Lots of potential in Highland

By GREGORY HATTON
Posted 2/17/21

ELDRED, NY — The Highland Town Board meetings held during the past year have often been sparsely attended and mundane affairs. Tuesday, February 9, found the Eldred Town Hall at its COVID-era …

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Lots of potential in Highland

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ELDRED, NY — The Highland Town Board meetings held during the past year have often been sparsely attended and mundane affairs. Tuesday, February 9, found the Eldred Town Hall at its COVID-era seating capacity of 14. 

The big news was the announcement that the lawsuit with Millennium Pipeline, LLC had been settled. The company sought to reduce its tax assessment by some $56,000,000; the lawsuit settles the reduction at $24,000,000. (See page 2 for more information.)

A moment of silence was held for Robert Grab, who died on January 29. A Korean War vet, Grab was much appreciated for his volunteer work with senior citizens.

As part of the highway department report, superintendent Tom Ebers reported that he had received correspondences from residents unhappy with damage to their mailboxes, incidental to snow removal. “We don’t knock them down on purpose; the snow pushes them over! Our procedure is to fix them upright when we can, after the snow season. Technically, it’s a postal matter... but we try to do our best,” he said. On behalf of the board, supervisor Jeff Haas thanked the department for the job it does to keep the roads open. Additionally, it was announced that Scott Hallock has resigned as deputy superintendent. 

Haas reported that Sen. Mike Martucci’s office will join forces with Assemblywoman Aileen Gunther’s office to help remove the delays in receiving state funding grants. “The last payment on the salt shed was [more than] $60,000 short; that money had to come out of our savings, which are taxpayer dollars,” he said. 

Haas said that the legislators will put forward an initiative to make sure that all grants are satisfied before new ones are awarded. “[I’m] not sure how that’s going to go over with all the jockeying for funds going on now,” he said.

Sullivan County Legislature Chairman Robert Doherty and district legislator Nadia Rajsz were in attendance to champion fellow legislator Alan Sorensen’s notion that towns need to invest in “tourism infrastructure” to benefit local residents and promote tourism. They deferred to John Pizzolato, who presented plans for a collaborative project between the Greater Barryville Chamber of Commerce and the Upper Delaware Scenic Byway Committee. 

The center of his presentation revolved around the benefits that would accrue to the Town of Highland by partnering with the other agencies now involved with river access and improvement. The goal is to qualify for the Sullivan Renaissance Community Impact Grant Program, which leverages a $25,000 to $50,000 town investment to open up $200,000 to $400,000 in grant monies. The project would enhance seven river-centered locations from the Barryville Bridge to the Roebling Bridge. At the close of the presentation, Doherty and Rajsz endorsed Pizzolato’s efforts. The board then re-appointed him as Highland’s delegate to the Upper Delaware Scenic Byway Committee, where he serves as chair.

The meeting closed out with the promise that another long-running issue would reach a resolution soon. There will be a public hearing on the new town code revisions scheduled for Tuesday, March 2, prior to the regular meeting. 

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