Thursday, August 21, 2014

Town of Cape Vincent proposed a rate fee schedule for Water Districts #2 & #3.

During privilege of the floor at tonight's (Aug. 21) Town of Cape Vincent board meeting, a Town of Cape Vincent taxpayer told the board that he was in favor of everybody getting water and he realized that each water district is set up individually. But, when the board previously suggested that they might have to pay the contested water bills to DANC, by using the general fund, then it became his business. He further expressed his opinion that the town should not endorse private water recipients who are supplied by the legal users, which is the case of 3 legal members of Water District #2 who supply multiple users.

Later in the meeting, the board approved a proposed water fee schedule to be reviewed at a public hearing that was scheduled for September 3.

After the motion was made to propose the same fee schedule that was approved last spring for a 3 month period, there was discussion of an alternate schedule that would be more favorable to the legal water district members who in turn serve multiple outside users with privately installed infrastructure.

Councilmen Brooks Bragdon and Paul Aubertine spoke in favor of the alternate schedule. In a 3 to 2 vote, Supervisor Urban Hirschey, council members John Byrne and Michelle Oswald voted yes for the schedule set back in the spring. Councilman Brooks Bragdon voted no and Councilman Paul Aubertine, whose father spoke at the meeting and is a member of Water District #2 and privately serving outside users who are not legal members of the district, abstained using the reason that he did not want to upset his constituents.

When it came time for the resolution to set the public hearing on September 3, Supervisor Hirschey, Brooks Bragdon, John Byrne and Michelle Oswald voted yes. Paul Aubertine voted no.

The water fee schedule that was agreed upon in the spring of 2014 is as follows:



The above water usage fee schedule intended to be for one year was approved by the Town of Cape Vincent Council for a period of 90 days.

In District #2, account #20000 is the Town of Cape Vincent transfer site. They do not use any water from the DANC line.

In District #2, account #20050 is Donald Votra. He does not use any water from the DANC line.

In District #2, account #20100 is Wesley Bourcy. According to a Fourth Coast investigation map, he may be providing water to one outside user.

In District #2, account #20150 is Donald Mason. According to a Fourth Coast investigation map, he may be providing water to two outside users.

In District #2, account #20175 is Darrell Aubertine. According to a Fourth Coast investigation maphe may be providing water to six outside users.

Cape Vincent Town Board will hold a public hearing on Zoning Law revisions this evening (Aug.21) , 6:00 PM prior to the regularly scheduled town meeting.

Town Board Meeting Agenda August 21, 2014
Recreation Park - James St
Open of regular meeting
Privilege of the floor
Accept Minutes of meetings of July 17 and 30,2014
Lee Willbanks of Save the River
Presentation on Fort Drum Community relations – Sargent Walters
Reports
Financials –Brooks Bragdon
ZBA – Michelle Oswald
Village– John Byrne
Youth Commission – Paul Aubertine
Planning Board – Brooks Bragdon
School– Paul Aubertine
Highway– Danny Hubbard
Zoning officer – Jim Millington
WD #2 Rate Schedule options for September Public Hearing
Resolutions:36 thru 42
Approval of Vouchers
Adjournment

You can help the Thousand Islands become a Statewide Scenic Area of Significance by submitting your own photos to the project consultants.

Scenic-area survey results examined in Clayton
By KATHERINE CLARK ROSS
TIMES STAFF WRITER
PUBLISHED: WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 20, 2014 AT 12:51 AM
ARTICLE OPTIONS
CLAYTON — A committee working on creating a designated scenic area along the St. Lawrence River and Lake Ontario reported it is making progress with the application.
The Thousand Islands Regional Assessment Project Advisory Committee hosted a public forum on Monday at the Clayton Opera House to discuss input submitted by community members on what makes the region attractive and worthy to be the third region in the state to receive Scenic Area of Statewide Significance designation.

“We’re definitely still working on this, it’s a work in progress,” said Harry L. Dodson, landscape architect and president of Dodson & Flinker Inc,. The firm is working with 10 communities and subcommittees to apply for the designations. Mr. Dodson and his associates will use the data from the study to create a Thousand Islands Regional Assessment document to be reviewed by the state.

Read the rest of the Katherine Clark Ross report at this link.


RWiley Photo

East Charity Light, Town of Cape Vincent, NY
The photo above is one of a collection that I have sent to the committee of the Thousand Islands Regional Assessment Project which is seeking a Scenic Area of Statewide Significance designation for the Thousand Islands from Cape Vincent to Morrisville, NY.

I included the location that the view was taken from, brief facts about the lighthouse and pointed out that it was located in the Town of Cape Vincent at the entrance to the St. Lawrence River and the Thousand Islands.

Additional information on how you can help by identifying local points of scenic significance can be found at Scenic1000Islands.com.

And, more information will be added to the website by the committee as it becomes available.

For local cormorants every day is "A Day on the River".

RWiley Photo

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Cape Vincent Republican Primary - Letter to the Editor

On September 9th Cape Vincent Republicans will select a candidate for the Town Board November election. Republicans have a clear choice in this primary!  Republicans will choose between Michelle Oswald and Marty Mason. In my opinion, this is a choice between “moving forward” and “looking back.” 

Michelle, as the “moving forward” candidate, was first elected in November 2012 to complete the remaining year of another board member who resigned. Since that time Michelle has shown to be a creative, independent thinker who looks out for what is in the best interest of ALL citizens. 

Michelle may not always agree with her fellow board members, but works toward a positive solution to whatever issue is being addressed. Michelle takes time to fully understand citizen concerns and has reached out to community members for improvement ideas. Michelle is willing to seek information and ask necessary questions to solve issues. Michelle is community focused and supports development within the guidelines of the Town/Village Comprehensive Plan.  Michelle’s positions on town issues are centered on what is in the best interest of ALL community citizens.

In stark contrast, her opponent served as a town board member during the extremely divisive years that were focused on potential industrial wind turbine development. He held wind leases for his personal benefit and voted on wind related issues over the dissent of many citizens who pointed out his financial conflict of interest. In August 2011 he adamantly voted for a resolution to deny specific town citizens their legal right to vote and even after this Town Board action was declared illegal by the NYS Attorney General, he refused to vote to rescind the action at the September 2011 meeting. He (with others) filed a lawsuit against local bloggers asserting (among other issues) that the bloggers’ use of free speech rights caused him to lose his elected position. His actions as a previous board member were clearly focused on his personal benefit and that of a few other community members. What would he bring to the Town Board that is not “looking back”?

“Move forward” on September 9th!  Support the legal right of All Cape Vincent citizens to vote! 

Vote for MICHELLE DEJOURDAN OSWALD for Republican Town Board candidate on September 9.  She will listen to ALL citizens and work in the best interest of the overall community! 

Donna Essegian
416 Bay St
Cape Vincent NY

2014 Northern New York national, state, county and local Republican Candidates will be in Cape Vincent tonight (Aug. 20)


For the second straight year, the Jefferson County GOP has selected the beautiful shores of Lake Ontario in the Town of Cape Vincent as the location for their Annual Summer celebration.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Public hearing on Town of Cape Vincent Water District #2 fee schedule will not take place.

This Thursday, Aug. 21 the Town of Cape Vincent will not hold the previously announced Public Hearing concerning the expired fee schedule for Water District #2.

Water District #2 which was set up by a previous Supervisor and Town Board has been described as a mess. Several Previous town board members are also members of the troublesome Water District #2 and #3 that they played a major role in creating.


All three legal members of District #2 are passing on their water to outside users via private infrastructure and private business arrangements.


A former town board member who signed the DANC agreement which a "citizen committee" now opposes  is trying to get back on the Town Board after being removed by the town's voters after his town board conduct during many issues was being questioned. He is also a member of the town "citizens committee" which  is advocating for a better deal for Water District #2 members. 


Councilman Paul Aubertine, whose father is a member of Water District #2 and would benefit from proposed lower water bills, is advocating for the "citizens committee". Some outside users being served by Paul Aubertine's father are also family members. Councilman Aubertine has publicly declared that he has no conflict of interest in this matter. His father, Darrel Aubertine has suggested that the Town Board take legal action against DANC.


Supervisor Urban Hirschey has declared the agreement with DANC is a  legal agreement and the town has an obligation to pay the bills.


Town taxpayers are irate at the suggestion that the Water district #2 bills be payed from the general fund and that they are facing mounting legal costs as a result of the Water District #2 debacle. Many are concerned by what appears to be political actions by the "citizen's committee" comprised of Cape Vincent Democrats and CFG members. It is believed that Tim White who speaks for the 

"citizen's committee" is also the chair of the Cape Vincent Democrat Party.

Thousand Islands Regional Assessment Project holds public meeting.

Last night, 50 residents from ten Thousand Island, NY Communities, seeking a State Area of Scenic Significance designation for their region, attended a public meeting at the Clayton Opera House.

The meeting was conducted by lead consultant Harry Dodson, lead agent and Hammond Supervisor Ron Bertram, project volunteer consultant Valerie Johnson and Barbara Kendall who is a Coastal Resources Specialist with the NYS Department of State Office of Planning and Development.

The agenda included a recap of the SASS program, a description of the visual assessment method, an overview of their work to date, a presentation of the visual inventory process and a presentation of preliminary results of the visual evaluation process which described what was determined from the visual survey conducted on www.scenic1000Islands.com during the month of July. Included was a public comment and discussion period.

Harry Dodson gave a presentation showing how the survey participants ranked the photographs of visual features from Cape Vincent to Morristown that were selected for the survey.  Over a thousand people visited the website and nearly five hundred completed the survey.

RWiley Photo

One Thousand Island resident attending last nights meeting pointed out to the SASS team that seasonal changes in the Thousand Islands should be considered as part of the scenic significance while making the plea to the State for the designation.

The SASS lead consulting team responsible for determining the scenic quality of the region did not include a photograph of Cape Vincent's Tibbetts Point Lighthouse in their July survey. However, the process is not complete and www.scenic1000Islands.com will be expanded to accept more resident interaction including the ability to submit area photographs.

Town of Cape Vincent Councilman Brooks Bragdon, Village Mayor Tim Maloney and Village Trustee Pamela Youngs represented the Cape Vincent Community at last night's meeting. Several Cape Vincent residents and community volunteers, including those who have attended past SASS meetings, were also present. 

It was emphasized that promotion of the project by informing the community is the responsibility of the individual Thousand Island towns and villages and they are encouraged to provide updated information at their public meetings, on their websites, and through other social media.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Village of Cape Vincent proposes an increase in water bills while the Town of Cape Vincent members of Water District #2 and the additional outside users they serve are claiming their water bills are unfair and are seeking a better deal.


The Village of Cape Vincent has scheduled a public hearing (Aug. 26) for an increase in water bills while the Town of Cape Vincent has scheduled a public hearing (Aug. 21) to set a fee schedule for Water District  #2 members who are seeking a better deal than present fees that they claim are "unfair".

The head of the Village of Cape Vincent Department of Public Works, a resident of the Town of Cape Vincent, is serving as a member of an unofficial "citizens committee" of town residents advocating for water bills that are more "fair" to the members of the Town of Cape Vincent's Water District #2 at the same time the residents of the Village of Cape Vincent are facing higher water bills.

The Town Board of Cape Vincent has announced that they will hold a public hearing this Thursday, Aug. 21 to address the expired water fee schedule for members of the Town's Water District #2. It is expected that Town Councilman Paul Aubertine, whose father is a member of Water District #2 and passes his water allotment to seven outside users, will support the "citizens committee" in advocating the abolishing the "unfair fee schedule" and will vote to set one that is "more fair" to his family members and others who receive water from his father's allotment.

At the last Town of Cape Vincent meeting, Councilman Paul Aubertine told those present that he does not have a conflict of interest as a result of his work to change the "unfair fee schedule". 

The Town of Cape Vincent is the Water Commissioner of all districts. It is their legal obligation to collect the water district money and pay the bills according to an agreement that was signed with DANC. Marty Mason, a member of the "citizens committee" and head of the Village of Cape Vincent Public works said he signed the DANC agreement, but a couple other towns using the DANC water line did not

At the last town meeting, Water District #2 member Darrel Aubertine also suggested that the town board take legal action against DANC to recover what he opined was unnecessary past charges. Darrel Aubertine, who supplies water to other users via private infrastructure is a former State Assemblyman,  State Senator and is currently an employee of the New York State Comptroller.

SASS meeting tonight, 7:00 PM, Clayton Opera House.

During the month of July 2014, a public survey was conducted on the web

site www.scenic1000islands.com rating scenery in the Thousand Islands Region from Cape Vincent to Morristown, NY. The survey was an important step in the Thousand Islands Regional Assessment Project which has the goal of achieving a Scenic Areas of Statewide Significance (SASS) designation for New York State's Thousand Islands region.



Proposed Boundary for SASS designation.

A public meeting will be held tonight August 18th at 7:00 pm at the Clayton Opera House to discuss the findings of the survey and other data collected throughout the region.

Visitors to Cape Vincent's "A Day on the River" (Aug. 23) will be treated to a ride on the Zipper.

RWiley Photo
Free rides compliments of the Clayton Antique Boat Museum and their volunteers.

RWiley Photo
Click this link for more A Day on the River information.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Cape Vincent ABA fishing tourney underway.

RWiley Photo

The best fishing spots may be a well guarded secret. However, I think some of the pros might try the shoreline of Cape Vincent's Grenadier Island (pictured above).


Early this morning my wife heard the friendly roar of serious bass fishing boats. A signal that, although delayed by Saturday's (Aug. 16) high winds, the American Bass Anglers Cape Vincent Tournament is underway.

We spent last evening at the Tibbetts Point Hostel. At 6:30 PM, I would estimate the wind blowing a steady 25 MPH creating monster waves. Yesterday's postponement by the ABA tournament team was a safe decision.

Cape Vincent Town Board incumbent's campaign signs purchased and manufactured locally.

RWiley Photo
The 2014 campaign signs of incumbent Town of Cape Vincent Council member Michelle Oswald were purchased from and manufactured by a Town of Cape Vincent sign company whose professional signs are seen all over the region.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Cape Vincent August 16 fishing tourney delayed until Sunday August 17.

American Bass Anglers Cape Vincent Tournament Postponed until tomorrow AM (Sunday Aug 17th)

The New York anglers of the ABA Weekend Bass Series, scheduled for today, has been postponed because of high winds and potentially dangerous fishing conditions on Eastern Lake Ontario.

Rescheduled for tomorrow (Aug 17)

Present plans are for the launch to start at 6:00 AM and the weigh-in will be at 2:30 PM.


RWiley Photo
This morning, the ABA tournament team was taking a break from Cape Vincent's East End Park and the postponed tourney, waiting for the winds to die down and the for the whitecaps to flatten.

RWiley Photo
But the big waves on the lake and river did not stop this fishing family from enjoying the calm and safety of Cape Vincent's East End Park boat launch dock.

Town of Cape Vincent schedules two public hearings prior to its Thursday, Aug. 21 Board Meeting.

Starting at 6:00 PM, the Town Board of Cape Vincent has planned two public hearings prior to its Thursday, Aug. 21 meeting.

One public hearing concerns the update and revisions to the the Town Zoning Law. A citizens committee has been working on those revisions and has completed their work. The 2012 Town of Cape Vincent Zoning Law and proposed changes can be viewed and downloaded at this link.

It is also expected the Town will conduct a second hearing which may see a proposal for a revised fee schedule more favorable and acceptable to the legal members of Water District #2 and the additional private users they serve. 

On May 1, the town held a public hearing on the establishing of equitable billing practices for Town of Cape Vincent Water District #2 and Water District #3. At the meeting, during the discussion, Councilman Paul Aubertine objected to the schedule and Councilman Brooks Bragdon suggested that the schedule be set for only three months. 

Councilman Aubertine's mother and father are part of the group of 3 Water District #2 users who, according to a Fourth Coast investigation conducted two years ago, are supplying additional outside users using private infrastructure.  According to the DANC charges approved by the Town, they will be charged for 23 EDUs, $171.38 per month. According to a recent citizens committee investigative report, the Aubertines and their District #2 outside users actual amount of use was 717, 000 gallons of water in year 2007 and  increased to 1,262,000 gallons in year 2013.

Advocates for a better deal for the Aubertines and the other Water District #2 users and the  "private customers" they serve formed a "citizens committee" that has, among other things, expressed concerns about the previous legal agreements made with DANC. Marty Mason, a member of the "citizens committee" and the head of the Village of Cape Vincent Public Works was one of the signers of the DANC legal agreement which is now being called unfair.  

According to the formation and charter of the "citizens committee", the "members would be/are Terry Aubertine, Dr. Frank Giaquinto, Don Mason, Marty Mason, Mickey Orvis, and Tim White".

 The "citizens committee" has not been recognized  by a resolution of the Town Board and is not an official function of the town government. Although, at one point, Water District #3 member Darrell Aubertine suggested that the town take legal action against DANC for recuperation of what he opined was back overcharges, it was suggested that the "citizens committee" take their report and their objections directly to DANC since the town has entered a legal agreement with the authority and it is their obligation to pay the bills. 

A suggestion to pay the Water District #2 bills using the general fund generated public outrage since other town water district taxpayers feel no obligation to pay for their water and many Cape Vincent citizens do not even have a public potable water system.



The above water usage fee schedule intended to be for one year was approved by the Town of Cape Vincent Council for a period of 90 days.

In District #2, account #20000 is the Town of Cape Vincent transfer site. They do not use any water from the DANC line.

In District #2, account #20050 is Donald Votra. He does not use any water from the DANC line.

In District #2, account #20100 is Wesley Bourcy. According to a Fourth Coast investigation map, he may be providing water to one outside user.

In District #2, account #20150 is Donald Mason. According to a Fourth Coast investigation map, he may be providing water to two outside users.

In District #2, account #20175 is Darrell Aubertine. According to a Fourth Coast investigation maphe may be providing water to six outside users.

During the ongoing negotiations and political lobbying for a better deal for the Water District #2 members, several town meetings and work sessions have been announced, only to be cancelled. If the Thursday, Aug. 21 Water District #2 and #3 fee schedule Public Hearing is held as planned, it is possible that Councilman Aubertine and his father may have gained the approval of at least one other town councilman in their efforts to work out a new water fee schedule more acceptable to the District #2 members, their private advocate "citizens committee", and the outside users who are privately being served using District #2 Town of Cape Vincent DANC water allotments.

If the "citizens committee" objecting to DANC operations and authority does not feel they can gain board approval for a new fee schedule this Thursday, it is possible that they might find a way to postpone further action until the fall 2014 election with hopes of putting one of their members on the town board, giving them a 3 to 2 approval with a new board in January 2015.