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December 07, 2016
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Fix the property or lose the contract

ELDRED, NY — As the calendar moves toward the one-year anniversary of the Town of Highland Town Board discussion on repair or removal of an unsafe building in Washington Lake, the board on April 8 considered a new carrot-and-stick approach.

The building in question is owned by John Lang. After a public hearing last spring, the property was officially declared unsafe, and the town advertised for bids for its demolition.

In October, Lang disputed code enforcement officer David Keebler’s report that no plans had been submitted to the town for demolition or repair of the property.

Lang then said, “The plans are there. I gave them to Keebler and he said they’re fine.”

Noting Keebler’s earlier report that no plans had been received, Superintendent Andy Boyar said, “We have a dispute here.”

Lang’s demolition permit for the property expired on November 18.

With the onset of winter and other issues, the building issue appeared to go to the town’s back burner.

Last week, Keebler, noting the difficult working conditions during the past winter, again reported that work at the site is not completed.

In an apparently unrelated action later in same meeting, the board considered bids and the award of a contract for its annual summer river-shore trash-cleanup program. Two bids were received: one of $1,360 from Patrick Traver and the low bid of $1,300, from John Lang.

When the resolution came up, Boyar noted that the board was required to accept the bid of “the lowest responsible bidder.” He wondered aloud if a bidder who faces court action for violations of the unsafe building ordinance should be considered “responsible.”

He said he was inclined to wait and see if the Washington Lake building issue was cleared up by May before taking a vote on the trash contract. The resolution was tabled.

Lang did not attend last week’s meeting.

In other business, the board accepted Highway Superintendent Tom Ebers’ recommendation to accept three bids received for highway stone; awarded a one-year heating oil contract for town buildings to Mirabito Energy Products; authorized Ebers to buy paving materials on the Town of Thompson’s blacktop bid; authorized Boyar to apply to the Eldred Central School for use of its facilities for a second year of a summer basketball camp; agreed to participate in the annual spring rubbish clean-up on May 17, subject to pending county approval for its participation; and approved payment of $92,000 for the highway department’s newly received backhoe.

The board also heard VFW Commander Pete Carmeci announce a May 31 blood drive to benefit Marine Corps Vietnam veteran Pat Toro, who has been afflicted with a pre-cursor disease of leukemia and has required numerous transfusions at Orange Regional Medical Center, where he is being treated. For more information, contact town clerk Doreen Hanson at 845/557-6085, or Sullivan County Veterans Services at 845/807-0233.