September 16, 2010

Notes on last night's Town Board meeting

Last night's Town Board meeting was supposed to be short, but wound up going until around 10:00pm. There wasn't a lot to discuss, but what there was to discuss was sometimes pretty thorny.

The first conversation didn't seem particularly thorny, but might get there. In Shik Lee and Cynthia Waterman presented the latest news on the Dryden Youth Commission and brought copies of their 2009 Annual Report. The news was generally good - lots of kids are using their programs and lives seem to be changing for the better as a result.

In Shik Lee presents for the Dryden Youth Commission
In Shik Lee presents for the Dryden Youth Commission.

I didn't hear much discussion of the county budget problems, which seem likely to damage youth programs in particular. Many residents expressed their concerns at last month's budget presentation, and the Journal reported that the draft 2011 budget eliminates "the Municipal Youth Development program, which distributes funds to municipalities to support afterschool youth programs, and the Learning Web Community and Career Apprenticeship program, which offers academic help and job training to youth." I'm guessing that the $35,269 the 2009 report mentions as having come from county youth services will shrink or disappear, and that it'll be up to the Town (which already supports these programs with $44,252) to figure something out. We'll see, I guess - I'd certainly like to be wrong that there are stormclouds ahead.

The board discussed a letter from the Village of Dryden asking for help in setting up a water district along North Road, as existing service there may disappear otherwise. It's a long story involving a 3-inch 1890 water main that serves 15 properties outside of the Village, which can't be replaced because New York State law means that the Village of Dryden can't operate outside of its boundaries. Apparently no one noticed that in 1890, but it's becoming a large problem now as the pipe fails.

Deputy Supervisor David Makar suggested that the Town Board meet with the Village Board about it, or devote some of their agenda meeting time to the issue, as "this is probably a more important thing to work on than zoning." Steve Stelick pointed out that test well drills in that area from 2004 produced only poor-quality water, and Jason Leifer pointed out that putting in a water district could affect zoning and its results. (A water district would require approval from the property owners, who haven't been enthusiastic in the past.)

The almost final steps toward the municipal Health Consortium Agreement raised some questions as well, with some long silences in the meeting. Town Attorney Mahlon Perkins had raised some questions about the contract, and those concerns seemed amplified by provisions that required unananimous consent of all participants to change the terms of the agreement. The State Insurance Department had made the consortium include representation from labor, and David Makar worried that unanimous agreement on changes to the agreement might get vetoed by the people receiving benefits rather than the municipalities providing them. After a few rounds of conversation, it became clear that changing the agreement required unanimous consent of the munipalities only - still maybe too high a bar, but a different question. In the end the authorization to sign the agreement passed unanimously.

Other notable things that came up included Jim Ray's successful challenge of the assessment on Hillside Acres in Varna, dropping it from about $3.8 million to $3.1 million, reducing the tax roll substantially. Also, New York State continues to be extremely slow in actually coming through with the money on the Purchase of Development Rights for the Stuttle farm, though it was approved a long time ago.

Posted by simon at September 16, 2010 8:26 PM in ,
Note on photos


Kathleen Elliott said:


Can you fill me in on what is involved in the "Purchase of Development Rights" for the Stuttle farm?