Villagers Asked to Conserve Water

Reservoirs low due to dry conditions

By Michael Turton

Cold Spring residents are being asked to voluntarily curb water use due to the current dry spell and its effect on the Lake Surprise reservoirs.

In July, Superintendent of Water and Sewers Greg Phillips reported that the reservoirs, which supply water to Cold Spring and Nelsonville, were at 90 percent capacity. But in his update to the Village Board at its Tuesday (Sept. 8) meeting, he said, “The rain gauge showed 2.7 inches of precipitation in August, but you couldn’t tell by looking at the reservoir levels.” The recent lack of rain and intense heat has resulted in the reservoirs dropping to 72 percent of capacity.

The Village Code empowers the Village Board to declare a water emergency, either through restrictions on the hours during which outdoor water use is permitted or by invoking a complete ban other than for business purposes. Mayor Dave Merandy suggested that voluntary conservation measures be adopted first, adding that if dry conditions continue, consideration can be given to imposing restrictions in a week or two. The long-term weather forecast calls for rain in the weeks ahead.

“We’ve been worse this time of year” in the past, Phillips said. “A decent rain once a week is enough” to keep reservoirs at an acceptable level. For now, he said, residents should avoid outdoor use of water during the midday heat because it is quickly lost to evaporation. Watering before 7 a.m. and after 7 p.m. is suggested.

Another indication of the dry conditions was Building Inspector Bill Bujarski’s report that he has complaints from residents regarding excessive dust at the Butterfield construction site. He commented that workers “need to be a bit more diligent” in their efforts to control the dust.

Fjord Trail sidewalk approved

Trustees approved engineering drawings for the sidewalk to be constructed along the north end of Fair Street as part of the development of the Hudson Highlands Fjord Trail. The trail will connect Cold Spring and Beacon, providing a safer path for hikers headed to Breakneck Ridge.

The design had been reviewed by the Cold Spring Recreation Commission, and Merandy praised the chair, Jeff Phillips, for the commission’s critique of the drawings. The design was approved conditional upon the commission’s recommendations being followed — including a requirement that the new fence planned for Mayor’s Park be erected prior to installation of the sidewalk.

Deputy Mayor Marie Early said she fears the Fjord Trail will create parking problems along Fair Street, and Trustee Michael Bowman commented that he doubts the sidewalk will be used but that its construction is “a step forward.”

The Village of Cold Spring is providing services-in-kind but is not contributing financially to the sidewalk, which is being funded through New York State grants associated with the Fjord Trail.

Paving bids rejected

Trustees voted to reject all bids received for paving portions of Wall Street and Paulding Avenue as well as the municipal parking lot on Fair Street. Village officials had expected bids to be in the $50,000 range, however the lowest of three estimates received was $71,000.

Rather than requesting collective bids for the three projects, the village will now re-advertise them separately. Merandy described the Fair Street parking lot as being in “horrible” condition, commenting, “I don’t know how they can even plow it” in winter.

Boaters dined, shopped, bought ice cream

The Cold Spring Boat Club submitted a statistical summary of visitors who came to the village by boat between April and August in 2015. According to the report from Commodore Mark Patinella and based on a survey conducted at the Boat Club’s dock, 826 boats brought a total of 2,922 visitors to the village, with 44 vessels staying overnight. It also showed that 2,129 visitors purchased a meal in the village; 1,056 shopped in local stores; and 1,093 purchased ice cream.

August was the busiest month, with 318 boats, while only two docked at the Boat Club during April. The boating season was cut short this year due to the removal of Boat Club docks at the end of August in preparation for the removal of toxic coal tar deposits beneath the club’s building by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation.

Ella’s Bellas, tourism dollars, public hearings

Planning Board Chairman Donald McDonald reported that a recent public hearing to consider a proposal for an Ella’s Bellas café to be established at 15 Main St. was canceled because the applicant failed to notify neighboring property owners. The hearing has been rescheduled for Sept. 16. Ella’s Bellas also operates a café in Beacon.

Trustee Cathryn Fadde suggested, and her fellow trustees quickly agreed, that with 2016 Putnam County budget deliberations beginning in October, the village ought to apply for “tourism relief” funding.

The New York Public Service Commission is hosting a series of “public statement hearings” on low-income programs offered by major electric and gas utilities and a proposed merger of Time Warner Cable and Charter Communications. Comments can be made at the hearings or through the mail, via the Internet or by toll-free telephone. Background information on the hearings, scheduled for September and October in a number of locations across New York state, is available at Village Hall.

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