Yates Legislature reviews county snow and ice policy

Loujane Johns

The Yates County Legislature made a few additions and changes to the snow and ice policy to make it clear what the county highway department will or won’t do during snow removal operations.

Before the first snow flies, the plow operators have checked their routes to look at mailboxes and take notes on their condition. If the mailbox is in poor condition a photograph is taken.

The policy states, “It shall be the policy of the Highway Department to repair or replace only those mailboxes that have been damaged due to direct contact with the plow or wing.”  Mailboxes that require replacement will be replaced up to a maximum of $25.  This includes decorator mailboxes.

The plow operators try to get as close to mailboxes as possible to provide access by U.S. Postal Service, but residents are responsible to provide final cleaning and access.

The other snow and ice issues addressed clarifies snow plowing on private property.

The general rule states, ”There shall be no snow plowing or snow removal activities (e.g. shoveling, sanding , salting, etc.) on private property using county equipment, materials and/or personnel unless there is a contract between the county and the private property owner for such services.”

Snow removal is permitted on private property in emergency situations.

The policy contains a lot of material on guidelines to follow during the winter driving months.  It explains procedures used by the county in maintaining the 181 miles of county roads as well as tips for drivers and residents.

The Legislature acted on many other issues at the December meeting including:

STUDY: In order to find ways to cut expenses, the Village of Penn Yan, Penn Yan School District and Yates County will perform a feasibility study looking in to such items as: a joint facility, consolidation of fuel, storage and maintenance equipment.  Finance Committee Chairman Taylor Fitch thanked Legislator Dan Banach for work on the proposal.  Fitch said it fits nicely into the plan to save money.

STATE MEETING: County Administrator Sarah Purdy, President of the New York State Association of Counties reported on a meeting she attended last week in Albany.  She said the members teleconferenced with Gov. David Paterson’s staff to discuss efforts to cut spending to close the state budget gap. 

The administrators agree on the reduced spending as long as the reductions do not include or require  increase in local property taxes or shifting of costs to the counties.  Purdy said she is a little worried because the staff repeatedly referred to the cuts as “devastating.”

RECOGNITION:  Volunteer Deputy County Fire Coordinator Maynard Hall who served from 1969 until he became ill was remembered for his service. 

Legislator Donna Alexander read, “Mr. Hall served faithfully, attended scores of meetings and responded to countless fires, weather related problems and other emergencies.”

JAIL:  A renewal was authorized for an agreement for jail physician services with Rushville Health Center at a cost of $15,000 annually.

An agreement with Ontario County was authorized for inmate boarding in and out at $85 per diem.

• POSITION: A temporary part-time typist position was created so that a retired typist can come back to train a new person.

DEPUTY:  An interim deputy sheriff position is required using already budgeted 2009 funds for assigned police academy training in January.  The sheriff can appoint the interim deputy to a position when one is open and abolish the interim position.

ANIMAL CONTROL: A temporary part-time Animal Control Officer position was created with an hourly rate of $13.39. Purdy explained after the meeting that New York State Agriculture and Marketing required creating this as a county position. This is not an additional county employee, it is a new description of an existing position.

DWI:  Sheriff Ron Spike was authorized to sign a memorandum of understanding with Council on Alcoholism and Addictions of the Finger Lakes, Inc. for alcoholism and substance abuse counselors in the Penn Yan and Dundee Central Schools for $10,000 from the STOP-DWI Program.

HEAP:  Authorization was given to administer the 2008-2009 HEAP and WRAP programs at an amount not to exceed $77,076.52.

APPOINTMENTS: Janet S. Meaney of Dundee was appointed to the Yates County Community Services Board and the Yates County Community Services Board Mental Health Subcommittee.  Gerald N. Lange of Dundee was appointed to the Yates County Community Services Board Alcohol/Substance Abuse Subcommittee.

Douglas Skeet was appointed to the Yates County Planning Board, representing the Town of Middlesex.

SOCIAL SERVICE:  Two programs will receive additional aid from state funds.  An additional $20,000 has been appropriated for Food Stamps and $30,000 for Medical Assistance due to economic factors.

AIRPORT:  Agreement was made to accept the bid of Covert Security, Inc. to install security equipment at the airport for $10,195.

HOLIDAYS: Half days before Christmas and New Years will be observed when these holidays fall on a weekday. The offices of the County Clerk, County Treasurer, Clerk of the Legislature and the Sheriff’s Civil Office will be closed.

SUPPLIES:  An agreement with Long’s Cards and Books for office supplies was renewed.

AG LAND:  Requests from landowners Jeffrey Tyler and Warren and Wanda Howell for inclusion of viable property to be included in the Yates County Agricultural District #1 was approved.

SALARIES:  Hourly salary schedules were approved.

EDUCATION:  The Legislature agreed to make an education reimbursement benefit available to all full-time non-union employees.  Certain criteria must be met.

SICK LEAVE:  An increase in sick leave accrual cap from 175 days to 180 days was approved for 2009.  On January 1, 2010 it will be 185 days for full-time non-union employees.

CONSULTANT: An agreement was authorized with Brown & Brown of New York for insurance and risk management consulting services in the amount of $2500 per month.

COMMUNICATION: Replacement equipment has been received for the Sheriff’s radio system that crashed in November.  Payment was authorized to Blue Tree Wireless Data for $20,955 for wireless modems and accessories on New York state bid.

CENSUS:  The members authorized signing an agreement with Genesee Finger Lakes Regional Planning Council for preparation work for the 2010 Census.

RECOGNITION:  Legislator Tim Dennis told members Alexander gave a wonderful keynote speech at the Drug Court Graduation last week.