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Village Board Wrestles with Vehicle Needs, Trash Issues

By Jann Wiswall

As the Village board meeting got started on Monday, Nov. 9, resident Jack Rogan asked about test results from water samples taken several months ago by the Department of Public Works. The samples were taken to try to determine why, after years of effort and replacement of pipes and mains leading to and inside his home, Rogan’s water filters still quickly turn brown and need bi-weekly or monthly changing.

Department of Public Works chief Harold Morton said the water test found only very low levels of iron, indicating the water is safe. He also explained that he had talked with some experts and was told that water filters typically do turn brown and that Rogan may no longer need to change them so frequently.

A copy of the results was given to Rogan, which he said he would review.

Rogan also complimented the DPW on its leaf collection process this year. Morton said that the department’s new equipment is far more efficient, taking half the time of the old equipment to do the same job.

DPW Report

Morton reported that the department’s 2009 Ford truck with 28,000 miles on it is spewing oil. He warned the board that the problem may be a cracked block and there could be a significant repair expense. The board suggested he write a letter to Ford informing the company about the issue.

Morton and Coolidge informed the board that they are investigating the possible purchase of a new backhoe to replace the existing machine that is 20 years old and is used daily. The existing machine could be sold for $10-15K.

Coolidge said a new machine can be purchased for about $88,500 through state bid. He would like to look into financing the purchase price with a five year bond.

The board agreed to discuss the request once information about the cost of bonding is available.

Engineer’s Report

Village Engineer Mike Smith reported that the waste water treatment plant work is proceeding well, regular progress meetings are taking place and workers have been taking advantage of the good weather to try to get ahead. He also reported that the general contractor, STC, has assigned a new project manager.

Special Events Report

Patra Lowes, special events committee chair, reported that most reviews of the EVL Half and 5K were very positive. Several constructive criticisms were received, including a suggestion to post a police officer at the intersection of Washington and Monroe streets to direct traffic, and to relocate loudspeakers. The committee will take these suggestions into account for next year’s event, Lowes said.

Old Business

The state’s Uniform Justice Court Act requires that municipalities audit their justice court books each year. Board member Bob Brogcinski took the lead in conducting this year’s audit and noted that court clerk Mary Schuster “keeps meticulous records that are down to the penny.”

The board approved the motion to accept the audit report.

The DPW will install Christmas lights around the village in time for Thanksgiving and the long-weekend’s festivities. New starburst lights are being purchased for placement at the four corners intersection (Washington and Jefferson streets).

Containing trash continues to plague the village board, as people continue to place trash bags on the curb after trash day, inviting vermin to raid and strew the bags’ contents all week long.

Coolidge said he and village clerk Mary Klahn had talked again with the village’s trash contractor, Casella, about providing heavy plastic trash totes to residents. Casella explained that most municipalities purchase the totes themselves, deliver them to residents, and charge them a regular fee with their trash service bills to recoup the cost over time. Coolidge said the totes cost $46 each and a quarterly fee likely would be $3-4.

The board agrees wholeheartedly that providing totes will solve many of the village’s issues. They also suggested that placing trash collection information on a sticker inside the totes would be very helpful. However, there is still a question of enforcement.

The board has been discussing how tickets can be issued in case of violations related to regular trash pickup as well as bulky trash and yard waste. Attorney Bob Simon noted that tickets must be presented in person, which could be impractical. Other logistical issues exist as well. Plus, Simon reminded the board, enforcement regulations would have to be part of an amendment to Local Law, which also require a public hearing.

Coolidge stated that he would like to hear ideas from the public on this topic.

New Business

Klahn reported that she had received a letter from bond council Hodgson Russ requesting board action on a resolution regarding Village compliance with “an IRS initiative that urges issuers of tax-exempt bonds and notes to establish formal written procedures to monitor post-issuance compliance with federal tax rules.” The letter explained that municipalities without written procedures are more likely to be subjected to an IRS audit than those with the procedures in place.

Hodgson Russ recommended that the village “put in place a formal regimen for recordkeeping, due diligence, training, education and monitoring/compliance.” The company said it will provide training on these procedures.

The board approved the resolution.

The next meeting of the Village board will be held on Monday, Dec.14 at 6 p.m. in the village/town hall.

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