JUDY GOKEY – SUPERVISOR:
It always amazes me how quickly a year passes, it feels like I just did this for January 2010.
As you all know the Hardscrabble Wind Project is in process. Our town received 12 mills that are all up on Snyder and Observatory Road. What a process this has been and I am definitely glad to see the project being built. We have all worked very hard to make this project beneficial to our town. One of our board members, Scott Crossett, has had to recues himself from the entire process as he has towers on his property, but the rest of us definitely took a crash course on wind tower negotiation, and I think we did a good job.
The final split ended up with 20% to Herkimer County, 40% to West Canada School District, 40% to the Towns to be divided with Fairfield receiving monies for 25 towers and Norway receiving monies for 12 towers. The first payment we received was $100,000, what I call a sign up bonus. We have received $96,000 for wind tower permits, $8,500.00 for the met tower permit, and $50,000 for historic preservation. Please keep in mind that this is for Norway only. The historic preservation money allowed us to put a much needed new roof on the history center and you will see new custom made vinyl shutters being installed in the spring. The historic preservation money we have left is in an account for future use but is for historic preservation use only. We paid off the balance due on our workers comp buyout, our Freightliner truck, and on our 450 truck. This made us 100% debt free. We also had to set $50,000 aside in case we needed to pay for town engineer, Delaware Engineering, for the project according to the agreement with Iberdrola. As it turned out we did not have to use that money so we have $57,000 left.
For the next 20 years we will be receiving yearly payments, the first one beginning January 2012. Every year has an inflation calculation figured in with the first payment at approximately $77,000 and the last payment at approximately $139,000. Even though we do not receive energy from the mills, we will all benefit from the dollars generated as we will be using them to keep our tax base down.
There have definitely been some trying times throughout this project. Concrete issues caused some of our tower bases to be removed and replaced and stirrup issues had to be corrected with a redesign to ensure that the towers are sufficiently braced. Along with this came many phone calls, meetings, discussions and e mails. Sometimes I would go home at night and dread opening my email, but we made it through. The towers now have to go through 240 hours of test time before they can be put on the grid and most of the towers have already started the countdown. Mortenson construction will be back in the spring to clean up and landscape for the landowners. Iberdrola is anxious to work with the local schools. They would like to come in to do presentations about the project and wind energy so if anyone is interested, please let me know and I will provide contact information.
We will be purchasing one more truck, another 10 wheel, and selling off one of our older trucks (never the OSHKOSH, we are thinking of turning it into a monument!). Actually the Volvo is being sold to the Village of Hamilton. They have offered us $20,000 and a spare plow set up that we definitely need. We had been offered between $7,000- $25,000 for a trade in price so they are right on target with their offer. We are setting our goals on a 10 year turnaround with our equipment. By replacing our trucks every 10 years it actually gives us equipment worth trading and hopefully will lessen repair cost.
I hope everyone noticed the beautiful Holiday banners that went up this year. In the spring we will be hanging another set of banners showing our beautiful historic church. The banners were made possible by a grant from Senator Jim Seward and we are very thankful that he feels our town is worthy of this money. This is the second time we have received funding from Senator Seward, two years ago he provided us with the necessary funds to upgrade our community hall restrooms for handicap accessibility. I hope you have all had a chance to enjoy our beautiful gazebo, even if it’s just to stop and rest for a moment while out for a walk. The gazebo was made possible with funding from the Iroquois Pipeline Community Grant, the same organization that has provided all of our playground equipment through grant dollars.
This year we are replacing the ceiling in the community center, installing new front and back doors, and painting the floor. Once that is complete we will have to look into doing some roof work. I hope we can just update and not replace. This building has not been attended to for a very long time so everything just needs to be improved. We have a building to be proud of and it needs to be maintained yearly.
I would like to say a quick thank you to the people that help to make our town such a great place to live in. The Highway Department for their never ending support in all we ask them to do, Lora for being such a great help and her constant enthusiasm and good humor, Michele for keeping our finances straight and on track with the many New York States rules, the Town Board for their ideas, support, and willingness to work. The Planning Board for all of their hard work, especially during the Hardscrabble project years, Grievance, DCO, Codes and Historical. Without all of these people, some of them that do this work for absolutely no pay, our town would not run as smooth as it does and they all deserve a huge thank you. Most of all I would like to thank all of you for believing in us to do a good job for you. Our meetings are held on the 2nd Thursday of the month at 7:00 pm, please join us.
LORA GROWER- TOWN CLERK:
I can’t believe a whole year has passed since I took office. First off I would like to say that being the clerk is challenging at times. During this past year I have learned a lot and I am sure I have much more to learn, but I can honestly say I have enjoyed every minute of it. Having good people to work with really helps.
As some of you may know I had some issues with our hunting licenses just as I got everything straightened out; our computer went down and I had to have a new one sent. I finally got up and running, but not until the middle of November. I am now set with the hunting and fishing licenses.
Also new this year is our dog licenses. Some of you may not know, but as of the first of the year AG and Markets no longer handle dog licensing, it is now the responsibility of the town clerks. This has been a costly situation for the town. We have had to purchase a program and a yearly upgrade fee, tags, and postage. All of this used to be done by the State, now we are responsible for all of the cost involved. We still have to send the state a portion of the monies that we receive. If you don’t receive a renewal from Ag and Markets don’t panic you will receive it from me, and if you don’t please get a hold of me. We have adopted some new dog laws for our town and have increased our licensing fees which you will find these fees are the same as other towns across the state. We had to do this to help offset the cost the town is going to incur by taking over this process. Dog licenses haven’t increased since 1978. The fees are as follows: unspay/unneutered dogs are now $15.00 in which $3.00 of that goes to a spay/neutered fund. (State) spay/neutered is $7.00 in which a $1.00 of that goes to the spay/neutered fund.(state) This has been a real challenge learning the program and getting everything set for this take over. We still have a few bugs to work out, but for the most part I am getting through it. I thank you all for your patients with this.
If you ever need anything and I am not in the office please feel free to call me at home. My hours are posted on the web site along with phone numbers and email address. As I mentioned earlier I have enjoyed this past year of service and look forward to many more.
HOWARD EATON: HIGHWAY SUPERINTENDENT
We have made many improvements on the dirt roads this past year. Gould Road ditched and graveled- Ryan Road brush cut and widened- Military Road and Lynch Road corners ditched and widened to make the bus turn around safer.
For 2011 we have the following improvements planned- Military Road from the Town Barn to the Fairfield Town Line¸ we will cut brush, ditch, and widen the road. Much of our work depends on the amount of chips money we receive. With the many state budget cuts happening right now there is no guarantees that this money will be received this year. If we do receive our funding we plan on chip sealing Gould Road from Elm Tree to the Fusco residence. We would also like to pave depending on the amount of money received.
At the March meeting the Town Board approved the purchase of a 2012 Western Star tandem plow truck. The purchase price is $186,000 and with the sell dollars we receive from the Volvo we will actually pay $166,000 for the truck. We will be receiving the truck in approximately 120 days.
We would like to welcome Stan Hayes and Tom Eaton to the Highway Department. Stan is a full time employee that came just in time to start plowing. Tom Eaton is a Pathstone Employee. Pathstone provides people for jobs that are at retirement age. The employee is allowed to work 20 hours a week and Pathstone picks up the entire salary. If anyone else is interested in the program, please contact me for further information. We were also lucky enough to have 5 great kids for summer help last year. They mowed, painted the entire outside of the town barn, split wood, and helped with many other chores. They did a great job and I hope to see them back this year as Fred Shaw, our Legislature,has just informed us that we will be able to get kids for the 2011 summer also.
It looks like winter might finally be at an end. We did well with no major breakdowns and with minimal small problems.
Please feel free to call me if you have any comments or questions at 717-7775.
BOB KEMLER- DCO:
Leash Law: The Leash Law is in effect year-round in the Town of Norway. Dog owners must keep their dogs on their property at all times or have them leashed or electronically controlled when off their property.
Rabies Clinic: June 15, 3:30-5:00 p.m., Norway Community Center. There is no charge for this service, but donations are appreciated.
Licenses: All dogs must be licensed. The procedure for licensing dogs has changed. The State will no longer be sending renewal notifications. This, now, will be done by the Town Clerk. I am in the final stages of Norway’s Dog Census. Your honesty and cooperation in tn regards to this matter are appreciated. The Town Clerk will use this census as a checklist for licensing. Please call the Town Clerk for further information regarding licensing. Also, dog owners must provide proof that their dogs have received rabies vaccines when obtaining or renewing licenses.
LAUREN WATSON- PLANNING BOARD:
Hardscrabble Wind Farm Update:
What began back in 2005 as a collaborative effort between the Town Board, the Planning Board, landowners on Dairy Hill, and the Town of Fairfield, Hardscrabble Wind Farm has finally become a reality. It’s been a rough road to travel at times, exemplified by problems encountered during the actual construction this past year that required active monitoring by Town officials. The first major problem resulted from the contractor mistakenly omitting some rebar elements in the first 14 foundation pedestals, and the second resulted from erratic control of air-entrainmentat the concrete batch plant, affecting the strength of 20 foundation pedestals. Both problems were overcome by either the removal and re-construction of the pedestal, or by engineered remediation using post-tensioned steel cables and reinforced concrete collars at the pedestal perimeter. Iberdrola, the developer, has announced that final testing of the turbines is expected to be concluded in January with power generation to begin in February. With 12 of the 37 Hardscrabble turbines located in Norway, our town has already begun to reap the financial benefits,
Norway’s 12 wind turbines on Dairy Hill will contribute a maximum of 24megawatts of power along with Fairfield’s 50 megawatts to the 115-kV Valley-Inghams Mills transmission line which supplies portions of the Mohawk Valley and surrounding interconnections. Renewable energy from our hills will help offset demands currently met by the oil, gas and nuclear power plants at Oswego and imported Canadian power.