By Buffy Calvert
The Town Council, at its October 11th meeting, scheduled three Public Hearings to be held before its November meeting which will be at 12:30 pm, Thursday, November 10th (postponed because of Election Day on Tuesday.)
12:15 pm: Override of the Tax Levy
12:20 pm: 2012 Budget
12:25 pm: Moratorium on Heavy Industry
These hearings, Supervisor Donnelly assured us, may go longer than 5 minutes if people show up and wish to be heard.
David Merzig, the Town Attorney, proposed that Andes, instead of drafting a zoning ordinance on heavy industry (including hydrofracking), should adopt a 6-month moratorium which could be extended to 12 months. This would give us time to see how lawsuits in two towns which have adopted outright bans on fracking play out and spare us the expense of litigation. He is working with a consortium of lawyers on this issue. The moratorium will be on the agenda for both the public hearing and meeting on November 10th.
Engineers from Delaware Operations presented the plan for the upgrade of our Wastewater Treatment Plant (WWTP). A new Membrane Bio Reactor will replace the current, failing technology; it will be more efficient and allow greater potential capacity. The engineers said the design should be put out to bid early in 2012 and be under construction from May-December 2012. NYC will pay 85 percent of the $2.5 million cost. A grant from the Army Corps of Engineers for $250,000 and an outstanding grant should cover the balance.
At the end of his report, Mr. Donnelly shared with the room full of citizens that “preparing the 2012 budget has been miserable.” State mandates raise costs for health insurance and pensions. To save money, they cut the salaries of all employees except those under union contract, and mid-term elected officials. All elected officers in the middle of their terms have volunteered to reduce their salaries. Nevertheless, the budget will rise beyond the 2 percent allowed under a new state law. The Board will ask the citizens to override the tax levy restriction. Both the override and the budget will be addressed at the hearings and meeting on November 10th.
Someone has vandalized the obelisks in Ballantine Park. NYS Troopers have been alerted. Anyone with information should call Town Hall or the State Police.~