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Barton to begin development of county shared service initiative

BARTON — The Barton Town Board approved to start authorizing the county’s shared services initiative project within the town and the purchase of property on Old Barton Road on Monday.

Douglas J. Camin, Tioga County’s Chief Information Officer, answered questions from the board and discussed the proposed plan for the shared service system

Towards the end of last year, Camin came to the town board to discuss including the Town of Barton in the shared service initiative.

The Town of Barton approved a resolution to submit a letter of approval last summer, but the board did not approve being involved in the shared service initiative, according to Camin.

The Town of Owego, Town of Barton, Village of Waverly and Village of Nichols were the four municipalities that the IT department of Tioga County submitted for a shared service grant from New York State.

Tioga County was awarded around $210,000 from the grant to initiate the shared service system with these four municipalities.

“We did a cost analysis as part of the grant originally, (and) based on your size there would be some small on-going savings from your IT operations. But the big thing that comes up front is that the state essentially pays for all the inventory and equipment that brings the shared services together,” Camin explained. “So that includes any new computers that are necessary across everything here, any new network equipment, an entirely new phone system.”

With the shared service initiative, the county will handle any IT operations of the town.

“Broadly speaking, you’re going to get a bunch of new equipment probably somewhere between $10,000 to $20,000 worth of equipment at no cost, all paid for from the state grant that’s already authorized,” Camin said.

The change in the systems at Barton will take four to six months, according to Camin. If the board approves and gets the process started by this month, the town could be on the county shared service system by the end of the year or earlier next year.

The Town of Barton is in need of system upgrades as they’re still running on Windows 7 for the network servers, which will not be available after January 2020.

“There’s a lot of avoided costs here,” Camin said. “I would say to the upside for the town is you’re looking at avoided costs of about $20,000 to $30,000.”

Town Clerk Joan Richards mentioned that she would like the new system up and running before tax season.

Deputy Town Supervisor Donald Foster asked if the town had to “put up any money for this project?”

Camin said there would be a 10 percent match, but the match for the town would be funded through the grant.

Board member Kevin Everly asked if the involved municipalities in this first phase of the project would go online at the same time?

The new systems will be staggered, with the Village of Owego going online first. The Village of Waverly was supposed to be second to be online, but the “make-ready costs for Waverly came out a little high,” and the cost structure is being changed, which has extended the construction of Waverly’s new system.

Camin expects that Barton’s new phone system would be operating before the Village of Waverly due to the current cost issues of the village.

Camin asked if the board would approve a resolution to authorize the town supervisor to review and sign off on any necessary shared service agreements.

“I think we should rule on it because we don’t want to go into (the shared service system) late and we might get into next year and it would be nice to have this place (updated),” Supervisor Leon “Dick” Cary said.

Foster asked if there was a “plan B” if the shared service project failed in Barton or if the town could back out of the project later on? Camin stated that the town always had Pyramid, the outside vendor for the network systems.

A town resident also asked a few questions about the shared service project, first asking with the current projects in the Village of Owego if they had run into any issues or concerns so far. Camin stated that they haven’t as of yet.

“We did a pretty in-depth analysis last year as part of the grant application process,” Camin explained. “I came on site, I surveyed all the computers, we actually surveyed the phones, we’re not flying blind coming into this.”

The resident also asked about the transition timeframe and how the conversion to the new system would go down? Camin explained that the transition will more than likely take a full day and that the town can continue to use the same system programs and software that the town has been using, for example the water/sewer billing software.

“So, your water/sewer billing software, if it’s different then the town of Owego’s, it’s not like we’re like ‘oh everybody’s got to use the same thing because you’re on the county’s stuff now’,” Camin explained. “You’ll continue to use all the things that you’re currently using.”

The board passed a resolution to approve and authorize the town supervisor to review and execute the shared service initiative agreement to allow the county to provide IT services for the town.

The board also discussed the purchase of property on Old Barton Road from Tioga County. The property the town is hoping to purchase will need to be cleared of any garbage and debris. The property “is floodplain, it’s worthless land (and) it’s a mess with trash everywhere,” and there is a destroyed double wide trailer on the property, according to the town board.

Cary stated that the town sent a money offer to the county for the property and that the county accepted it.

“We sent them a check already and the only thing we have to do is our attorney record would have to record the sale of the property,” Cary stated.

“I think in the interest of proper procedure here we should probably authorize that,” Everly said.

Foster asked how much the town would be spending on the property. Cary stated that the property was $1,650 and that the purchase of the property would be approved by the county sometime this month.

The town attorney and Foster stated that there should be a resolution drawn up to approve the purchase of the property.

The board approved for a resolution to be drawn up to purchase the property on Old Barton Road for $1,650.

The board also announced that an engineer from McFarland Johnson Inc. will be down to survey West Pine Street on Wednesday at 9 a.m., following the concerned letter from the Village of Waverly’s Board of Trustees.


News
Philadelphia trio charged with attempting to break into Towanda home

TOWANDA — Three Philadelphia residents are in the Bradford County Jail after they allegedly attempted to break into a Towanda home and assaulted the homeowner on Thursday.

Samantha Henry-Coleman, Davon K. Abner and Eric D.D. Russell have all been charged with one first-degree felony count of both aggravated assault and burglary. They are also facing one count of criminal trespass, a second-degree felony; one count of criminal mischief, a second-degree misdemeanor; one count of disorderly conduct, a third-degree misdemeanor; and one count of harassment, which is a summary offense.

Henry-Coleman is also facing one count of false identification to law enforcement, which is a third-degree misdemeanor.

The Pennsylvania State Police were called to Center Street in Towanda just after midnight on July 4 for an attempted burglary. The trooper that arrived “observed shattered glass to the screen door and the main door of the residence.” The metal frame of the doorway was also damaged.

According to police, the victim stated that his ex-girlfriend — Henry-Coleman — and two males had showed up to his house and attempted to kick his door and strike the door with a metal pipe.

The victim was standing on the inside of the doorway, holding the door shut to prevent the suspects from making entry.

According to the affidavit, the victim was struck with an unknown object on the left shoulder. The trooper on scene observed “a swollen mark and a small, open laceration on the left shoulder.” There was also “a small, open laceration on the left ear of the victim,” according to police.

Police watched security camera footage and observed a White Chevrolet Tahoe pull into the driveway of the Center Street home. Henry-Coleman exited the vehicle with two males, who were later identified as Abner and Russell, and approached the doorway.

“A visible altercation took place at the doorway, and the actors were seen striking and kicking the door,” the affidavit said. “Then, Russell was seen running back to the vehicle, grabbing a metal pipe out of the trunk of the vehicle and returning to the doorway.”

The trooper said the video showed the suspects swinging the metal pipe and striking the doorway. The sound of the glass on the door breaking was also audible on the security footage, according to police.

The suspects fled the scene after “numerous neighbors” came to the property, according to the affidavit.

Pennsylvania State Troopers out of Laporte conducted a traffic stop on the Tahoe and notified the trooper in charge of the burglary investigation.

The trooper located a black metal pipe with white paint transfer and a damaged end in the trunk of the vehicle. During the stop, Henry-Coleman provided false identification to police.

All three suspects were arraigned by Magisterial District Judge Larry Hurley on July 4 and remanded to the Bradford County Jail in lieu of $100,000 straight bail. They are scheduled to appear in front of District Judge Todd Carr in Towanda on July 17.


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AP
GOP scoffs at law allowing release of Trump's state taxes

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — President Donald Trump’s New York tax returns could be given to Congress under a new law in his home state that was signed Monday by the Democratic governor and dismissed by Republicans as a partisan game that wouldn’t stand up in court.

The measure signed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo directs state tax officials to share state returns of certain elected and appointed officials upon written request from the chairpersons of one of three committees: House Ways and Means, Senate Finance or Joint Committee on Taxation.

Designed to give Congress a way around the Republican president’s refusal to release his returns, the new law is expected to face legal challenges. And it’s unclear whether Congress will request access to Trump’s state returns, which tax experts say would include many of the same details as his federal return.

“No one person — no matter what office they might hold — is above the law,” said Sen. Brad Hoylman, a Manhattan Democrat and the Senate sponsor of the legislation.

All sides expect legal challenges and requests for injunctions, meaning it could be many months before any state tax returns are handed over. The White House did not return a message seeking comment Monday on the law.

Trump has long filed taxes in New York as a resident of the state. He is the first president since Watergate to decline to make his returns public, often claiming that he would release them if he were not under audit.

The president has not weighed in on the new law but has repeatedly accused New York Democrats of using their positions to harass him and his allies. Republicans in New York say that while the law was written to target Trump, it could be used to go after any other official who pays taxes in the state.

“This is purely political,” state Republican Party Chairman Nick Langworthy told reporters Monday. “It is an attempt to settle political scores.”

Langworthy predicted the law “will never stand up in the courts.”

Democrats are eager to get ahold of the returns, which could reveal details about his business dealings, his debts and international financial ties.

If Congress does request and obtain Trump’s state tax returns, that doesn’t mean the public gets to see them. Under federal law, the confidential information in the returns is supposed to be for the committee’s eyes only.

To address concerns about the tax privacy of everyday New Yorkers, state lawmakers narrowed the measure so it applies only to the state income tax returns elected officials, party leaders and top public officials, like judges — as well as any businesses or legal entities they control.

In addition, state tax officials would be required to redact personal information, such as Social Security numbers or personal addresses, before handing over the documents.

Top lawmakers in Washington have differed on whether congressional committees should make use of the new law.

U.S. House Judiciary Chairman Jerrold Nadler, a New York Democrat, has touted the bill as “a workaround to a White House that continues to obstruct and stonewall the legitimate oversight work of Congress.”

Ways and Means Chairman Richard Neal, D-Massachusetts, however, has signaled that he may not be interested. Neal is already pursuing Trump’s federal returns and has threatened to go to court in order to get the administration to comply.

“The difficulty is that we don’t have control over state taxes,” Neal said in May when asked about the New York legislation. “For the moment, we’re still proceeding on our own path.”

The group Stand Up America, created in 2016 to mobilize opposition to Trump, urged Democrats in Washington to immediately request Trump’s state returns.

“New York has provided Congress a new route for getting answers on behalf of the American people — and all they have to do is ask,” Ryan Thomas, a spokesman for the organization, said in a statement. “Any further delay is an injustice to the American people who deserve transparency about Trump’s foreign entanglements and massive conflicts of interest.”

Neal has issued subpoenas for six years of Trump’s tax documents, but Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin has so far resisted, saying Congress’ request “lacks a legitimate legislative purpose.”


News
Ulster man charged with assaulting state troopers

ULSTER TOWNSHIP — An Ulster man was arrested for allegedly assaulting members of the Pennsylvania State Police last week as troopers attempted to detain him for criminally trespassing.

Jeremy Joesph Wilkinson, 44, of Ulster was charged with two counts of aggravated assault, a second-degree felony; simple assault, a second-degree misdemeanor; resisting arrest, a second-degree misdemeanor; criminal trespass, a third-degree misdemeanor; harassment, a summary charge; and disorderly conduct, another summary charge.

According to the Pennsylvania State Police based in Towanda, troopers were dispatched to Ulster Township for a report of Wilkinson trespassing at an abandoned house. Wilkinson attempted to evade detection by “traversing through yards,” according to police.

Troopers then observed Wilkinson on a front porch and ordered him to step off the porch, to which Wilkinson did not. Two troopers escorted Wilkinson off the porch to the sidewalk. After being advised that Wilkinson was in investigative detention, Wilkinson attempted to walk away from the troopers.

Wilkinson became aggressive and took a fighting posture towards the troopers, stating “You’re not gonna handcuff me.”

Troopers attempted to handcuff him, succeeding in getting one handcuff on his right arm before Wilkinson attempted to punch one of the troopers in the face. Troopers managed to gain control of Wilkinson securing him in handcuffs.

“Wilkinson remained aggressive and continued to try and escape troopers. Wilkinson told the troopers multiple times that ‘they were (expletive) and he was going to kick their (expletive),’” the report states.

One of the troopers’ hand was injured during the struggle.

Wilkinson was arraigned and placed in the Bradford County Jail on in lieu of $75,000 straight bail. A preliminary hearing before Magisterial District Court Judge Todd Carr is scheduled for July 10.