Construction on new court begins in Andes

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By Cheryl Petersen
The Andes Town Board met for its regular monthly meeting last week Tuesday. All council members were present for the meeting at town hall. The board reviewed a report noting that that a host of culverts were placed by the Andes Highway Department in the last 30 days, dealt with pool business, and became acquainted with Ben Decker, owner of BHDecker Construction, soon to start building the new court room facility in Andes.
Ben Decker, from BHDecker, spoke to the board, saying, “We look forward to working with the Town of Andes on the court house project.” A pre-construction meeting will be set to sign contracts and set a not-to-exceed amount for the final cost. BHDecker will charge $79.84 per hour.
“The new court house is being constructed inside the waste water treatment plant,” said Marge Merzig, after the meeting. “There is about 3,700 square feet of space available to upgrade the facility to accommodate a court room. The plan calls for a secure justice area, handicap bathroom, an attorney’s room, a jury room, and space for records management.” Finish date is next September.
Highway Superintendent, Mike McAdams, said the department received an extra, one-time, amount of almost $31,000 from the Consolidated Local Street and Highway Improvement Program (CHIPS) fund. Moreover, New York City reimbursed the town $14,899.54 for last winter’s snow removal on their roads.

EPA report
Council Bud Gladstone mentioned a recent report from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Army Corps of Engineers.
“The EPA and Corps are looking to implement more restrictions on any action taken that involves moving or standing water,” said Gladstone.
“It could mean that our highway department would be required to get a permit before doing any work in the ditches, and this would impose heavy burdens.” The board agreed to be alert to any further action on this issue.
As for the new culverts: one new culvert was installed in Fish Hollow Road, seven in Barkaboom Road, and five in Gladstone Hollow.

Solar pursuit
In other business, “The town, with assistance from Marge Merzig, consultant, is moving forward with a possible grant for solar panels from NYSERDA,” said Supervisor Marty Donnelly. “The grant application is detailed, yet I think worth the effort because solar panels in Andes would be valuable.”
It was brought to the attention of the council that the security system at town hall has been malfunctioning on a regular basis, causing undue stress. The current security providers are based in a distant town. An alternative solution was presented and approved, to enter a two-year contract with Zippy Solutions, LLC, form Bovina, for the alarm system at the hall. “Kevin Brown is the owner of Zippy Solutions, and has estimated a lower cost for his services,” said Supervisor Donnelly.
Supervisor Donnelly gave town clerk Kim Tosi the new debt-repayment schedule on Andes’ water loan from the EFC, which includes a 10-year extension and reduction in annual payments.
Councilman Thomas Joyce was recognized by Donnelly and the other council members, with appreciation for his hard work and volunteer services. Joyce not only offered assistance during the budgeting process but he also extends his services to pool directors, Jackie Dunn and Rachel Andrews. “Thomas Joyce has traveled back and forth to make sure the Andes pool has enough lifeguards, he has tried to arrange the pumping out of the pool,” said Donnelly. “Andes now has lifeguards for the upcoming summer and the town has agreed to pay a signing bonus, plus up to $170 for the certification fee.”
Council Joyce also has been diligently pursuing possible future cell service in the Andes Village.
A motion was approved to accept the Historic Structure Report on the train station from Marilyn Kaplan of Preservation Architects. Council Bud Gladstone also reported that Suzanne Gladstone is making headway with the proposed gazebo for Ballentine Park. “The estimated cost is $20,000 for the gazebo project,” said Bud Gladstone. “Suzanne has spoken with Peg Ellsworth about possible funding.” Ellsworth works with the MARK Project Inc., a not-for-profit, tax-exempt rural development company that unites efforts and secures resources to build and revitalize our communities.
Correspondence was received from Town of Deposit Supervisor Tom Axtell in reference to a new Upstate Towns Association. “It’s designed to replace the New York State Association of Towns,” said Donnelly. “It might be a good idea for one of our board members to attend the meetings.”
On April 2, 2014, Marge Merzig received a request for more information in reference to the $75,000 grant from Senator Seward.