LAKE GEORGE — Faced with a request for village peace officers to have wi-fi Internet access, village trustees decided April 17 to restrict wifi access to the village’s patrol officers by using restricted passwords.
The lead peace officer had requested wi-fi access at the officers’ new headquarters on Iroquois St.. The written request cited that it would allow police reports to be filed efficiently online — and would enable bulletins to be received on a timely basis from state police and the Warren County Sheriff’s office.
During summer months, a half-dozen seasonal village peace officers routinely walk through Lake George, and their primary task is issuing parking tickets.
However, their efficiency in their work has varied dramatically year-to-year, depending on whether they are monitored and kept accountable.
The three board members participating in the April village board meeting decided that wi-fi access for the patrol officers would provide ongoing distractions.
“I don’t want people wasting time on Facebook or whatever rather than them working out on the street,” Village Trustee Ray Perry said.
According to their board’s decision, a supervising peace officer would have wi-fi access for filing reports and receiving law enforcement bulletins — but Internet use would be for official business only.
With two of the board members including Mayor Robert Blais on vacation, the remaining three — Perry, John Root and John Earl — made the decision. Their motion included a stipulation that the computer browser’s history would be routinely checked for compliance.
In other business at the village meeting held April 17, Beth Gillis of the Lake George/Lake Champlain Regional Planning Board announced that the village was awarded a $87,000 grant through the Lake Champlain Basin Program for stormwater control.
The grant would pay for an underground centrifugal stormwater separator to be installed in the vicinity of Lower Amherst St. The device, designed to trap solid material including silt and sand before stormwater reaches Lake George, is to be installed as soon as October, Gillis said. Plans are now being drafted for the installation. The village is to provide labor required for its installation.
A proposed motion to allow public parking on all private properties throughout the village during the annual Americade motorcycle rally as well as the yearly Adirondack Nationals Car Show and the village Fourth of July celebration raised concerns among the board members.
They questioned whether the intent of the proposed motion was to allow public parking on commercial properties as well as in residents’ yards, and whether it would be allowed for the entire duration of these multi-day events. Perry questioned whether the village could face legal liability for allowing such widespread parking. Presently, such parking is highly restricted under existing village ordinances.
“Would we be held harmless?” Perry asked. “I’m in favor of the motion, as long as we are.”
In the past, Perry has often cited the need to provide more parking in the village, which hosts as many as 50,000 visitors over a weekend, yet has only several thousand parking spaces available.
Root offered a contrasting opinion.
“Will it end up in a free-for-all if parking is allowed in any yard, all week long?” Root asked, questioning whether properties in all designated zones under the town’s zoning ordinances would be allowed to host such parking.