Large fire simulation for Hartford

On Monday April 15th and Tuesday April 16th from 6:30 pm to 10 pm there will be training taking place in the back lot of the Hartford firehouse simulating an ethanol tanker fire.

The Washington County Haz-Mat team is stationed out of the Hartford firehouse.

NYS Office of Fire Protection and Control will be bringing in their flammable combustible liquids training truck. This is a tractor trailer tanker mocked up as an ethanol tanker. They will be able to set it on fire over and over again so that the firefighters can tackle different scenarios.

During this live burn training, there will be times of considerable fire load as well as heavy smoke which may be seen from some distance, this could cause concern for citizens not aware of the training since we are in the “burn ban” season, so please help spread the word.

Regards, Dana

Hartford vs. Wash.Co. lawsuit (Eldridge Lane) settlement

On Friday April 19th, Washington County Board of Supervisors will vote to approve a settlement in Hartford’s lawsuit against the County over the Eldridge Lane landfill property in order to avoid a May 4th Washington County Supreme Court hearing on the matter. The Town already approved this settlement this past Tuesday.

In 2011, when I first looked into it, the County had mysteriously stopped making all payments to the Town and School for the previous 6 years.

Since I raised the issue in 2011, the County has paid $126,000 to the Town and School in back payments for PILOT (Payment In Lieu Of Taxes).

The details of this $126,000 received to date are;
Back PILOT payments to the Town paid 2011 = $15,581
Back PILOT payments to the School paid 2011 = $55,309
2012 January scheduled PILOT payment to Town = $3,116
2012 September scheduled PILOT payment to School = $9,218
2013 January scheduled PILOT payment to Town = $3,116

The proposed settlement of the lawsuit will provide the Town an additional lump sum of $40,000 and insure a $4,000 payment annually in lieu of taxes to the town for as long as the County still owns the land.

The Town will now take over maintenance control of the road. We are doing this because this would be the only dirt road maintained by the county and most likely would be poorly maintained. It is in the best public safety interest of those citizens living on Eldridge Lane to have the town maintain the road. Besides, once the County sells the land, the County will no longer be the largest land owner on the road and it is only natural that the town maintain it.

Now that this lawsuit will be settled, I will shift focus to get the County to sell the 485 acres of land and get it back onto the tax rolls where it belongs.

Regards, Dana

Hartford Post Office 12838 new hours

The USPS has announced the new hours of operation for the counter service which will take effect on 5/4/13.

The weekday counter service will be reduced from 8 hrs per day to 4 hrs per day. Saturday counter service will be unchanged.

Effective 5/4/13 the hours will be;

Weekday counter hours 11am-1pm (lunch break 1pm-230pm) 230pm-430pm
Saturday counter hours 8am-1130am

Weekday PO Box lobby will be open 8am-5pm
Saturday PO Box lobby will be open 8am-12noon.

The PO Box lobby mail will be in the mail slots by 1pm M-F and 1030am Saturday.


Transfer Station update

As of 4/22/13, Earth Waste & Metal will operate the 5 facilities 6 days per week.
M-F 8am-4pm and Sat 8am-1pm

For the first 30 days of operations a County worker will be onsite with the new private employees to act as a transition person and also to collect the stickers.

You will still be able to use the stickers for full face value, same price as before on your bags until they run out. One sticker $2.25 per bag as current price.

The stations want to use up these stickers quickly so if you have extra stickers in your hand they want you to redeem them at the stations and will pay you cash for them. For example if you show up with 10 extra stickers in your hand a worker will give you $22.50 cash.

Or you can go to the WashCo Treasurer’s office and also redeem them for face value. There is no expiration at the Treasurers office so if you live out of county, and have a camper for instance you can redeem them a year from now at the Treasurer’s office.

It is important to use up any stickers or redeem them ASAP because Earth Waste Metal will soon install scales, even bag scales where you will pay per pound for your bags. The new operator mentioned that he thought the price per bag kitchen waste would be around 15 cents per pound.

On 4/22/13 the Stations will start accepting cash or plastic payment. You will no longer need any stickers once you deplete your supply. The new operator hopes that there will not be any stickers used at the stations much beyond the first 30 days of operation. You will perform a “pay as you throw” and will not need to join a membership, etc.

The Town of Hartford Town Clerk will not sell any stickers beyond 4/20/13. The Town will not redeem any stickers as these should be used up at the Stations.

The stations will continue to run as they are now with the same separation of recyclables but with the following changes;
1) White goods like refrigerators, stoves and appliances will now be accepted as free disposal.
2) Large quantity of newspaper, cardboard, etc. over 500 lbs they will pay you for it. This should revive the old practice of boyscouts, etc. collecting newspapers to raise money.
3) The Stations will be open 6 days per week instead of 3 days.
4) Since they will offer more services, they expect to employ more persons than the County currently does. The workers will be on private payroll instead of County payroll.


Reply to PostStar editorial on Hartford Post Office

In today’s (2/6/13) Post Star newspaper, there was an editorial regarding the Hartford Post Office. In response, I have requested that my reply, shown below be submitted as a “Guest Essay”. A Guest Essay allows 650 words which is about twice as many words as a Letter to the Editor allows. Dana

Dear Editor,

I feel that the editorial of 2/6/13 regarding the operations of rural Post Offices, specifically Hartford’s, overlooks some important facts and issues. While I will address the issues of the Hartford Post Office, these same issues also hold true for other rural Post Offices facing a reduction in retail counter operations.

The Hartford Town Board recognizes that in times of economic hardship, you may need to downsize in order to survive. We do not dispute the need to reduce hours of retail counter operations as long as the hours are ones that make sense.

The USPS has proposed the hours of 8am-12pm for Hartford’s retail sales counter. This is when a Postal employee will be in the building to take your packages or sell money orders and stamps. I feel the proposed morning hours are blind to the customer base and retail sales side of the business. Only customers that are the boss, retired or unemployed can go during those morning hours. The largest employer in town is the Hartford Central School K-12 which dismisses at 2:30pm. The staff of the school cannot go to the Post Office between 8am-12pm. If you work in town and quickly want to run up during your lunch break to mail a package or buy stamps, guess what? the Post Office just closed the retail counter as soon as your lunch break began.

If you were ever at school at 2:30pm dismissal time you would notice quite a few parents arriving to pick up their kids. A business like the Post Office, that depends upon customers driving to your store front would be foolish not to take advantage of a large influx of car traffic from school staff and parents of school children just a quarter of a mile down Main Street from you between the hours of 2:30 to 3pm every work day. Also a large percentage of Hartford’s citizens work out of town and cannot get to the Post Office until after work.

The hours of 8am to 12 noon are very business unfriendly. This is the beauty of the Town’s desire to have the weekday retail counter hours set for 2pm-6pm with Saturday remaining unchanged at 8am-11:30am. If you want to run a business and be successful, you must consider your retail customer base and when your customers would be available. The Town of Hartford wants the Post Office to be successful as that is the best way to insure it will not close.

Any issues with the attached PO Box room being unlocked so a box holder can access their mail can be remedied with a time-clock-lock put on the exterior access door. This would automatically lock and unlock the door based upon the time of day without human interaction. If you happened to be in the room when the door locks behind you, you can simply let yourself out with a door unlock push bar like many emergency exits have.

The initiative that the Town Board of Hartford has adopted regarding the Post Office operations is supported by Assemblyman Tony Jordan, Congressional Rep. Chris Gibson and Congressional Rep Bill Owens. Article II Section 8 of the United States Constitution states that Congress shall have the power to establish Post Offices.

The problems of the USPS are many and need to be addressed by Congress, The fact that the USPS pension plan is pre-funded to the point that a future employee, not even born yet, is already covered, is absolutely ridiculous if it means that my Town has to loose its Post Office.

If the USPS has the ultimate goal of closing these rural Post Offices and want to use a dramatic drop in retail sales as justification, then turning a blind eye to your customer base will be a self fulfilling prophesy.

Dana Haff
Hartford Town Supervisor

Hartford Post Office update

Click on the below link to read a Post Star Story on the 12838 Hartford Zip Code Post Office and the support that the Town has from Congressman Bill Owens.

In a letter to the USPS dated 1/25/13, Congressman Owens writes;

“Dear Ms. Tremblay,
I am writing in support of the Town of Hartford’s request for maintaining the Hartford Post Office Retail Counter’s weekday hours of service between 2:00pm and 6:00pm.
While I am well aware of the Postal Service’s current financial constraints, I do not feel that closure or consolidation would be the most effective solution. Instead, I feel that in order to alleviate these concerns we must address the root cause of the current financial situation through legislation that will ultimately preserve the USPS in the long term.
Therefore, I join with the Town of Hartford in recognition that, due to ongoing budget constraints in the United States Postal Service, the town’s Post Office should reduce its weekly hours of operation. Even so, it is essential that this reduction in hours should not jeopardize access to the mail or the retail services the Post Office provides.
Thank you for your consideration in this matter, I appreciate any information that may be helpful to my constituent. I am grateful for any assistance you may be able to provide in this matter and look forward to your timely response.
Sincerely, Bill Owens, Member of Congress”

2013 Town Budget Letter

Dear Hartford Taxpayer,

Soon, you should receive the 2013 Town and County Tax bill showing the three separate property tax levies.

The levy is the amount of money to be collected through Real Property taxes. When you pay your 2013 property taxes, it will be divided and dispersed to three separate entities. These entities are; County, Town, and Town Fire Protection. Each entity has its own separate tax rate and levy on the Tax Bill.

This letter will address the taxes that you pay towards the Hartford Town-wide levy only.

In 2011 the Town tax levy was decreased by 15% from the year before. Last year, the 2012 Town tax levy was increased by 0.7% and this year’s 2013 Town tax levy will increase by 1.1%. These are all well below the 2% Tax Cap. All in all, the 2013 Town levy is still down 13.2% from the levy of 2010.

The reverse side of this letter shows the history of Hartford’s Town Tax Levy going back five years (Included in the Post Office mailed version).

The Town of Hartford will operate on the same levy as last year. This is because the 1.1% increase will not be used within the town but actually goes from the Town to Washington County to cover a fee increase for the Town’s Workman’s Compensation Insurance coverage. Washington County administers this insurance pool coverage for the Town and the fee is sent to the County through the Town levy.

Some highlights of the 2013 Town budget include;
* Funding to build a salt storage shed which will house the winter salt used on the Town roads.
* Funding to increase the amount of permanent improvements to the Town’s roads including
* Funding to encourage increases in Broadband coverage for under served parts of the Town.
* Funding to codify all of the Town’s current Local Laws and Ordinances so that the public can
go online, access, and make sense of them.

It is important that your Town government works hard to keep expenses down and your Town tax levy burden as low as possible. One only needs to look around Town at the increasing number of vacant homes to know that the economy has not turned around yet.

Regards, Dana Haff – Hartford Town Supervisor

12838 Hartford Post Office Resolution part 2

Post Office hours of retail operation Resolution that was passed at the 11/13/12 Town Board Meeting.

Whereas: The USPS has announced that the hours of operation for the 12838 Hartford Post Office Retail Counter will be reduced from 7.5 hours to 4 hours per week day with Saturday operation remaining unaffected;

Whereas: The USPS has announced that the determination of which particular hours per weekdays has not yet been determined;

Whereas: Numerous Hartford citizens made their opinions known at the USPS meeting of 11/1/12 that they would prefer afternoon Retail Counter hours;

Whereas: A large majority of the Town’s citizens are employed outside of the town at typical weekday 9am-5pm jobs, therefore they would not be able to avail themselves to the Retail Counter until after 5pm;

Whereas: The largest single employer within the town is the Hartford Central School District which does not dismiss students until 2:30pm, therefore school staff would not be able to avail themselves to the Retail Counter until after dismissal;

Whereas: Any hours of weekday Retail Counter Operations, that do not take these facts into account will only serve to guarantee that the Retail business load will dramatically drop off and further encourage the USPS to look at closing the facility in the future;

Resolve: That the Town of Hartford Town Board feels that retaining the local USPS Hartford Post Office with Retail Counter is vital to the identity of the community;

Resolve: That the Town of Hartford Town Board encourages the USPS to use a Time Clock Lock to the exterior door of the PO Box room so that opening and access will be unaffected by the hours of manning;

Resolve: The Town of Hartford Town Board requests that the USPS set the reduced hours of weekday manned Retail Operation for 2pm-6pm with Saturdays remaining unaffected at 8am-11:30am

WWII B-17 Bomber Pilot

Witness an important piece of history when Hartford’s Earl Morrow will tell his story on Sunday 11/11/12 Veteran’s Day at the Hartford Yoked Parish (brick Baptist Church on Main Street County Route 23) at 1pm.  Earl will speak of his WWII experiences including his time as a B-17 Bomber Pilot and being shot down over Germany,  spending the end of the war as a German POW.   Sponsored by Boy Scout Troop #40 of Hartford. There is no cost and refreshments will be served.  Dana

Post Office meeting

The United States Postal Service (USPS) held a public meeting Thursday night at the school to discuss the proposed reduction of operation for the 12838 Hartford Post Office.

The reduction of the retail counter where you would mail packages, buy stamps, money orders, etc is written in stone.  It is going to happen regardless of public input.  The retail counter will be open for 4 hours Monday through Friday. The Saturday retail counter will remain open as it is now 8am – 1130am.

The room where the PO boxes are will have a time clock lock on the outside door so it will open and close automatically as per current hours.  If you happen to be inside checking your mail when the door automatically locks behind you in the evening, there will be a push bar that will let you escape.

The only question now remains what 4 hours per weekday the retail counter will be open.  The USPS felt that 8am to 12pm would be good but I informed them that much of Hartford is a bedroom community where citizens travel outside of the town for employment.  8am-12pm will only guarantee a self fulfilling prophesy where the retail volume will dramatically drop off and in 2 years they will use that excuse to close the office.  The retail counter needs to be open with a time that commuters returning home from work can still mail a package or buy stamps .  Something like 2:30pm to 6:30pm.

It remains to be seen how the USPS will decide on the hours.  I suggested that they mail out another survey but this time include all of Hartford, not just 12838.  I already know they will not do that because I think they really don’t care what all of Hartford’s citizens in the 4 other zip codes think. They automatically rejected that request for the first survey and I do not expect them to reconsider this time around either.  If they do send out another survey,  they need to list 4 options of hours in order to gather a concensus, not just say “fill in the blank”.

Article I section 8 of the US Constitution says that Congress shall have the power to establish Post Offices and post Roads. Only the Congress can effect real changes to the USPS. The USPS has currently pre-funded its pension and health plan for the next 75 years. That means that future employees of the USPS that have not even been born yet have their pension already covered. The USPS is $15 Billion in debt and must reduce their operations in the smaller PostOffices but yet they have the next 75 years worth of pension already paid into? This is like a fat cow starving to death and is crazy!

Mr. Matt Doheny, who is running to be our Congressman, prepared a Hartford statement and had it read by Andy Trombley who was present.  Andy is helping to run Matt’s campaign.  Matt feels that any decision the USPS makes about the Hartford Post Office should be reflective of input from the entire town, not just the 12838 zipcode.  Since Mr. Doheny has a good chance of being out next Congressman, I am thankful he made the effort to be represented at the meeting.