By Margo Frink
(Town of Lenox, NY – Jan. 9) Several town residents approached the Lenox Town Board with a petition signed by more than 200 residents asking for moratorium to prevent hydrofracking in the township.
“We are asking that you do not allow drilling for one year until everyone can be educated in the community,” said Toshia Hance, Oneida County resident who was invited by the group to be the spokesperson.
Hance provided reports and documentation on gas drilling and its effects on the landscape including last year’s violations in Pennsylvania.
Supervisor Rocco DiVeronica said the board needs to educate itself before it can make any decisions.
“I don’t know what rights the town has,” DiVeronica said. “We have to protect the people.” He questioned how to create balance between the constituents who are in favor of gas drilling and those that aren’t.
Hance suggested a moratorium is in effect before gas companies begin filing permits, and said in the past companies have begun work the same day a permit was filed.
“The township has the right to implement a ban,” Hance said. She provided the board information on how to go about doing this legally.
According to town records there are 60 signed leases comprising around 3,500 acres in the town of Lenox.
At the request of Councilman Anthony Palamara, codes enforcement Officer Scott Henderson surveyed the roof on the town barn. Henderson said it’s a solid 30 year roof but the problem is the roof is 55 years old. Repairs have been done over and over again, Henderson said in his opinion it was not worth putting any more money into repairs.
“You will just be putting patch over patch chasing leaks,” Henderson said.
Henderson said he called three roofing companies, two of which were local and one in Utica. The Utica roofer responded and told Henderson to assume – with the age of the roof – that the felt paper would contain asbestos and mediation may be required leading to increased costs. The ballpark dollar figure based on the worst case scenario is around $150,000.
DiVeronica said the question is to fix, sell or look at another location.
Henderson also mentioned highway crews cannot lift some of the trucks high enough to work on them due to the height of the building.
The board decided to solicit quotes from engineers to look at the building and provide an estimate of costs.
Residents living within the South Shore Sewer District will see an increase in rates anywhere from $13.53 to $49.98 a unit due to upgrades made at the Sylvan Beach sewer plant.
The board tabled a decision to purchase six historical markers requested by Roccine Russitano, who is a member of the American Italian Heritage Association. Russitano had asked for historical markers recognizing the “mucklands” and the Italian immigrants who worked the land.
Research historian David Sadler said the markers would include the wording “Mucklands 1887-2012” and be placed on different roads. Each marker costs around $1,200.
DiVeronica said three of the roads suggested are within the town of Sullivan.
Based on recommendations by the planning board Michael Mitchell and Jim Jones were appointed to serve. There were seven applicants overall and four recommendations made. The two vacancies were left by Tom Bush, who was elected to the town board and Dewey Romagnoli who stepped down.
A decision to purchase two air quality kits at $185 a piece was made by the board. Some employees had complained of coughing and sneezing, mainly in the basement of the building, DiVeronica said.
The board entered into executive session to review applicants for the town’s dog control officer.
After returning, the board decided to name Kim Somerville, who resides on Stephens Road to fill the position. The board also decided to change the pay schedule on a six months trial basis to save the town money. Somerville will be paid per call and for mileage. She will also be responsible for numeration of dogs and will be paid for her time to do this.
Somerville can be reached at 264-4997 or by calling the town office.
Margo Frink is vice president of M3P Media LLC and managing editor of the Madison County Courier. She can be reached at Margo@m3pmedia.com or 315-481-8732.