By Jann Wiswall
Discussion at the Dec. 14 Village Board meeting centered around ongoing issues that will carry into the new year, including brush removal violations, trash problems and the proliferation of sandwich board signs in the commercial district.
The board continues to debate how best to enforce its law that residents and visitors are, themselves, responsible for the proper disposal/removal of brush except for the two dates during the spring when the village provides brush pickup (May 9 and June 13). Options include sending “notices of violation” to homeowners or issuing appearance tickets and fines.
The board feels that once people receive a notice of violation, they probably won’t make the same mistake again. Appearance tickets with fines would be issued in the case of a second offense.
Town Attorney Bob Simon will draft language for a notice of violation for the board’s review in January.
The board also has been wrestling with problems associated with improper trash disposal, as people continue to place trash bags or cans without lids on the curb after trash day, inviting vermin to strew the bags’ contents all week long.
The board believes that requiring residents to use heavy-duty totes is the most cost-effective way of managing the problem and that once people understand the issues they will have no problem adjusting to the new rules or to use of the totes.
The board would have to set aside funds to purchase the totes in the 2016 budget; a small quarterly fee ($3-4) would be added to residents’ trash bills.
Discussion on this topic will continue at the board’s January meeting.
The proliferation of sandwich-board signs on street corners all over the village is another ongoing issue that will be addressed next year. Mayor Charlie Coolidge said that there are more and more every day, it seems, and that they are not needed since the village installed directional signs to businesses at most street corners.
There are already rules that limit their use, Coolidge explained, and “we can’t allow them on the physical sidewalks because they are a tripping hazard.”
“The law needs to be stronger and enforced,” he said.
A meeting will be scheduled with members of the Village Planning Board to discuss the matter.
In other business, Village Engineer Mike Smith reported that construction on the new wastewater treatment plant (WWTP) is ahead of schedule due to the “great fall/winter construction season.”
He also reported that the village should hear soon about its application for a grant from the Environmental Facilities Corporation.[Editor’s note: the morning after the board meeting, Smith and the mayor were informed that the village had, indeed, received a $1.3 million grant from the EFC to offset the costs of the WWTP. See cover story.]
Smith also said that the state is offering assistance to municipalities to develop planning tools through the DEC’s Municipal Sewage System Asset Management Pilot Project. The project would select 20 municipalities across the state to include in the pilot.
The board did not want to participate in the DEC program, but does believe developing an asset management plan is in the Village’s long-term best interest. The board and Smith will look at cost-effective ways to complete such a project.
Finally, the board authorized the village to advertise for bids for a one-ton truck with snow plow.
It also passed a bond resolution authorizing the village to borrow up to $166,000 to purchase the truck and a backhoe, which can be purchased through state bid. The total actual cost of the equipment likely will be closer to $107,000. A summary of the bond resolution will be printed in the Village’s official newspapers (see page 11).
The next meeting of the Village Board will be held on Monday, Jan. 12, 2016 in the village/town hall at 6 p.m.