TRUMANSBURG, N.Y. — The Village of Trumansburg Board of Trustees held its monthly meeting Monday night, hearing reports regarding the Trumansburg Farmers Market, Tompkins County’s response to COVID-19 and Trumansburg Trustee Keith Hannon being named interim-president of the Trumansburg Area Chamber of Commerce, specifically to investigate financial irregularities within the organization.
The agenda for this month’s meeting can be found here.
The board of trustees held a public hearing on Local Law 2-2020, which would allow the village to exceed the tax levy limit of 1.78 percent this year.
According to Mayor Rordan Hart, the tax levy cap would only be exceeded if the village determines that it is necessary and appropriate. It is not uncommon for municipalities to pass a resolution at the beginning of budget season that lets them exceed the cap, should it later be deemed necessary.
No one spoke during the public hearing and the law was unanimously adopted by the board.
The board then held another public hearing for Local Law 3-2020, which is designed to permanently alter two parking spots in the village to 15 minutes to allow residents the ability to more easily drop off and pick up elderly people visiting the masonic lodge.
No one from the public commented on the second new law and the board unanimously passed it.
Trumansburg Farmers Market
Jill Farnham and Evangeline Sarat and Maggie Salvato appeared before the board to update trustees on the Trumansburg Farmers Market.
Farnham detailed how those associated with the farmers market believe there are further areas of expansion available which could eventually result in the village decreasing their annual contribution to keep the market up and running.
There was also discussion about setting up the farmers market as a possible non-profit entity. Hart discussed approaching local attorneys familiar with the non-profit creation process to discuss the legal issues surrounding the possibility. “Maybe we can get someone who would view it as pro-bono,” Hart said.
Overall, board members expressed enthusiasm with the farmers market and the progress that has been made.
Local Officials Reports
Anne Koreman, the Tompkins County legislator representing Trumansburg, appeared before the board and gave an update on Tompkins County’s preparations for the Coronavirus.
“No one in Tompkins County has tested positive for the coronavirus,” Koreman said. “We held a press conference on Monday to make sure we were getting all information out to the public.” Koreman said.
Ulysses Town Councilor Nancy Zahler also appeared with the board to deliver the news that the Trumansburg town supervisor has resigned halfway through their term, leaving the town to appoint a new supervisor until a special election can be held in November.
Board Member Reports
Deputy Mayor Deb Watkins expressed dismay over the status of the current sewer plant and the seemingly never-ending issues facing it.
“Disappointing at this point that it seems that we are doing a lot of maintenance over and over again for a plant that should have been solid for 10 years,” said Watkins. “But it’s been an issue almost every month where something is getting fixed or adjusted.”
Watkins said that work is currently underway to fix issues regarding leaks and electrical issues at the facility.
Issues surrounding the Trumansburg Area Chamber of Commerce, or TACC, were also discussed, with Hannon detailing how the chamber recently discovered that a credit card was fraudulently used in December to charge roughly $2500 worth of items.
Along with the allegedly fraudulent use of the credit card, Hannon said that there are more deeply rooted financial issues relating to poor management that are preventing the chamber from paying people and businesses it owes money.
“The chamber will be looking back five years through bank statements to find out what is going on… looking for more abnormalities,” said Hannon. “There is a lot to do there. It’s going to take a while to get that bank account where it needs to be to reimburse people. As bad as all this is, it’s an opportunity to improve how the chamber operates.”
To help jumpstart the process, Hannon, who believes the problem goes back further than December, said that he has been named interim president of the chamber and that he is already looking into bringing a new treasurer on board.
“Once these investigations are finished I will be very excited to hand this seat back over to someone in the business community,” Hannon said.
Mayor Hart also detailed how the village would combine two part-time jobs, code enforcement and zoning enforcement, into one job. Currently, both part-time jobs are held by one person. After the executive session, the board voted to approve Tom Meyers at a salary of roughly $58,000 for the position. Hart also detailed the hiring of two more part-time officers for the village, both of which were also approved after the executive session.
The board introduced Local Law 5-2020 to the public, which would change sewer rates to a bi-monthly billing cycle in May. According to village officials, while the change would have no impact on the amount of money owed annually, the hope is that increasing the number of bills per year will make the amounts more manageable for residents. The Board voted to hold a public hearing on the matter April 13.
Budget Working Session
According to village officials, the final draft of the budget is most likely completed, but that it is going to be allowed to sit for a short period of time to ensure nothing major comes up at the last moment.
Copies of the proposed budget will be made available on March 23, and the board will hold a public information session on the proposed budget on April 13.