Cold Spring may simply change how it bills
By Michael Turton
There may be light at the end of the tunnel in the protracted dispute between Cold Spring and Nelsonville over the cost of fire protection — a squabble that the Cold Spring Fire Company says has left it short of funds.
Nelsonville has purchased fire protection from Cold Spring since 2001, when it disbanded its own fire department. The conflict centers on an invoice sent in October 2016 by Cold Spring to Nelsonville for $21,679 for its twice-yearly billing. Nelsonville responded with a check that withheld $1,004 it identified as a contribution to the Length of Service Award Program (LOSAP), a pension for the volunteer firefighters.
Nelsonville Mayor Bill O’Neill said the village felt a referendum was necessary before it paid into the fund. Cold Spring has said it will not cash the check until Nelsonville acknowledges it is a partial payment.
Adding to the tension has been the fire company’s refusal to respond to the Cold Spring board’s request for a detailed accounting of its operating expenses as part of the annual budget process.
After calling the board’s request “intrusive,” Fire Company President Matt Steltz said he would discuss the issue with the company leadership. At a village board meeting on Oct. 10, Merandy and Village Attorney John Furst emphasized that the board was simply meeting its fiduciary responsibilities.
At the suggestion of CSFC member Dan Valentine, the board will review how it bills for fire protection, including removing reference to LOSAP. Instead, the invoice might only indicate the total owed, a practice that Furst said is typical throughout the state.
In addition, Cold Spring has not billed Nelsonville or Philipstown, which also uses CSFC services, for the cost of operating and maintaining the Main Street firehouse, which the village owns. That also may change.
In other business…
- The village received a $215,000 grant from the New York State Clean Water Fund for the Market Street Pumping Station Replacement Project.
- The Cold Spring Police Department answered 59 calls in September and issued tickets for 41 parking and 19 traffic violations. It also made one arrest.
- Nick Groombridge and Kim Connor, co-owners of Groombridge Games, said it will again sponsor the July 4 fireworks in 2018.
- Deputy Mayor Marie Early has negotiated increased fees from Seastreak to cover the cost of having an additional police officer on foot patrol when its cruise ships dock at Cold Spring.
- Tectonic Engineering has completed the schematic design report for proposed repairs to the upper dam.
- Superintendent of Water and Waste Water Greg Phillips reported that a meeting was held with Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s regional representative in an attempt to move toward an agreement with the New York City Department of Environmental Protection that will enable the village to tap into the Catskill Aqueduct. The connection will provide water to Cold Spring and Nelsonville during repairs to the village dams. Negotiations with DEP began in 2011.