By Liz Schevtchuk Armstrong
Cold Spring cops will get a new set of wheels, thanks to the Village Board’s unanimous vote last week authorizing the police department to buy a fully equipped 2011 Ford Crown Victoria for $30,548. The village expects to pay for the vehicle over a three-year-period, at approximately $10,182 a year. The action came during the board’s regular monthly meeting, Oct. 12.
A memo from Officer-in-Charge George Kane explained the situation. Kane said that the department currently has two cars functioning. A third requires a new transmission, and another, a 2001 model, is “permanently out of service,” Kane reported. “An operating police department that runs 24/7, 365-days a year requires more than three vehicles.” He wrote that he had explored options, including hybrid vehicles, but concluded that buying the Crown Victoria made the most sense. “This is something we had planned from the beginning of the year,” Mayor Seth Gallagher observed. “We had allocated $15,000,” this year to a police equipment fund, ” of which we’ve spent $367.55″ so far.
Technically, the village will not acquire the car outright at first. “It’s a lease with an option to buy for a dollar, if we can come up with [another] dollar at the end,” the mayor explained.
“I’ll donate the dollar at the end to buy the police car,” Trustee J. Ralph Falloon promised.
In another development related to law-and-order, the mayor noted that installation in August of a new data tracking system for the village Justice Court “does appear to be making a bit of difference. There seems to be a lot more money coming in and a lot more letters going out” with requests for timely payment from drivers who have received parking tickets, he said.
During the portion of the meeting devoted to departmental reports, Village Building Inspector William C. Bujarski described a very busy month for September, with 15 inspections, 10 building permits, 16 items of new business, efforts to resolve four violations, and a range of other activity. “You’d never know from the economy that there’s this much building. There’s a lot of work going on,” he said, speculating that owners are fixing up existing homes instead of moving into different houses. “It’s tough keeping up, but I think we’re pretty much holding our own” and dealing with all the demands, Bujarski said. Among other things, “we’re keeping an eye on Main Street, trying to keep the merchandise off the sidewalk,” he said. “We seem to be somewhat successful. There are a few die-hards that we have to tell daily.”
“I’m hearing positive feedback about the building department,” Gallagher said. For years, the department had been a cause of frustration for some residents who found it difficult to contact the then-incumbent inspector. “Nobody’s shot at me yet!” quipped Bujarski, who also serves as a Cold Spring police officer.
“You might shoot back!” the mayor replied.
On a more serious note, Bujarski said he had worked with building departments for some 30 years but found Cold Spring’s population amazingly amenable. “The citizens, even in their worst moments,” usually are willing to reach an accommodation to solve problems or end violations, he said. “I never saw that in my career” previously.
The Village Board also got good news and bad news from the Water and Sewer Departments. In his written report, Superintendent Greg Phillips stated that the village water system had used approximately 7.4 million gallons from the New York City Department of Environmental Protection aqueduct water system from Sept. 1 to Oct. 3. “We have been operating from our own reservoir supply since then,” he wrote. In his Wastewater Department report, he pointed out that in a one day period — Sept. 30 to Oct. 1 — “we received over 4.7 inches of rain.” And that wreaked havoc. “Due to inflow and infiltration of rainfall to the sewer mains, influent flows increased from 189,000 gallons to 376,000. Due to the hydraulic overload to the system, we were out of compliance” with water standards on Oct. 1 and the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation was notified, he reported. The problem was short-lived. “We were back in compliance by the morning of 10/2/2010,” Phillips added.
“That just sort of highlights the problems with the inflow and infiltration, when we get those really heavy rains,” the mayor remarked. “The system is leaky and is allowing that storm water into the sanitary sewer, which is creating a real problem for the village. We continue to work on trying to fix those problems.”
Phillips’ water update mentioned other infrastructure-related concerns — two areas of water distribution-main that need investigation and three aged fire hydrants that, according to preliminary check, need replacement. Falloon subsequently commented that some hydrants in Nelsonville probably need repair or replacement as well. “I don’t want to open up a can of worms” but believe the matter should be addressed, he said. He said he would confer with the mayor of Nelsonville on remedies.