germantownjournal

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Reports on Town Meetings

The following are my Notes on the Public Hearing at 6:30 Pm,  and the regular Town Board meetingat 7:00 PM April 16, 2012:

The Public Hearing was called to order at 6:30 PM by Supervisor Roy Brown. All Board members were present.  At the time of opening the meeting there were 8 members of the public attending.  By the end of the meeting additional people arrived, bringing the attendance up to approximately 25 people.

Charlene Diehl, the Town Clerk, read the title of the proposed Public Law II of 2012: “A 18 month moratorium on natural gas and/or petroleum exploration activities, natural gas and /or petroleum extraction activities, and/or natural gas and/or petroleum support activities in the town of Germantown”.

Roy Brown addresses reason for the proposed Law as one that gives the town an opportunity to understand what the State is doing and also to educate the Town and its residents about the potential impact of such activities. He states that the Town will hold an informational meeting in the next few months.  He asks for comments by members of the Public.

Helen Sacco speaks: She has been following the development of Natural Gas exploration and extraction for some time. She cites an article in the Register Star in February that covered issues such as local control and health and safety concerns.  The well being of the global water supply is vulnerable, and here in Germantown, and the near-by area, water has been a great concern for all residents.  She cites two bills before the Legislature: S5830 and A8557 that would amend the current law to remove the sole authority for allowing Natural Gas drilling from the DEC and allow local towns to have the final control.

Don Westmore asked why an 18-month period was chosen rather than some other time period.  TheTown Attorney Tal Rippleyea responded that a moratorium needs to show a reasonable time period for addressing the issue stated as the purpose of the law and 18 months would allow for study and education about the issue.

Ellen Epstein speaks.  She wanted to address the wider impact of the mining and extraction on the towns, beyond the water issue.  There is a high level of truck travel, noise and dirt, and all the problems inherent with a boom/bust enterprise.  In addition, allowing the DEC to have total control for determining permits would undermine the good faith zoning efforts that have been undertaken by towns.

A young woman, K. Weidman, spoke.  She supports the moratorium.  She hopes that residents will come to understand the negative impact such mining activities would have on the town.  “ It would be tragic to ruin what we have here, the beauty of the land the water [quality].”

Joel Craig speaks.  He said that in his encounters around the town he found no one who desired to have it allowed here in Germantown.

Don Westmore urged Roy Brown to ask the Board of Supervisors to consider a unified approach to the issue. It is believed that Germantown is the first Town in the County to adopt such a moratorium.Mike Mortenson says he believes the Town is taking the right step.  Joan Snyder says that the water must not be put into jeopardy, and she supports the moratorium.

Sally Saul speaks:  What is the potential for drilling in Germantown?  She understood that the shale here was much further down in the ground and would therefore be more expensive.  This is true says Roy.  It is referred to as the Utica Shale area, as opposed to the Marcellus Shale in the western & central part of the state.  Again, he says, this moratorium provides an opportunity for the residents to be informed about all the issues surrounding Natural Gas drilling.

A man asked who was the person who had been approached about using his land for an exploration effort?  Roy did not respond with the name of the person but said that he had declined the offer to make his land available for “support services” and reported it to the Town to alert them.  The Hearing was closed at 6:55 PM

 

At 7:05 PM the regular Town Board meeting was called to order.

The minutes of the previous meeting and the payment of audited bills were passed unanimously. There were no written communications to the board from the Clerk’s office.

Department Reports:

Police Department: Roger Rekow reports that there were 116.75 hours worked by the patrol officers.  This included 9 traffic tickets, 19 warnings, 1 illegal fireworks complaint, 1 “shots fired’ complaint, 1 suspended registration, 1 assist to the fire dept. Roger asks the board if they had considered his request made last month to approve of take on some police academy interns for service this fall.  There was brief discussion among the Board and, noting that there was little or no cost to the town for this service they voted to approve the search for appropriate, hopefully local graduates from the academy this fall to work in Germantown.  Roger tells the Board that two of their officers participated in a Cub Scout educational program, and that there will be a Bicycle Rodeo held on Saturday April 21st for the Cub Scouts and the officers will be presiding.

 

Highway Department: Joan Snyder reports that hot patching is taking place on the roads.  The Roadside cleanup day and the Riversweep effort were successful, once again.  They are continuing drainage work, installing culverts where there are identified problems.  Mowing will begin soon, starting at the ball fields.

 

Sewer Department: Joan Snyder reports that there was an  18,000 gal/per/day

flow rate this past month.  There were 5 dig requests made,  The refurbished generator is installed and working just as new.  Roy says they need to move funds from one account to another to pay for the repairs.  All vote aye.

 

Maintenance Department:

Anthony Cidras reports: He has set up all grills, tables and garbage cans for the various parks.  He has worked on the very old lawnmower (his emphasis!) to make it run well.  Has received all new UV light bulbs for Town buildings.  He participated in the clean up efforts; 480 lbs of garbage + 1 tire by Cub Scouts on the roadside clean-up, and 1500 lbs of garbage plus 5 tires in Riversweep. They next plan to upgrade the Highway Department building and doors—and the roof which needs repairs.  As usual, the Maintenance Department and the Highway department cooperate on these efforts. Joel reminds Anthony and the public that the Little League begins play on Saturday the 21st and they plan to play lots of games in Germantown.

Park Commission:  Joel Craig reports that Andrea Dunn has asked the Town Board for permission to host the Men’s Softball League game later in the summer.  There will be more detailed information next month.  Also the Town-Wide Yard Sale will be held on May 18th.  Andrea once again thanks Rich Jennings and Anthony and their crew for all the help they have received.  The next Park Commission Meeting will be on May 7th at 5:30 PM at the Gtel annex, behind the GTEL building.

Economic Development Committee:  Bruce Bohnsack reports that there are several activities planned.  Bicyclists coming!  They are trying to promote the Town as a good cycling destination and will develop a good map and perhaps set up bike racks in the village. They want Germantown to be knows as a Bicycling Friendly Town!  Roy reminds him that the /town passed resolutions three ears ago that set the stage for whatever they want to propose.  Signage:  Bruce says they want a good sign for MAIN STREET at RT 9G.  with directional arrows. The County must clear signs on 9G. Norman Mintz is assisting the Town.  Zoning:  the Economic Development. Comm. wants to review zoning law and hold a class/meeting with local businesses to explore the opportunities in the zoning law for businesses.  They will sponsor an informational meeting.  And, lastly they want to establish anannual Business Lunch to bring local businesses together.

Communication Committee Don Westmore reports that the committee is moving ahead quickly. The new revised and improved Town website will be released within a week or so, featuring a better layout of information and an expanded scope with links to other sires in the community.  In addition there will be an ability to “push-out” information through an e-mail group, such as last minute changes in scheduled meetings, emergency information, public notices, etc.  They will also produce aperiodic newsletter.  There will be one or two Kiosks with space for notices to be posted.  One will probably be next to Otto’s Market on the edge of the Fingar Insurance Agency property.  Also, GTEL has set up a Town Information Line:  537-INFO which will provide basic information about Government offices and departments to callers who cannot avail themselves of Internet services.

Old Business:

Appointments were made to the Planning Board: Larry Osgood, to replace Rick Jason, who is leaving.

And Joseph Guida for the departing Don Crews on the Zoning Board of Appeals.

The Board of Assessment Review:  The following; Bill Foster was re-appointed and Roger Rekow was appointed to serve.  There is still one other vacancy on this Board.

New Business: 

There was very brief discussion regarding the adoption of Town Law # 2 2012: “A 18 month moratorium on natural gas and/or petroleum exploration activities, natural gas and /or petroleum extraction activities, and/or natural gas and/or petroleum support activities in the town of Germantown”.

The Board, having held the Public Hearing and heard no objection, but rather support from everyone who spoke, moved the motion to adopt by Joel Craig, seconded by Joan Snyder.  They voted unanimously to adopt the new Law for the Moratorium,

 

Justice Court Audit.  The Board reviewed the fiscal activity of the Justice Court.  They approved the account unanimously.

Requests to lower sewer rates.  One case was for a property that had a trailer on it, which is not vacant.  The request was lowered.by the Board.  The second case had some circumstances that caused them to put off the request until further information was gathered.’

Waste Water RFP.  This is a request for bids for a consultant  “to study sewer rates.”

Bruce Bohnsack suggested that the business community be consulted concerning the impact on economic development.  They would like to explore the impact any changes would have on the community.  Perhaps set up an advisory Board?  Don Westmore cites the lack of growth for the sewer District and the impact of costs for those within the district.

Supervisor’s ReportRoy Brown discusses the issue of maintaining the local Town Ethics Board. There is a great difficulty in such a small community to avoid conflicts of interests or to avoid having to make decisions about people one knows personally.   There is a possibility of dissolving the local Ethics board and using the County Ethics Board to resolve such problems.  Town attorney says it is possible to do just that.   More discussion is needed.

Roy tells of a visit to the Town by a NY state insurance official who went over the town’s coverage and traveled around the town to view the municipal properties involved.  Roy said the official was very impressed with the town’s coverage.

Roy advises us that the County’s Sales Tax revenues are up for the first quarter.  Good for Germantown as a portion comes back to the Town.

Roy thanks volunteers who participated in the Road cleanup and Riversweep efforts.

The Hudson Valley Apple Festival will be held on September 22 and 23rd.  The information about the event is still developing but one can go to the website: www.hudsonvalleyapplefestival.com to see what’s planned.

Public Comments.

Nan Eliot spoke.  She reminded everyone about the Friends of the Library meetings o the 4thWednesday of each month.  Activities are being planned.  On May 20th there will be a fun event: a Trivia Quiz that everyone can participate in to be held at a local restaurant.  More information will follow.  She tells of the problems she and a neighbor are having with dumping by an adjacent property owner.  She felt she had no response from her complaint to the town but did have a quick response from the NY state DEC, which sent out an inspector.  The DEC ordered a certain level of clean-up and she was satisfied with the action.  Several others spoke from the audience about their own experiences with complaints to the Town about dumping and junky yards and were generally dissatisfied.

The Board Meeting was adjourned at 8:30PM

My thanks to Margaret della Cioppa who took over the notes right after the vote on the Fracking ordinance.  I had to leave before the meeting was done.

To the best of our ability to take notes.

Corrections and comment welcomed.

Kay Abraham

537-5404

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