The annual reorganizational meeting was held recently for some routine appointments to start the year. These included Deputy Supervisor Scott Converse, attorney Art Williams and our official bank depositories, Lyons Bank and Savannah Bank.
The board also made the formal appointments for the year and set salaries for the year thus far. Note that we are still negotiating with the teamsters for the highwaymen, so have made no decisions on raises or benefits for most other positions.
As you know, this is tax time. Just as a reminder, the town tax rate did not go up this year and the county tax rate actually went down a little bit. It is not a lot, but it’s in the right direction. Also, the town of Rose is once again within the governor’s tax cap/freeze and some of you will be receiving rebate checks. However, I have been informed that this is the last year of that program unless the legislature should extend it, which I do not expect.
In other matters, the town board recently approved a lighting upgrade for the library building and some of the exterior lights around the highway and library parking lot. This is part of a state program to improve lighting efficiency and reduce overall demand for electricity by installing new LED equipment. We believe this will reduce our electricity costs going forward and expect the payback period to be about a year and a half on this project. We are considering similar projects on other buildings, but have not made decisions on those particular items. I’ll let you know more as it develops. I expect that work will begin on this very soon.
Winter is back on us, so I would remind everyone to double-check their emergency preparedness items. Winter storms can make roads impassable at times and can still knock out power. The household that is ready for a power outage is ahead of the game.
Some of you may have noticed that the town barn recently took delivery of a new emergency generator. This is a full capacity, natural gas generator that we are installing so that the highway department can continue to function unimpeded by power outages. The size of the generator is such that it can power all normal functions of the building as well as the fuel depot for the emergency services. This generator cost us $23,099.10 installed, which was budgeted in the 2016 budget and all paid for. It will automatically test every week on a regular basis on Tuesdays so we can be sure it is functioning well. This is one more step in our larger plan of improving the resilience of the town of Rose when facing emergencies.
You may recall that the town office building has a generator — tested every Monday afternoon — and the Salter Road well site also has an emergency generator — checked weekly — both installed under one of my predecessors. The Catchpole Road well site will soon have one as part of the capital project to rebuild the water treatment plant. When completed, these emergency generators will allow the town government to operate more or less normally during emergencies and power outages. Combined with the fact that the two fire departments in town also have full capacity emergency generators, this means that we should be a fairly resilient community and able to take these emergencies in stride.
I would encourage you to prepare your household in similar fashion so that you are able to take a power outage or other emergency in stride. Please go to Ready.gov for more useful information about how to be ready for winter storms. Stay warm and safe!