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Gilboa Residents Upset Over Plowing on Shew Hollow Road

Written By The Mountain Eagle on 4/12/24 | 4/12/24

By Liz Page

GILBOA – Members of the Gilboa Town Board covered a lot of issues during their meeting on Monday, including authorizing Supervisor Alicia Terry to sign the necessary documents to facilitate the transfer of property from the town to the Gilboa Historical Society.

They again tabled official appointments under an encompassing resolution because they were still unable to find anyone willing to serve as deputy code enforcement officer. 

They did pass a resolution opposing Governor Hochul's revenue bill related to the siting of major electric transmission facilities, also known as the "RAPID" Act. Supervisor Terry said it would eliminate local municipalities from the siting process, against home rule.

They also approved a resolution updating the employee handbook and policies. A law firm was consulted to review all of the town's policies and manuals to ensure they are consistent with each other as well as state and federal laws.

Following a public hearing, they approved a local law to allow the town's deputy highway superintendent to live outside the town. It was recently discovered the town had not been following its procedure and created the law. The current deputy and a past deputy, reside outside the town. Highway Superintendent John Wyckoff said the appointee is a longtime crew member who is best suited for the position. He was hired in 1989 and lived in the town of Gilboa until he got married and moved to Middleburgh. "I felt he is an exceptional candidate for the position and why we are pursing this local law," said Wyckoff. No one spoke during the hearing.

Sean Hartwell spoke during privilege of the floor, along with two other residents of Shew Hollow Road. Hartwell said he was concerned about the plowing of Shew Hollow Road this winter. There were back-to-back incidents of a number of mailboxes being damaged. It had never occurred, certainly to that extent, before. He said the bridge signs were also flattened by the snowplow.

Highway Superintendent John Wyckoff said he received a number of calls from Shew Hollow Road residents and Blenheim Hill Road residents. He said he took the plow driver in question on a tour and pointed out all the problem spots. Thinking he had addressed the issue, it happened again during the next storm. Traditionally, although they aren't required to, the highway department repairs damaged mailboxes.

Mary Weston's husband had already fixed their mailbox and the Jean Hull's across the road. She said it is a case of the driver driving too fast, without due care. On the second time, she said the snow plow took down posted signs and a light post, sheering the light post off eight feet high. She explained she and her husband take pride in their property and she comes from a family that has experience with road maintenance. She said there is only one reason for such damage, driving too fast. She wanted to know what action is going to be taken to address the issue. She said if action isn't taken to rectify it, it could escalate to something much worse, such as someone being injured or killed.

Wyckoff apologized and said he thought he had done his due diligence, but obviously, it had little effect. 

Councilman Max Stryker said he had spoken to a resident who he had hoped would attend the meeting. The resident took photos of snow on tree trunks eight feet off the ground.  "It means he's going too fast," said Stryker.

Supervisor Terry said that she and Wyckoff are now aware and will address the issue both with the driver and the entire crew.

Hartwell said people on Shew Hollow were unaware that Wyckoff had attempted to rectify the issue and it is good for them to know he did not ignore their complaints. They were under the impression the town was ignoring the situation because it happened again. Supervisor Terry reiterated the issue will be addressed again.

In his report, Wyckoff said it is time to post all town roads restricting vehicles over eight tons, due to the soft spring conditions of the roads. 

Tire Day was approved for May 11 from 8 a.m. until noon, and board members approved advertising it.

Following a presentation by Joanne Crum, town attorney, board members approved a motion to decline the offer of a 73-plus-acre parcel of land from the New York Power Authority in the vicinity of the Mine Kill Falls overlook. Terry said there is little value in the land, which has poor site distance on either side of the bridge and is located in a wet area. It also has no timber. Wyckoff said it was thought the town could use it as a staging area for storage of highway supplies, but it would be a dangerous location, due to the speed of the traffic and lack of good sight distance. The offer to the town was made as part of the NYPA licensing agreement with the town.

That agreement will allow the town to issue a change order for work on the town highway garage that will add siding to the existing project. Originally the roof and gutters were due for repair and replacement, but it has been determined it makes more sense to replace the siding before those repairs are made. Otherwise, the gutters will have to be removed to replace the siding and an overhang, which could cause damage to remove and reinstall the gutters.. The siding was slated for replacement next year. Changing the order will also result in significant savings to the town.

While the money for the project is not in the budget, the town can pay for the changes due to its arrangement with NYPA, so the cost of construction will not come from the taxpayers.

The highway building was constructed in 1989 and as Terry put it, "Owes the town nothing." Delaware Engineering will develop the change order, which is estimated at $236,300.

The other good news on repairs and updates is that new generators for the town hall/post office and highway garage have arrived at the contractor. The generator installation stands at $330,000 and the board authorized a payment toward that project, with the arrival of the generators.

Board members awarded the lone bid for lawnmowing to A & A Lawn Care in the amount of $6,750 and for the drilling of a water well. That award went to Titan Well Drilling, the lone bidder, in an amount totaling of $18,650. Council members were puzzled there was only one bid after receiving several inquiries about the project.

In her report, Supervisor Terry said the ribbon cutting for the overlook at the Gilboa Dam has been pushed back to September due to problems in the supply chain. The New York City Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) was hoping to have the work completed for a ribbon cutting ahead of the summer season.

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