The Middletown Town Board debated how many workshop meetings it would need in 2020 and discussed ongoing concerns stemming from its water districts when it met for its organizational meeting on Wednesday, Jan 8.
There was some debate between board members Brian Sweeney and Julia Reischel when it was time to select a schedule for its workshops and regular business meetings. The Middletown board met for a workshop meeting one week prior to its regular business meetings in all but the summer months in 2019. Sweeney advocated for fewer workshops, in the months of January, October and November, while Reischel advocated for workshops in the months January through April, and October through December.
Supervisor Pat Davis noted the board “Didn’t have much to do” in several workshop meetings in 2019 but left the decision up to his board members, saying, “It doesn’t matter to me either way.”
“I don’t think we need them truthfully; they’re redundant,” Sweeney said.
Reischel said she found the workshops to be a good way to “keep appraised of what’s going on” regarding town business. “Face to face” “I found in my two years, the most effective way to get stuff done, is to sit around this table and to see you guys face to face. Otherwise, it doesn’t work out too well,” Reischel said, adding, “I want to know what’s going on and I want the public to know what’s going on and public meetings are the way we do that.”
Davis and Reischel agreed that the workshop meetings can be useful to discuss legal issues when they arise, with Davis adding, “It’s not like this is going to be over with anytime soon, we’re going to be dealing with a lot of this legal stuff.”
Sweeney noted the lack of workshop meetings in other towns’ meeting schedules and felt confident the town could fully perform its duties in regular town board meetings. Both Sweeney and Reischel motioned for the schedule of their choice to be brought to the floor.
As Chris Dabritz was absent from the meeting, the decision of which motion to second came down to newly elected Nelson Delameter, who was sitting for his first official meeting on the town board. Delameter sided with Sweeney, and the January, October, and November workshop schedule was adopted, with Reischel voting in opposition.
In other organizational business, Sweeney was named as Deputy Supervisor, and the official publication was given to “the Catskill Mountain News and/or the Mountain Eagle. All board members present voted in favor of the organizational appointments and designations.
The meeting schedule will remain the same as in 2019, with town board meetings held at Middletown Town Hall on the second Wednesday of each month at 6 p.m.
Water woes continue
Water Superintendent Bob Payne gave updates on the Halcottsville and Arkville Water Districts, saying, “Halcottsville’s system is doing great. Arkville, Well Two, I can’t run because of a communication issue between Well One, the tank, and Well Two.”
Payne continued, “I talked to the tech, he said the first thing to do is put the batteries in because they’ve never been changed.”
The problem, as elucidated by Davis and Payne, is accessing the location where the batteries are housed, which in the winter months can require traveling on foot, which can be timely, costly, and dangerous. Davis noted that building a road to access the site could cost between $20- 30,000. He suggested the town buy a used four-wheeler that could help Payne access the site year-round and cost around $1,000. The board agreed that in the meantime, borrowing a piece of equipment from a local fire department could help access the site. Payne also implied there are more problems on the horizon.
“In order to run Well Two, I have to have communication with [Well] One. We’re being real lucky right now that [Well] One is running for some reason and I don’t know why. It’s blipping in and out,” Payne said.
“We need to start thinking of how we’re going to deal with this because our water district is so broke it can’t afford a whole lot,” Davis said.
In other business, the board reappointed Michael Hill as Deputy Highway Superintendent and granted his request for a raise of $.48 per hour (equal to two percent) for a total of $24.65 per hour. The board also accepted bids for a transfer station John Deere Tractor and a 1999 Mack Dump Truck. Highway Superintendent John Biruk commented on the successful bids, saying, “I think the bids came in pretty good. We got $9,900 for the transfer station tractor and we got $7,300 for the Mack. I thought those were pretty good numbers.”