Lebanon Town Board Takes Public Comment on Road Use Law

(Town of Lebanon, NY – Jan. 2013) Lebanon town officials took public comment Monday, Jan. 14, on a proposed road use law at their annual organizational meeting. The board voted unanimously to ban any future of use of natural gas well brine on town roads, appointed a new code enforcement officer and received an update from the Office of Court Administration on the status of the recordkeeping of Town Justice John Bartlett.

Supervisor Jim Goldstein also issued a brief State of the Town address on the challenges facing Lebanon in 2013 and issued a report on the financial health of the town for the coming year.

Donald Forth, Code Enforcement Officer for Morrisville, was appointed CEO for Lebanon for 2013. He is available through the Town Clerk’s office at 315.837.4220, will be posting his hours and will be providing his cell phone number. Lebanon officials considered three candidates before making the appointment.

The town board also clarified that the town has not permitted the spreading of gas well brine on town roads since learning of potential problems with the brine back in 2008. Highway Superintendent Alex Hodge said he wanted nothing to do with the brine, and the prior limited use on some seasonal roads for dust control in the summer years ago was not viewed favorably.

Town board members voted unanimously to ban gas well brine use from all town roads. The state Department of Environmental Conservation permits the use of natural gas well brine on some roads, but Town Attorney Steven Jones made it clear that brine use cannot be permitted without the consent of the town.

Elizabeth Burns, Esq., Special Counsel to the Administrative Judge for the Justice Courts from the Office of Court Administration, reported that she met with Bartlett and Jones Dec. 19, and that a helper from the OCA has been meeting with Bartlett to help him with his records filing problems. She said she expects to have an update by the next board meeting on completing the reporting and disbursing the appropriate fine monies collected to the town.

Bartlett said he estimated that there were about four months of records involved.

In other town business, board members:

* Re-appointed Stephanie Lowe Dog Control Officer for 2013

* Re-appointed Joanne Collins Deputy Town Clerk/Tax Collector

* Re-appointed Shawn Payne Deputy Highway Superintendent

* Established seasonal use roads and weight limits on town roads

* Authorized signing and payment of fire and ambulance contracts for 2013

* Re-appointed Brenda Shimer to the Planning Board, Robert Bond as chair of the Board of Appeals

* Designated the official banks, newspaper and various annual policies and procedures governing internal town practices

* Re-authorized clothing allowance for highway employees that saved over $800 in 2012 to replace uniform service

* Established bills and claims committee schedule

* Authorized fund transfers to pay highway, attorney and other related accounts concerning additional expenditures in highway equipment repairs and legal fees due to CEO and natural gas development policy issues

The town board will meet again Feb. 11 at the Smith Valley Community Center in Randallsville.

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