May 11, 2007

Town Board sees 12:20am

The Town Board meeting stretched past midnight last night, for the first time that I can remember. It was a long meeting, though actually more focused than many recent meetings, and fortunately they took a five minute break at one point.

David Perazone
David Perazone talks about natural gas exploration in Dryden.

The length of the meeting reflected the number of subjects they had to discuss:

  • The board held two public hearings about unsafe structures. One property owner didn't come in for the public hearing, but Evan Carpenter talked the board into a six-month extension on a barn so that he can salvage timbers from it for another historic barn-building across the street. Grant money for that project seems to be coming through. Later the board scheduled a public hearing for another problem structure.

  • The board went over change orders for the new Town Hall, spending some time contemplating a dedicated circuit for a microwave oven in the break room. The exterior of the building should be complete in 7-10 days, the sewage lines are in place - though not yet tested - and the place should, hopefully, be ready to open around mid-August. A furniture order is in the works and a call for proposals for telephone systems will go out shortly.

  • The Dryden Youth Commission presented its annual report, combining reports from staff about programs with explanations of how the programs have benefited them from participants.

  • The Emergency Services Committee reviewed some conversations with the fire companies, including questions about the budgeting and payment process, the frequently controversial question of what an "active firefighter" is, whether there might be contingency money available if fuel prices spike, and the possibility of two-year contracts.

  • Anne Grant came to ask whether the Southworth Library booksale might be able to store its books in the old Town Hall when the new one opens, as they're having problems storing books all over town. She also asked if the board would be amenable to having a memorial bench put in the new Town Hall grounds in honor of the women who are sewing sleeping bags for the homeless.

  • Dave Perazone of Mason-Dixon Energy came in to ask the Town Board about how to arrange a presentation about natural gas leases on town property, but gave a fairly detailed presentation while asking.

  • Helen Mandeville spoke about her concern about the lack of connection between the town government and Bethel Grove, and brought a copy of the Town of Caroline newsletter for board members to look at. She also discussed issues with Six Mile Creek and culverts near the Dryden-Caroline town line.

  • Joseph Solomon of 31 Lower Creek Road discussed cars that screw up the curve and land in his yard or house. A 15mph suggestion doesn't seem to be very effective. More enforcement, an extended guardrail, a reduced area speed limit, or a stop sign in both directions are options for changing the intersection, and the town engineer will look at the intersection.

  • Peter Schug of Cayuga Press and his attorney Jonathan Orkin came in to discuss the HUD loan that is now in question because the company has moved its operations to Cortland, including the piece of equipment the loan was for. I'll cover this in more depth in a separate article. (Update: I've posted a 14.8MB MP3 recording of the conversation for the impatient.)

  • Highway Superintendent Jack Bush reported on the completion of sewer work for the Town Hall and the start of highway work. It sounds like lots of things are further behind than he'd like, and he proposed a change to the 284 agreement listing roads to be repaired. The new list avoids roads with rotting culverts, which will get repaired before the roads themselves.

  • Recreation Coordinator Jen Dube had a flurry of appointments and contracts, and reported on the opening of the new skate park.

  • The board discussed the former Tuttle house, which the Town bought last year for $68,000. Renovation would be expensive, and asbestos makes demolition unattractive as well, and Environmental Planner Dan Kwasnowski and others urged the board to keep the property as part of the new Town Hall access. The board decided to keep the property but put the house itself up for bid, on condition that the new owner move it. Neighbor Kathleen Elliott, who'd stayed until 11:00 to see what was going to be done, seemed pleased. (And she even stayed for the rest of the meeting.)

  • Environmental Planner Dan Kwasnowski reported on progress toward a new stormwater management ordinance, a possible project for web-based mapping in Dryden, the Town's finally closing on a property above Route 366 that can be used for recreation, and the possibility of including stormwater information in a newsletter. He also encouraged the town to spend $3200 to apply for a state matching grant of up to $500,000 for work on the recreation land around the new Town Hall, noting that grading for playing fields could cost $200,000 to $400,000.

  • RPM Ecosystems had its grand opening Wednesday, with several town officials present, though County Legislator Martha Robertson expressed her concern that RPM was selling trees retail from the Dryden location, something they'd said they wouldn't be doing when applying for grant money.

  • The Personnel Committee reported progress on an employee manual, and the Finance Committee reported on work toward an in-house audit. There was also discussion of a town newsletter, hopefully in August and November.

  • Town Board member David Makar talked about bringing Tompins County Area Development in to meet with the board about economic development and the revolving HUD loans.

  • The Recreation/Youth/Community Centers Committee reported on plans for distributing 2007 funds to community centers.

  • David Makar also proposed that the Town Board schedule two meetings a year away from the Town Hall to get closer to the communities they represent. Community centers and fire departments sound eager to have the Board visit. The pull of the new Town Hall seemed pretty clear, but the board did agree to meet elsewhere in July and work on having neighborhood meetings of some sort on a more regular basis. The big surprise: Town Supervisor Steve Trumbull declaring explicitly that he wanted to spend his last four meetings as Supervisor in the new Town Hall: "I'm not going to be here in January. I'm done."

Long, but busy. Unfortunately, the Ithaca Journal wasn't there, but the Dryden Courier and Cortland Standard were.

(Update: And Mary Ann Sumner has posted Part I of her notes.)

Posted by simon at May 11, 2007 8:43 AM in , , , , ,
Note on photos