WHITE LAKE, NY — In order to pressure the Eagle Creek Hydro Power LLC to live up to its permit conditions, the Friends of Toronto Reservoir (FOTR) has enlisted …
WHITE LAKE, NY — In order to pressure the Eagle Creek Hydro Power LLC to live up to its permit conditions, the Friends of Toronto Reservoir (FOTR) has enlisted Bethel Town Board assistance.
The request came at the bi-monthly meeting on Wednesday, September 9; a letter sent by Nino Nannarone, chair of the FOTR, outlined that the access road to the Toronto Reservoir is not maintained in a timely fashion and that violates the company’s license with FERC.
Access by the public to the eastern side of the reservoir, located in Smallwood, NY, is mandated as a condition of permit #10482, issued by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). The permit is up for renewal.
FOTR called upon the board to “play a more active role in safeguarding this public resource for our community by forcing Eagle Creek to honor their FERC license: a letter notifying them the town will hold them responsible; a letter to FERC stating that Eagle Creek is in violation of the license by not maintaining adequate access in a timely fashion; and sending copies of said written communications to the FOTR.
After a few brief comments from board members, the board voted unanimously to approve the FOTR request.
“It is only when the residents of Bethel and the Friends of the Toronto Reservoir intervene and put pressure on them, that they repair the road and fill in the potholes,” said Nannarone.
The letter stating that the road repairs are not done in April or May, “but in June and July, when the summer season has already begun.”
“It’s been going on for years,” said councilwoman Lillian Hendrickson of the squabbling over the access road, while holding her board meeting buddy Peanuts, a small well-mannered pooch-in-arms.
Town officials attending the meeting: supervisor Daniel Strum; councilwomen Lillian Hendrickson, Vicky Simpson, Dawn Ryder (remotely via cellphone); councilman Bernie Cohen; town clerk Rita Sheehan; and Bette Jean Gettel, code enforcement officer.
In his supervisor’s report, Daniel Strum, now in his 13th year at the helm, said of the town’s current fiscal state, “It’s been a very good year for revenue, we’re right on target”, even in the year of COVID-19.
Budgetary highlights (profit & loss comparison: January 1 – September 9, 2020 to the same time frame last year): safety inspection fees up 28.3% ($46.703 - $36.411), recreation income down 84.8% ($9,230-$60,550.04), fines & forfeited bail down 41.3% ($33,220-$56,583).
Strum noted a seven-percent change in total income ($2,364,187,63 - $2,348,652.56), a difference of $15,5354.07, with profit & loss budget vs. actual expenses down $989,124.21 ($1,631,676.02 - $$2,620,800.23).
“Recreation is down considerably, and (while) tickets are being written, there have been no courts (in session),” he said of the pandemic impacts on the town’s budget.
According Strum, “building activity is an indicator of where we are,” and to back this up, said that in August 2020 there was $2.5 million in construction going on in the town, as opposed to $712,000 in August 2019, an increase of 72%.
Highway expenses are down five percent, and Strum explained looking ahead to the winter months, “We have a barn full of salt, and are making sand.”
On Thursday, September 24, the Town of Bethel will host a salute to First Responders during the season’s final night of Bethel Lakeside Music at Gazebo Park in Kauneonga Lake, NY.
“We want to officially thank the fire companies, ambulance companies and police departments, and give them certificates of appreciation,” said Strum.
The Town of Bethel conducts public board meetings twice a month on the 2nd and 4th Wednesday @ 7:30 p.m. at the Dr. Duggan Community Center meeting room, 3460 Route 55, While Lake, NY 12786.