Andes signs off on garage project and agrees to CCC participation

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By Matthew J. Perry
The Andes Town Board announced yesterday that the new $1.7 million highway garage project is up and running, while affirming its support for and participation the Central Catskill Collaborative.
The regular town meeting also served as a public hearing on the subject of the garage project. Delaware Engineering representative Dave Olman reviewed existing plans for the new facility, which will be constructed on the site of the town’s gravel pit on the Tremperskill Road, just south of the Andes transfer station.
Olman’s presentation was thorough enough to preclude any but the most rudimentary questions from those assembled. Planning for the garage began almost three years ago, a period of time that was extended due to delays created by the June 2006 floods. But as a result, according to Olman, “we’re moving forward with a project that has been well thought out and is in accord with the existing budget.”
The new garage will cost in excess of $1.7 million. Construction bids will be solicited immediately so that work can be completed in the summer months. After cleanup, the garage is expected to be in operation by October.
The board also noted that a detailed SEQRA process had been completed, and it was the body’s conclusion that a negative environmental declaration was appropriate. Supervisor Marty Donnelly was authorized to sign off on the review.

Change of plans
The board went on to rescind Resolution 38, passed last month, which pertained to questions about the administration of a $500,000 Smart Growth Program grant extended to six townships along Route 28.
Donnelly, initially concerned that an outside administrative body would be contracted, said that his concerns were allayed when it was announced that each town would receive its piece of the money directly. It is still uncertain when Andes will receive its share, and it is also unclear if each town will receive an equal share. Donnelly stated that the planning board would oversee Andes’ participation on the CCC committee, and asked chairman Frank Winkler to suggest a representative.
Town clerk Janis Jacques’ report noted that the town hall will soon be moved to a new building at 115 Delaware Avenue, and that the offices of town clerk, assessor, building department, planning board, zoning board of appeals and supervisor will be moved to this facility. The town court will remain in the present location at 508 Main Street.
Donnelly shared a letter from the Catskill Water Corporation attorney Tim Cox, dated March 3, that declared the $3 million Tax Consultation Fund, created under the 1997 Memorandum of Agreement, is exhausted. As a result, CWC will be unable to pay any of Andes’ 2007 legal bills relating to tax reassessments. On a topic related to external pressure on the community, Donnelly also directed fire at Article 10, currently under review in Albany, which would extend state oversight into local review of the environmental impact of building and energy projects. Donnelly described the article as “another attempt to destroy home rule.”
In a letter to Rural Resources, a state agency, he argued that the SEQRA is “a powerful tool” that has helped local governing bodies protect their interests and the environment simultaneously.
“Who is better to judge the community impact than the community itself?” he asked.
The board also submitted a report from Delaware Operations on conditions at the wastewater treatment plant. Effluent flows at the plant had spiked to 46,650 gallons per day in February, a 8,350 gallon-per-day increase from January. The plant is capable of handling the increased volume of water, but the report noted that “large amounts of what appears to be aerated fat had been released”, which interfered with the functioning of the plant’s micro filters and resulted in an upset at the plant on February 29. In order to remain compliant with NYSDEP and NYSDEC regulations, Donnelly stated that “the grease is a problem that must be corrected.” To that end, Delaware Operations has requested the purchase of new equipment to update the plant’s cleaning system.