County addresses coronavirus concerns
WATKINS GLEN--County Administrator Tim O'Hearn addressed local novel coronavirus concerns during the Schuyler County Legislative meeting Monday, March 9. Saying no Schuyler County resident has been diagnosed to date, and all voluntary quarantines in the county have ended, O'Hearn said county agencies are working in tandem with the state to ensure everyone is up to date and prepared.
"(Schuyler County) Public Health Director Deborah Minor is working to (coordinate county agencies) and make sure everyone is on the same page," O'Hearn said.
Despite saying a few residents of Schuyler County had entered into self-quarantine regarding the novel coronavirus, or COVID-19, O'Hearn said all of those quarantines ended without anyone in Schuyler as of yet testing positive for the virus.
Also during the meeting Peter Widynski, Watkins Glen Housing Authority board chair, asked the legislature to consider giving a small parcel of land that runs along Jefferson Apartments, which is operated by the housing authority, but he said he believes it is actually owned by Schuyler County.
"We are in the process of putting together (a renovation package that could cost upwards of $1 million) for Jefferson Apartments. Along with renovating the interior of the apartments and perhaps the windows there are railroad tracks where a lot of people dump their garbage. We want the county to give us the land (that buffers the tracks) so we can improve the landscaping and aesthetic appeal," Widynski said after the meeting.
While taking it under advisement, the legislature took no action on conveying the land in question to the housing authority. County Attorney Steven Getman recommended a hearing be held on the matter to address who exactly owns the property along with any other potential legal questions.
O'Hearn added it is possible some of the land in question may be state property, adding further complications to the matter.
The legislature did vote to permanently remove a motion under consideration that would have authorized the county to create and fill an additional full time assistant district attorney position. Initially tabled to allow the legislature to discuss the matter privately during executive session, the legislature promptly voted to remove the motion from the agenda after executive session ended and the normal meeting resumed.
"This might be something that we come back to in several months, or years, if the workload demands it," Carl Blowers, legislative chair, said.
During public session, Schuyler County Historical Society President Paul Bartow announced the 2020 Harvesting Schuyler's Heritage speaker series would kick off Wednesday, March 11 at 6 p.m. in the Burdett Fire Department with a lecture on beef/cattle production.
"Last year we had eight in the series, this year we are planning on having six. We are expecting that it will be as successful and informative as it was last year," Bartow said after the meeting.