Pavilion park use tops village agenda
By Julia Green
A special meeting of the Margaretville Board of Trustees was held last Wednesday to discuss issues related to the new park pavilion and the status of the Margaretville constable, as well as the “conflict of interest” alleged against one of its members.
Issues arose last week regarding the new park pavilion and the fee required to rent the space when the board communicated to members of the Margaretville Fire Department that they would be charged rent for the space for their annual Field Days.
The fee to rent the pavilion was $100 per day, in addition to a proof of insurance requirement required of all parties who wish to rent out the facility.
A letter was sent to the board by MFD President Mike Porter requesting that the fee be waived.
After consulting with the village attorney, the board determined that since the fire department is under contract with the village and falls under the village in terms of its tax number and classifies as a nonprofit organization, it is, as such, exempt from fees, although will still be required to pay the rental deposit.
Stanton added that he would like to do away with the fee altogether, though it was argued that the proof of insurance requirement appeared to be more deterring to interested parties than the rental fee itself.
“It’s a public park – it should be open to the public,” he said. He added that neither the nearby Arkville pavilion nor the pavilion that preceded the current park pavilion had a proof of insurance requirement. The board opted to explore the issue further at a later workshop.
Trustee Iris Mead suggested that it would be nice if the fire department were to make a donation to the village.
“You’re making a lot of money from the carnival,” she told Porter, who responded that the fire department is a “partner” and has donated a number of things to the pavilion, including bathrooms, chicken barbecues and kitchen components.
The sum total of money raised at this year’s Field Days has yet to be finalized; however, Porter estimated that in years past the net total was in the $13,000 to $15,000 range. He said that the Field Days are the only fund-raiser held by the fire department, and money raised is used to purchase equipment, support the auxiliary, keep the kitchen stocked, and support the firehouse throughout the year. Porter added that the fire department also makes a number of donations to various organizations and people.
In the issue of the Margaretville constable who was temporarily put on hold pending a paperwork review, the village board announced that it had communicated with the criminal justice system in Albany to determine the appropriate steps in once again instating a constable in the village. Trustee Fred Miller suggested that the village consider having a police officer position approved in addition to the constabulary, which would require establishing a resolution and local law, holding a public hearing and presenting the proposal to Albany.
A motion was passed to adopt a resolution establishing a police department and another was passed to have the town attorney look into whether the village is permitted to have both a police department and a constabulary.
The board also discussed a letter that appeared in the News from Andrew Weiss regarding a potential conflict of interest on the part of one of its board members. The issue arose following communication from the village board to organizers behind last year’s Movies on Main that they would not be permitted to hold this year’s showings at the park pavilion. Citing previous litigation involving the use of public property for private businesses, the board placed restrictions on the program for this year that ultimately deterred organizers from holding the showings.
According to discussions at Wednesday’s meeting, board members indicated that the concern centered primarily around the advertising of the event more than the event itself, primarily in the issue of “commercial advertising on public property.”
The application for Movies on Main was filed by Kids in the Kaatskills, a non-profit organization, and Galli-Curci al Fresco. Board members suggested that the problem was in the wording of the advertising, which indicated that both organizations were presenters, and that the latter organization’s lack of non-profit status was the issue.
A number of comments were also made questioning how the movies differ from Catskill Outback Adventures, which was slated to open for business this weekend and utilizes public property to launch canoes and kayaks into the East Branch of the Delaware River.
Trustee Dave Budin began to speak, calling the issue a “misinterpretation” before saying that he didn’t wish to say anything else.
“It’s not a violation of our ethics laws, as far as I can tell,” said Trustee Fred Miller, who added that he had shared a copy of the board’s ethics policy with Weiss.
Margaretville Mayor Bill Stanton preceded those discussions by thanking trustee Iris Mead for her legwork in obtaining the new Margaretville banners that now line Main Street in the village and were installed by Margaretville Telephone Company. Additionally, he commended Sue Ihlo, owner of The Cheese Barrel, and her “flower committee” for all of their hard work in maintaining the flowers in the village. Stanton also took a moment to recognize Hanah Country Inn for donating a new flagpole for the pavilion, which was set by Titan Drilling and is adorned by a flag that once flew above the Capitol building in Washington, D.C., and was obtained in honor of a soldier whose family lives in the area.