Waits for word on FEMA funds for others
By Liz Schevtchuk Armstrong
The Philipstown Town Board Thursday (Sept. 6) approved bids for $512,685 in road work as part of repairs following Hurricane Irene last year. Taken during the board’s formal monthly meeting, the action clears the way for the Indian Brook Road East bank stabilization to get underway at $94,200 and the Frazier Road culvert replacement to likewise move forward, for $397,376.
Ben Ciccone Inc., of Poughkeepsie, and Con-Tech Construction Technology of Yorktown Heights, submitted the low bids to win the Indian Brook and Frazier Road contracts, respectively, part of overall efforts through the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to rebuild after the storm. According to Supervisor Richard Shea, the Indian Brook Road East bank project involves work just above the Bird and Bottle Inn.
The bids were reviewed by Ronald J. Gainer, the town’s consulting engineer, who noted that the Indian Brook Road East low bid came in “well below the estimated project amount” anticipated by FEMA but that the Frazier Road stabilization low bid was “significantly higher” than the FEMA expectation. However, according to the New York state office that distributes FEMA payments, because FEMA terms this “a ‘Large Project,’ the town will be reimbursed on the basis of all costs actually expended,” Gainer explained in a memo.
As Shea announced at the meeting with evident frustration, the town government continues to pursue FEMA support for other projects.
“We’re still waiting for almost the same number of projects” to be funded as on Aug. 8, when the board met with an aide to Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., Shea said. “I can’t see why these agencies can’t get more cooperation and why FEMA is so slow with issuing the approvals and the checks.” He added that he continues to pursue the matter and hoped the town gets some good news within days. Whether that happens “remains to be seen,” he cautioned. “The storm is over. That’s fine. But the recovery is not over, especially here.”
Soil mining redux
With no controversies dominating the discussions, the board tended to routine matters Thursday. However, the contentious issue of soil mining in Philipstown is slated to return to the agenda on Oct. 3, at a workshop called to discuss a plea for banning the industry. The board scheduled the workshop at the request of a resident who spoke out during the meeting’s public-comment period.
Last June, a volatile outcry arose over an application by Lyons Realty to permit soil mining in the only area the zoning code allows it, near Route 9 in the northern end of Philipstown. Lyons Realty subsequently withdrew the application, but some residents advocate a change in the town code to prohibit soil mining entirely, thus preventing the question from arising again.
Large distribution space sought
In other business, Shea informed his colleagues that the Putnam County Economic Development Corp., which matches entrepreneurs with space, had passed along a request from someone seeking a 150,000-square-foot structure to house a distribution center for exclusive organic products. “I don’t know of anywhere in this town that would suit that,” Shea said. (By comparison, the entire old Butterfield Hospital building is 40,000 to 45,000 square feet.)