2017-10-04 / Front Page

Walton Opposes Further NYC-DEP Land Acquisition

Tire Disposal Options Frustrate Council
By Lillian Browne

WALTON - The town of Walton has officially opposed further land acquisition by the New York City Department of Environmental Protection (NYC) in its continued pursuit of a Filtration Avoidance Determination for Delaware County reservoirs. Walton Supervisor Charlie Gregory read a letter representing the council’s views, at a meeting of the Walton Town Council on Oct. 2.

The letter was sent to Albany decision makers to be included as public comment on NYC’s renewed application to avoid filtration of drinking water sourced from the Cannonsville and Pepacton reservoirs.

NYC has purchased land or conservation easements throughout Delaware County to thwart water pollution by restricting development on those properties. Not only has the land purchase pro- gram crippled Walton’s economic viability, Gregory said in the letter, but it has hampered the town’s ability to grow its tax base. Of Walton’s land mass, only six percent remains suitable for development, Gregory said. That, coupled with a recent town-wide reevaluation which generally reduced property values, has left Walton in a precarious economic position, he said.

The town further urged that a moratorium on land purchases be put in place and the funds dedicated to land purchases be reallocated instead to flood mitigation efforts, which also have been shown to preserve water quality.

The town-wide reevaluation, or reassessment, also resulted in the discovery of two small parcels of property which were never deeded or titled. Those parcels, a .17 acre parcel located off Park Street and another small parcel located adjacent to 318 Delaware Street, will be offered for sale to adjacent property owners, Gregory said.

Assessor Fran Zujovic reported that in order to keep the town’s property assessments at 100 percent, the board must decide if it wants to complete reassessment every four years by hiring an outside firm, which was the method recently used, or whether it will be done by town staff.

Both methods are costly, Zujovic said, but if the town is going to follow the state’s recommendation for assessments, it should start planning now.

In other town business:

• Highway Superintendent Walt Geidel reported that the town has been unable to dispose of truck and heavy equipment tires in a timely manner at the Delaware County landfill. He was advised, he said, to call the landfill every day or every other day to see if there is room for disposal of tires. Council member Kevin Armstrong asked Gregory to address the issue with the county. “We wonder why people are dumping them (tires) over the bank,” he said. The town will make arrangements to have a tire disposal container available for town residents this fall.

• There will be no winter maintenance on Chase Brook Road from the Walton town line to the Tompkins town line or on Beers Brook Road from Russ Gray Pond to state Route 206 from Dec. 1 to April 1, 2018.

• The town will pursue grant funding through the Delaware County Soil and Water Conservation District for grade control stream bank projects along Wakeman Brook and Pines Brook.

• The town has received a request for property tax exemption for a parcel of property in the industrial park from the Delaware County Industrial Development Agency. No action was taken.

• There will be a video of the county’s department of public works facility relocation information session held on Sept. 27 available on the Delaware County website at dcan/dpw_ siting.htm, Gregory said. At the meeting, engineers hired by the county said that an 11-foot wall would have to be constructed and filled in order to raise the current garage site, on Page Avenue in Delhi, above the flood way. Still under consideration are the county Route 18, Delhi site, the Bishop farm on state Route 10 in Hamden and a Delancey site. A hybrid option, consisting of an administrative site and a machinery site, are also being considered. The hybrid option, Gregory said, is not efficient.

• The move of the Delaware County Office of the Aging offices from Court Street to 97 Main Street in Delhi will begin this week. Consultants continue to review sites for the relocation of the Delaware County Mental Health Facility.

• There will be a Christmas tree lighting at Veterans Plaza on Nov. 25 from 5:30 - 7:30 p.m.

• There will be a public hearing on the Walton Fire District 2018 budget on Oct. 17 at 7 p.m. at the Walton Fire Hall on West Street.

• There will be a special meeting of the Walton Town Council on Oct. 23 at 6 p.m. It is anticipated that a 2018 budget workshop will be followed by the adoption of a preliminary budget, which will then be scheduled for a public hearing.

The next regularly scheduled meeting of the Walton Town Council will be on Nov. 13 at 6 p.m.

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