Andes sets hearing for flood map review

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By Pauline Liu
The Town of Andes is preparing for a public hearing on its new flood maps and flood law on Tuesday April 10 at 12:45 p.m.

The time of the hearing was set to accommodate a request by Deputy Town Supervisor Marty Liddle, who said he doesn’t expect the hearing will last very long. Kristin Janke of the Delaware County Planning Department will be making the presentation.

“Nothing has changed significantly from the old ones,” she said. “Fortunately, the new ones are easier to read. These maps have to be adopted by June 19th, so the community can remain eligible for flood insurance. The time to review is over. They were last updated in 1989.”

Bid openings
The town board spent much of the meeting taking care of business. On March 9, the town board opened sealed bids received for numerous town highway department materials and equipment rentals. They included bids on sand and gravel as well as the rental of a backhoe and a loader. There were also bids for fuel.

The Mirabito Fuel Group Incorporated of Oneonta  won most of the town’s bids for fuel oil as well as gasoline and low sulfur kerosene. Details of the costs per gallon will be available on the town’s website, townofandes.com. Supervisor Marty Donnelly said the excavation equipment won’t be needed right now, but they will be later in the spring.

As for the town clerks’ report, Kimberly Tosi apologized to residents who received water bills and are not on the town water system. “There was no updated list,” she said. “I promise it will not happen for the next billing!” she added.

In addition, Tosi is requesting that all information that needs to be put on the agenda for the monthly meetings be submitted to her no later than the Friday before the next town board meeting.

“I am only one person and I do not think that it is fair to give me everything last minute and expect me to have it done on time,” she said. Tosi is also requesting the same health insurance that is available to the town’s unionized workers. Donnelly said it is a matter that the town board will have to vote on.

Donnelly told the town board that town bookkeeper Meg Hungerford is working on a tax-levy update. “We approved exceeding the two percent property tax cap and the state wants us to set a reserve for the amount that we exceed the cap by,” said Donnelly.

“It would seem to me that we exceeded the cap because we needed the money and I don’t know where we’ll get it from,” he added.

In other news, the town highway department sold some scrape metal which brought in $187.20 and $246.60. “So any time we want to buy some supplies we can, because it’s found money,” said Donnelly.

At the start of the meeting, when the public is invited to comment, Margaretville Telephone Company’s General Manager Glen Faulkner spoke. The Andes Town Board wants to lower its cost of phone and Internet service. “We’re paying you about $10,000 a year,” said town board member Bud Gladstone. “Is there a cheaper way that we can have phone service?” he asked. Faulkner agreed to look into the matter.

Bob Lidsky of Andes, who has taken a strong stand against hydrofracking, passed out copies of new report on fracking entitled, “Federal scientists warn the state of fracking risks.”  “Governor Cuomo should halt the state’s drilling plan,” Lidsky said. 

Illegal action?
As for the town’s six-month moratorium on fracking, Donnelly told the board that it could be renewed for up to a year. However, he pointed out that the county planning department disagreed with the action that the town took and the fact that it was done without county approval.

“The county planning department thought we took an illegal action,” said Donnelly. “Dave Merzig (town attorney) says the decision is still out as to whether it was illegal.”

Matt Sluiter, who is the town’s insurance agent at the Margaretville-based Sluiter Agency, came to discuss the town’s insurance policy with the town board. Donnelly praised the work that Sluiter has done to get the town good rates.