B y Jared Stamm

At its monthly town meeting in June, Hebron officials discussed a range of issues, from reopening the town office – “We’ll leave it to [town clerk] Dorothy Worthington’s discretion,” said Hebron town supervisor Brian Campbell – to a Go Fund Me page (https://www.gofundme.com/f/nancy-amp-eds-family-farm) referred to by Worthington to raise funds for dog control officer Nancy Quell and her husband Ed, whose home burned to the ground on June 3, to a town maintenance mishap reported by highway superintendent Floyd Pratt.

The incident involved a mowing machine throwing a stone through a side window of a car belonging to a resident of Bogtown Road in Hebron. Pratt reported that the town’s insurance policy would not cover the cost of repair to the window, as the insurer did not find any recklessness on the part of the town employee operating the mower.

A large portion of the meeting involved discussion of the state of the gravel pit owned by Steve Losee that the Hebron highway department used for a period of time, but has not used for at least the last three years. The town currently has no machinery or trucks at the gravel pit.

Campbell noted that Hebron’s five-year permit with the state Department of Environmental Conservation to use the pit runs out in late September. He continued: “And the state may require certain work to be done before it considers Hebron’s responsibility toward the pit complete.”

Board member George Flint said he had spoken with Ron Jamieson, who has a facility a quarter mile away from the pit and has taken gravel from it on occasion, as does the owner of the pit.

The work required by the state at the end of the term of the permit might involve the town “reclaiming the land,” which could be problematic, said Flint. “We don’t want to cover it over so the owner can’t use it,” he said. The work also could be expensive. Campbell said, “If our crew can’t do it, we might put the work out for bid.”

The board agreed several questions needed to be answered. Campbell asked, “Are we closing the whole thing, or are we just closing the part Hebron used,” to which Flint added, “We don’t want to get sued for destroying Losee’s property” by reclaiming it according to the state’s guidelines.

All agreed that the parties involved, including Losee, the town of Hebron and the DEC, should “get in the same room and talk,” said Campbell.

He added, “Ultimately, this is at the DEC’s discretion. But I’m sure you have to fill out the form that you’re going to close it before they’ll even talk, and the first line of the form should state that we haven’t been there in three years and haven’t been using it.”

Moving on, the board discussed the status of creating an employee handbook for members of the highway department that has been on the agenda for some time.

Board member Jill Nadolski reported that she had acquired a copy of Salem’s handbook. “It’s comprehensive and has been updated periodically.” The handbook might be used as the basis for an employee handbook for Hebron, she said.

Campbell suggested also asking New York’s Association of Towns to send along employee handbooks from towns of equivalent size and structure for purposes of review, and Nadolski said that the New York Association of Town Superintendents of Highways website also has some handbooks that could be downloaded for review.

Nadolski said, “I think we should form a task force to look at this that includes Floyd Pratt, George Flint, [town clerk/bookkeeper] Sandy Huffer and one of the guys from the highway department.”

And town resident Elizabeth Gambee Osborne said, “Once Hebron’s handbook is written, it should be reviewed by our town attorney, too.”

Campbell said he wanted to ensure that “the handbook is as user-friendly as possible.”

The meeting ended with the supervisor’s comments on his new role as county budget officer. “We’re trying to put together a team that will be fair to the taxpayers and fair to our employees during a terribly unfair situation.” Campbell said that because of shutdowns related to COVID-19, the county is “looking at anywhere from a million and a half to a five million dollar shortfall in sales tax.”

He added, “The good news is that we have a reasonable fund balance, so this won’t kill us for a year or two.” He also said, “We’re set where we are as a town, but the county is a different deal. Our biggest goal will be to slow the money moving.”

The town’s next meeting with be on July 13 at 7:30 p.m.



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