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Showing posts with label County Board. Show all posts
Showing posts with label County Board. Show all posts

County Backs Creation of Regional Land Bank

Written By Cicero on 4/21/15 | 4/21/15

Supervisors voted unanimously on Friday morning to endorse the concept of a six-county land bank to be headed by the Mohawk Valley Economic Development District (MVEDD).

Encouraged to support the concept by MVEDD representative Steve Smith, the land bank would consist of the six counties that constitute the Mohawk Valley - Fulton, Herkimer, Montgomery, Oneida, Otsego, and Schoharie - and take in tax foreclosed properties to revitalize and then put back into the market. 

The State of New York created ten regional land banks in 2011 with an up front investment of $33 million, which the coordinating agencies used to fix and then sell previously languishing houses. According to Smith, the state is considering adding an additional ten land banks to the program. 

Using the state's initial funds to begin repairs, land banks continue to subsist off of the sale of houses. They receive no taxpayer dollars aside the state investment, and once the properties are sold, they return to the tax rolls at no cost to the local municipalities. 

In addition to Schoharie County, the City of Rome and the Counties of Herkimer and Montgomery have also passed resolutions in support of the six-county land bank concept. 

In other business, the Schoharie Board of Supervisors:
  • Delayed action on utilizing eminent domain to rebuild the Shady Tree Lane Bridge until the May county board meeting. The delay was requested by County Attorney Mike West, who said the completed appraisals have still not been sent to the county.
  • Heard from AECOM representative Patty Flores that crews are working on all four sites, with Platterkill Creek expected to be wrapped up by June, followed by Dave Brown Mountain, Line Creek, and the Little Schoharie. 
  • Voted to recognize the life and efforts of former Schoharie Town Supervisor William Vedder, who recently passed away. Vedder had served only one term, 1996-1998. His wife and daughter were present for the county board's recognition. 

Supers, Residents Divided on Proposed Cobleskill Bridge

Written By Cicero on 4/6/15 | 4/6/15

Cobleskill residents remain divided on whether a new bridge is needed to connect Shady Tree Lane and Barnerville Road, with some urging the project forward to cut down on emergency response time while others disagreed with the county's intended use of eminent domain.

Informing residents that a final decision by the Board of Supervisors would have to be delayed until the April county board meeting, County Attorney Mike West explained that the continuance is because the necessary appraisals of disputed properties have not yet been completed.

That did not prevent homeowners or legislators from chiming in at Tuesday's public hearing, however. 

Broome Supervisor Bill Smith was having none of it. Stating that he is "not in favor of this project," Mr. Smith questioned the emergency response figures of some residents and further commented that the bridge is "a waste of the taxpayers money."

Questioning why "do we have to take so much from this person's land," Middleburgh Supervisor Jim Buzon expressed additional concerns on the safety of motorists exiting Shady Tree Lane by way of the busy Roue 7 intersection.

Barnerville Road resident Kari McKelvy disagreed wholeheartedly with Mr. Smith's assessment, recounting an emergency situation where her mother needed an ambulance and "time is of the essence."

Matt Mann, a resident of Shady Tree Lane opposed to the project, commented that it is a "Bad place to replace that bridge," but that maybe it could be moved to another location, "where you don't have to take someone's land."

Divided on either side of the creek, residents of Barnerville Road are in favor of the project to reduce emergency response time, while landowners on Shady Tree Lane are opposed to the use of eminent domain on their properties to construct the structure.

"They [residents of Barnerville Road] had been promised this bridge," said Cobleskill Supervisor Leo McAllister. The supervisor would argue that it is time to put the structure in place because, "This is the only alternative."

Wrestling with a bridge of convenience versus emergency services, Conesville Supervisor Bill Federice questioned whether only a one-lane bridge for emergency response could be constructed to cut down on cost and land infringement.

The answer was no. Stressing that the structure has to meet current federal standards, Department of Public Works Commissioner Dan Crandall said the project would not be eligible to receive grant monies otherwise.

A point of contention in the community since the existing structure was shuttered seven years ago, the proposed bridge is funded as part of a capital improvement project. If the county does not vote to move forward, it will have to pay back $400,000 in grant monies.

Awaiting the final appraisals, supervisors kept the hearing open to the public through the next regularly scheduled county board meeting set for Friday, April 17th at 9:00 a.m. 

Supervisors Approve Amended Admin Law

Written By Cicero on 4/1/15 | 4/1/15

The Schoharie County Board of Supervisors voted narrowly on Tuesday evening to amend the recently established County Administrator's functions and responsibilities, despite public concerns over the amended version. 

Jo-Anne Noone typified the public's sentiment when commenting that creating an administrator was "A promise to eliminate political interests," but that the amended version, Local Law #3, managed to undermine whatever merits the original law had. 

Cobleskill resident Gary Brady concurred, stating that "all of sudden this position is nothing but a big joke." He would go on to state that he felt, "This thing needs to go back to the drawing board."

Supervisors had initially considered both the original and amended versions of the law at February's county board meeting, but had voted to approve the original law after Middleburgh Supervisor Jim Buzon came out against the amended bill, placing its passage in doubt. 

The amended proposal created a firestorm in the political rumor mill for weeks, speculation that Schoharie County Treasurer Bill Cherry sought to clarify at the public hearing.

"To set the record straight, prior to the law's adoption, Supervisor Federice asked me for my opinion and I suggested that the original law be cleaned up before it was voted on in order to more clearly define the role of the Administrator in the budget process," stated Cherry. 

A role that was rolled back in the amended version, as well as with other previously assigned duties the administrator would have been tasked, but proponents of Local Law #3 had argued were redundant with that of responsibilities already belonging to existing officials.  

Upset by the manner of which the proceedings had been set, Fulton Supervisor Phil Skowfoe angrily accused supporters of the amended law of setting the, "public hearing around the weighted votes," specifically that of Cobleskill Supervisor Leo McAllister's 481 votes. 

Conesville Supervisor Bill Federice, who has led efforts to establish an administrator after chairing an investigative committee into the matter, took offense to Skowfoe's comments, and stated that there is "nothing underhanded about the amended law."

Voting to adopt the amended version were Supervisors Barbic of Seward, Bleau of Wright, Federice of Conesville, Jordan of Jefferson, Lape of Richmondville, McAllister of Cobleskill, Milone of Schoharie, and Smith of Blenheim (1602 votes).

Opposed to the amended version included Supervisors Bradt of Carlisle, Buzon of Middleburgh, Manko of Sharon Springs, Skowfoe of West Fulton, Smith of Broome, and Vroman of Seward (1046 votes).

Supervisors VanGlad and VanWormer, who had both signaled their opposition to the Local Law #3, were both absent. 

Residents Split on New Bridge in Cobleskill

Written By Cicero on 3/25/15 | 3/25/15

On Friday morning the Schoharie County Board of Supervisors considered the potential use of eminent domain to build a new bridge in the Town of Cobleskill, with both proponents and opponents of the measure addressing the county board. 

Slated to be built on Shady Tree Lane, which is located in the Cobleskill hamlet of Barnerville, the bridge is being proposed to replace an older structure that has been closed for seven years and has been a point of contention in the community. 

Explaining that any use of eminent domain must meet a two-fold requirement of being both in the public good and having no alternate location, County Attorney Michael West warned that because it is a capital improvement project, "If we do not move forward it will cost us $400,000."

Ironically enough, the Board of Supervisors had voted to oppose the use of eminent domain by natural gas companies against the will of county residents just four weeks before Friday's hearing.

At the crux of the dispute is the proposed bridge's path through two parcels of land, which affected property owners had decided against signing on to the project because it would cut into their front yards. One resident commented that he did not want to see "the bridge on my street."

Cobleskill resident Michelle Stacy stated her opposition by quipping that she was, "really against eminent domain in any way, shape, or form. Drawing a comparison to authoritarianism, Stacy would later comment, "We don't live in [the] Chinese mainland." 

Not everyone was opposed to the proposal, however. 

Arguing that "There is a public need for the replacement of this bridge," resident John Sagendorf hoped a compromise could be negotiated between the county and homeowners, but that if not, "eminent domain would have to be used," because of the project's critical nature. 

Neal Stanton, a lifelong resident of Barnerville, concurred with Sagendorf on the need for a bridge by pointing to several instances of emergency services taking upwards to twenty minutes to respond to calls because the old bridge is no longer is service. 

Awaiting the arrival of final assessments to come in, the county board kept the public hearing on the eminent domain proposal open through a special board meeting set for Tuesday, March 31st at 5:00 p.m. 

NYC Announces Schoharie Reservoir Release to Offset Winter Snowpack

Written By Cicero on 3/23/15 | 3/23/15

New York City Department of Environmental Protection officials laid out a new path for handling and preventing excessive reservoir levels at the Gilboa Dam before the Schoharie County Board of Supervisors on Friday morning.

A path that was praised by local officials.

Announcing the city's intention to reduce reservoir levels annually down to 90% of available capacity from October 15 to March 15, DEP officials explained that the release would serve as a flood mitigation measure against accumulated snowpack in the winter.

Assemblyman Peter Lopez, thanking the city's representatives, commented that his office "found the City of New York listening to us," in what he described as intelligent and thoughtful exchanges between Upstate and New York City representatives.

The plan, not set to take place until construction of the permanent release chamber at the reservoir is complete in 2020, also calls for a daily minimum conservation release of 10-15 million gallons to improve habitat conditions in the Schoharie Creek.

"This is wonderful news," stated Howard Bartholomew of Dam Concerned Citizens, a not-for-profit advocacy group for the Gilboa Dam and Schoharie Reservoir. He would later say that the DEP was "killing two birds with one stone" in their initiative

The Schoharie Reservoir is the northernmost reservoir in the city's water supply system and has been a source of controversy and discontent between Schoharie County and the city with respects to the potential for flooding caused by the Gilboa Dam.

Blenheim Supervisor Shawn Smith praised the agreement by stating, "This is a great step toward a cooperative agreement which will protect the people of Blenheim from future flooding events, which is of the utmost importance to our town." 

Supervisors Remember Marie Campbell

Written By Cicero on 3/21/15 | 3/21/15

Supervisors paid homage to one of their own Friday morning by remembering the life and public service of former Broome Supervisor Marie Campbell, who recently passed away. 

Commenting that he will "miss Marie Campbell very much," Esperance Supervisor Earl VanWormer recalled his former colleague as being a gentle and professional person.

Serving on the Schoharie County Board of Supervisors from 2004 to 2011, Ms. Campbell was fondly remembered by members of both parties in a resolution that expressed their sorrow. 

County Attorney Michael West read aloud the heartfelt resolution - that was offered by current Broome Supervisor Bill Smith - and it was carried unanimously by legislators. 

The county board adjourned Friday's meeting in respect to Ms. Campbell.


The adopted resolution as follows:

"One of the better souls of Schoharie is gone, deep is the loss, and profound is the sorrow that we now feel due to the recent death of Marie Campbell, who served as a member of the Schoharie County Board of Supervisors from the Town of Broome from 2004 to 2011. While pausing in quiet reflection, these few words are meant to show the respect, the esteem, and the love felt by each of us for this truly wonderful woman.

Now that her shadow has passed these doors, the distinctive mark of her great soul, and the trait that will long endure in our memory, was her love of family and her affection for friends. One of the most upright, courageous, charitable and self-sacrificing women we have ever known, her quiet and gentle demeanor were her trademark. Centered and steady, her intellect was her force, no temper ever arose, always prepared, practical and efficient, strong willed when necessary, her voice inviting, and her smile always made the whole room shine. Although small in figure, she enjoyed full command of all around here, when she spoke you listened.

While Marie Campbell now sleeps at peace in the soil of our County that she so deeply loved, she will ever be counted among the most honorable members that ever served this Board of Supervisors, a true friend; now, therefore, be it hereby

RESOLVED, that this Board of Supervisors expresses profound regret for the death of Marie Campbell, and that when this Board adjourns today, it will do so out of respect for this former Supervisor, and be it further

RESOLVED, that the Clerk of the Schoharie County Board of Supervisors is hereby directed to furnish a copy of this Resolution to the family of Marie Campbell, expressing this Board's deepest sympathy. "

County Moves Forward on Final Stream Bank Site

Written By Cicero on 3/18/15 | 3/18/15

The Schoharie County Board of Supervisors voted to move forward on the AECOM stream bank project Monday night, but not until after meeting for over two hours in executive session to discuss the troubled stream restoration efforts.

Inviting only representatives of the Natural Resources Conservation Service, Schoharie County Treasurer Bill Cherry, and Department of Public Works head Dan Crandall, the session was initiated by Middleburgh Supervisor Jim Buzon.

Supervisors left executive session at approximately 7:30 p.m., with Mr. Buzon immediately making a motion to move forward with the clearing of trees on the Dave Brown Mountain creek site, which passed by a seven-four margin. 

The Dave Brown Mountain site has been delayed for months after the original contractor backed out of the project, but a replacement firm was identified and approved in February. Dave Brown is the shortest of the four creek sites. 

Schoharie County is currently facing a budget shortfall of over two million dollars because of the project, costs that are being passed along to the county taxpayers.

County Board to Meet Tonight in Special Session

Written By Cicero on 3/16/15 | 3/16/15

The Schoharie County Board of Supervisors are holding their second special board meeting in five days this evening. According to sources on the board, the meeting is being held to discuss the stream bank project.

Supervisors are scheduled to meet at 5:00 p.m. on the third floor of the Schoharie County office complex.

Although nothing is specifically spelled out in the official agenda, the flood committee - which oversees the financially troubled stream rehabilitation effort - is slated to address an issue with the whole board.

Stay tuned for updates.

Confusion Reigns as Supervisors Debate Two Visions for Administrator

Written By Cicero on 3/12/15 | 3/12/15

A public hearing for ye, but not for thee. That was the decision the Schoharie County Board of Supervisors made when faced with dueling local laws concerning the administrator position on Wednesday night.

Convening in a special legislative session to discuss an amended version of the administrator that was passed over in favor of the law's original draft in February, supervisors also heard arguments for a local law put forth with the intention of abolishing the recently created position altogether. 

However, only one was approved to move forward in the process. 

Arguing that it would address redundancies between the administrator and existing county offices, Conesville Supervisor Bill Federice introduced proposed Local Law #3 as an opportunity to "strengthen the text and verbiage" of the current statute. 

Removing wide swathes of the original bill, which had tasked the administrator with working on budgetary and financial matters, critics of the amendment have accused the law's backers of bowing down to external and internal political pressures associated with the overlapping duties.

A motion to set a public hearing on the amended version of the administrator position was made by Schoharie Supervisor Gene Milone and approved 10-3. The hearing was set to take place during another special county board meeting on Tuesday, March 31 at 5:00 p.m. 

Not all proposed local laws would receive the same treatment. 

Sponsored by Fulton Supervisor Phil Skowfoe, proposed Local Law #4 states simply that, "The position of Administrator for Schoharie County which position was established by Local Law #1 is hereby abolished." 

Posing the query that, "If you're going to amend something why did you pass it to begin with," an impassioned Skowfoe questioned the reasoning behind the amended version. The legislator would later state that if his colleagues wanted to do away with the original law, his bill was, "there to take it out of the question."

Although it obtained eight yeas to six nays to holding a concurrent debate on both laws in the special March 31 meeting, the weighted votes just weren't there to keep the law alive and it failed from the combined clout of those opposed.

Voting against holding a public debate for Local Law #4 were Supervisors Barbic, Federice, Jordan, Lape, McAllister, and Milone. All of whom had just minutes before supported holding a public hearing for proposed Local Law #3. 

Declaring that he was, "ashamed of this board," and that, "this has turned out to be one of the biggest political fiasco's," Skowfoe angrily accused the administrator's supporters of making a handshake deal behind closed doors to ramrod the amended version through by the end of March.  

Expressing his own disappointment with those voting against debate, Esperance Supervisor Earl VanWormer commented that, "It doesn't seem like you want a true democratic process." He stated later that supervisors were taking the decision out of the public's hands. 

Mr. Federice, for his part, stated toward the end of discussion that residents already had the chance to express their opinion on an administrator over the fourteen month period of time it was before the county board.

Opposed to the removal of an administrator's role in the budgetary process, Middleburgh Supervisor Jim Buzon signaled his opposition to the amended version. The key vote in passing the original law, Buzon explained that on the amendment, "You're not going to have my vote."

Offering, in his words, a chance for his colleagues to redeem themselves, Skowfoe made a motion to hold a public hearing on abolishing the administrator at the regularly scheduled April county board meeting at 10:00 a.m. instead, but that too failed along the same lines as the initial vote.

Visibly disgusted, the nine-term incumbent said only that, "I guess you're really afraid of what the public will see." 

Supervisors to Convene Special Meeting Tonight

Written By Cicero on 3/11/15 | 3/11/15

The Schoharie County Board of Supervisors are convening a special county board meeting tonight to discuss an issue related to The Special County Administrator Exploratory Committee, according to the official agenda.

Supervisors are scheduled to meet at 4:00 p.m. on the third flood of the Schoharie County office complex. 

Although nothing has been publicly confirmed or disclosed, rumors are floating that the recently created Administrator position is facing both external and internal push-back, perhaps the cause of tonight's session.

County Board Says No to Eminent Domain by Pipelines

Written By Cicero on 2/24/15 | 2/24/15

SCHOHARIE - A divided Schoharie County Board of Supervisors voted Friday afternoon to oppose efforts by natural gas companies to utilize eminent domain as a means to secure easements through the properties of county residents for a series of unpopular pipelines. 

Introduced by Schoharie Supervisor Gene Milone, who had advocated against the expansion of natural gas pipelines since coming on the board in 2012, the measure was hotly debated by legislators, but ultimately approved by a healthy 10-4 margin. 

It was opposed by the following supervisors: Sandra Manko of Sharon Springs, Leo McAllister of Cobleskill, Phil Skowfoe of Fulton, and Harold Vroman of Summit. Neither supervisors Amber Bleau (Wright) nor William Smith (Broome) were present at the vote.

The resolution, citing efforts by both Constitution Pipeline and Tennessee Gas Pipeline to expand their presence in Schoharie County, will be sent by the county board to Assemblyman Pete Lopez, State Senator James Seward, Congressman Chris Gibson, and FERC. 

Sending an email to supporters on Saturday morning heralding the news, the Richmondville based Center for Sustainable Rural Communities applauded "those who stewarded this resolution forward and the members of the County Board who supported it."

Correction: this piece originally accredited Blenheim Supervisor Shawn Smith with introducing the resolution, when it fact it was Gene Milone. It has been corrected. 

County Board Passes Administrator in 8-6 Vote

Written By Editor on 2/20/15 | 2/20/15

The County Board was split this morning, but decided to accept the proposal to create a County Administrator. In the debate, the sides confronted both the potential costs and savings of such an action.

The newly passed law described the position as:

directly responsible to the County Board of Supervisors and shall perform the functions of the chief administrator of the County on behalf of the County Board of Supervisors, although the County Board of Supervisors shall retain the final administrative authority.

The position will require a Bachelor's in Public Administration or Business Management and ten year's experience in the public or private sector or a Master's Degree and five year's experience. Any person that becomes the Administrator is not allowed to hold any other public office.

The proposal passed into law can be read here.

The weighted vote totals were:

Barbic, Seward: 5.5%
Buzon, Middleburgh: 11.8%
Federice, Conesville: 2.5%
Jordan, Jefferson: 4.3%
Lape, Richmondville: 8.1%
McAllister, Cobleskill: 16.2%
S. Smith, Blenheim: 1.1%
Milone, Schoharie: 11.0%
Total Weighted vote: 61.5%


Bradt, Carlisle: 5.9%
Manko, Sharon: 6.2%
Skowfoe, Fulton: 4.3%
VanGlad, Gilboa: 4.1%
VanWormer, Esperance: 6.9%
Vroman, Summit: 3.8%
Total Weighted vote: 31.2%

It is notable that all former Chairs of the Board: Skowfoe, VanGlad, VanWormer, and Vroman all voted against the new position.

Supervisors Bleau of Wright and William Smith of Broome, who penned a recent letter against such a proposal, were absent.

Chair, Vice Chair Votes Totals Largely Fall on Party Lines

Written By Editor on 1/5/15 | 1/5/15

The voting for Chair and Vice Chair was largely a partisan affair today. Richmondville Supervisor Dick Lape received the vote of all ten Republicans (Amber Bleau is a registered Conservative that caucuses with the Republicans) on the County Board while Fulton Supervisor and former Chair Phil Skowfoe received six, all Democrats.

10- Lape (Richmondville): Lape, Bill Smith, Vroman, Jordan, Federice, VanGlad, VanWormer, McAllister, Bradt, Bleau
6- Skowfoe (Fulton): Milone, Shawn Smith, Buzon, Manko, Barbic, Skowfoe

Vice Chair
9- Bradt (Carlisle): Lape, Bill Smith, Jordan, Federice, VanGlad, VanWormer, McAllister, Bradt, Bleau
6- Skowfoe (Fulton): Milone, Shawn Smith, Buzon, Manko, Barbic, Skowfoe
1- Bill Smith (Broome): Harold Vroman

VanGlad Retiring as County Board Chair

Written By Editor on 12/30/14 | 12/30/14

County Board Chair Tony VanGlad has held the position for a little less than a year. Now, with the word that he is stepping down the County may have its fifth Board Chairman in recent years. The announcement came after VanGlad's personal commitments were weighed.

The County Board will hold a meeting next Monday, January 5th to decide who will become the Chair and Vice Chair. Potential front runners have been keeping cards close to their chest, but it appears that former Board Chairs will not be selected, according to sources.

County Board Passes Anti-Depression Initiative

Written By Editor on 10/21/14 | 10/21/14

The Schoharie County Board of Supervisors took a positive step in dealing with emotional trauma. Last Friday, the Board unanimously approved an effort to deal with depression. This was spearheaded by Blenheim Supervisor Shawn Smith and introduced by Sharon Supervisor Sandra Manko. The text of the resolution reads as follows:

WHEREAS depression, self-harm, suicidal thoughts, and other mental illnesses, impact the lives of Schoharie County residents on a regular basis, including up to approximately a quarter of the student body at the State University of Cobleskill, and an unknown number of students within Schoharie County's six school districts; and

WHEREAS treatment for mental illnesses, both medicinal and therapeutic, have a high success rate for those afflicted with either clinical or conditional bouts of mental distress, but approximately two-thirds of American students choose not to seek help for fear of embarrassment, of shame, or of the social stigma associated; and
WHEREAS the United States Congress established the first week of October as the National Mental Illness Awareness Week in 1990, and that mental health advocates continued to bring awareness to those afflicted between October 5th and October 11th of this year; and
WHEREAS a collection of local students, government officials, and young adults have joined efforts to form a depression awareness organization, Light the Way, to disseminate information and host events in support of increased education on mental illness with the hope of decreasing the social stigmatization associated with depression, self-harm and suicidal thoughts, while working to serve as a torchlight of hope, by way of sharing personal stories and providing information and resources to the afflicted, to light the way for troubled souls in the shadows; and
WHEREAS the Schoharie County Board of Supervisors desires to aid those suffering from depression and other mental illnesses in any way that it can.
NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that the Schoharie County Board of Supervisors hereby declares that it supports the efforts of the County Mental Health Department, Light the Way, and other national, state, and local government agencies and organizations to bring continued awareness to mental illnesses both in and outside of Schoharie County.

McAllister, Milone, and Smith Seen As Most Effective

Written By Editor on 8/25/14 | 8/25/14

The results were not overwhelming, but three supervisors are the most effective members of the County Board, according to Schoharie News readers. The poll included must dissatisfaction, with a full 26% stating that no member was the most effective-- more than any supervisor.

Newcomers Sean Smith of Blenheim and Leo McAllister were among the top three, with McAllister seen as a pragmatist and Smith successfully winning funding for the rebuilding of the Blenheim Bridge. Second term Schoharie Supervisor Gene Milone has won tax abatements at a county level and has led on many issues.

Make sure to vote in our new poll on the sidebar: who will you vote for Congress?

Barbic, Seward 1%  
Buzon, Middleburgh 5%  
Milone, Schoharie 15% 27  
Bleau, Wright 1%  
VanWormer, Esperance 3%  
Jordan, Jefferson 1% 1
 Smith, Blenheim 13% 22  
Smith, Broome 0%  
Skowfoe, Fulton 3% 
Lape, Richmondville 1%  
Manko, Sharon 2%  
Vroman, Summit 2%
Bradt, Carlisle 2%  
VanGlad, Gilboa 3%  
Federice, Conesville 6% 11  
McAllister, Cobleskill 16% 29  
Too early to say/None 26% 46   176 total - 

New Pipeline Pitch Divides Supervisors

Written By Editor on 7/21/14 | 7/21/14

Supervisors were divided Friday morning as representatives of Kinder Morgan, which operates the existing Tennessee Gas Pipeline that cuts through the northern part of the county, pitched the creation of a third potential natural gas transportation route in Schoharie County; one that would mirror the proposed Constitution line.

Describing it as an expansion of an already existing system, Kinder Morgan Director of Public Affairs Allen Fore detailed the natural gas transportation company's proposed Northeast Energy Direct route that would span from northern Pennsylvania to the Wright Compressor Station and finally to Dracut, Massachusetts.

The proposed NED route would impact one hundred and ninety five landowners in Schoharie County across the Towns of Cobleskill, Jefferson, Middleburgh, Richmondville, Schoharie, Summit, and Wright; with approximately seventy of the ninety-five miles of pipeline being co-located at the existing Constitution route.

Cautioning Kinder Morgan officials to respect landowners in his municipality, Schoharie Supervisor Gene Milone questioned how exactly Schoharie County had become a central point of transportation for pipelines in New York, to which Wright Supervisor Amber Bleau quipped, "we have a pump station; that's why."

Sounding a friendlier note, Ms. Bleau commented that Tennessee Gas had been, "excellent neighbors," and encourage her fellow legislators to visit the pump station in her township. Esperance Supervisor Earl VanWormer disagreed, stating that they [Tennessee Gas], "haven't been good people in Schoharie County."

Questioning the necessity of their proposal, Middleburgh Supervisor Jim Buzon asked Mr. Fore why Kinder Morgan had not looked into sharing capacity with the already planned Constitution pipeline. Fore responded that, "on a base level, we're two different companies," and that FERC would need to rule if the project was in the public interest.

Schoharie County Board Chairman Tony VanGlad invited Kinder Morgan representatives to return in October or November to update Supervisors on the project's status, which is expected to be in the pre-application stage this fall. The company is not expected to begin the permitting process until fall 2015 at the earliest. 

Inside Look: Administrator Committee Makes Progress

Written By Editor on 7/20/14 | 7/20/14

One month after being tasked with the responsibility of investigating whether Schoharie County government should adopt additional oversight by way of an administrator, Conesville Supervisor Bill Federice informed the county board on Friday that the aptly named Administrator Committee is, "making very good progress." 

The study committee was approved unanimously by Supervisors at the June county board meeting on motion by Blenheim Supervisor Shawn Smith, and was subsequently appointed by County Board Chairman Tony VanGlad to consist of two proponents of an administrator; two opponents of the idea, and one neutral member. 

With hopes of concluding the committee's work by September at the earliest, Mr. Federice - who is serving as chair of the study group - told his fellow board members that they have already scheduled road trips to visit other counties that currently have administrators to obtain more information by asking questions and observing. 

Schoharie County Treasurer Bill Cherry, whom many had speculated might accept the position if created, pointedly dispelled any such motions with a brisk letter to the editor in early July that stated, "I don’t want the job... I will not apply for, nor accept, an administrator position that serves at the pleasure of the Board of Supervisors."

Still, pending the release of its findings, the committee's impact on the county board as a whole remains to be seen, which on its last vote concerning the matter, voted down the administrator concept by an overwhelming margin at the May county board meeting. 

In addition to Mr. Federice of Conesville, Mr. Barbic of Seward; Ms. Bleau of Wright; Mr. Jordan of Jefferson; and, Mr. VanWormer of Esperance serve as members of the Administrator Committee. 

County Board Withholds AECOM Pay

Written By Editor on 7/18/14 | 7/18/14

Passions flared at the Schoharie County Board of Supervisors meeting Friday morning, as legislators argued for the better part of an hour over the contentious stream bank project being administered by AECOM that is facing a significant budget shortfall. 

Supervisors had expected AECOM representative Patty Flores to be present following a June motion by the full board requesting her or another company official to be present for explanation of how AECOM arrived at the oft quoted $2.6 million figure that legislators have been discussing in earnest since late March.

However, with Ms. Flores reportedly on vacation, no representative of AECOM appeared before the county board for an update on the stream bank's progress or financial woes. Members of the board were not enthused.

Visibly agitated, Carlisle Supervisor Larry Bradt recommended, "not paying them until they come." Blenheim Supervisor Shawn Smith stated that he would second Mr. Bradt's statement if it was made into a motion, which Mr. Bradt responded by doing in kind.

Conesville Supervisor Bill Federice, who has led efforts to have the State Comptroller's Office audit the stream bank project's administration, commented pointedly that AECOM is a billion dollar company, and questioned why they didn't send someone else to brief the board in Ms. Flores' place.

Urging caution, Middleburgh Supervisor Jim Buzon warned legislators that withholding the company's pay would only cost the county more down the road, and that more delays would only further endanger an already, "project in jeopardy."

With only three supervisors in opposition - Mr. Buzon of Middleburgh, Mr. Smith of Broome, and Mr. Vroman of Summit - the motion was approved overwhelmingly, and later set the stage for another bout of contentious back and forth later in the afternoon, which will be covered in a separate news piece.  

County Board to Meet Friday (July 18, 2014)

Written By Editor on 7/15/14 | 7/15/14

The Schoharie County Board of Supervisors, following last week's special legislative session and three nights of hearings on suspended Personnel Director Cassandra Ethington, are scheduled to convene once again this coming Friday at 9:00 a.m. for their July monthly board meeting in Schoharie. 

As of publication there has been no official agenda published on the county's website, although Supervisors are expecting AECOM representatives to brief them on the project's current status and to provide them with hard numbers on the estimated $2.6 million budget shortfall facing county taxpayers. 

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