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Schuyler wants monitoring for gas exploration

SCHUYLER COUNTY—Legislators have indicated their support for the state to pay for natural gas monitoring fees at the regular meeting of the Schuyler County Legislature Monday, Jan. 11.
The legislators approved a resolution requesting that the state Agriculture and Markets and the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) compensate local soil and water conservation districts for their part in natural gas exploration monitoring in the Southern Tier region.
The local soil and water conservation districts have the knowledge and expertise to inspect and monitor potential environmental issues regarding natural gas exploration including well pad development, associated pipeline activities and erosion and sediment control review. These districts have already dealt with pipeline complaints in the field in the past, and they predict more complaints will occur.
By approving this resolution it shows that the Schuyler County Legislature supports the New York State Association of Conservation Districts and the New York State Employees Association in their action to begin negotiating with Agriculture and Markets and the DEC to pay for fees associated with Marcellus drilling. The state is hoping this can be a new environmental and economic potential.
Ruth Young expressed her concern with gas drilling, saying it has affected the air, water, land and people in other areas. She suggested legislators choose another option and use organic waste from landfills, sewage treatment facilities, dairy farms, pig farms, chicken farms, etc. and use bio methane for power. “Where there’s poop, there’s power,” she said. This bio methane power would also promote green power in the Southern Tier and could produce more jobs as well.
Legislator Glenn Larison reiterated that Schuyler County is not making a decision to drill, they are just supporting the idea that compensation be given to the local soil and water conservation district for monitoring fees. “I support this resolution whole heartedly,” he said.
Legislators approved the row and property appraisals for the Genesee Bridge replacement in Montour Falls. Genesee Street over Catharine Creek is a federal-aid eligible project. However, a supplemental agreement is necessary for additional right of way surveys and acquisitions. By approving this resolution it allows Fisher Associates to continue replacing this bridge under this supplemental agreement that cannot exceed $10,650 and will set the minimum payment policy at $250. Funding for this project is available in the 2010 budget.
Newly elected Legislator Barbara Halpin is against any new spending in Schuyler County and did not approve to authorize an agreement with the Monterey Fire Department Auxiliary for the use of their kitchen and dining area for a congregate meal site for the Schuyler County Office For the Aging. The fire department has a charge for functions at their facility, but has agreed to accept only $10 per day for the office’s use.
Previously, meal sites were located at the Monterey Baptist Church. however, heating costs were becoming an issue and the Office for the Aging wishes to expand certain things that are not within the churches beliefs. These meals impact about 350 people in the area, and they rest of the legislators had no problem approving the resolution.
Legislators approved to appoint 2010 as being the year of the nurses. Chairman, Thomas Gifford suggested the change from year of the Schuyler County nurses to simply all nurses. “I think this is a wonderful thing, it’s a fantastic profession,” Halpin, who is a retired nurse, said.
The legislators also approved one-year, two-year, three-year, four-year, an no term appointments for individuals in Schuyler County being appointed to boards, committees, services, departments, districts, councils, and directors.
Before adjourning, County Administrator Tim O’Hearn announced that they have an official OK from the Department of Transportation to purchase buses for the public transit in the works for Schuyler County. Legislator Paul Marcellus recently rode a similar bus to Ithaca and said the bus was warm, people helped him with exact change, other riders were pleasant, and the driver welcomed everyone as they boarded the bus and drove safely. Finalization of all aspects and different options for the buses will continue, and will hopefully be up and running by early summer.

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