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Background checks, zoning; Issues at Liberty meeting

By Carol Montana
April 24, 2013

Beginning January 1, 2014, every prospective employee in the Town of Liberty will undergo a background check before being hired.

This new policy was discussed at the April 15 meeting of the Liberty Town Board. “We already do a drug test and a sex offender check, but that’s easy because there’s a national registry of sex offenders,” supervisor Charlie Barbuti said. “We hire a lot of kids in the summer to work with children at our parks and recreation summer camp. A background check is not that expensive to do and our insurance company likes it when you have that policy, even though the government doesn’t require it.”

The town has already hired its 2013 summer employees. Original estimates put the cost at $100 per employee, which would have a substantial financial impact on the town, said Barbuti. But there is another supplier that will do the check at a cost of $10 per new hire.

The board also voted to keep its meetings at the town office building at 120 N. Main Street in Liberty. Last year, the board went “on the road” to Parksville, Ferndale and White Sulphur Springs. “We never had the turnout we have here,” said Barbuti, “and it’s a lot of effort to move the meeting.”

Barbuti also provided an update on the New York State Department of Transportation (DOT) work on the Route 17 Exit 100 Interchange bridges over the Middle Mongaup River. He reported that, while he would prefer the work be completed by Memorial Day weekend, the DOT is on target to reopen the area by their scheduled completion time of the July 4 weekend. The Exit 100 off-ramp onto Sullivan Avenue is currently closed with a suggested detour of Exit 101. The on-ramp will be closed on April 22, and a detour will lead drivers to the on-ramp at Interchange 99.

In other news, Barbuti reported on the availability of mulch for Town and Village of Liberty residents due to the highway department’s tree cleanup. Mulch can be picked up at the highway department at 2751 Route 52 West on the way to White Sulphur Springs, open Monday through Friday, from 7 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

The board also conducted a lengthy discussion, but did not vote on the issue of zoning. No decision was made on whether to use the 1987 or the 2011 zoning map as the template from which to make changes.

“What we’re wrestling with is, do we fix the zoning that we currently have, or do we think that has too many problems and we go back to the prior zoning of 2011, when they changed the map and the chart of uses, which lists what you’re allowed to do in the different zones,” said Barbuti.