2016-06-15 / Front Page

Cemetery upkeep, garage repairs Middletown topics

Leaking roof at highway bldg. an important issue
By Joan Lawrence-Bauer

Town of Middletown officials were quizzed last Wednesday about their support of mowing work done in a private cemetery and wrestled yet again with what to do about the roof on the highway department building.

Town officials voted to work with the Catskill Watershed Corporation (CWC) to develop solutions for a number of septic system issues in Clovesville and other areas in the town.

A decision on changes in hours for the Code Enforcement Officer was tabled pending the collection of additional information and Councilman Jake Rosa noted that only one qualified contractor appeared for a pre-bid conference seeking superintendent services for the Arkville and Halcottsville water systems.

The board also participated in an executive session with attorney Robert Beebe who is assisting in negotiations on tax assessments for a legal case brought against the town by the City of New York. But following the executive session, no action was taken and no additional information was provided.

Several observers weighed in on the topic of town crews working in privately owned cemeteries following a disclosure last week that Town Highway Superintendent John Biruk had sent a town crew to mow a private cemetery. Ernie Steiglehner objected to having the $2,000 invoice come from the town and asked why the invoice wasn’t sent to the private cemetery. Sue Finch wanted to know about other private cemeteries. Specifically mentioning Cloves- ville and Dunraven, Finch asked “How will you do this fairly? If others are getting these services, why can’t we.” She went on to ask if the town anticipates continuing to provide public support for private cemeteries and warned officials that they can expect other private cemetery associations to be at future bud- get meetings requesting similar assistance.

Supervisor Pat Davis respond- ed that the cemetery association would not be invoiced because its members had not made the request for the work.

Received request

“The Roxbury Town Supervisor, Tom Hynes (also the proprietor of two local funeral homes), mentioned to a highway department employee in passing and the employee mentioned it to the highway superintendent (John Biruk) and the highway superintendent, when they got caught up, went and did the work not realizing that it wasn’t a town cemetery.” Davis went on to note that Biruk had acknowledged the action was a mistake and assured the board that it would not happen again.

Davis explained three different approaches that had been offered to deal with numerous leaks in the roof of the town highway department.

The first two options, insulated panels and a standing seam roof were both ruled unactionable because no one would install the panels and the needed insulation would defeat the purpose of a standing seam roof. Board members agreed to explore a third option of removing the roof and replacing it then doing spray foam insulation. When more information and specifications are collected, the project will be formally announced.

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