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Village considers merging police with county

    WATKINS GLEN—The village board on Monday, Sept. 19 voted to pursue grant funding to study the possibility of consolidating the Watkins Glen Police Department with Schuyler County. Mayor Mark Swinnerton said he had already discussed that and other cost saving measures with Chief Tom Struble and had also approached county Administrator Tim O’Hearn with the idea. He explained that because the police budget is one of the largest items in a tight budget year, this is a “dollars and cents” decision and must be considered. If the village could obtain a grant to pay for the study, Trustee Scott Gibson wondered, “what’s to lose?” Swinnerton then emphasized that such a consolidation would have to occur without compromising public safety.
    In other business:
    • An additional $10,232 was approved towards the purchase of the new fire truck for the village. This amount arose from two change orders approved earlier this year. The new truck is now completed and is scheduled to be delivered to the village on Thursday. The board voted to take these additional funds from the Fire Department budget.
    • The village board decided to cancel the fall dumpster day this year. Treasurer Donna Beardsley explained that the fall dumpster day was not well attended last year and that the cost associated with running it exceeded any benefit to the community. Leaf and brush pick up, however, will continue and has become a year round activity for the streets department. The board did decide to adjust the brush pick up policy in an effort to eliminate abuse of the program by some individuals.
    • The board also approved a resolution to spend $300 to obtain a permit from the USDA to remove geese from the Clute Memorial Park and Campground and surrounding area. Concerned residents had already contributed $300 towards the permit and the village will now match that amount.
    • The village hopes to have its new “Code Red” alert system online within the next few weeks. The system will make it easier for officials to contact residents in the event of an emergency or if important information needs to be disbursed.
    • Two bids were received to install curbing along 15th Street, Grandview and South Street, in the village. Superintendents Donald Perry and Mark Specchio will review the bids and make a recommendation to the board at the next meeting. The curbing will work in conjunction with the newly installed storm water system to help control run off.
    • The village did not see any significant damage from the recent rain event. A plugged drain on Glen Avenue was corrected with a new pipe and fabricated housing. Wastewater Department staff inspected manholes and discovered some were very full and others were flowing normally. The board heard that this was part of a larger sewer problem that should be investigated.
    The trustees will a hold a sewer rate workshop that is open to the public next Monday at 5 p.m. The next village board meeting is Monday, Oct. 3, at 7 p.m.


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