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Watkins addresses parking, again

WATKINS GLEN—Parking issues have been an ongoing topic for the Watkins Glen Village Board, and both residents and non-residents have voiced their concerns, complaints and ideas about parking laws in the village of Watkins Glen. The village board is responding to this issue by creating a new parking law for the village. Some of the proposed changes to the current parking law were addressed at the regular meeting of the Watkins Glen Village Board Monday, March 1.
Possible changes in the new parking law include the removal of the two hour parking limit signs on Third Street and in the parking lot behind Famous Brands and charging for parking at certain areas in the village. Odd/even parking will still be enforced due to snow removal and leaf pick up. Mayor Judy H. Phillips said there is still a lot of work to be done with the new law before it is enacted.
The board also announced the date for Spring Dumpster Day in the village. This year’s Dumpster Day will be held May 8. Residents will be able to bring large junk items including unwanted mattresses, furniture and other household items to Clute Park from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m.
The board approved a request from park manager Michelle E. Hyde to add top soil, seed and fertilizer for the proposed soccer field at Clute Park. The total project will cost $25,000 which is available in the parks fund to cover the project. This work needs to be done in order to make the area a legitimate soccer field. “Once this work is done it will be a playable surface for years to come,” Trustee Wayne N. Weber said. Weber would also like the area to be fertilized every spring to ensure proper playing, which the board will discuss when deciding the budget.
The village has discussed training a person to take over the supervisor position of the Watkins Glen Electric Department once the current supervisor, Minard L. LaFever retires. LaFever’s contract however, has been extended to last until 2017, rather than until 2014 or 2015. Trustee William E. Smagner is concerned that if a person is trained the village will be “rushing into this.” If training begins the village will have to pay a salary of $20K to $30K a year, for three years to both the current supervisor and the new fully trained employee.
The board members are also considering whether to search for a new electric department supervisor for the village of Watkins Glen outside of the department, or to promote a current employee from the electric department to train for the position. Trustee Weber confirmed there are a lot more training schools out there for this position. However, these people in other areas are “making quite a bit more that what we’re paying,” he said. Other supervisors are making anywhere from $80K to $90K a year. Weber suggested the village promote within to save money. The decision of what to do about the supervisor position for the electric department was tabled. The board members are discussing the electric budget Friday, March 5, during this time they will also further discuss what to do about finding a new employee or promoting a current employee, and when this will occur.
During the meeting the board also spent a considerable amount of time addressing issues brought to them from the public. The board agreed to allow the Watkins Glen Farmers Market to be held at Lafayette Park every Friday from May 28 until Oct. 29, from 3 to 7 p.m. Trustee Smagner said he was impressed with the responsibility that was taken by those involved with the farmers market last year, to clean up after themselves.
The board also discussed the issues with the possibility of having a dog park in Watkins Glen, first brought to the board by Barbra Cook at Watkins Glen Village Board meeting Monday, Nov. 16, 2009. Cook is not asking the village to help with costs, but simply needs a decision on a location for the park. Proposed locations include an area at the end of Clute Park or Tank Beach. The board is concerned with liability insurance regarding the dog park. Members of the board suggested Village Clerk, Donna Beardsley and Cook get together to answer some questions that the village’s insurance company sent, including rules of the dog park, size, and description of the fencing that will be put in place. The board will also further discuss the idea of having a dog park in Watkins Glen as they plan the upcoming budget.
The next regular meeting of the Watkins Glen Village Board will be held Monday, March 15 at 7 p.m.

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