More Concerns Expressed Over Deteriorating Ambulance
Grafton Rescue Squad member Jordan Baldwin told the Monday, November 13 meeting of the Grafton Town Board, he had taken their ambulance to Carmody Ford in Greenwich for its annual vehicle inspection that day and returned with troubling news. According to Mr. Baldwin, the dealership informed him the engine has a serious oil leak and would have to be removed from the vehicle to properly locate it. He states he was also told “the brakes are shot, the backing plate is rusted out, the brake lines are rotten, the oil pan is leaking and the drive shaft is bent.” This on top of the electrical problems that have been plaguing the vehicle for several years. Mr. Baldwin says Carmody estimated the repair cost to be $5,900 in parts, and another $1,200 for the drop chains for the rear wheels, which are also currently not functioning properly.
Deputy Town Supervisor Tom Withcusky advised the Board that before they took any action, they should seek a second opinion, noting that on top of the parts bill, they could be looking at another $4,000 in labor costs. He, Rescue Squad Captain Joe Allain and Highway Superintendent Herb Hasbrouck indicated they would get that second estimate as soon as could be arranged. It should be noted the vehicle did, however, pass inspection and was returned to service. The Board also agreed it should start informal discussions as soon as the next day as to what the options are, including trying to rent a replacement ambulance for the estimated two weeks it would take to repair the 17 year old vehicle.
The Board was asked if they had heard anything yet from the New York State Budget Office as to when the $150,000 grant that has been approved would be released. It has been nearly three years since the office of State Senator Kathy Marchione announced the grant had been procured. The Eastwick Press has placed repeated calls to the Office of Governor Andrew Cuomo asking as to the status of the grant’s release. None of those inquires have been answered.
Assessor Agrees to Meet With Town Residents
Grafton currently has the lowest equalization rate in Rensselaer County and it has continued to drop for a number of years. And while you compare the actual amount of tax dollars town residents pay in school taxes compared to neighboring towns within the same district, there is some disparity, the actual dollars per thousand of assessed valuation are thrown quite askew.
Assessor David Galarneau has agreed to hold an open meeting for residents on November 29 at 5 pm in the Town Hall where, according to Town Supervisor Ingrid Gundrum, he says he will discuss his plans for the upcoming year, including the possibility of taking the town to full value assessment. If the equalization rate were to continue to drop, New York state could order the town to do a complete revaluation of all properties, something that could cost as much as $150,000.
Grafton Library Will Share Services With Brunswick
Library President Estella Hovnanian told the Board that they have reached a shared services agreement with the Brunswick Community Library that will see Brunswick’s Natalie Hurteau assume the title of Director of both libraries. The agreement will also bring an enlargement of some of the children’s programs that are offered at Grafton. Ms. Hovnanian says the expenditure for the shared services will be no more than what was paid to former Library Director Ronnie Tatro.
A Clean Audit Of The Former Town Clerk’s Books
Kathy Mason-Wagar was elected Town Clerk in 2015 to replace longtime clerk Sue Putnam, but resigned for personal reasons earlier this year. Her deputy, Vicky Burdick, was appointed to replace her and ran unopposed in this year’s general election to fill out the remainder of the term. Town Board member Lisa Dooley told those present she had recently completed an audit of all the financial transactions during Ms. Mason-Wager’s time in office, and “found everything balanced to the penny.”
Dog Control Officer Vicky Burdick told the Board she looked into kennel laws in surrounding towns, and found they all rely on New York State laws already on the books. She did indicate some localities do restrict the number of dogs a person can own to four and suggested the Board look into this. The research came out of a complaint that arose at last month’s meeting about a woman running what was described as an unauthorized kennel.
The Grafton Lakes State Park indicated they were in the process of replacing many signs in the Park, as well as the winter entrance sign at the corner of North Long Pond Road and Route 2, taken down during March’s blizzard. The Park also announced the annual Ice Fishing Contest will be held January 20, followed one week later by the Winter Festival on January 27.
Highway Superintendent Hasbrouck reported that the employee who tendered a verbal resignation has had a change of hear and now wishes to stay on. His resignation prompted the town to take out an ad seeking applicants for the Highway Department. Mr. Hasbrouck says he has had a conversation with Town Attorney Sal Ferlazzo about drafting an actual resignation letter to be signed in further instances. He says he was advised a verbal resignation is not binding. He did ask the Board to continue with planned applicant interviews, as he expects at least one retirement in the near future.
Ms. Burdick reported the Town Clerk’s office collected $4,927.17 for the town in October. The Board also voted to approve the payments of bills as audited in the amount of $34,265.80 before going into executive session for a personal matter. The meeting was adjourned in remembrance of Teresa Fox and Sergeant Nick Newell.