The plan to expand the town of Jerusalem’s public sewer system along the shoreline of Keuka Lake has been put on hold, for now. Town Engineer Wayne Ackart reported to the Jerusalem Town Board that Larson Design engineers informed him the state grant application they wrote for the study had not been approved, saying the town did not receive enough points for consideration this year. Ackart said this is not the end for the project, just the end for this budget year. He added that the recent approval of a $1.26 million interest-free loan for Penn Yan took five application rounds to get approved.
Code enforcement officer John Phillips has resigned his post, effective in the new year. Sources in the town say that Phillips has been pressured by the criticisms leveled at him by two board members over the condition of some of the town’s residences, saying Phillips has not been hard enough on the owners to clean up their properties, particularly in Branchport.
Supervisor Patrick Killen says he is taking a $300 pay cut on top of a $1,500 cut made by prior Supervisor Daryl Jones, to show his commitment to freezing salaries before contract negotiations begin with Highway Supervisor Rob Martin and Town Clerk Sheila McMichael, as well as with the town’s water and sewer workers. Jerusalem Town Board members’ salaries are expected to remain the same for 2016, but Killen says they are the highest in Yates County.
McMichael proposes changes to the town office organization and workflow to increase efficiency. Currently, the town has 24 separate bank accounts and each department clerk is responsible for accepting payments, but then must hand them over to other clerks for entry and deposit. “Every $10 payment is being handled by three or four people,” says McMichael, who adds that only Jerusalem is organized like this. Other towns have one town clerk with deputy clerks who can accept and distribute payments for all the departments. She also proposes accepting debit and possibly credit card payments once the phone and computer wiring in the town office has been upgraded. This has been in discussion for two years, but has been held up by how to handle the 3 percent surcharge on such payments.
Two resolutions were passed to replace four windows and two wooden exterior doors in the town hall for a total cost not to exceed $4,200.