Eking out the news

Posted 8/16/22

ELDRED, NY — While there was no formal news about the fate of the Town of Highland constabulary, the board moved to hire two court officers and accepted the resignation of chief administrative …

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Eking out the news


ELDRED, NY — While there was no formal news about the fate of the Town of Highland constabulary, the board moved to hire two court officers and accepted the resignation of chief administrative constable Mike Walton and constable Stephen Milisauskas.

By resolution, the board approved the hiring of Patrick Vennetti and Vincent Riley at an hourly rate of $40, paid in 15-minute increments, to provide security and related functions at the Town of Highland Justice court beginning August 15. The pair was scheduled to begin by observing Lumberland Justice Court, supervisor Jeff Haas said.

In accepting the resignation of Walton and Milisauskas, constable committee member Kaitlin Haas said that the constables had turned in all their equipment and that “we thank them for the time that we had with them.”

“And they thank the Town of Highland for being able to work here,” Jeff Haas said.

Walton had previously indicated that he had wanted his letter of resignation read into the town record. In public comment, this reporter asked if the letter was to be made public and attorney to the town Michael Davidoff said that he “would take it under advisement.” The paper needed to file a Freedom of Information Law (FOIL) request, he said. A FOIL request for the resignation letters was emailed to the town on August 10.

Kaitlin Haas said that in response to the report issued last month, the committee was in the process of identifying a consultant who could work with the constabulatory.

Cul-de-sac resurfaced

In his report, highway superintent Tom Ebers reported that the cul-de-sac by the Barryville bridge has been resurfaced with blacktop. The cul-de-sac was originally paved with chip-and-seal, which the town indicated last month was the responsibility of the highway superintendent. Ebers maintains that he was instructed to do so.

This new roadway is now in the 30-day curing stage and a mural will be painted on its surface as part of the Sullivan Renaissance Silver Feather $125,000 grant received by the municipality.

The paving was part of the $25,000 in-kind contribution required of the town. The mural is part of a series of projects that will be completed,  including parking lot remediation at Eagle Observation 1, enhancements to the Eagle Observation 2 building, and a walking trail, historical intepretive signs and preliminary engineering for the Kate Project. That work is spearheaded by the Delaware Company.

Stop speeding

In an effort to curb Route 97 speeding through the hamlet of Barryville, the board approved the $5,000 purchase of two Evolution 11 electronic speed signs. The signs cost approximately $2,000 each; the remaining expenditure is reserved for installation.

As Route 97 is a state highway, the town must apply to the state Department of Transportation (DOT) Sign Program to get the signs and locations permitted. The plan is to place the “Your Speed” signs within the 40 mph speed zone in Barryville: one south of Barryville and one north of the hamlet.

In other related signage requests, John Pizolatto wrote that the Barryville Farmers’ Market would like to install a sign indicating the need for caution for the Saturday market customers. Jeff Haas said that the market would also need to go through the state permitting process.

Budgeting begins

Prefacing his supervisor’s report with the news that $127,384.22 of American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (ARPA) funds have been received, Jeff Haas announced that the budgeting season has begun. Given the two-percent cap on raising property taxes, and due to increases in medical coverage and insurance, he said, the town would have to move monies around to make the budget work. Haas will be working with the bookkeeper and town clerk on the 2023 budget.

Summer camp a success

As part of the Youth and Park Development report, the summer camp program in collaboration with Camp Koinonia was celebrated as a success. Kaitlin Haas reported that 114 campers particiated in the full-time, six-week program, with an average of 16 to 22 campers per week from the Town of Highland. The town received $20,000 in grant monies and expended $13,020 for the six-week session, leaving approximately $7,000 to be spent on activities and programs for the same age group. Each Town of Highland camper was subsidized, with additional funds reserved for families who needed further financial assistance.

“The feedback was incredible,” Kaitlin Haas said. She also said that there were children in attendance from different communities, and that the Highland Ambulance Service provided good support. The board thanked all who made the program possible.

And everything else

In other business, the board approved the application for short-term residential rental permit, previously discussed in May. It sets the annual fee, including renewals, of the application and inspection at $125. Reinspection, if needed, will cost $75.

The board also approved the Length of Service Award Program points for the American Legion Ambulance for the year 2021, contingent on the six remaining days of the 30-day waiting period.

It heard Upper Delaware Scenic Byway (UDSB) representative Lacey Gutekunst’s report on the current UDSB grant program and their “rag bag” promotional material campaign.

The board agreed to contact its consultants, the LaBurge group, to start an inquiry into the placement and regulations surrounding the siting and permitting of a marijuanna dispensory.

It gave a waiver of the 30-day waiting period for the renewal of the liquor license application for the Barryville Hotel and Barryville Liquor Store, and heard that a natural remedy removed the flies that were coming up through the drain at the senior citizens center. The screens at the courthouse, which were split, are now fixed.

Town of Highland, constables, Mike Walton, Stephen Milisauskas, cul-de-sac, sppeding, budgeting, summer camp, short-term rental


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