FEMA, revitalization top roxbury agenda

By Pauline Liu
Monday night’s Roxbury Town Board meeting at the Grand Gorge Civic Center tackled an array of subjects, including reimbursement from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) for flood repairs, economic revitalization efforts, water district repairs, and community events.
Four town board members attended the meeting along with Town Attorney Kevin Young and

Highway Superintendent Steve Schuman. Board member Allen Hinkley was absent.
According to Highway Superintendent Schuman, Roxbury is on its way to receiving reimbursement from FEMA for approximately $600,000 spent to repair roads and the Shephard’s Lane Bridge, which were damaged by flooding last August.

“We’ve got a commitment for $485, 000 from FEMA,” said Schuman. “It’s looks like we’re pretty much on schedule.”

On another highway department matter, town board members voted unanimously to replace a dozen of the lights in the highway garage with florescent lights at a cost of $3,500. 
“We’ve had difficulty with those lights in the highway garage,” said Supervisor Tom Hynes.  The new lights will burn brighter and use less energy.

The topic of economic revitalization was brought up by MARK Project Executive Director Peg Ellsworth. She explained that a number of Roxbury building owners, including the owners of pharmacy building, the Lerner Gallery, WIOX, and The Roxbury have submitted grant applications.  
Ellsworth said that MARK is seeking a contractor who is interested in repairing the town-owned barn in Kirkside Park.  All interested contractors are being asked to contact either the MARK Project or the Roxbury Community Resources Department. Ellsworth explained that walk throughs of the project will be offered on May 8, so contractors can see the damage to the west side of the barn as well as the damage to the floor. The project will open for bidding at 4 p.m. on June 7 and the bid will awarded at the June 11 town board meeting.

On the subjects of sewer and water, Lamont Engineers’ Mike Jonker, who is chief operator of wastewater management, explained that he is seeking reimbursement from FEMA for flood damage to Roxbury Production Well #2 and from a parts manufacturer for repairs to Hubbell Corners Pump Station #2.

“It (the pump station) had a crack in it and we replaced it with a concrete well, which is holding up well,” he said.  So far, there’s been no response from the manufacturer.
According to Jonker, the Denver Sewer Station needs to replace its 1970s era influent flow meter, since replacement parts for the unit have become obsolete.

“DEP has offered to fund part of the cost of that’s in the $5,000-$6,000 range,” he said.
In other news, town board members voted unanimously to allow Town Justice Heather Gockel to change her hours from Monday to Wednesdays, beginning at 7 p.m. Her new hours will take effect on May 1.

The town board also voted unanimously and passed a law to move Property Tax Grievance Day from the fourth Tuesday in May to the fourth Thursday in May. This year Grievance Day will fall on Thursday, May 24.

The town board also voted unanimously to pass a new flood law. “There’s nothing really different, except the flood plan maps, which we have no choice but to adopt,” said Town Attorney Young.
The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation as well as the FEMA will be notified that the new law has been adopted. Passage of the new law allows Roxbury to remain eligible to participate in the National Flood Insurance Program. 

The town board unanimously approved the hiring of two Cheryls.  Cheryl McGinnis will be the new school crossing guard and Cheryl Hinkley will provide cleaning services to town hall.  The two were hired after Antha Tobone and Alan Beiszer submitted letters of resignation. The town board also unanimously approved the reappointment of Mike Mathis to the Historic Commission. 

In other news, the Roxbury Town Planning Board will hold a public hearing on Roxbury’s Comprehensive Plan. It takes place on Saturday, April 28 at 9:30 a.m. at the Grand Gorge Civic Center. Nan Stolzenburg recently met with students from Roxbury Central School to get their feedback on the plan

Community Resources Clerk Karina Walker announced that the recently formed Town of Roxbury Business Association now has its own Facebook page. The group’s next meeting is Wednesday, May 9 at 3 p.m. Locations of the meetings are to be announced.  She explained that she is looking to recruit “talent and good food” for the new Roxbury Street Performers Festival scheduled for Saturday, September 1.  She is also working with RCS students, who will be providing their own photography for the Community Resource Department’s updated website.

Pete Rossi of Grand Gorge announced that a benefit dance is being held on Friday, May 11 from 7 to 10 p.m. at the Grand Gorge Civic Center Gym. The cost is $5 per person. Music will be provided by the Country Express. The fund-raiser will go to assist the Grand Gorge Community Action Group, as well as the Grand Gorge Fire Department and Rescue Squad.