The Town Board met on Wednesday, March 13, for its second meeting of the month at Town Hall. The evening’s agenda included a public hearing for a local law regarding a change in policy at the Transfer Station, as well as a discussion regarding the purchase of new trucks for the Town Highway Department. Board members also provided updates on an examination of the trail system in Lakeside Park and funding for several upcoming infrastructure projects in Pawling.
The meeting began with a public hearing on Proposed Local Law #1 of 2019, an Amendment to the Pawling Town Code Regarding Enforcement of Town Code Provisions Regarding the Transfer Station and Recycling. Specifically, the new law will enable attendants at the Transfer Station to issue appearance tickets to those found in violation of the facility’s dumping policies. The move comes in response to an examination of policy at the Transfer Station and will attempt to limit excessive dumping and use by unauthorized persons. “This law gives the attendants the power to issue tickets, and a judge can impose a fine if called for, or revoke a Transfer Station sticker,” explained Councilman Phil DeRosa. The Town Board voted unanimously to enact the new law, in the hope that stricter enforcement will lead to more equitable and cost effective operation of the Transfer Station.
Board members then entered into a lengthy discussion on the possible purchase of several new trucks for the Town Highway Department. A resolution was introduced to allow the issuance of $480,000 in bonds to pay for the purchase of heavy-duty highway trucks, each at a cost of $150,000 or more. The current fleet of highway trucks is aging, with several models dating from 1994 and 1996. Supervisor James Schmitt supported the purchase of new trucks citing a concern that the current fleet of trucks will not pass Department of Transportation inspections. “These are old vehicles, and they’re out there in snow and ice conditions,” said Supervisor Schmitt. Highway Superintendent Jay Dickinson was also in attendance and confirmed to the Board that he believed several of the vehicles in the fleet would not pass inspection this year because frame issues.
The resolution met with skepticism from several Board members, including Councilman Bill Johnson and Councilman Phil DeRosa. Johnson acknowledged the need for new trucks, but urged the Supervisor and fellow Board members to postpone their decision until a more detailed cost analysis could be presented. He went on to further explain that the Town may also need to purchase a new backhoe and mower during the next several months, which would impact budgetary spending going forward. Johnson stressed that there may be other options to address the problem, including purchasing a combination of new and used vehicles.
The resolution was put to a vote, with Supervisor Schmitt, Councilman James McCarthy, and Councilman Reid McGrath voting in favor, and Councilman Johnson and Councilman DeRosa voting against. Since the resolution required an affirmative vote of two thirds of the Board, the resolution did not pass. Board members will continue discussions on the matter.
In other business, the Board discussed a plan presented by the Pawling Community Foundation regarding the redirection of certain hiking and biking trails within Lakeside Park. The plan calls for parts of the park to be reserved for study and educational endeavors, including the possible removal of invasive plant species. Supervisor Schmitt opted not to vote to approve the plan, stating that he wants a more thorough examination, as well as public input before any action on the park’s trails is taken. “We look forward to working with the Pawling Community Foundation, but we need to look into this a little deeper,” said Schmitt. “That is a taxpayer paid park, and I don’t know that we’re looking out for the best interests of all of our residents.” Officials said they will make the plan accessible to the public on the Town’s website, and they will continue to work with the Community Foundation, including an onsite visit over the next few weeks.
In final business, the Board received an update from Joe Zarecki, of Zarecki & Associates LLC, on funding secured for several upcoming infrastructure projects. Pawling has been the recipient of funds through the Bridge NY Program, administered by the NYS Department of Transportation. These funds included grants of $160,000 for the West Main Street bridge and $353,200 for the Dewey Lane bridge. The Dewey Lane project received an additional $350,000 in secured state funds, and repairs to Hurds Corners Road would receive $450,000 in state administered funds. In total, the funds received for infrastructure projects total $1,313,700. “It’s exciting to get all of these grants within one year,” said Supervisor Schmitt.
The next Town Board meeting will be held on Wednesday, April 3, at 7:00 p.m. at Town Hall.