With Town Supervisor Sterling Goodspeed absent for the last town meeting of 2011, Supervisor-Elect and current Councilman Ron Vanselow got a chance to test drive his new seat as meeting chair Tuesday, Dec. 20.
Though the agenda was long, the items were mostly housekeeping by the board, and Vanselow ran the meeting in an hour and a quarter.
The town cleared its first FEMA award recently for the first round of flooding this past year, in April. This award totals $223,461.50. Johnsburg Highway Superintendent Dan Hitchcock requested and was approved for $193,213.77 of the FEMA funding for a new plow truck.
A plow truck from 1995 has cracks in the frame. In correspondence to the board, Hitchcock said he'd had the cracks inspected by welders, but none of the repairmen he surveyed thought the frame could be repaired to make the truck safe for drivers.
The cracks are at places where extra metal plating could not be applied, so any fixes would be too weak to be dependable, said Hitchcock.
Hitchcock plans to cannibalize parts from the retired plow to sustain another town plow from the same year. He said parts for these trucks are very difficult to get, and sometimes take weeks to arrive when they're found.
Warren County Planning Department's Wayne Lamothe presented to the board on a grant secured for Main Street improvements.
Lamothe compared the upgrades to Lake Placid's downtown. Sidewalks would be accented with brick pavers, public trash cans would be placed and benches would be installed. The sidewalks would be improved, handicap ramps would be plentiful and crosswalks would be a likely part of the plan.
The project would be on a three-year funding plan, and they've secured $48,116 in 50/50 matching funds that must be met by town-provided funds or project work done by town employees.
Lamothe suggested applying to the Adirondack/Glens Falls transportation council, which has funds available for street improvements.
Councilman Frank Morehouse Jr. asked if the project could include the sidewalk as far as Johnsburg Central School, noting that many local students use it. Lamothe said there's plenty of room to adjust the project for such a change.
From the audience, Bob Nessle expressed concern that the aging water infrastructure under Main Street could undo the hard work of road crews. He said heavy equipment digging for broken pipes is a common sight. What if that continues under a new sidewalk?
Lamothe replied that part of the preliminary planning for the project would include a review of what's buried beneath the pavement. Any problems revealed can then be dealt with at the town's discretion.
The board approved pursuing the funding for the improvement project.
Cedarwood engineer Tom Suazzo and local public project leader Nessle updated the board on efforts to get Department of Transportation and privately owned land added to the Ski Bowl Park.
Suazzo said leveling out the patch of land would provide great amounts of sand and gravel material for the highway department at a much cheaper price than available elsewhere.
They are working on getting a private landowner to transfer an adjacent patch of property, said Nessle, and he's been very cooperative. If they didn't acquire the adjacent property, they'd need to leave a large slope of sand and gravel to support it. If they can get it, the quantity of material that can be claimed by the highway department would be much larger. Ultimately, the goal of getting and clearing the property is to expand Ski Bowl Park.
The board approved a bid for their new bookkeeping and payroll software package for $8,182. That price will include the software, training and a year of tech support. The next-lowest bid had a lower initial price, but annual tech support was twice as costly, said Vanselow.
The board passed a retro-active resolution to allow AFLAC insurance to make pay withholdings from enrolled town employees.