By Buffy Calvert

The Andes Town Board held a public hearing on June 9th to seek comments on a proposed amendment to the Andes Sewer Use Ordinance. They fielded many questions from the three Andes residents who showed up. Headed “FROZEN OUTFLOW,” the proposed amendment reads:

“During very cold seasons, the water must be run at a minimum to discourage frozen outflow.   During such events, the Town District shall send a postcard to every property owner in the district authorizing such special usage. If, after receipt of such communication, the property owner fails to maintain the minimum flow and the service becomes frozen, the property owner must immediately inform the Town district. The thawing of the service must be accomplished by a technician/plumber pre-approved by the Town at the expense of the property owner. Failure to notify the Town District of the need to thaw the service shall cause a surcharge to the next sewer rate to be set from time to time by the District Board.”

Questions flew from the floor:

Isn’t the expression “During very cold seasons” too vague to give notice to the home owners?

Is the requirement: to “run water at a minimum to discourage frozen outflow” triggered by the receipt of the postcard or “very cold” temperatures?”

What is the “minimum”? A pencil’s circumference was deemed to be adequate by the Board members present. And only from one spigot.

All agreed that there was, in fact, no way to know whether or not any homeowner was running their water day and night by the proper amount. The purpose of the proposed law seemed to be to take the Town off the hook for repairing anyone’s freeze-up damage. All agreed that was a laudable goal, but not met by the proposal as worded.

A final objection challenged the authority of the Town fathers to dictate which plumber one could use. One resident claimed it was a question of individual freedom.

We didn’t even get to the question of how “failure to notify” could result in a surcharge on one’s sewer rent, amount at the whim of the Sewer Board.

The Town Council decided to table the proposed law for more study.

At the regular meeting, the Highway Department reported a flurry of road gradings and culvert repairs.

Superintendent Donnelly answered a pressing question: What was the story behind that big equipment blocking Main Street for the past few days? Gallons of extra water flooding the waste water treatment plant prompted action. A camera, sent down the line underground from end to end, discovered a break in the water line in front of Tay Home. Dig we must!

The Board agreed to add its support to MARK Project’s application for a $500,000 grant to give Andes’ and neighboring towns’ Main Street building owners up to $15,000 for façade repair and enhancement. Donnelly reported that Andes received $45,481 to use in Ballantine Park and that a  group inspired by Scott Hill’s Anti-Rent War figures is planning a show on the subject.

Councilman Gladstone announced that so far one consulting firm has expressed interest in guiding the Flood Commission. Planning Board Chairman Frank Winkler will invite them to visit and explore the terrain.

Councilman Tom Joyce reported that the pool is being filled from the brook. Then the chlorine system can be hooked up. Lifeguards are on board. The Pool should open on schedule on June 29th.

Finally, Joyce reported that the Association of Towns