LAKE HUNTINGTON, NY — Citing the demands of campaigning when weather conditions often require job overtime, Highway Superintendent Kevin Esselman last month petitioned the Cochecton Town Board to change the town highway superintendent’s office term from its current two years to four years. At its June 11 meeting, the board passed a resolution to start the process.
A public hearing on the topic has been scheduled for July 9 at 7 p.m., immediately preceding the board’s next monthly meeting. Depending on the hearing’s outcome, the board may put the matter before voters in the form of a public referendum on the November 2014 ballot. Referendum passage would make the term change effective January 1, 2016, after the next biennial vote for highway superintendent.
Councilman Larry Richardson remarked that, although he was not necessarily opposed to the term change, he wished the call for it had come from the public, rather than from an elected official currently eligible to derive direct benefit from it.
As the meeting proceeded, Supervisor Gary Maas read correspondence from the Upper Delaware Council (UDC) informing the town that grant money is again available to it. In the past, UDC grants have been used to make town ordinances and property records available online. Richardson urged the board to put the town’s zoning map online. Pointing out that the National Park Service has an online map of the river corridor that could be made to overlay the town’s online zoning map, Richardson noted that it would then be possible to determine at a glance which town parcels fall within the river corridor.
Code enforcement officer Greg Semenetz indicated that Bethel has recently made its zoning map available online, but that other towns were not racing to follow suit, probably because the county zoning map is already available online. Conceding that it requires considerable navigation skill to find the zoning map on the county’s website, Semenetz thought that individual town maps could be broken out of the county’s map. Grant money use was left open for further discussion.
A routine Youth Commission report included notice that the committee is now using a debit card to pay expenses associated with trips and outings. Prior to use of the debit card, a member of the committee used a personal credit card to pay for deposits and reservations. Although only two people are currently authorized to use the card—Eileen Hennessy and Sue Grund Rodriguez—Maas asked that the entire committee be notified of each and every card use, to forestall opportunity for misuse.
The IRS and FBI have long known that people’s garbage yields valuable clues to their personal behavior; apparently the same can be said for a town’s waste water. When sewer officer Michael Walters reported that 2,000 gallons of sludge had been removed from the sewer plant, Maas asked him what was in it. “Unfiltered grease and butt wipes,” replied Walters. The grease can be traced to commercial food service providers with absent, inadequate or failed grease interceptor systems. Mandated by public health law, grease interceptor systems are subject to periodic inspection and regular cleaning. When an interceptor system fails, sewer plants can be overwhelmed by grease; oil and water do not mix.
Residential waste water is responsible for the other problem. Wipes being flushed down drains has caused sewage clogs nationwide, and Cochecton is no exception. The solution is to dispose of wipes in the garbage, not down the drain.
For complete meeting minutes, see www.townofcochectonny.org .