Town Hall Boiler And Water System Control Module Both Die Abruptly
by Alex Brooks
Petersburgh Supervisor Alan Webster said the boiler for the heating system in the Town Hall “died,” and will need to be replaced. He said someone from Main Care will be coming on Friday May 19 to discuss options and provide some pricing.[private] It is a steam system, and Webster said the recommendation may be to change it over to a hot water system.
Webster said a crack developed in the boiler and water leaked all over the floor.
New Codes Enforcement Officer
The Board accepted a resignation from Codes Enforcement Officer David Miller, and appointed Fran Rogers as the Town’s new Codes Enforcement Officer by unanimous vote. Rogers is the Codes Enforcement Officer for the Town of Hoosick.
Rogers will begin his new duties in Petersburgh immediately.
Water System Problems
Water District Superintendent Ben Krahforst reports that the automatic water control system has stopped working, and since the chlorinator works through that device, it is not working either. The system now has so many issues that the NYS Department of Health (NYSDOH) has required that an engineer review the whole system. No work can proceed until an engineer draws up plans and they are approved by NYSDOH.
Krahforst has been working with Tom Suozzo of Cedarwood Engineering and has great confidence in him, and recommended that the Town hire Cedarwood as the supervising engineers. Accordingly, Supervisor Webster asked the Town Board to authorize hiring Cedarwood to assist with water system repairs and improvements.
One of Cedarwood’s first tasks would be to prepare a grant application to secure money to do all the work that is needed. The grant program in view has a deadline coming up very soon, so the grant application must be written quickly. This program requires a 40% match from the Town, and if the Town can’t come up with the 40%, the program will lend it to the Town at 0% interest.
Some of the work that needs to be done is related to the PFOA contamination, and modifications to the water system caused by it, and some is just regular repair and maintenance of the water system. It is possible that if Taconic agrees to pay for the parts related to PFOA contamination, those funds could make up some or all of the required 40% match.
Krahforst said NYSDOH officials have indicated to him that NYS has its eye on Petersburgh and is waiting for a grant application from the Town and is motivated to make a grant to get the system repairs and renovations underway.
However, Denise Church said the NY State budget this year included funds to improve drinking water systems, and Petersburgh was specifically mentioned in relation to that money. She urged that Supervisor Webster make inquiries about when that money may be available and how the Town might access it. Webster said that he would.
The Board passed a motion to hire Cedarwood Engineering at hourly rates that were set forth in a document Cedarwood had provided. Engineers are billed at somewhere between $100 per hour and $120 per hour.
Former Supervisor Zeegie Krahforst, who is now chairman of the Water District Committee, had called a meeting of that committee for May 16, but postponed it because he needed to gather more information before trying to present the situation to the committee. The meeting will be re-scheduled and it will be open to the public.
Webster said he is committed to finding funding to put the Water District in good order for the foreseeable future, but added that he has been emphatic that the scope of the project be “only what is needed, and not a wish list.”
Update On DEC Studies
Supervisor Webster said he met with Keith Goertz of DEC on the day of the meeting. Goetz told him the preliminary report on the landfill is done and it should be ready for public release by the end of the month. He also said data from the DEC study of PFOA in fish in the Little Hoosic River has been given to DOH and a report on that will be coming out soon also.
The Board again discussed its problem with The Williamson Law Book Software it purchased in January, but the matter was not resolved because Town Attorney Gruenberg did not yet have an answer from the company about whether or not it is willing to refund the purchase price. The Town purchased Codes Enforcement software from that company last July which has been in use since then, and it purchased Tax Collection Software in January of this year, and after entering data into it, learned that Rensselaer County cannot accept data from that software. The County accepts data from software made by a company called BAS, so the Town will apparently have to switch over to that software. Meanwhile, Town Tax Collector Emily Harrison had to re-do the tax collection information and submit it to the County on paper, as in olden days.
Webster said Grafton had asked if the kennel facility set up by Petersburgh Dog Control Officer Gerald Russell behind the Town Hall might be available for shared use with Grafton, and Grafton Dog Officer Vicky Burdick is in discussions with Russell about that, but no decisions have been made yet.
Petersburgh Highway Superintendent Rob Cottrell told Webster he would like to get rid of a 1997 Ford Pickup truck which is in bad shape, and a GMC boom truck that has been sitting behind the highway garage for quite some time. The Board was agreeable, but a suggestion was made that the Ford pickup might be suitable for use by the Constable/Dog Control Officer, who has sought to get a Town vehicle for his use. Although the pickup is said to be in bad shape, it was in steady use until a month or two ago, when the Town’s new pickup truck arrived. More discussion was needed before that could be resolved.
Town Court Funds
The Board approved moving the Town Justice Court Account to the Capital Communications Credit Union, because it was being charged too many fees for low balances where it was before.
Town Hall Repairs
Town Board member Dennis Smith presented several alternatives for new bathroom flooring in the Town Hall, and the Board chose the less expensive option, which was 1’ by 1’ by 1/4” vinyl tiles for about $1 per square foot. The installation work will be done by Sherman Clyde of C&H Construction.
The Board approved a new library Trustee nominated by the Library Board. He is Paul Narotski, who lives on Route 346 in Petersburgh. He fills a vacancy created by the resignation of Moses Nagel. The term of the appointment is through the end of 2018.
The Board took up a piece of old business that has been before it for some time, and that is the Constable Law, which was drafted by Town Constable Gerald Russell. Town Attorney David Gruenberg had reviewed the document and spoke to the Board about his thoughts on it. He said he thought the document gives very broad powers to the Constable, and said “it’s not clear to me that the Town needs a Constable with such a comprehensive authority.” He said if you give authority to carry firearms and use force, it creates a liability for the Town in case, in the heat of the moment, such authority may be used inappropriately, or someone may claim that it was used inappropriately Gruenberg said the Town would have to carry insurance to cover that new liability. He suggested as a starting, the Board ask what functions the town needs to have covered. Several members of the Board said the main thing is enforcement of Building codes. They suggested that serving people with violation notices related to Codes Enforcement be done by the Codes Enforcement Officer, and they leave the Constable law as it is now. The Board tabled the new Constable Law and resolved to look at the Codes Enforcement laws separately. [/private]