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Train overpass is a target for repair

WATKINS GLEN—Schuyler County Legislator Philip Barnes attended the village of Watkins Glen Board of Trustees meeting on Monday, Feb. 7.
He requested cooperation between the town, the village, and the Watkins Glen fire department to contact the state senate and assembly regarding the train overpass on Route 329, the Old Corning Road. Barnes said the general condition of the overpass is deteriorating and the clearance has shrunk from 13 feet to 11 feet.
The county contracts with the village for fire protection for ten houses above the overpass and with an 11 foot clearance the fire trucks can no longer safely go under the track. The tracks are active with three or four trains a day. Barnes continued and expressed concern regarding the underground gas storage facility being proposed in Reading. He said if that facility becomes functional, the rail traffic will increase, compounding the problem. Upkeep and repair of the overpass is the responsibility of the state and Barnes requested each entity contact the state to voice their concerns.
Laura Landers, certified public accountant, presented the annual village audit as of May 31, 2010. She reported good reserves and fund balances. Landers said not a great deal has changed in the financial picture of the village with the exception of Gasb 45.
Gasb 45 is a New York state law passed in 2004 which allows municipal corporations to establish and maintain an Employee Benefit Accrued Liability Reserve Fund to help finance the cost of certain “employee benefits.”
The village can accrue the liability of health insurance costs of retired village employees, which currently stands at approximately $900,000.
In other business:
Trustee Wayne Weber expressed concerns regarding the number of sidewalks not being maintained by the property owners who have the responsibility for snow removal. The decision was made that a letter from the mayor will go out to the owners giving a time frame for removal or the village will clear the snow and that cost will be added to the owners tax bill.
Donna Beardsley, village clerk, reported on the collection of unpaid taxes. The 54 property owners with taxes due prior to the year ending in 2008 needed to bring their taxes up to date or face foreclosure. Fifty of the owners paid their taxes for a total of $115,284.43. Four properties with taxes due of $26,248.69 have gone through foreclosure and are now owned by the village and will be sold as soon as possible. 




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