By Doug La Rocque
The Rensselaer County Highway Department needs a little more space than it currently has at it’s Berlin Garage. The Berlin Highway Department has some room to spare. So for a few years now, the town has been renting out a garage to the county for $500 a month. That garage however, does not have electrical service, something the county would like to see in place. Since it is town owned, the county cannot hire a contractor to install the service. The answer that was arrived at during the Town Board’s workshop meeting last Thursday, September 28, was for the town to install the service, and raise the rent for one year to cover the cost of the installation. The garage used by the county would be on its own separate meter, something that is permissible by law. So after some discussion as the the cost, and some feedback by Berlin Highway Superintendent Jim Winn, the board settled on a figure of $1,500. That is being added to the $6,000 yearly rent for 2018 only. Beyond that will be a matter of negotiation for another year.
The board also discussed numerous complaints filed by a un-named resident, who is concerned about the speed of vehicles entering the village on Plank Road, and turning onto Route 22. Board Member Tara Fisher said she talked to the complainant, and explained there is not much they as a town can do. “We don’t have our own town police department, and neither road is owned by the town.” Thusly, they cannot, as was apparently suggested, install speed bumps or any other speed control devices. Plank Road is a Rensselaer County road, and of course Route 22 is state owned.
Both of the Water Commissioner positions in Berlin come open at the first of the year. Water District 1 Chief Len Clapp has retired, and District 2 Commissioner Jim Winn has informed the board he will not seek re-appointment. The board spent some time discussing the actual responsibilities of the two separate jobs, and the feasibility of combining the positions. They eventually decided to place “Help Wanted” ads for the jobs, and see who applies and what their qualifications and desires are, before making a final decision.
Mr. Winn informed the board his department still plans to do the work and repairs on District 2 as has been the case. That labor is charged back to the Water District.
Before adjourning for the evening, Town Supervisor Rob Jaeger told board members that the Stewart’s Ice Cream Company will be making formal presentations to both the Town and Planning Boards in the near future. Stewart’s wants to build a new and larger shop on the site of the former bank building and old highway garage on Route 22. Board members also briefly discussed the upcoming budget deliberations for next year, several expressing their desires as to what the bottom line should look like. That however, remains a matter for deeper discussion at upcoming budget workshops.