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Home » » Stamford Appoints Two New Council Members, Hears ATV Complaints

Stamford Appoints Two New Council Members, Hears ATV Complaints

Written By The Mountain Eagle on 7/3/24 | 7/3/24

By Liz Page

HOBART   – In a surprise turn of events, members of the Stamford Town Board appointed two new board members last Wednesday. Julie Sechrist was appointed to the vacancy created by the passing of her father, Rod Hillis, in April and Jacob "Jake" Palmatier was appointed to the seat vacated by Brent Trimbell. 

The meeting opened with a brief executive session, as board members considered what they were going to do. Trimbell submitted his letter of resignation from the board, stating personal reasons.

Board members had asked Phylis Hillis to consider serving on the town board in the absence of her husband. Reading a letter to the board on Wednesday, she wrote "I am extremely honored to be asked to serve in my husband's council seat and I had responded yes when I was first asked. In looking at the overall picture for 2024, she said serving on the board carries a tremendous responsibility". She encouraged the board members to continue their good work, but that she was declining the appointment.

Council member Dan Deysenroth made the motion to appoint the two people who have filed petitions to appear on the ballot for the November elections and have shown an interest in serving on the town council. Sechrist and Palmatier were appointed to fill the council positions until Dec. 31, 2024.

Mike Cairns, sewer plant operator, provided an update regarding valve replacements for the sewer. Originally he was planning to manually switch the valves, but it requires confined space entry. He has since learned the valves to the actuators must also be replaced due to rust. The cost has gone up, but they will not be required for the replacement. He also reported they will need new grinder equipment at the Allen Residential Center. He also reported that the valves along the forced main have all been serviced for the year. 

Ray Baker, director of operations for Headwaters EMS, was present to report they have received their certificate of need and they have been approved for Advanced Life Support response. The ALS was due to start last week, however, he does not have the personnel to cover all days and will be operating for four days. He is working on hiring additional ALS providers. He also updated them on the fact they will be closing the accounts with the towns and the towns will not have to renew their CONs. Billing services will change on July 1.

He said they have been averaging three calls per day, with Harpersfield having the majority of the call volume due to the skilled nursing facility. 

Duane Martin asked to speak and said he found himself in a situation where he had to call an ambulance and was very impressed with the HEMS crew. 

Bill Eklund and Doug Murphy were present at the meeting to say they had missed the ball when the town was in the process of approving ATV/UTV use of the town roads. "I spend a lot of time in Roxbury," said Murphy, where the town council is currently considering the move. "Bill and I are significant landowners and we realize we are closing the barn door after the cows are out. But the town has a little bit of a liability. The roads are not posted yet and there is a lot more pressure on landowners"

There are a lot of second homeowners and they are using not just town roads, but other roads as well, he said. "It has been problematic and continues to be. There is a lot of trespassing on private land and it is difficult to get law enforcement there in a timely fashion. The rail trail has now put up gates and trail cams due to the abuse by ATV and four-wheeler operators. Those wearing helmets make it difficult to identify who is trespassing."

Murphy said there is a neighbor on Blackberry Street who drives up and down the road. It's illegal, but law enforcement must see them doing it themselves to write a ticket. He knows people are concerned about their quiet town roads.

Bill Eklund said he has had a lot of cattle get out of pastures. "The neighbors are riding on us and gates are left open and cattle are getting out. We have a lot of electric fence and I worry about riders getting clotheslined."

While they are very accommodating to snowmobilers, they remove the electric fence over the winter. However, in summer, the fence is up for the cattle. He said he would hate to restrict riders in the winter time so that there is no one riding at all.

"I use four-wheelers every morning to bring the heifers to the barn. I see a lot of people and groups of people that I don't know riding town roadways. Nobody is going to bother anyone riding from their house to the barn. That has never been a problem, but kids who out raising hell all the time are a problem."

Highway Superintendent Jon Ballard was asked if any town roads had been damaged by ATV use. He said not yet.

Town board members said it was their feeling that if they allowed ATVs to use town roads, it would spare private property owners and allow riders to get from one area to another in an enjoyable fashion. 

Councilman Dan Deysenroth said he saw a lot of people riding UTVs, ATVs, and four-wheelers. He said some of them are Bobcats, a brand sold by Eklund Farm Machinery.  He said the ATV club has tried to monitor the bad behavior. He said he sits on on the Catskill Revitalization  Corporation board which oversees the rail trail. They decided not to allow people riding ATVs or four-wheelers to use the trail. By, he said, people are going to ride them one way or another. That's why we looked at it in an opposite way."

"There was as much use prior to the law, but now people are riding everywhere and you have no idea who it is," said Eklund

Supervisor John Kosier said he used to check with the Delaware County Sheriff Office every other month to see if there have been complaints. He will begin checking again.

Eklund said he doesn't call the Sheriff's Office or try to chase the riders down.

Murphy said he has seen some traveling at 70/80 miles per hour. They are not allowed on the Rail Trail, but some go there. He said Delaware County Sheriffs have been very cooperative and the state police have been better along with Encon police in policing the trail.

Deysenroth said the law is written so it can be changed if necessary and Kosier said the town published legal notices and there were newspaper articles regarding the proposed law to notify the public when they were considering the law.

The law is still pending in the town of Roxbury.

Councilman Dave Post said it is totally illegal to leave a gate open with cows on the other side. "I am a landowner too. The Club was going to monitor itself a little bit. I'm not so sure they are."

Eklund said that when there is an open gate and the cattle are out, they are not going to get a response.

"Post said he looked at it from the perspective that some of the older citizens would like to ride too and that they looked at the whole community when they approved the law. He reiterated that all vehicles are supposed to be insured and receive a permit from the 607Riders Club.

Sechrist said there is the power of social media to warn riders not to go on private property or open gates. She said they should work to get law enforcement on their side.

Eklund said he wanted to see what the town's response would be and Supervisor Kosier said the town board will continue to monitor it.

Mike Triolo was present to seek permission from the town to again hold the Hobart Rotary Club's Sausage and Brew Festival on town property. The approval was granted.

Board members also approved a motion to approve property owners to pay for the initial culvert, with the town doing the installation and paying for replacements. Agriculture will be exempted. Earlier this year they established a permit fee for siting a new driveway.

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