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Review of dispatching operations held in North Collins

NORTH COLLINS — Following a two-and-one-half hour executive session, John Tobia, town of North Collins councilman reported, “We have listened to a number of employee issues and concerns. We will try to address these issues within a couple weeks.”

Tobia's statement followed the private session that saw a number of dispatchers and coordinators for Helmuth Fire Control called in to meet with the board. The meetings were part of a board work session held May 27.

North Collins serves as the lead agency for the dispatch center, which is also supported by the village of North Collins, the town of Collins and the Cattaraugus Reservation of the Seneca Nation.

Last year, the North Collins Board passed a resolution that it would exit as lead agency on the first of this year. Early plans were for the Seneca Nation to take over the lead role, but that change has demonstrated little momentum, at present.

Instead, North Collins still finds itself with the continued business operation of the center.

No other details of the executive session were made public.

A second executive session was held at meeting's end, at the request of Presley Redeye, liaison between the Seneca Nation and Helmuth Control. Redeye said he too had issues he wished to discuss with the board, but that individuals’ names would be used and he did not believe it proper to speak in a public forum.

Greater restrictions on parking in town parks could be coming at the request of Highway Superintendent David Winter. Referring to the town's busiest park, Fricano, Winter said. “I put up signs, ‘Please don't park on the grass,’ last year. This year, I put up ‘do not park on the grass’ signs. We are trying to make our parks look nice and have repaired and resown the grass.” Winter suggested the board look at a stronger policy. “In Brant Town Park the signs clearly state ‘$50 fine for parking on grass,’” he said.

Town Attorney Richard Schaus suggested the board review its policies and if it chose, could establish a local law that would prohibit parking in designated areas.

Fund raising within town departments also received attention, with Tobia asking for procedures for the town's recreation board to use in soliciting donations and staging fundraisers.

Town Supervisor Rosaline Seege replied there would be no problem placing the funds in the recreation budget line and adjusting the budget appropriately. She only requested that fundraising be well documented and monies turned into the town promptly for deposit.

Winter has fundraising goals, as well. He said he is looking to erect playground equipment at all three town parks that are accommodating to children with disabilities such as autism.

He asked the board to consider purchasing one set of the equipment, at a cost of $2,300 and installing it at Fricano Park. He said that it would be easier to solicit donations to equip the other two parks if the community could see one in operation.

Seege suggested a letter be sent to the New York State Comptroller relating an unaccounted for amount of more than $100,000 on the town's books. The figure was verified in a recent external audit that the town had performed.

Whether any money is actually missing or exactly when the number first appeared on the books is not known and performing audits for every year going back 20 or more years would cost as much or more than any money that might be recovered.

Schaus recommended a letter explaining what was found by the external auditor be acquired and sent to the comptroller.

More research will be conducted on the insurance claim stemming from damage to the town's highway garage. Repairs and modifications cost more than $20,000, while the most recent insurance estimate would reimburse the town just over $7,000. Concerns were raised that perhaps not all the repair invoices had been presented to the insurance carrier.
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