Indian Lake Town Hall
The Monday, Feb. 11 Indian Lake Town Board meeting was met with an unusually large number of attendees upset about the state’s new gun control law.
Most were members of the local Rod and Gun Club and were in attendance to support a resolution to defy and repeal the recent New York state gun control legislation embodied in the Secure Ammunition and Firearms Enforcement Act (SAFE). The SAFE Act, being referred to as the most restrictive gun control law in the country, was signed into law Jan. 15, 2013. It is supposed that the law was a response to the horrific shootings at the Sandy Hook Elementary School just before the Christmas holiday this past December.
Opposition to the law has been based on its supposed Federal and State unconstitutionality, tightening and frequency of licensing standards, restriction of ammunition magazine size, etc.
Supervisor Brian Wells read a proposed resolution that was closely modeled after a resolution recently put forward by Ulster County. The resolution passed in a 3-2 vote of the board with Councilwoman Sally Stanton and Councilman John Valentine both casting “no” votes.
Immediately following the vote, Stanton offered an explanation for her voting against the resolution, saying that in good conscience she did not believe that the SAFE act should be repealed because it does have some benefit. Instead, she directed the attention of the board to the recent resolution passed by Hamilton County, supporting the New York State Sheriffs’ Association’s position on the SAFE Act. Stanton highlighted the six points of the SAFE act favored by this resolution:
- Restriction on FOIL requests about pistol permit holders
- Killing of emergency first responders
- Requirement of NICS checks for private sales (except between immediate family)
- Comprehensive review of mental health records before firearms permits are granted and review of records to determine if revocation of permits is required
- Safe storage of firearms
- Increased penalties for illegal use of weapons
Stanton then proposed the Hamilton County resolution to the board for approval. The board approved this resolution unanimously. Both resolutions will be available on townofindianlake.org website for public review.
Cuts in state school aid
Supervisor Wells gave a brief update of the joint Town and School Board meeting that occurred on Feb. 6 and the fact that it was held to find ways to cooperate, share services and cut costs in overcoming challenges and meeting needs.
Wells then informed attendees that the joint meeting was dominated by the fact that Hamilton County and Indian Lake schools were facing severe cuts to state school aid funding in the face of a promise by Gov. Cuomo of a 4.4 percent statewide increase in education funding. Wells defined the cut to funding at 13.2 percent and read a letter he prepared to Cuomo in which he states that the current trend of unfunded mandates from the state combined with such decreases in state funding were “systematically bankrupting” the school systems within the blue line.
Wells then called for letters from all the town organizations to go to state and local elected officials, not only for gun laws, but for the salvation of the school system.
“If we lose our schools, what young couples will want to move here?” Wells said.
A motion to send the letter was seconded and the board voted unanimously for the supervisor to send the letter.
DEC, former Finch lands
Supervisor Wells and Councilman Valentine brought the remaining board members and attendees up-to-date with the “ideas” for land classification presented by Tom Martin and Bob Stegemann of the DEC during their recent presentation at the Indian Lake Town Hall.
It was explained that the most central issue to the town was access from Chain Lakes Road through to Cedar River. The DEC officials suggested that if proof could be presented of that being a public accessible town road prior to 1909, then the road could be grandfathered. Councilman Valentine informed the meeting that, indeed, Meade Hutchins had researched and found data proving such was the case as early as 1886.
Both Valentine and Wells cautioned all in attendance that this does not mean that the issue is laid to rest. There are still recommendations by the DEC to the staff of the Adirondack Park Agency (APA) that will work on the final proposal by the Agency to the governor who will have the final say about land classification.
There will be an open meeting on Feb. 21 at the Town Hall at 7 p.m. to take proposals from any individuals or groups regarding this land.
John Collins, president of the Blue Mountain Lake Association and former APA chairman, was in attendance and offered clarification and counsel on the nature and sequence of the process. During this discussion, Bill Murphy, also in attendance, asked whether Collins could put together a timeline to guide all through the process. Collins agreed to help the town through the process by developing such a timeline. He then pressed the importance of writing both the DEC and the respective staff assigned to the classification proposal at the APA. Collins specifically mentioned APA Executive Director Terry Martino as the person that would pass on correspondence to the appropriate staff. He further counseled that there would be public hearings in and outside the park regarding the land classification. Collins strongly suggested that when the time comes all interested parties should get on the speaker list and go to tell them your thoughts regarding the classification of this land.
Four bids were received for relocating antennae to the new cell tower. They ranged from $4,500 to $23,340 and Supervisor Wells defined all as “vague.” The board voted unanimously to accept all four bids for review.
Supervisor Wells read a letter received from the Christmas Country Tour expressing to the town their gratitude for support and use of facilities, as well as communication the great success of the 2012 event and that 2013 planning is well under way.
Verizon has sent a letter of response to the request by the ILVFD and ILVAC to hook the back up generator that Verizon has at the site. Verizon communicated that the system is not set up to allow this. Supervisor Wells postulated that a manual generator might have to be used in the short-term.
A letter has been received from Assemblyman Marc Butler requesting a meeting with the Indian Lake Town Board to discuss specific goals moving forward. The point was made that this would have to be an open meeting. Calendars would be checked for mutually available dates for such a meeting.
The meeting adjourned to Executive Session. The next regular board meeting will be held on March 11 at 7 p.m. in the Town Hall on Pelon Road.