2018-06-13 / News

NYC Acquisition and Buyout Aggravates Hamden Town Board

By Sara Andros

The acquisition of land by New York City continues to be a source of aggravation for Town of Hamden Supervisor Wayne Marshfield and members of the board. This contentious issue was on the agenda once again at the regular town meeting on June 6. “I’m not in favor of the city buying any more than they have to buy,” said Marshfield. The proposed Crystal Brook subdivision purchase has been a hot topic in the town and county ever since the town was notified that the city intended to purchase the parcels.

The owner of the parcels is insisting that the city buy all nine contiguous parcels even though only a couple of acres have any impact on water quality. In isn’t clear whether or not the city can purchase just the parcels directly affecting the New York City water supply. “Over the years the city has purchased thousands of beautiful acres with no water quality issues at all. It just isn’t right,” said Marshfield. Attorney Kevin Young is in the process of responding to the proposed purchase on behalf of the town.

In addition to discussions about the Crystal Brook subdivision, the board was set to address the proposed New York City flood plain buyout of the Green Thumb Nursery property. “I’m opposed to it and I have been opposed to it from the start,” said Marshfield.

He and the board are bothered by the fact that other mitigation options have not been considered prior to seeking a buyout. The property, owned by Chris and Leslie Mignier, was recommended for a buyout based on a hydraulic study. A previous buyout offer was made in 1996 after the flood, but was not pursued. There is a Watershed Agricultural Council (WAC) agricultural easement on the property which could affect the sale, and the board has additional unanswered questions. They decided to table further discussion on the matter until they have more information.

The board voted to move forward with the proposal to eliminate the Walton Fire Protection District and to transfer the town parcels served by it to the Walton Fire District. If the proposal is accepted, there will be no change to the level or quality of fire and ambulance services provided to the 191 affected parcels. There may be slight increases or decreases in landowner taxes, but all landowners will pay equally.

Letters will be sent by the town clerk to the owners of the parcels currently covered by the fire protection district to inform them of the proposed change and to notify them of the upcoming public hearing on the matter. Hearings will be held for both Hamden and Walton; nothing will be implemented until the residents of Walton and Hamden accept the proposal. The public hearing in Hamden will be held on July 11 at 6 p.m., prior to the regular town meeting. A public hearing in Walton will be scheduled after that date. If a decision is made to accept the proposal, the consolidation would take effect at the end of 2018.

The board was pleased to announce the grand opening of the Schoolhouse Museum. An open house will be held on Father’s Day, June 17, from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. The public is invited to take a trip down memory lane at the Hamden Schoolhouse #1 at Hawley’s Station, which was meticulously restored with the help of grant funding and a lot of dedicated volunteers.

In other business:

• The town of Hamden was one of three communities in Delaware County to receive the $50,000 clean energy grant. The town is considering a solar project that would incorporate the town hall and highway department buildings. Also on the list of project ideas is the replacement of the 30 year-old town hall furnace, LED street lights, or an automatic door opener for the highway department bay. A final decision on the projects must be made and conveyed to the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) by Aug. 2.

• The revaluation contract was signed by Emmiger, Newton, Pigeon and Magyar, Inc. (ENPM). The town has made the first payment to them, but the town has not seen the work they have done yet. They will be working with Town Assessor Tina Moshier on the revaluation.

• The town received a letter from the office of New York State Senator Bonacic stating that the town is eligible to apply for another State and Municipal Facilities (SAM) grant. Marshfield received approval from the board to apply for a $100,000 grant. If received, the grant money will be used to purchase a 2013 or newer tandem dump truck with a plow and sander.

• Grants of $10,000 for Delaware Opportunities and the Hamden Wastewater Treatment Plant were approved by the Catskill Watershed Corporation (CWC). The money will be used to conduct flood proofing feasibility studies.

• Superintendent of Highways Roger Dibble said that the 2008 Ford F 350 truck received a final bid of $15,200 and the sweeper a final bid of $220 on Auctions International. The board voted to accept those bids. Dibble also said that the department is about a month behind because of the late snow and inclement weather.

• Water District #1 will hold its annual meeting on Aug. 8 at 6 p.m.

• Town Clerk Dennise Yeary collected $1,332.85 during May. This sum included fees for 36 new dog licenses, one marriage license, five building permits, the rental of the town hall and pavilion and other services.

• Supervisor Wayne Marshfield reported that the reserve accounts for the town are about the same as they were last month. A loan of $290 was made to Water District #2 and will be repaid in the near future.

• Hanging of the baseball flags has been delayed because when the order arrived the flags were not right and had to be reordered.

• The proposed purchase of an automated external defibrillator (AED) for the town hall is still in process. Councilman Richard Smith, who is spearheading the project, said he would like to have a presentation made to the board by someone with extensive knowledge of AEDs so an informed decision can be made.

• Marshfield said he has $8,000 budgeted to repair the town hall apron, but is waiting for an estimate from Don Tweedie to see if that will cover the cost. As it stands now, when it rains, water flows into the building.

• Councilman Richard Smith will contact Hamden Hill Ridge Riders Catskill Snowmobile Club to see if a bridge on Chambers Hollow belongs to them. The bridge is built on an old railroad bed and is unusable because of a lack of access. Debris tends to collect under the bridge, which causes flooding, so the town would like to see it moved to another location if possible.

• The board approved a septic build for Don Gibson at a cost of $13,379. The work will be done by Pardee Excavating.

• The board approved the hiring of Tyler Dibble for the highway department through the Summer Youth Employment Program. The town would like to have one additional youth for the summer, if possible.

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