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Posted on: January 2, 2024

Town Supervisor Quarterly Letter January 2024

Happy and Healthy New Year 2024 to all and Welcome back to view my third year of quarterly updates for our Town of Massena’s Website!

First, I want to thank both Debra Willer and Francis Carvel for all their dedicated work on several town committees, doing research in many respective areas in their efforts to help the board and the residents of Massena. They have indicated that nobody knows the job until working on the job. I also want to welcome newly elected board members Kristy Baker and Raymond Lancto. We had a Greet & Meet on December 28 to gather some on-the-job insight from town hall employees’ and department heads’ jobs.

Please follow our organizational meeting agenda at our website and again I reach out to you to consider contacting me to be added to our waiting list for committees: Library, Museum, Massena Electric Dept., Planning, Zoning, Ethics, Joint Recreation or if you would like to help with the fishing tournaments.

Assessor Vern Brand retired at the end of December, and I want to thank him for his work as our assessor since 2018.  I want to welcome Brittany Rushlow who has been hired as Acting Assessor who will transition into the job with assistance from both Vern and SL County Director of Real Property Bruce Green.

The Town Board had a busy and productive year in 2023. One runway at the airport was rehabilitated; the plans for a new water district on the South Racquette are in process following all necessary steps from design and construction; and fishing tournaments are scheduled for this coming summer and early fall to name a few.

C&S Engineers continues work for Massena Airport with plans to build a sand storage building in 2024, a grant for electrical improvements, and another for airfield marking. With issues of heat at the terminal, Trane has been contracted for replacement of respective equipment and the building control system at the passenger terminal.

Kenyon Pipeline Inspection has been approved for work on the Highland Road Sanitary Sewer Improvements. There were major issues last winter on this road.

Please put these dates on your calendar for big Fishing tournaments: Phoenix Bass July 20, Bass Pro Tour August 6-11, Toyota Series August 22-24, Cashion Rods Tour September 7th.

Jason Hendricks continues with improvements to our website of both Town and Explore Massena. The Rockin’ the River Festival date has not yet been announced but it is great to hear from residents that they are looking forward to the next one.

Town board members and I have continued with training via webinars through both the Office of the State Comptroller (OSC) and the Association of Towns (AOT). These are very beneficial for building and maintaining our working budget.  With the Massena Memorial Hospital pension debt of $4.8million left to the Town of Massena when it was sold in 2019, the budgets in all departments have presented challenges. We are thankful to the departments that showed understanding in cutting back for 2024. I have gained a lot of education from my monthly Supervisor/Mentor meetings with NYS Association of Towns’ attorneys and leaders.

I was invited by the NYS Association of Towns to participate in a meeting on December 1st. Along with selected tax collectors, assessors, and other supervisors we reviewed and approved 13 proposed legislative resolutions which the AOT will present to their board delegates at the annual business meeting in April 2024.

As a member of the St. Lawrence County Supervisors’ Association, I have been involved as a member of the County Highway Contract negotiations committee, the scholarship committee and have attended quarterly meetings. I was recently elected their president for 2024.

I have earned certificates of Completion from Office of the State Comptroller in successfully completing courses on: Financial Condition Analysis for Board Member, Understanding the Budget Process, Multiyear Capital Planning, Improving the Effectiveness of Your Claims Auditing Process. I also attended the seminar with USI Insurance Services on: Legal Updates: What NY Employers Need to Know in 2023.

Board members, some town hall employees, and management staff attended the 29th SUNY Potsdam Local Government Conference. I attended the sessions on: Assessor.

Following advice from our audit firm of Bowers & Company we updated policies for: Fixed Asset, Fund Balance, Credit Card, Whistleblower, and Procurement. We will continue to work on updating others which date back years and decades.

The town employees and board members earned annual training certificates for both NYS Required Training for: Anti-Discrimination and Sexual Harassment, and Workplace Violence Prevention.

Grant writer Linda McQuinn continues to work on both state and federal grants.

We continue to work with our Attorney Eric Gustafson on finalizing policy for crypto currency mining.

Council members Deb Willer, Pat Facteau and I have attended St. Lawrence River Area of Concern at Massena/Akwesasne Remedial Action Committee quarterly meetings and heard presentations on: Ecosystem Management, Binational reports, Restoration of degrades areas, and the Watershed.

The Massena Chamber of Commerce was approved to merge with the St. Lawrence County Chamber of Commerce and they have plans to open our chamber offices with personnel who will work for both county and Massena.

We recently received some overdue Compact Money and discussions will ensue on proper utilization to benefit our town residents.

Serving the Town of Massena for a Positive Future!

Supervisor Sue (Spadafore) Bellor

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