Town Board accepts proposal for engineering study on highway garage
By Margo Frink
(Town of Lenox – Feb. 13, 2012) Again this month, several town residents approached the board and asked for a moratorium on “hydrofracking” in Lenox. Speaking on behalf of the group was Rev. Kevin Bunger of Hydro Relief Web, a group based in Clinton.
“The municipal level is extremely important to the hydrofracking issue and can be held back through a moratorium and then a ban,” Bunger said. “It sends a signal to Albany. This is the first step.”
Town Supervisor Rocco J. DiVeronica told the group again that the board would need to educate themselves on the issues and are awaiting advice from counsel before making any decisions.
“I don’t want to go to court,” DiVeronica said, citing issues with the town of Dryden. Last August, the town of Dryden in Tompkins County banned oil and gas exploration and it’s now being contested in court.
DiVeronica also explained that a public hearing is needed for a moratorium.
Canastota resident, Cheryl Cary, who has been the most vocal publicly with numerous letters to the editor, plead with the board to also give residents time to educate themselves on the issue by enacting a moratorium.
Cary and other anti-fracking residents presented a petition with 500 signatures in support of a moratorium.
Lenox resident Jenn Rossetti told the board that some residents were sitting on “both sides of the fence,” having signed leases and the petition.
There are 61 signed leases, comprising of around 3,500 acres in the township and includes property owned by the Great Swamp Conservancy, Fisher Farms and Monafran Farms. The five-year leases were signed in 2008 and 2009 to the company Salt City Resources.
“They are not going to be doing any drilling in the town of Lenox in the next two years,” DiVeronica said. “I guarantee it. We are not doing anything until we hear from legal.”
Sewer District Update
Residents living within the South Shore Sewer District will be affected by upgrades to the Oneida Lake Waste Water Treatment Plant after the decision was made during a special meeting of the Sylvan Beach Village Board of Trustees last month.
Engineers for the treatment plant and the plant operator determined that the non-potable water system needs to be placed, according to the resolution passed Jan. 30.
The SPEDES (State Pollutant Discharged Elimination System) permit from the state Department of Environmental Conservation needs to be renewed in May of this year and without the system replaced prior to the chlorination season in mid-April, the permit will not be renewed.
The board agreed to authorize engineers and the plant operator to proceed with replacement of the entire non-potable water system utilizing $200,000 of the capital reserve and recovery fund and utilizing the schedule prepared by engineers to be in compliance with all EFC (state Environmental Facilities Corporation) requirements.
Also agreed upon was to authorize Mayor Richard Stewart III to enter into an agreement with Jack Dodson and Richard Elliott, engineers, once the village attorney has had the opportunity to approve all contracts.
After receiving a letter from Farrell Miller, on behalf of the American Legion and a discussion with veteran Doug Ginney, who was present at the meeting, the town is going to pursue a plaque or a monument at Clark Park and move the existing flag pole to that area away from in front of the World War II monument. It will be a place to lay wreaths and memorialize all who served.
DiVeronica reported the frame broke on one of the highway department’s trucks and needs to be replaced. Councilman Tom Bush said he plans to meet with the highway superintendent to discuss purchasing a used vehicle.
Richard Rossi, president of the Kid’s Day Organization and former town councilman approached the board on its contribution to the annual Kid’s Day event. Rossi said $5,000 was earmarked in the budget for Kid’s Day.
DiVeronica told Rossi that no dollar amount was ever agreed upon and reminded him that the town’s recreation budget was reduced by $3,000 after its agreement with the village of Canastota.
Last year the town contributed $4,000 to the one-day event, which is designed to be a low-cost day of fun for children. The organization relies on donations to hold the event. Rossi is asking for an additional $1,000 this year, and said the organization has reduced its mechanical rides by one for this year’s event because of rising costs from the vendor.
DiVeronica said the village should take the money from its budget to support the increase. In the past, the mayor and village trustees contributed $500 each from their respective budget lines for Kid’s Day, for a total of $1,500.
Village Trustee Margaret Peters, who attended the town meeting said last year the village contributed 33 percent more to Kid’s Day.
“I appreciate what you do but we will pay our equal share if the village pays its equal share,” DiVeronica said. “We will support the program.” No action was taken.
DiVeronica reported that the Canal Town Museum has an offer to purchase a 1909, 36-foot canal boat that is two-thirds restored for $7,000. He said the museum would like to use the touring boat as an educational tool.
DiVeronica said he spoke with the Thruway Authority, who OK’d the touring boat to be displayed by the old Erie Canal.
“I was talking with the state about a grant to house it,” DiVeronica said. “I think it’s an asset to the community and worth pursuing.”
Two proposals for engineering studies on repairs to the town highway garage roof were discussed. The board agreed to accept Barton & Loguidice’s proposal of $3,800 because it included an asbestos analysis.
The board approved contracts with the village of Canastota for fire protection for $97,500, village of Wampsville for fire protection for $25,000, Greater Lenox Ambulance service for $36,830 and the International Boxing Hall of Fame for $10,000. The board also approved contracts with the town of Stockbridge to receive $9,004 and the town of Lincoln to receive $14,022 for shared assessor services.
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.