Sunday, April 16, 2006

April Town Board Meeting

It was a page and a half long agenda - 50% longer than last month (current agenda will remain posted 'til the May agenda goes up about May 4th). I guess I should be glad we finished around midnight. The Ithaca Journal managed to cover a few topics from the meeting with, as Simon at Living in Dryden points out, the most misleading headline I can imagine:
"Dryden considers solar panels, ice skating rink, sewer district"

Yes, solar panels were discussed, but the larger issue in the draft Renewable Energy Ordinance is residential wind energy. Yes, the ice skating park was mentioned, but the emphasis in the Recreation Department report was on the skateboard park. Yes, the Town/Village agreement over the Cortland Road Sewer Contract was listed on the agenda, but the Engineering department introduced an extensive discussion over a proposal for an Ellis Hollow Road water and sewer district and to a lesser degree, a Pinckney Road district.

I have trouble picking out one or two items I think the public may be interested in. Unlike a grumpy commenter here a few weeks ago, I think all the items are important and interesting in their own ways. I guess that's why I'm on the Board and the commenter isn't. So, I'm going to try to describe two or three items every few days 'til I've mentioned them all or 'til the May meeting, whichever comes first.

The Etna Fire Department doesn't have its own website, so the best source for information is Living in Dryden. For two years the town has been dealing with the Etna department's recruiting challenges and sketchy response rate. The Dryden, Freeville and Varna departments have developed a support system to cover while Etna tries to develop recruiting and training programs. But the 2006 contract, budgeted at around $111,000, will depend on some benchmarks in recruiting, training and response rates.

Earlier this month, Supervisor Trumbull sent Etna Chief Lobdell statistics from Dispatch and questions regarding their current membership, training, equipment and budget. Dispatch records show that of 143 calls Etna was unable to respond to 55 of them. Chief Lobdell has not responded to the questions and no one from the department came to the Board meeting. So, although Etna can't receive any payment from the town 'til the contract is settled, discussion has been postponed 'til the May meeting.

Highway Department Superintendent, Jack Bush, submitted a list of roadwork planned for this season and estimated maximum expenditures for each area. Much of the work ( like Scenic Way, Scout Lane, Annee Lane, Oakbrook Drive, Snyder Hill Road and Ellis Hollow Creek Road) is part of Jack's long-range planning and some (like Knollwood Drive, Mineah Road and Hunt Hill) results from drainage and erosion problems. Lansing shares Scofield Road with Dryden and has agreed to do the necessary work and split the cost with Dryden. Jack has negotiated a similar agreement with Town of Ithaca for Sapsucker Woods Road. The total of all the maximum estimates is $459,000. But Jack's asking for, and the Board is approving, a total of $136,000. So I assume each project will cost much less than the maximum estimates and the estimates are only useful as a rough yardstick for what proportion of the total is attributable to each.



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