Busy Highland meeting

By LAURIE STUART
Posted 8/24/21

ELDRED, NY — It was not business as usual at the Highland Town Board meeting. The two-hour meeting on August 17 had a series of revelations that brought $295,000 into the town coffers, required …

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Busy Highland meeting

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ELDRED, NY — It was not business as usual at the Highland Town Board meeting. The two-hour meeting on August 17 had a series of revelations that brought $295,000 into the town coffers, required town employees to wear masks and strongly suggested that anyone entering a town building ought to wear a mask, and began the process of the creation of a ambulance district.

The receipt of $100,000 over two years, with a commitment of a $25,000 in-kind match from the town, was announced in the successful bid for the Sullivan Renaissance Silver Feather Municipal Award. Work will begin on the community art project at the Barryville cul-de-sac, as well as renovation of Eagle Observation #1 on Route 97. In receiving the monies, the board created a separate pass-through fund for the town books to keep track of the expenses and revenues for the project. The board also moved to sign a rider and a contract for the former highway garage at 16 Proctor Road. The board anticipates the the town will net $195,000 of the $210,000 sale.

But the big news of the evening was the retention of the Pinsky Law Group, PLLC to represent the town in the formation of an ambulance district and a Certificate of Need transfer.

The action came as a result of written notification that as of December 31, the Sylvan Liebla American Legion Post #1363 no longer would hold the contract required by the American Legion Ambulance to provide emergency services. Acting proactively, the town engaged the services of Pinsky Law Group, PLLC, a Syracuse lawfirm that specializes in assisting municipalities form ambulance districts throughout New York State. Through a municipal ambulance district, similar to the fire district that currently exists, the ambulance would become a property tax-funded organization. Supervisor Jeff Haas said that there would be no additional cost to taxpayers, as the current town budget contains a line item of $32,000. With the creation of the ambulance district, the town budget will no longer contain that line item and there will be a separate ambulance district allotment, similar to the fire district. According to attorney to the town Michael Davidoff, the transfer, with Pinsky’s expertise ought to take about 30 days.

According to ambulance corp member Chris Tambini, the legion post has confirmed that the ambulance will be branched off and become independently incorporated and a contract will be established with the town. He also said that the legion post has indicated that it would extend its contact on a month-to-month basis, and that it is anticipated that the ambulance will be on the 2023 tax roles.

The ambulance corps is also in conversation with Mobile Medic to hold the certificate of need (CON), as a backup to the town process. The town authorized the expenditure of $3,000 to Pinsky to form the district and an additional $2,500 for the CON application.

In a move that was well orchestrated, upon passage of the motion, effective immediately, mandating the wearing of masks for town employees and the strong suggestion that anyone entering a town building—the town hall, the senior center—wear a mask, board members pulled out masks and donned them.

“We have to lead by example,” Haas said.

In other business, the board announced it was the lead agency in planning the 20th commemoration of 9/11 on September 11 at 6 p.m. at Heroes Park in Eldred, announced that residents and organizations of the Town of Highland were recipients of three UDC awards (see "leisure"), approved the payment of approximately $11,000 for the hard-bound printing of the revised zoning law, and extended the temporary certificate of occupancy for 286 Lakeview Drive in Highland Lake.

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