Highlights from May 21 meeting
By Liz Schevtchuk Armstrong
The Nelsonville Village Board on Monday (May 21) discussed traffic problems, tag sales and stewardship of local trails. It also agreed to pursue changing the village internet address and received an update on a continuing sewer lawsuit.
Mayor Bill O’Neill and Trustee Thomas Robertson described efforts to address speeding and other hazardous driving. O’Neill said problems involve not only cars but other vehicles and that with trucks, “local truckers are the worst offenders,” he said.
As he has in the past, Robertson called for a study of the number of vehicles using village streets. He and the mayor suggested collaborating with Cold Spring, which confronts similar issues, and Putnam County, which has offered to assist with a study. O’Neill said such an effort represents the type of shared services the state favors. He added on Wednesday that he and town supervisors from around Putnam had met with Putnam County Executive MaryEllen Odell on Tuesday to discuss shared services, in an ongoing dialog.
Trustee Michael Bowman proposed that the village create a trails committee to assist with upkeep in the Nelsonville woods, and the board agreed, 5-0. Bowman said that establishment of a committee will allow Nelsonville to apply for grants for trail maintenance.
He noted that Saturday, June 2, is National Trails Day, a chance to “get out and enjoy the trail system” and suggested that hikers “bring some trash bags” to pick up litter.
Bowman, whose responsibilities include information technology projects, recommended Nelsonville change its domain name from villageofnelsonville.org to nelsonville.ny.gov to better reflect its role as a local government. The board authorized spending up to $1,000 for the necessary filings with the federal government. While a typical domain is $15 to $20 per year, government domains are $400 annually.
O’Neill said he had received complaints about conditions, including an ongoing tag sale, at the former Allen Coal lot on Main Street. According to the mayor, other concerns about the site include fire hazards created by inadequate storage and a collapsing fence. He said the village has contacted the property’s new owners, who were “reasonably responsive.”
On another yard-sale note, Trustee Alan Potts suggested a village-wide yard sale in which participation is free for Nelsonville residents while outside vendors pay a fee. He said the event could take place at the Masonic Lodge as early as next month.
O’Neill reported on developments in a lawsuit against the village and Cold Spring over a sewer line. He noted that court-approved dye testing was scheduled “to determine what, exactly, is going down the tubes there.” In an update Wednesday afternoon, he said that the test had occurred that morning and that the results would be sent to the judge presiding over the case.
It began in October 2016 when six residents sued Nelsonville and Cold Spring in Putnam County Supreme Court, contending the villages must tend to a troublesome sewer line installed decades ago (precisely when is under debate). The villages refused, asserting the line was privately installed and remains a private responsibility.
Nelsonville largely relies on septic systems because the village lacks sewer lines. One exception is the pipe at issue. It runs down Pearl Street, turns, and joins the Cold Spring sewer system just inside the Cold Spring boundary. The residents argue that the villages “own, maintain and control” the line and occasionally have acted to maintain and repair it, such as when they fixed a sinkhole in 2015 caused by a rupture in the pipe.