Discussion of lawyer’s letter postponed
By Michael Turton
At its Tuesday meeting (Oct. 14) the Cold Spring Village Board received, but did not act upon, a letter from Anna Georgiou who serves as counsel to the Cold Spring Planning Board. The correspondence dealt with concerns raised recently by a number of Planning Board members regarding their ability to comment on the “mass and scale” of the Butterfield project.
Mayor Ralph Falloon had previously called for a joint meeting of the Village Board and Planning Board to be held in late October to deal with the issue. In the interim he opted instead to have Georgiou submit a clarifying letter. Trustee Michael Bowman favored discussing the letter at Tuesday’s meeting, however the board decided not to since it had been received just earlier that day and as a result had not been read by all members of the board or Village Attorney Mike Liguori.
When asked by Bowman if the letter was “privileged” information, Liguori responded that it could be regarded as such until it was shared with anyone else. The letter was subsequently leaked to the PCNR, which referred to it in an article and published it online on Oct. 15. The letter will be discussed publicly for the first time at the Village Board’s Oct. 21 meeting.
Trustee Cathryn Fadde presented a check for $7,500 from Putnam County to fund purchase of two “BigBelly” trashcans. Acquiring the solar-powered cans, which automatically compact garbage and reduce weekend overtime by Highway Department staff, has been discussed numerous times. The county has traditionally provided an annual grant to the village to assist with garbage pickup, overtime costs in particular.
When asked by Trustee Stephanie Hawkins if the check was in addition to the normal $7,500 grant, Fadde, who acts as liaison with the county, said that it was not. “(It’s) $7,500 for BigBellies. That’s what I asked for and that’s what I got,” she said. She also said that historically, the cost of overtime for garbage collection has not used up the entire grant.
Reservoirs at only 65 percent capacity
While the heavy rains that fell on the night of Oct. 15 undoubtedly helped to some extent, water levels remain unusually low in the reservoirs that supply water to Cold Spring. Greg Phillips, superintendent of Water and Waste Water, reported that the Upper and Lower Reservoir are at only 65 percent of capacity. A dry summer and fall, along with a significant leak that was recently repaired, have contributed to low levels. As a result, trustees passed a resolution asking residents to curb outdoor use of water until the situation improves.
The boulders along the edge of the Cedar Street Cemetery continue to be an issue. When, at Falloon’s request, the Highway Department recently moved three boulders closer to the cemetery in order to create additional parking along the street, a footstone in the cemetery was pushed out of place. It was subsequently put back and the boulders were moved back closer to the road.
At Tuesday’s meeting, Trustee Bowman said of the boulders: “In my opinion they should be moved back to the edge of the road,” adding that the situation created a liability and that the village should not have to solve Haldane’s parking problem. Falloon responded that the boulders in question are now aligned with others along Cedar Street. He also said that moving the boulders was not done to help Haldane but to improve a parking situation that is unfair to residents along the street.
“I stand by my decision,” he said to Bowman. “Feel free to make a motion.” None was put forward. In the end, it was decided to contact the county in order to find a survey that would clearly define the cemetery boundary.
Grants for new fire hall sought
The Cold Spring Fire Company committee that is considering construction of a new firehouse has asked the Village Board for help in acquiring grants to support the project. Correspondence from the committee pointed out that a decision whether to renovate the existing fire hall at 154 Main St., or build a new facility, has been put off but that maintenance of the aging building continues to be a significant issue.
As an example the letter said the air conditioning system that was repaired this summer will soon have to be replaced at a cost of roughly $12,000. It also listed other pressing needs including a new roof, heating system and floor repairs. In addition, the correspondence indicated that the fire company has delayed purchase of a new system for filling air bottles until a decision is made regarding a new building.
“We would like to know if our liaison or one of the other Village Board members could start looking into ideas for funding of a new fire house … through some type of grant which could help lower the cost (to) taxpayers,” the letter stated.
Mayor Falloon said that he is supportive but that the fire company would have to play a role in looking for grants. He and Trustee Bowman, who now acts as liaison with the fire company, both served terms as fire company president in the past, and both pointed out that seeking grants had been part of that role.
Bowman said that he would work with the fire company and suggested that a joint workshop be held to discuss related issues. Falloon added that the company could also submit a proposal for the Village Board’s consideration.
Beginning this winter, parking will be permitted on the dead-end portion of Marion Avenue south of Benedict Road during periods when parking is prohibited on most village streets to facilitate snow removal. Trustees passed a resolution adding Marion Street to sections of Kemble Avenue and The Boulevard as areas where residents can park during and after snowstorms.
Parking during restricted periods is available in the municipal lot on Fair Street. From Nov. 15 through April 15 residents are asked to call the Highway Department at 845-265-4883 after 5 p.m. to determine if parking is banned on village streets during or after a snowfall or when heavy snow is predicted.