Bovina adopts budget; sets cell tower hearing

By Matthew J. Perry
The Town of Bovina adopted a 2009 budget after a public hearing on October 30. Residents can expect a 4.07 percent rise in the tax levy over this year.
At its regular meeting last Tuesday, the town board expressed satisfaction with the increase, which is considered modest considering the difficult economic climate. The tax levy increase was offset by the application of $56,000 in highway funds that were left over from 2008 provisions.
“This was a tough one,” said supervisor Tina Mole. “We started out with a 17 percent increase and got it down to just over four. It’s still a high figure but it’s a lot better than what we started with.”
In real dollars, the amount of tax to be levied will rise to $533,768 from $500,849 in 2008. Highway fund appropriations are the source of most of the increases; that figure in the tentative 2009 budget was $504,777, an increase of over $85,000 from the year before. The general fund forecasts a decrease of $4,438 in 2009.
The town is hopeful that more revenue might be created if a contract can be signed with JNS LLC, a wireless technology development consultant that has negotiated with several towns in Delaware County. Councilman Chuck McIntosh informed the meeting that JNS representatives have expressed interest in providing cell phone service to sections of Route 28, as well as county roads 5 and 6. After focusing attention on Middletown and Andes, “they’re starting to get interested in Bovina,” McIntosh said.
The town has sent property maps to JNS engineers to facilitate the location of ideal transmitting sites. Ideally, said McIntosh, the chosen sites would be on town-owned property; revenue from leasing agreements with cellular service providers would be split evenly between JNS and the township.
McIntosh stated that beyond the convenience of increased cell phone usage, the tower construction would benefit the town because “we need other revenue sources besides taxes to keep going.”
The board set a public hearing on the cell tower issue for its December meeting, scheduled for December 9. The town’s planning board has previously discussed zoning regulations for towers and explored the arrangements made in other Delaware County townships.
Supervisor Mole informed the meeting that the Department of Health has declared that high levels of trihalomethanes had been recorded in the town’s water supply. Triahalomethanes, or THMs, are chemical compounds that can be created when chlorine or bromide are used as disinfectants in drinking water. The DOH requires a review of the system if THM levels exceed levels set by the Environmental Protection Agency.
While high doses of THMs are suspected to have negative effects on human health, Mole stated that there are no immediate risks presented by the levels found in Bovina’s water. What corrective measures might be taken to reduce the level of THMs is still unknown.
Mole also reported that three of the four town election officials had resigned from their position after the November 4 election.
Highway superintendent Bob Burgin announced that aside from the October blizzard, which put the town under a two-day state of emergency, “we had an easy month in October.” He informed the board that he had recommended closing the town roads at 1:30 p.m. on Tuesday the 29th, and had received authority from Mole to declare a state of emergency shortly afterwards. In addition to alerting the public of danger, a state of emergency protects the town from lawsuits.
“Snow is one thing,” Burgin said. “But when you have trees coming down on the roads it’s different. Then the liability can’t be on us.”