committee that puts the Budget together?
....yet, it was not included in his Nov 10 rundown of County Budget with the County meeting scheduled for the next day!!???
 
And they wonder why no one comes to these meetings....or trusts government? 
 
PS - These FOUR Supervisors voted AGAINST THE SALARY INCREASE: 
Goldstein (Lebanon); Pinard (Lenox - who is on the Finance Committee); Bradstreet (Nelson); and Henderson (Oneida).

 

Friday, November 21, 2014

ANOTHER "BEND OVER BROOKFIELD" - Madison County Supervisors vote themselves a 16% raise...because no body was looking! See Becker's comment.


Talk about chutzpah..the BOARD INCREASED THEIR OWN SALARIES 16%!!! From $12,935 to $15,000 ...on top of the TOWN SALARIES...and ON TOP OF THEIR FREE HEALTH INSURANCE..... ANOTHER "Bend Over Brookfield Moment" BROUGHT TO YOU BY THE MADISON COUNTY BOARD OF SUPERVISORS....SALKA VOTED FOR THE RAISE!  only four supervisors, including Pinard, Lebanon Supervisor Jim Goldstein, Oneida Supervisor Scott Henderson and Nelson Supervisor Roger Bradstreet, voted to keeping their salaries the same.

WAMPSVILLE >> No members of the public spoke at the first three hearings on Madison County’s tentative 2015 budget. Prior to action taken by the Board of Supervisors Monday, the proposed $111.8 million budget included a 7.66 percent property tax rate hike. After some additions, and a decision by supervisors to raise their own pay, the tax hike was increased to 8.38 percent. As it currently stands, supervisors will receive $15,000 each next year for their work on the board, an increase from this year’s $12,935. The deputy chairman is also scheduled to receive $1,320 on top of his current $6,180 stipend while the chairman’s stipend will increase from $13,845 to $15,000.
A proposal to strip raises for supervisors out of the budget was declined, keeping $43,658 in the budget. A resolution submitted by Lenox Supervisor John Pinard would’ve reverted salaries of the deputy chairman and supervisors back to this year’s rates; only four supervisors, including Pinard, Lebanon Supervisor Jim Goldstein, Oneida Supervisor Scott Henderson and Nelson Supervisor Roger Bradstreet, voted to keeping their salaries the same.
Except or the supervisors from the City of Oneida, they are also paid by their individual towns.
Besides contractual raises negotiated with the employee unions, no raises are programmed into next year’s budget, so far. Money to fund potential raises for management employees will be put aside and held in contingency until the board makes a decision on their pay next year.
The board tacked on more spending, opting to restore requests for appropriations to replace vehicles in the highway and sheriff’s departments. Restoring those cuts will add $128,000 to purchase 11 patrol cars instead of seven. Similarly, the Highway Department was allocated an additional $100,000 to purchase 12 new pick-up trucks, instead of eight. Overall, the board’s decision will increase the tax levy by another $236,781 or .722 percent for a total levy increase of 8.38 percent and a tax rate increase calculated at $9.03.
The allocations for equipment replacement will hopefully put the departments on track for scheduled replacement of vehicles, Chairman John Becker said. Replacing a third of the Highway Department’s pickup trucks and rotating out older vehicles in the Sheriff’s Office will save the county money in the long-run by avoiding costly and ongoing vehicle repairs as they rack up miles.
The proposed tax rate will raise a levy of $35.26 million next year. That amount of revenue is still less than what the county will pay out in programs mandated by the state, including Medicaid, various social services programs, the New York State Retirement System, the county jail, public health, probation services, community college tuition assistance and indigent defense.
Mandated programs like foster care and juvenile delinquency will see huge increases in their operating costs next year. The cost of those two programs alone will increase by nearly $1 million, costing the county a total of $2.27 million next year (about 60 percent of the programs overall costs).The cost per placement in the foster care program will increase, on average, $12 per child per day while services under the juvenile delinquent program will increase $80 per day for an overall daily fee of almost $400.
The department’s Safety Net program will also see huge increases next year. The program serves residents who have exhausted the limit for federal assistance. Next year the county will pay $56,000 more into the program than it did this year, costing a total of $921,978.
To balance next year’s budget, $3.6 million will be allocated from the county’s general fund balance and another $1 million will be added in from the county road fund. The estimated fund balance for next year is currently calculated to be about $15.3 million or 7.56 percent of the county’s total spending.
The county’s fund balance policy requires unexpended surplus funds to be maintained at a level no less than 5 percent but no more than 15 percent of budget appropriations. Those percentages have fluctuated in the last several years – dipping to 4.19 percent in 2013 with a fund balance of $13.53 million up to 11.41 percent estimated for this year’s $19.15 million fund balance. As decided by the board, $5 million will be reverted back into the fund balance from the county’s $11 million settlement with the Oneida Indian Nation to replenish deductions made in recent years.
Changes in personnel will account for added costs in next year’s budget. The Sheriff’s Office will add three deputies and four correctional officers to its staffing roster. The deputy positions will add $42,308 each, totaling $126,924 and the correctional officers will account for another $145,768 or $36,442 per position. An office assistant in the District Attorney’s Office ($26,579), a probation officer ($38,552) and a planner in the planning department ($42,916) are also calculated into next year’s budget.
Nearly two-and-a-half percent of next year’s levy increase will be spent on one-time grants to local school districts, totaling $805,312, to compensate for the loss of taxable property on their tax rolls as a result of the settlement with the Nation. Another $194,053 will be set aside for potential pay-outs to municipalities affected by the settlement’s impact on properties’ tax exempt status.
Funding for non-profits will remain the same as this year. A total of $1.46 million is proposed to be distributed to non-profits next year, including a new allocation to the Chittenango Canal Museum for $30,000. The Literacy Coalition of Madison County asked for $20,000 in funding, but was denied.
At the evening meeting on Nov. 18, The board approved a handful of other motions, including reappointing Treasurer Cindy Edick as budget officer and Mark Scimone as deputy budget officer.
More budget changes were addressed during the end of the meeting. Including the approval of $20,000 to be given to Cornell Cooperative Extension. A blanket 2 percent increase for all not for profit organizations was proposed by Hamilton Supervisor Eve Ann Shwartz and was tabled by the group because certain members felt that giving all the listed organizations money was unwise, given that some had not applied for more funding.
“We need to pay more attention to the funding of these groups in the coming years,” Shwartz said.
Members of the general public were absent at the 6 p.m. meeting, with those in attendance being members of various county committees or organizations.
Board of Supervisors Chairman John Becker said that he was unhappy that no one had attended the meeting, but, that the empty turn out did not come as a shock.
“If people think that their taxes are too high I urge them to come out and voice their opinions,” Becker said. “This isn’t surprising. The only time we have members of the public here is when they are representing organizations.”
Oneida Dispatch reporter Nick Will contributed to this report.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

BROOKFIELD: 2015 Proposed LOCAL SALARIES for TOWN OFFICIALS

2015 PROPOSED TOWN SALARIES.....

Following is a breakdown of salaries for local Town Officials (Winfield, Bridgewater & Brookfield) as identified in this week's LEGAL NOTICES....

 2015 TOWN SALARY COMPARISONS:
BRIDGEWATER
TOWNS OF: WINFIELD BROOKFIELD
POSITIONS 
COUNCIL PERSONS
     @ Salary  $      2,066  $   3,144  $       2,100
    # Positions  $             4  $          4 4
COUNCIL PERSONS:   $      8,264  $  12,576  $       8,400
JUSTICES
     @ Salary  $      9,470  $   7,997  $       5,974
    # Positions                1             1                 2
JUSTICES - Total  $      9,470  $   7,997  $     11,948
SUPERVISOR  $      9,891  $   7,281  $       5,640
HIGHWAY SUPERINTENDENT  $     48,573  $  47,246  $     44,270
Clerk/Tax Collector  $     16,365  $     17,054
Clerk  - Only  $   8,053
Tax Collector - only  $   2,306
 $     92,563  $  85,459  $     87,312
Additional Positions Included for:
ASSESSOR  NA   $   7,443  NA 
CODES ENFORCER NA  $   6,344 NA