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Village Trustees Approve Eagle Scout Project, Adopt Burn Law

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

By Liz Page

STAMFORD – Village trustees had a full agenda on Tuesday, hearing a proposal to return Stamford and other communities to the heydays circa late 60's early 70's, in an eco-tourism proposal, approved a picnic table for the public at Rexmere Park as part of an Eagle Scout project, adopted a law on open burning in the village, set a public hearing for April 16 at 6:45 p.m. to override the state tax levy limit, approved application for a culvert replacement and approved a new position with the village crew.

Gus Miller is proposing to build a picnic table and engrave it for public use in the village-owned Rexmere Park as part of his Eagle Scout project. He presented his proposal to the trustees.  To obtain the highest rank in the Boy Scouts, you must develop and complete a community service project. He plans to plant the wood at his grandfather's sawmill, then inscribe it and get help to install it from his fellow scouts. Miller said he will be working with his grandfather as his mentor in sourcing the materials. He will use the family sawmill to cut the pieces and have them ready for assembly. Fellow troop members will help stain and assemble. He also proposes to laser engrave the Scout law onto the table.

"I think it's a great idea," said Trustee Jim Kopp, who made the motion for approval.

No one was present to speak at the public hearing on a proposed local law for regular open burning in the village. The law was developed according to state codes by Code Enforcement Officer Rich Irwin who added a section about permitting special celebrations. It was adopted unanimously.

The deteriorating culvert on River St. needs repair and the village approved an engineer for the project last month. They hired an approved engineer last month to provide the preliminary engineering plans, the cost borne by the village along with any right of ways and easements. The village would then be reimbursed for all of the eligible costs once they are approved under the Bridge New York Project through the state Department of Transportation.

The stone culvert, similar to the one on South Street, needs repair. 

They also approved expending $2,600 to survey the property at 3 Harper St., the site of a former gas station, to update the figures, in keeping with those used by the county, for senior citizen tax exemptions in order to schedule a public hearing to increase the eligibility income.

They also reviewed a pair of quotes to repair the boiler at  Churchill Gym and will seek an application from the Robinson-Broadhurst Foundation to help fund those repairs.

Lucas Flatus presented the budget for the village wastewater treatment plant. Much of the budget is covered by the New York City Department of Environmental Protection Agency. However, he said the village does need to develop a plan to track down the infiltration and inflow (I and I) that still flows into the system. He said the state is starting to make a push on tracking down groundwater now. "We need to spend some money on the collection system, which is not paid for by the city, " he said. Overall the proposed budget is up 8 percent and it has no local impact.

Trustees discussed listing a pair of properties for sale, including the old Jacob's property on Lake Street and the gray barn off Railroad Ave. The Jacob's property will list as an empty lot with the rubble remaining on the site, for $35,000 and the barn off Railroad Ave. will be listed at $49,000.

Board members approved a new mechanic's position with the village crew, trading the new position for a laborer's position. 

Raising the amount charged to conduct tax search fees was discussed and it was approved to charge $100 for the first property search and an additional $50 per property for each property thereafter. The searches can be done online by anyone at no cost, and the cost by the village is to discourage people from tying up the village clerk and treasurer to make those searches, which can be time-consuming.

Trustees also approved additions to the permit fee schedule for inspections necessary when the inspector must return, after a failed inspection. That fee will be $35.

Using vending machines in the snack shack at the pool was briefly mentioned, but will be discussed at another time. 

The budget, with village elections coming up and the fiscal year closing, is also part of the discussion. Trustees reviewed some of the budgeted expenditures that are cutting into the village's general fund balance. Litigation at 3 Harper St. is at $58,170; uncovered monthly expenses at Churchill Gym are $1,676, and TAP overage of $35,000. Another concern is the pending court decision on the former Westholm building, which is all but down and a hazard. Once there is a judge's ruling, it could at some point become the village's responsibility, with just over $200,000 remaining in the Blighted Building fund.

A presentation by Gary Knapp at the beginning of the meeting ended with Knapp being invited back for a workshop session. His proposal encompasses the Delaware Inn and the two recently burned-out buildings on Main St. He pointed to the revitalized Hidden Inn in South Kortright and his eco-tourism hub extended from Stamford to Andes and Lake Delaware.

He would like to see the area prosper as it did in the days of the Chateau and before when Fred P. Murphy and R. Avery Robinson collaborated to build Scotch Valley. He said Dr. Churchill had a strategy and marketed his hotels. He said there are 50 properties that are viable and significant to the community, but most have collapsed and are gone. He envisions resurrecting and preserving by building a business model to do that.

He talked of revitalizing BobCat and the Broad lands at Lake Delaware. He sees a hotel in the form of the former Hamilton House replacing the two burned-out buildings on Main St., which in turn would allow the Delaware Inn to be used as it was intended as a prominent destination hotel and conference center. The Hamilton House is now an apartment complex at the east end of the village.

He said it would involve forming a local development corporation. 

While trustees were interested, they said it was not the venue to present it and they invited him to return for a workshop on his proposal.

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