By Kevin Foley
Nelsonville moved closer in its long quest to start a four-street repaving and repair operation after receiving a $250,000 federal grant in 2004. At the Board of Trustees meeting at the Village Hall on March 21, Village Clerk Pauline Minners reported the State Department of Transportation (DOT) had finally authorized the village to proceed with the relatively straightforward project for Pine, Pearl, Wood, and Crown streets. Mayor Tom Corless explained that federally funded transportation projects must come through and be approved by the Department of Transportation, which in return must comply with all relevant state laws and regulations, including an environmental review, before granting the go ahead. He expressed frustration with the time-consuming 7-year process and exasperation over the reduced buying power of the money. “After seven years, the increased cost of oil-based asphalt alone really reduces the value of the grant,” he said.
Corless and Trustee Ande Merante (Peter Tomann was absent) also discussed plans for repair work on a 1,200-foot section of Healy Road beyond Moffet Road, considered as part of a continuing effort to improve that village street over a period of years. Merante said they were exploring various options for funding and getting the work done, including discussions with town and county officials on possible resource sharing. Continuing on the theme of roads, Corless pointed out that a state contractor cut trees near Lane Gate Road on Route 301 (Main Street) and some of the fallen limbs and branches washed down and clogged catch basins along the road. He said he hoped state road maintenance crews would alleviate the problem soon.
Merante also thanked the Putnam County Highway Department for a quick response to his call about a blocked catch basin on Peekskill Road. Corless reported the village was making progress with the state Department of Environmental Conservation on the plan to install a dry fire hydrant in Foundry Brook on Peekskill Road, which involves establishing pumping capability from the constantly running stream in case of a fire beyond the capacity of the regular hydrant system. “The ability to suck water from the stream will help supplement the existing system if it’s needed, said Corless. Concerns about adequate water for firefighting have preoccupied local officials since the Christmas Eve fire in 2009 at the residence next to the Philipstown Hall.
Court consolidation is also on the Nelsonville agenda. Merante reported he held discussions recently on the topic with other town and village officials and State Assemblywoman Sandy Galef, an advocate of local service sharing. Minners explained that an increase in the state court system’s requirements for reporting and other mandates takes up a lot of her time, so the village is exploring whether allowing Philipstown to take over the function is feasible to save money and time. Minners also reported that the state Office of Court Administration had awarded Nelsonville $3,182 for office improvements related to the village court.
The trustees plan to begin work on the fiscal 2012 budget in the near future and will also schedule a public hearing for residents’ input. The current fiscal year ends May 31.
As they did last year, the trustees voted to authorize a $1,000 contribution to the Nelsonville Fish and Fur Club’s annual Kids’ Fishing Day, to be held May 1.