Petersburgh Town Board Action – To Secede Or Not To Secede
by Alex Brooks
At the Petersburgh Town Board Meeting this week, Kurt Klein presented a petition signed by about 75 Petersburgh residents asking to have a referendum on whether the Town should secede from the Berlin School District. He said he had not been able to talk with everyone by any means but he had spent a few Saturdays going door to door to talk with people about the School District. He said about 80% of the people he talked to signed the petition.
[private]Petersburgh Supervisor Siegfried Krahforst turned to the Town Council and asked what they thought about having such a referendum. He said, referring to the petition, there does seem to be some interest in it.
Bill Seel said he thought they ought to consult with the Town Attorney before taking any action on the matter, to find out more about the legal context of it.
The Board appointed Joseph Dunlop of Petersburgh as Assistant Superintendent of the Petersburgh Water District. The Board felt that there should be someone trained and ready to keep things running if the Superintendent is unable to work for any reason or even just for vacations. Dunlop will be going to training to get the necessary certifications to be a water system operator.
Dunlop asked the Board about the extent of the Superintendent’s duties under the $12 per day salary stated at the organizational meeting. The Board said the Water Superintendent does bill his time at $12 per hour for some duties that are outside those covered by the daily stipend, but they were uncertain about exactly what duties are to be billed in addition to the daily stipend, and they resolved to look into it.
Supervisor Krahforst told the Board he had spoken with Highway Superintendent Ray Harrison about the possibility of having the Town Highway crew do the digging when Water District pipes need to be repaired, and Harrison agreed to have his crew do that if the manpower is available. If there is a snowstorm or roads have been washed out that are in need of urgent repair, the Water District would have to find others to dig, but in normal times the Highway crew can do it. The Highway crew would be reimbursed for the cost of equipment and manpower by the Water District. This is expected to be a more economical way of getting repairs done than calling in outside contractors who have to haul heavy equipment in from far away.
Town Hall Maintenance
Supervisor Krahforst said he had taken a walk around the Town Hall with an eye to maintenance issues and had found a number of things that needed to be fixed. He mentioned the front entrance where the flat roof is and some water drainage issues. He said he will get some estimates from contractors to do some of this work and then bring the matter back to the Board for consideration.
Fire Alarm System
Supervisor Krahforst reported that the Town has been discussing an annual maintenance fee for taking care of the fire alarm system in the Town buildings, and he had found that the cost per building goes down if you have more buildings. For that reason he proposed that the Town cover the maintenance of the alarm systems in the Fire House and the Rescue Squad building because it is more economical to do it all in one contract. The Board seemed agreeable to this idea, but they did not yet have a firm quote from the company that is working on the fire alarm systems. Town Clerk Callie Crisp said she expects the quote to be less than $200 per building per year.
Highway Superintendent Ray Harrison said the crew has been repairing trucks during the slow times and he himself has been spending a lot of time working with a FEMA representative to perfect his paperwork for the Town’s FEMA claims. “The FEMA rep has been here four times,” Harrison said, “and five roads are completed. There’s a lot more paperwork yet to do.”
Public Use Of Road Salt And Sand
Supervisor Krahforst asked Harrison about the policy on individuals taking small quantities of sand and salt from the Town’s stockpiles. Harrison said people who live in Town are permitted to take small quantities for personal use. He said most people fill a 5 gallon bucket when they come to get sand.
Rensselaer County Center For Economic Growth
Supervisor Krahforst said he would like the Town to become a member of the Rensselaer County Center for Economic Growth. The fee to join is $500. Bill Seel asked what the benefit is, and Krahforst said he believes it could lead to grants and assistance with economic development in the Town. The Board agreed to become a member of the organization.
It was reported that five streetlights on Hewitt Road are not working, and Krahforst said he thought there were eight in the Town that were not working. He said he planned to get someone to repair them.[/private]