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Town of Hunter Organizes for 2024

Written By The Mountain Eagle on 2/23/24 | 2/23/24

Discussion Over Ambulance Needs

By Max Oppen

HUNTER — The Town of Hunter's Organizational Meeting this week commenced with a privilege of the floor, where a couple building a house on the corner of Route 214 and Diamond Notch Road raised concerns about a street light affecting their new home's windows. Supervisor Sean Mahoney assured them the Board would address the matter and inquired about their awareness of the Lanesville Local Flood Analysis. They had.

Mahoney then informed the attendees about the Town's recruitment of a new EMT driver, to be discussed in Executive Session. The focus shifted to the decommissioned ambulance the Town was selling, with the Board rejecting a previous low bid on an auction house site. The Board decided to park the ambulance by the Town Hall with a For Sale sign and list it on Facebook Marketplace for $20,000.

Further discussions delved into the EMT department, where newly-appointed Ambulance Administrator Ariel Woolheater highlighted issues with the ambulance stretcher buttons, emphasizing the need for repairs. "I don't know where that ball got dropped [for repairs]," Woolheater said. Woolheater also addressed the lack of proper-sized uniforms and proposed a $3,400 expenditure to update the existing uniforms and have stock for new hires. Councilperson Dolph Semenza suggested using Cintas for cost-effectiveness, while Supervisor Mahoney said he had a relationship with Unifirst and suggested using their online ordering system. "We could set it up so the Highway Department could get uniforms as well," Mahoney added. This elicited a chuckle from Highway Superintendent Bob Blain.

The conversation extended to potential candidates for the full-time EMT position vacated by Vanessa Richards and discussions on code enforcement fee increases. Town of Hunter Building Inspector Bob Cologero explained the rationale behind the fee adjustments, emphasizing their necessity for a fee increase to coincide with the 21st Century and the Town's well-being. Councilperson Ernie Reale asked if the Town is required to hold a public hearing on the fee increases. Cologero replied that it wasn't necessary, as the rise would be a resolution, not a town law. Mahoney requested a spreadsheet reflecting the current fee schedule and potential increases from Rose Santiago. Reale said, "We can review and pass this in one night." Mahoney agreed, hoping to act on the proposed resolution on February 27. 

The Board then explored options for rearranging office spaces in Town Hall, considering relocating the State Police barracks. Legg reminded the Board that the State Police were "guests'' at the Town Hall. The discussion included Planning Board Chair Marc Czermeryz's office space requirements.

A lively conversation about bagels ensued. 

Supervisor Mahoney introduced plans to form a committee and amend the Town's Comprehensive Plan, seeking funding via Smart Growth Grants from the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC). The grants, totaling more than $150,000, would assist in updating the Comprehensive Plan and developing a pro-housing community law. Mahoney highlighted the benefits of adopting such a law, including additional grant funding and addressing the need for affordable housing in the Town.

"It's kind of like a carrot on a stick," Mahoney said. "If we adopt a local law that states we're a pro-housing community and give people a roadmap to develop affordable housing in our Town, we'll get many benefits - including additional grant funding."

"I think it's a good goal," Mahoney continued. 

Mahoney added that the Comprehensive Plan would include space for a net-zero Town Hall and a new, much-needed highway department building. "I think it's a good goal," Mahoney said. Legg thinks moisture may be getting trapped in the old bowling alley (behind the Town Hall), where the current highway department is situated. Councilperson David Kukle dated himself by saying he bowled at the alley in the 60s.

Acknowledging challenges, Mahoney stated the importance of seizing the opportunity provided by the state of New York. He said the Smart Growth grants are typically awarded in the spring. 

The Town has also been appointed a project manager by Granicus, the company managing the Town's short-term rentals, although Councilperson Reale expressed caution due to perceived service delays.

The next Town Board meeting is scheduled for February 27 at 7:00 pm.

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