County supervisors approve cell phone fees and $2 million change order for recycling equipment

By Cheryl Petersen
At their monthly meeting last Wednesday, the Delaware County Board of Supervisors approved a 30 cents-per-month surcharge on wireless cell phones in Delaware County.
“All the funds will go to the 911 account to continue upgrading services,” said Tom Axtell, public safety chair and Deposit Supervisor.
The supervisors also approved a maximum expenditure of $154,000 for engineering evaluations of the Public Works operations and maintenance to determine the design of a new building.
Steve Hood, director of emergency services, said after the meeting, “The department has been considering a cell phone surcharge for many years. It is a response to the steady decrease of surcharge funds from landlines. Years 2004 through 2011 resulted in a $55,000 decrease of the 911-surcharge fund. That’s a 34 percent net decrease of funds to work with.
“Studies were done and most other counties in the state have a surcharge on cell phones and have reported an increase of funds up to $100,000 or more. Therefore, we are following the pattern,” he concluded.

Highway solutions
As for the Public Works building, Sam Rowe, chair of Public Works and Hancock Supervisor, said, “The committee has tossed around ideas for over four years. The Public Works building on Page Street is old and unsafe. As a temporary fix, the mechanics were moved to the Wickham building on Bridge Street.”
“Repairing the Page Street building roof is too costly and doesn’t guarantee future usability,” added Rowe. “The best alternative is to tear down the old building and rebuild a highly functional building between Page and Bridge streets.”
The old building is connected to the Board of Elections building and a building with county offices. They will not be affected.
Supervisor Dennis Valente, a committee member, said, “The new building will include space for mechanics and for maintenance, thereby allowing the Wickham building to return to the market and be put back on the tax roll.”

Near a flood plain
Delhi Supervisor Mark Tuthill remarked on the building site being near the flood plain. “Indeed, a section of the potential building would need to be raised. For the flood plain reason and for many other concerns, the committee feels consultant services are necessary. We want to do this once, and do it right.”
Wendel Architecture, Engineering, Surveying & Landscape, based in Buffalo was approved to study the county public works operations and come up with parameters to accommodate the mechanics and maintenance, while yet being adaptable to the bridge crew.
“All preliminary work and studies will be shared with the Village of Delhi,” said Board of Jim Eisel, Stamford Supervisor and chairman of the board of supervisors..

$2 million increase
A change order of over $2 million was authorized for the new recycling equipment for the new Materials Recovery Facility currently being built at the county landfill in Walton. “Necessary changes were made in the final design, mainly engineering, fabrication, and installation, and fire walls,” explained Sue McIntyre, director of waste management.
The sheriff’s office was granted approval, by all supervisors except Davenport Supervisor Valente, to participate in the statewide “Police Traffic Services Program,” geared to increase seat belt usage and reduce aggressive speeding at a cost of $9,455.
“I will vote no because I believe the program is a blatant violation of my rights,” said Valente, sensitive to the issue of government detaining law abiding citizens while trying to find an infraction. “The seat belt law was intended for safety, not as a means to stop law abiding citizens who didn’t feel they needed to wear their seat belt or forgot to click it. I do not support entrapment measures,” added Valente after the meeting.
Five old vehicles were approved to be sold at an auction by the sheriff’s office.
Appointments were made public for the Delaware Opportunities, Health Services Advisory Board, and Soil & Water Conservation District Committees. “I’ve also appointed seven members to the Finance Committee as per suggestions from the supervisors, and we will try it for a year,” said Chairman Eisel. “If it doesn’t work, we can go back to having five members on the Finance Committee.”
With the recent death of former Town of Kortright Supervisor Donald L. Kerr, a resolution extending sympathy to the Kerr family was unanimously passed. “His contribution to the county was dedicated and Donald had a head for figures. I listened when he spoke,” said Wayne Marshfield, Hamden Supervisor.