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Transformer theft under investigation

WATKINS GLEN—The Watkins Glen Police and the Department of Environmental Conservation are still investigating the theft of four electric transformers from village property on Cass Road.
Watkins Glen Superintendent of Streets Don Perry explained the situation at the Monday, May 2, village board meeting. He said, Wednesday, April 30, someone cut through the fencing and dragged the transformers off the concrete slab. Perry added it looked like the pieces of equipment were tipped over to be loaded onto a truck; in doing so, some oil spilled onto the ground from the transformers.
Highway Superintendent Mark Specchio said a total of $5,300 worth of equipment was stolen. Police Chief Tom Strubble added that if they arrest someone, that person will also be charged with spilling oil by the DEC. He said there hasn’t been an arrest and if anyone has any information, they can contact the police at 535-7883.
Due to the theft, the board approved moving the remaining transformers behind the Shared Services Building.
In other business:
• The board discussed the preliminary 2011-12 budget. A public hearing was scheduled for the next meeting, Monday, May 16. Mayor Mark Swinnerton said the proposed budget has a .6166 decrease in the tax rate. Trustee Greg Coon argued that while the departments agreed to the cuts, he said he felt it wouldn’t be enough funds. Swinnerton pointed out Watkins Glen still has $1 million in surplus. Coon said the village needed that in case of an emergency project.
• The board approved transferring $4,298.02 to cover police patrol hours through the Stop DWI program. The hours are billed to the Schuyler County Sheriff’s Office and the village gets some funds to offset the cost.
• The village wrote off $4,335.43 worth of unpaid utility bills. Clerk Donna Beardsley said this means the village can now use other means of contacting the people, besides sending them a letter. She explained residents will be told they have a certain amount of time to pay what is owed before the matter goes to the attorney.
• Fire Chief Dominick Smith spoke about the Length of Service Award Program (LOSAP) for fire department members. He said the village got a $15,000 grant to fund the program. One year has passed and there are three more years left with the grant. He explained it is a onetime retirement money amount the volunteer firefighters have access to after completing various service requirements. Smith said it encourages participating in the department.
The next Watkins Glen village board meeting is Monday, May 16, at 7 p.m. It will be held in the Shared Services Building on Decatur Street.




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