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Village swears in Paul Clifford as trustee

    WATKINS GLEN—Long time Cargill employee and village resident Paul Clifford was sworn in as a village trustee at the village board meeting held Monday, Nov. 21. Clifford was unanimously selected to fill the seat left by Gregory Coon whose letter of resignation was accepted by the board on Nov. 7.
    Mayor Mark Swinnerton said that the selection of Clifford was a consensus decision by the board. He added that many individuals expressed interest in the position and that the board appreciated all of the inquiries. The position will be up for election in March 2012.
    The board then addressed the dates and costs associated with the Italian Festival and the other festivals that occur within the village. The Italian Festival will be held Aug. 3, 4 and 5. Swinnerton explained that the various festivals result in increased costs to the village through police overtime and parks department expenses. He said the board has requested that festival committees “get creative” in developing solutions so that the village “does not bear 100 percent of the burden of these costs.” Trustee Weber added that the village will not be singling out the Italian Festival but that “any event that creates overtime costs on the police department will be asked to contribute.” At least one of the festivals has been very supportive, said Trustee Gibson.
    The village board also voted to decline waiving the $150 per day fee for the Titanic Festival Committee for their planned use of the community center. The group is planning a festival in April to celebrate and remember the village residents who sailed on the Titanic. Trustee Wayne Weber explained that there is already a reduced fee for nonprofits to use the building. “Our fees are more than fair,” he said, “the minimal fees that we charge do not nearly offset the the cost of running the community center.” The board does not normally waive the fee for nonprofits. Trustee Scott Gibson said that “in the interest of consistency we can not be picking and choosing who we grant waivers to and who we do not.”
    In other business:
    • The camping rates at Clute Park will increase for 2012. The board voted to increase the rates after parks manager Michelle Hyde prepared a detailed list of rates at area campgrounds for the board. “Our rates are very competitive with other campsites, especially when you consider the amenities we provide,” said Swinnerton. The largest increase for 2012 will be for seasonal campers who will pay $30 more over the 2011 fee. There are currently 65 seasonal sites and 65 transient sites at Clute Park with 115 people on the waiting list. The park will also consider online reservations. Hyde had previously investigated online reservations but found that the cost associated with the service outweighed the benefit. Currently, the park is only equipped to handle reservations by phone, mail or e-mail. The board urged Hyde to consider allowing online reservations if such a service was feasible.
    • The board voted to renew its incremental power agreement in an effort to keep electricity costs down in the village. Without such an agreement, the village would be forced to purchase electricity by the hour at market rates when the use exceeded the hydro-electric allotment. “This takes the highs and lows out and provides more consistency for our customers,” explained Weber. The village runs over its allotment each month, said Treasurer Donna Beardsley. The agreement will last for three years.
    • South Monroe Street will soon see changes to its parking patterns. Streets superintendent Don Perry discovered that a local law prohibits parking on the east side of the street. He said that emergency personnel and snow plow drivers have complained about their ability to navigate the narrow street when vehicles are parked on both sides, with a plow even striking a car at one point. After leaf pick up concludes for the season, he will be placing no parking signs on the street and alerting residents that the local law will now be enforced.
    • The Mayor recently visited Camp Monterey and met with new superintendent. He learned that the inmate population will be increasing in 2012 and with that the amount of work performed will also increase. Camp Monterey buses inmates throughout the area to clear brush, cut grass and provide other services to municipalties. Trustee Weber expressed his gratitude that the village maintained a good “give and take” relationship with Monterey and his feeling that attendance at sessions like the one described by the mayor would continue enhancing that connection.
    The next village board meeting is scheduled for Monday, Dec. 5, at 7 p.m.


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