By Deb Patterson
SYRACUSE — A 60-day extension to file a district plan will be sought by the Turkey Creek Dam and Dike Conservancy. The decision was made Tuesday morning, April 6, at a meeting of the conservancy board after learning some items are yet available.
Those items include a flood control structure agreement, flood control management agreement and a preliminary budget. The original deadline to submit the district plan is April 21.
Jeff Rowe, Baker Tilly Municipal Advisors; Bregan Echer, Lawson Fisher Associates; and David Hollenbeck, BTBH Law Firm addressed the items still needed. Bill Pipp, conservancy president, asked the district’s responsibility for controlling the gates be removed from the plan. The conservancy is only responsible for the maintenance and operation, Pipp stated. The town will be responsible for maintaining the lake level. However, during the discussion it was learned the agreements with the town on control management, ownership of the structure and an easement has yet to be created and presented to the town.
During the meeting Jim Silcox, board member, communicated via email with Steve Snyder, attorney, to work on those agreements and have those prepared to present to the town council at the April 20 council meeting, as well as place the topic on the meeting agenda.
Regarding the budget, Hollenbeck stated the budget figures he has were “so out of line with what is transpiring” he was reluctant to have it included. Rowe noted if he could obtain the figures, they would work on presenting a preliminary budget draft.
John Earnest, secretary, noted the desire to have the plan completed when presented. He questioned Hollenbeck on the difficulties to get a 30 to 60 day extension. Hollenbeck noted it was not unusual to seek an extension and it was better to seek the extension prior to the deadline than at the deadline date. He was directed to request the extension and to send Pipp a notification the request was received by state officials and read by state officials. “I don’t trust the government on anything or lawyers,” said Pipp noting he was not being facetious.
In other business, Pipp and Silcox both noted a recent meeting with Dave and Sherry Elliot, who own a majority of the property where the dike is located, was successful. Silcox stated they were thrilled they finally had a body of people willing to listen to them after years of begging for help. The agreement, yet to be created, is they would grant a 15-foot to 20-foot easement around the dike for construction and future maintenance. “They are pleased they do not have to deed over any property,” Silcox stated. It was noted the Elliotts are aware no trees could be planted on the dike.
Board discussion included approval of an internal control policy recommended by the state board of accounts regarding policy and procedures and a capital asset policy setting the framework for determining what is assets versus day to day operation costs.
Hollenbeck enlightened the board on surety bonds, liability insurance and error and omission coverage. Ernest stated he has received one quote and will be securing a second quote to bring back to an upcoming meeting. It was noted the board should start with a $100,000 surety bond to protect them in case of financial theft.
Tabled until the next meeting was any decision on website development. Silcox noted he had a lengthy phone conversation with BCS Management representatives and received a good proposal. He also received a second proposal from Sumy Designs. Further conversation with this company will be held and a recommendation from Silcox and Earnest will be made at the next meeting. Ernest noted the site will include budgets, meeting minutes, the district plan, a district map and board member contact information.
It was stated each board member will be given a district email address for shareholders to contact them on a district email instead of personal emails. Earnest also said the website company would put together mailing lists based on the Beacon online mapping system and handle all mailings to shareholders. “This will be our PR tool,” Earnest said.
The board set 10 a.m. Thursday, April 29, as its next meeting. The meeting will be held at the Wawasee Area Conservancy Foundation’s educational office on SR 13, Syracuse.