What's going on in Germantown?

Town Board Workshop Meeting June 16,2014

I was unable to attend this meeting,but Ellen Eptein did, and kindly has sent me her notes on the evening.  She was the only “civilian” attending this workshop meeting, which is designed for discussion of issues among Board members and interested residents, and no votes are taken.  However, decisions may be made at the next Town Board meeting on Monday June 23rd. Many thanks for this,Ellen…


———- Forwarded message ———-

From: Ellen Jouret-Epstein ‪<>‬

Date: Wed, Jun 18, 2014 at 10:45 AM

Subject: June 16th Town Board Workshop

To: Chuck & Kay Abraham <>

Kay, I was able to attend Monday night’s town board workshop.  Joel, Don, Mike and Matt were there for the board.  Sue Raab (History Department) attended and was part of the agenda.  Anthony Cidras was in the audience, and Janet Crawford arrived a bit later.  Both of them contributed to the discussion about the July 4th event.  Here, from (imperfect) memory, are the issues that were discussed.

  • Brian DuBois spoke about his research on police car repairs and replacements.  (The presentation was difficult for me to follow as several vehicles were discussed, but this is the best of my recollection.) He is proposing that the town purchase a new police vehicle to replace one that is not repairable.  At the same time, another vehicle needs some repairs/has been repaired.  A third 1997 vehicle is kept as a back-up.  He said the department needs a front wheel drive/all wheel drive vehicle as up until now they’ve only had one and that limits their driving in winter storms (the second vehicle is front-wheel drive.)  

Brian located two vehicles, a 2014 Ford Explorer and a 2014 Ford Taurus.  He presented a proposal for the Explorer, but not for the Taurus.  There were no questions about this, or about other car/age options.  The best financing deal he found is a 7-year leasing contract through First Niagara.  The annual payment would be $5,500, so the total would be $38,500. (although I thought he said $35,000, so assume that it’s in the range of $35-38k.
  • [From Joel: “Your correspondent did a good job of documenting the gist of the meeting.I’m hoping the fall meeting will have a more interesting agenda and be better attended.The police vehicle cost is $35,000 for the vehicle and an additionalapprox. $3,000 to install lights, decals, sirens, etc. JC” (Joel Craig)]

 He also described other car cost savings such as switching out equipment from old cars, getting repairs through the State Police, and a few other details.  He was asked how personnel are assigned cars and answered that basically three officers use one and the other three use the second.  I am not sure whether the board came away from this ready to make a decision next week.

  • Sue Raab was there to discuss the Parsonage and its latest problem with powder post beetles, which threaten the structural integrity of the building.  Anthony helped with the discussion.  They’ve gotten three estimates that average out to about $20,000 for the eradication.  One person also suggested a $2,500 job as a short-term solution. It’s not clear whether any funding could be gotten to help with this.  A few resources were suggested for at least discussing the problem and getting advice including the County Historical Society, Bill Krattinger from the State Parks Office of Historic Preservation, other town historical societies, etc.  The larger challenge of the Parsonage was discussed and whether an endowment should be established for its maintenance, or should a not-for-profit be formed, as the town isn’t in a position to maintain the building.  The short-term “fix” for the roof was also mentioned and is likely to be what they pursue (a nailing term that I’m not familiar with – face nailing maybe?).  The chimneys also need to be closed off as water is getting in the building, there is an  unsightly downed tree that needs to be removed and a standing tree, possibly an Ash, that might need to be removed.  Mike will speak with some local tree contractors about contributing work.  Most of these jobs/repairs require a bucket truck, and the wetness of the ground around the Parsonage is a problem.
  • [From Don Westmore : Thanks, Kay and Ellen, for the Workshop summary.  One addition and one correction:·         The History Dept and I will be working on a comprehensive plan, including grant funding, to make the Parsonage into a proper tourist destination as an “historic site and museum”, building on Dr. Lindner’s on-going archeological project, expanding and improving the displays, hosting educational events and inviting greater public participation through a Friends of the Parsonage group.  

Joel talked about burgeoning problems with the sewer laterals that are more concerning financially than the plant itself.  Most municipalities require homeowners to be responsible for the laterals.  However, Germantown’s sewer law was apparently poorly written and seems to give the town responsibility all the way up to the clean-out at each home, which could be a considerable amount of infrastructure.  This is still being looked into, but there are present problems with these to contend with.  This is an issue to be solved/paid for within the sewer district, it is not a town-wide problem.  In the meantime, Delaware Engineering is submitting a proposal for a grant to do a study that will identify all the issues involved with the sewer system. (A preparatory step to being able to seek funding for any improvements/repairs/replacement.)

  • Sidewalks:  the rights-of-way transactions with property owners are almost all complete.  The expectation is that the town might be able to go to bid on the job in the fall, with a start date of Spring 2015.
  • Plans for the July 4th celebration are all falling into place.  There are enough volunteers, according to Janet.

[ From Don Westmore: ·    We do still need a few volunteers to assist with the July 4th Celebration.  It won’t be onerous.  Please call or email me, 538-4603,   [Emphasis mine, Kay]

Note  We received two items, one from Joel, the other from Don. about the meeting. They have been incorporated in the text above. Kay









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