Penn Yan officials making a list for public works projects

Gwen Chamberlain

If federal funds become available for major public projects next year, as is being discussed at many layers of government, Penn Yan Village officials have their wish list prepared.

At last week’s village board meeting, Trustee Willie Allison read a list of projects that are being recommended by the Public Works Committee, which he chairs. The projects include upgrades to sewer lines and water mains in a number of areas, including Keuka, Seneca, Sheppard and Brown Streets.

Allison said Steve Griffin, of the Finger Lakes Economic Development Center, has advised local municipalities to prepare concepts for projects that could be ready to go within 60 days of getting funding approval.

Other business on the agenda at  last week’s regular village board meeting included:

FIRE DEPARTMENT: The board denied a request from the Penn Yan Fire Department to transfer a pick-up truck from the water department to the fire department. Fire Chief Brian Winslow had first asked for the truck last month, and was turned down. This month, First Assistant Chief Rick Retorick and Second Assistant Chief Rick Simpson were on hand to plead the department’s case after Trustee Nancy Taylor offered the motion. Mayor Douglas Marchionda Jr. said since the truck is owned by a department that is part of the Municipal Utilities Board (MUB) budget, it would be difficult to transfer it to the fire department, which is part of the village budget. He explained the Municipal Utilities budget is funded by water, sewer and electric customers both in and outside the village, while the fire department budget is part of the village budget and is partly funded through contracts with the towns of Milo, Jerusalem and Benton. He said the fire department would have to purchase the truck at the fair market value from the water department.

During a lengthy discussion about the need for a pick up truck in the fire department, Marchionda recommended pick-up trucks owned by the village that are used by the streets department could be available to the fire department.

“There are ways to do this that are less expensive than putting another vehicle in the village fleet. I understand what you need. What I suggest is that we get a way to give you access to a truck or two,” said Marchionda, adding, “I see no reason why we can’t give you access to the pick-ups that are out there in the barn right now.”

Retorick and Simpson said fire volunteers have been using personal vehicles to transport equipment like pumps and hoses.

Trustee Robert Church, chairman of the finance committee, asked if the fire department could keep track of how often volunteers use their personal vehicles to transport fire equipment, adding, “The next budget is going to be a disaster. If we can figure out a way to do this with sharing, we have to do it.”

On a related note, Church said he wanted to thank Scott McCredy for allowing the fire department to park some of the trucks in his dealership when there was a problem with the doors at the fire house.

CATS: The board agreed to spend up to $3,000 in the first year on a program to manage feral cats in the village, and recommended that the organization, Reigning Cats and Dogs, secure insurance coverage for the volunteers. See related story.

PLANNING: Trustee Robert Hoban, chairman of the Planning and Development Committee, reported Penn Yan School District will apply for grant funds to look at the development of a plan for a fleets facility. He also reported the village’s application for a state grant for work on the Keuka Outlet Trail. The $150,000 grant requires matching local funds or services.

Hoban also reported a representative from the Seventh Judicial District of the Court Administration will meet with village representatives about the village court needs.

POLICE DEPARTMENT: The board agreed to hire Keith Woodard Jr. to fill a  vacancy in the police department. Woodard will attend the Finger Lakes Police Academy beginning in January and upon successful completion, will be on patrol in the late spring. Hoban voted against the motion, however, saying he favored returning Michael Donovan, who was promoted to the investigator postion to a patrol position. “There’s no problem with him at all. We don’t need another officer and that’s my opinion,” explained Hoban. Church said his understanding is that this appointment is to have an officer ready to fill a vacancy when Keith Woodard Sr. retires.

LIFEGUARD FUNDING: Marchionda asked Recreation Director Dan Doyle to get more information about a memorandum from Yates County for $10,000 in funding for lifeguard services. He said he has not had to sign a document in the past.

• AUDIT: Church reported that copies of the draft audit are available. The comments from the auditor are favorable, he noted. The auditing firm will meet with the village board in a workshop setting on Jan. 15 to review the audit.

WORKPLACE VIOLENCE: The board heard a presentation by Sandy King of Practical Consultants about a program regarding workplace violence. New York State law requires municipalities with 20 or more employees to evaluate the potential for violence in the workplace and provide training and a reporting system. Village attorney Ed Brockman recommended the personnel committee meet with King to discuss the village’s needs.