Published in Trumansburg Free Press December 29, 2004

The State of Main

by Bill Chaisson

Topics at the Board of Trustees meeting on Monday February 14 included sidewalk maintenance issues near the TRA development project at the north end of the village, the replacement of the water main across Trumansburg Creek at Hector Street, the draft of the water rate study and the latest on the Main Street Project.  Trustees Janice Waller, Mary Bouchard and John Hrubos, and Mayor John Levine were present. Trustee Carl Potter was absent.

Christopher Thomas, chair of the village zoning board, sought the advice of the board on the matter of maintenance of sidewalks to be built along Rt. 96 near the new low-income housing development under construction by TRA Developers.  Part of the sidewalk will be in the Town of Ulysses, which does not have the equipment to do snow removal on sidewalks.  This will present a safety hazard for pedestrians leaving the housing development to get a TCAT bus or walk into the village.  Trustee Hrubos noted "the City of Ithaca and the Village of Trumansburg hold the property owners responsible for snow removal and maintenance of sidewalks adjacent to their lots".  Mayor Levine suggested that Thomas talk with the town board about their ordinances in this regard and also to find out who is responsible for maintenance of sidewalks within the development.  The board declined to have the village department of public works clear the sidewalks under contract to the town.

The matter of replacing the Hector Street water main also concerned public works.  At present the 70-year old pipe passes beneath the creek itself.  At issue is whether to accept an estimate from the state Department of Transportation that would include attachment of an insulated pipe to the side of a new bridge that is slated for construction later this year.  The village had initially balked at a $50,000 price tag for the pipe, but a recent letter from the DOT explained that it would be simpler to accept the estimate and reduce the cost through negotiation afterward.  The project will not have to go out for bid again if the estimate is accepted.  Mayor Levine stated that "we need to have this done and itÝs a good opportunity.  If the worst happens, then $50,000 isn't terrible." "Yes," said Trustee Hrubos with mock seriousness, "but $35,000 is better."  In the end it was decided that it would certainly cost the village more to do it on its own at a later date.  Two resolutions were passed: one to accept the estimate, and a second to pass a draft resolution funding the project up to $39,000.

David Allardice of Allardice Associates presented a draft of a water rate study, which will accommodate payment of debt incurred by construction of the new water tower and the Main Street water main.  Allardice repeatedly congratulated the village on the quality of its fiscal management and for having a self-sustaining water fund in place.  "I do several of these studies each year and 99.9% of the time I donÝt get to include this kind of praise."  Debt service was projected to increase to a maximum of $128,000 by the 2006-07 fiscal year.  The present in-village rate for the first 1000 gallons of water is $18.  This is projected to rise to $22 in 2005-06, $25.85 in 2006-07 and $38.78 in 2007-08.  The out-village rate will rise 

from its present $27 to $40.50 by 2007-08.  Treasurer Carolyn Bennett noted that these numbers are preliminary and that "Trumansburg still has the lowest water rates in the area, and", she added, "the best tasting."

Sue Henninger reported that the Main Street Project is on schedule and construction is due to begin this summer.  A set of detailed plans will be received for review on February 25.  The sidewalk near the fairgrounds is being redesigned.  Because this portion of the project is in the town, the issue of maintenance came up again.  Scott Sears was also present, and both he and Henninger urged the board and the mayor to make sure that Doug Austic, the clerk of the works, and Bruce Vann, supervisor of public works, reviewed, commented on and returned the plans "in a timely manner."  This was spelled out by Sears as "within two weeks" of receipt of the plans, with a "drop-dead deadline of three weeks".  After Austic and Vann examine the plans, there will be a meeting of the advisory committee meeting to discuss their comments before they are returned to C & S Engineers.

Also discussed was the filling in of four 'vaults' that are beneath the right of way in front of four Main Street businesses.  The vaults, which are disused coal chutes, are not used by three of the businesses, and the village has agreed to foot the bill to fill them.  Clerk-of-the-works Austic regards the DOT's stipulation that the vaults be filled as an ýunexpected mandateţ and believes that the state should pay.  The fourth vault, which is in front of  what the mayor referred to as 'Skip's laundry', is being used by the owner to house utilities, and will be expensive to fill.  The board agreed that some attempt should be made to have the state take on this expense.

Paula Horrigan has begun the process to develop interpretive signs to place along Main Street.  Sarah Fiorello, the manager of interpretation at Taughannock Falls State Park, will advise.  She is responsible for the signs along the Gorge Trail in the park.  At future meetings the public will be invited to make suggestions as to which aspects of Trumansburg history should be included in the signs.

The remainder of the meeting settled financial issues.  A water main will be replaced on Main Street during excavations necessary for the Main Street Project.  Sears sought, and eventually got, from Treasurer Bennett, Deputy Clerk Karin Lanning and Mayor Levine, clarification on the billing process when two projects are done in tandem like this.

A bond resolution in the amount of $206,000 for replacement of the Main Street water main was passed with a 4-0 super-majority, with the mayor voting in the absence of Trustee Potter.  The vote was the same for a bond resolution of $400,000 for the Main Street Project.  It was also decided to again award the trash collection contract to Superior Disposal without putting it out to bid.
The meeting ended with the scheduling of working sessions for zoning ordinance revision on Monday, March 21 and for budget discussion on Tuesday, March 22 and Tuesday, March 29.

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Last revised:  May 11, 2005