After initially thinking that it probably did not want to sign up for the sewage study discussed at the Aug. 2 meeting, the Spencer Village Board of Trustees will likely vote in favor of participating in the study after all. At its Aug. 30 meeting, Mayor Gilbert Knapp shared that Sean Muldoon of Hunt Engineers had communicated to him that the village’s share of the $36,000 total cost would be $6,000.
The $6,000 can be paid entirely in in-kind services, not cash out of the village budget. According to Muldoon, his company had never encountered a village that was not able to provide the entire $6,000 with in-kind services, so he assured them that Spencer could, too. Knapp also believes the village should have no problem coming up with $6,000 in in-kind services.
With this new understanding, Knapp argued that with the recent adoption in Congress of the infrastructure funding bill, at some point the federal government will be passing out money for construction projects.
“We’ll be ready if we have the study on the shelf. I was against it last month; now I recommend doing the study,” the mayor said.
The board understands that if it signs up for this study, it is only a study and does not commit the village to build anything or go forward with any project. All it means is that the village will be ready for a project if federal funds become available. It is an engineering study where septic systems in the village are evaluated. Many are not adequate by current health standards.
Some septic systems that may otherwise meet current standards still may not because they are not located far enough away from the well. If a fire or flood happened and decimated the house, the lot would be too small to rebuild on, losing important tax revenue for the village.
Knapp also cautioned not to be too confident that the village’s application will even be accepted. Apparently in a previous application cycle only 11 out of 100 applications were accepted, so Spencer’s may not be accepted in this cycle.
During reports, Village Trustee Sean Rice, who is the head of special projects, said that he had asked two tree removal firms for a quote on removing the dead or nearly dead trees in the village. He went around with representatives from both and was annoyed with the Elmira firm because he marked 22 trees; only seven are very bad, and he actually missed one that is completely dead with no bark—all for a bid of $60,000—a price the village can not afford.
Tony Barnhart, who has worked for the village before, said he could do seven trees for $4,250, which would include removing the stumps, chipping, and any wood taken down.
Village Trustee Timothy Goodrich, who is the head of trees, park and pond, reported that the bathrooms in Nichols Park did not get painted yet. He expressed concern that the board meet with the board of the Spencer Chamber of Commerce to come to an agreement on expectations for each side, to improve communication about Spencer Picnic.
This year the carnival left big holes in the grass in the park that must be filled in and seeded or the baseball teams can not play there next spring. The carnival also left wood, clothes and garbage on the grass, as well as in the brush of the hedgerow of the outfield.
Another problem related to poor communication arose when Cooperative Extension advertised some nature activities for children but did not reserve the park. The board does ask for reservations so there are not overlaps or inappropriate conflicts when more than one group wants to use it.
In other business, Spencer Village Fire Chief Nick Lango reported that despite a few inquiries on the fire truck they wish to sell, there was no firm interest. The next step is to advertise it. As for the pole that holds the fire siren, which has not worked for months, Dale Weston has offered his bucket truck for getting the siren mechanism off the pole and on to the ground where it can be repaired.
Doris Barber asked what the board plans to do about the geese at the pond so next year the problems are not so bad. Oiling the eggs continues to be the primary solution, although new nests this year were not just on the island in the pond but in nearby creeks and other places, causing the largest goose population at the pond in years. Someone remembered that Joan Weston had researched some solutions. At that time the board felt they were too expensive.
During the road report Knapp told the board that the Department of Transportation said it cannot pave Main Street, which badly needs it, because the ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) ramps are not compliant. Knapp said that was ridiculous because it was the DOT that installed them, and fairly recently. He said he would call them to get that misinformation cleared up.
The Spencer Village Board welcomed its newest member, Tyler Koski, who took his oath of office at the beginning of their meeting. The September meeting was rescheduled due to the Labor Day holiday. Koski is filling Knapp’s trustee seat now that Knapp is serving as mayor.
Halloween will be celebrated in the village on Oct. 31 from 6 to 8 p.m. The village has not yet received the promised money from the state of New York to repay it for conducting the dissolution study in 2020. The next meeting of the board will be on Monday, Oct. 4.