Sykes signs off, board moves forward with $680,000 salt shed project

By ELIZABETH LEPRO
Posted 12/18/19

TOWN OF DELAWARE, NY — Ed Sykes gave the last ‘aye’ of his eight-year tenure as supervisor of the Town of Delaware Wednesday, December 11, agreeing with all but one of the town …

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Sykes signs off, board moves forward with $680,000 salt shed project

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TOWN OF DELAWARE, NY — Ed Sykes gave the last ‘aye’ of his eight-year tenure as supervisor of the Town of Delaware Wednesday, December 11, agreeing with all but one of the town board members to accept a $680,000 bid for a new highway salt shed. 

The current Delaware highway barn is in dire condition, Sykes said, citing flooding and holes in the roof. This is the second time the town has sent the project to bid, hoping the price would be lower. 

“If we went back and said we’re going to bid it again, I don’t know that it would be any different using the same set of specs,” Sykes said.

The town’s engineering firm, Delaware Engineering secured $493,000 in grants for the shed from the state. That grant, said engineer Dave Ohman, comes with stipulations from the New York State Office of General Services (OGS) that make the project more expensive. Additionally, the shed will be 3,000 square feet with a 30-foot opening for machinery, larger than other nearby highway sheds. 

Several people in the audience Wednesday questioned the high price tag, and the specs for the new design. 

“This isn’t just a plain salt shed that several municipalities could have built,” Ohman said, in response. “In regards to the QIP [grant] money, you have to comply with the state Office of General Services requirements for the structure, so you’re not going to build something that you could build in the Town of Fremont or you could build in the Town of Callicoon. This is something that has to go to a higher standard.” 

Though Al Steppich expressed his reluctance to accept the bid, Chris Hermann was the only ‘nay’ vote. Ed Sykes said that no one has been willing to work with him on building the barn for less, which has forced him to rely on the grant. 

After the vote, the town will move forward with the project under the direction of incoming supervisor Steve Lundgren.

Earlier in the evening, county manager Josh Potosek delivered a report on the 2020 tentative Sullivan County budget.

The county plans to appropriate $233,129,442 for the year, a $1,157,564 decrease from 2019. The county is planning a 1.59 percent tax-rate increase. 

Also notable in the report is that the county is expecting $1,800,000 in revenue from room taxes this year, $2,650,000 in casino gaming and $49,000,000 in sales tax, all of which are increases from 2019. 

Here are some other takeaways from Potosek’s report:

  • The county is investing $10,000 to supplement a state grant to purchase and install electric-vehicle charging stations and in electric vehicles for the county fleet. 
  • $400,000 for a replacement hot-water system  at the Sunset Lake Care Center, and funding for new employees.
  • $300,000 for two new buses in the “Move Sullivan” program
  • $150,000 to expand bus hours and routes
  • $200,000 to add a second Monticello tower for a pilot broadband project there
  • $24,000 to add green composting bins to transfer stations
  • $4.6 million for roadwork; $2 million for work on six bridges
  • $6.8 million to rehab runway and taxiway at airport—nearly all of these, according to the report, are federal funds
  • $227,008 to improve access to the river in Barryville; $60,000 for the O&W Rail Trail; $10,000 for a trail around Lake Superior
  • $400,000 toward projects restoring blighted properties, such as the Sullivan County Land Bank

Notably, Sullivan County is budgeting $500,000 to a homeless housing intake and processing center near the Department of Family Services on Community Lane in Liberty. This is something that deputy of the department William Moon has been advocating for in the last several years. 

Harold Roeder, the representative from the Upper Delaware Council (UDC), also signed off on Wednesday. He has appeared diligently at the monthly meetings to offer reports on water. 

Roeder made one last speech about inadequate state funding for the UDC Wednesday—the agency has received the same funding since the ‘80s—but ended his tenure on a positive note.

“I’ve had the privilege of being the chair of the UDC three times in 22 years,” Roeder said. “And I just have to tell the people here and the board, I have been honored to represent this title and you people and all the supervisors that were here when I served… I hope I’ve been able to be of help to you.”

Roeder received a round of applause from those gathered. 

Sykes rounded up all the projects he’s been involved in, including the new Callicoon Water District, working with the state agency regulations, the sewer project and this ongoing project of moving the highway department. He finished with a sentimental thought.

“It’s been my great privilege and honor to serve people in the Town of Delaware,” Sykes said. “It has also been my great honor and privilege to work with some really great people, including this board… Everybody truly loves the town, and I thank you guys for that.” 

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