Village beyond Rexmere – No ice fishing
Written by Liz Page
STAMFORD — Stamford Village trustees once again discussed costs at Churchill Gym, saving a historic home, and held a public hearing on a proposed open burning ordinance during their meeting Tuesday.
Department of Public Works Supervisor Jesse Calia will continue to look for proposals to repair the boiler at Churchill Gym and outlined some proposed ideas for the old pool area on South Street.
Narveen Badal is the only contractor to have provided a quote for the boiler repairs at this stage and Kalia has been directed to continue seeking quotes. “I’ve contacted local contractors with ideas about repairs, but none of them seem willing to provide a quote,” Kalia said. He was given some suggestions for making the connection.
Trustees also said they would like to see comparable costs for the Churchill gym, noting that the cost of heating fuel is down significantly from last year and so far, the winter has proven milder, which has helped with those costs. They decided last month to try to split the costs, to allow organizations to rent the space, while still covering costs.
Mayor Robert Schneider said he believes there may also be a potential buyer for the Old Jacob’s Building property on Lake St. Tristes, and said the property should be listed with real estate agents, along with the Gray Barn on Railroad Ave. Schneider said he would contact a real estate agent to list prices. The former Jacobs property has had trouble removing materials from the site, however, this may be less expensive for the private owner who would not have to pay the prevailing wage to get the work done.
Board members also discussed a taxpayer’s request for a tax payment plan. However, the majority indicated that it would not be a good precedent and that the village could not serve as a lending institution.
Unpaid taxes are being collected through an attorney, according to Sandra Collins, village treasurer. Trustees He agreed to hire an attorney to help the village collect back taxes. They agreed to $3,000 to retain Marzig from Oneonta. “At least we got a little money,” Schneider said.
NYClass (New York Cooperative Liquid Asset Securities System) is a short-term, highly liquid mutual fund designed specifically for the public sector. It is governed by a municipal corporation or special purpose district authorized under New York State law. The trustees approved the agreement, which resulted in higher investment rates.
Mayor Schneider also added some food for thought, saying he would like permission to use Bleeding Building Grant funding to repair the roof of the house next to Village Hall and then pursue a Restore NY grant to repair the building. “Part of it could be under destroyed buildings. It needs a roof,” he said. The building is leaking and while trustees balked at the idea of spending taxpayer money on a building in disrepair, Schneider said he believed it was worth saving, because of its historical value as one of the oldest buildings in the village. He added that he would not use taxpayer money.
Originally, the village was accepting donations to rehabilitate it, but only received $600 for that purpose.
Schneider said he received details of the repairs from John Waritner, which totaled $600,000. He said he also spoke to Glenn Nellis, the county’s economic development director.
However, code enforcement officer Rich Irwin said his opinion is that the building needs to be torn down and would not be worth investing any tax dollars. He said there are plenty of other buildings to use the money on that are not vacant.
Schneider said he would need approval from the Robinson-Broadhurst Foundation, which provided the grant for the affected building.
Trustee Jim Cobb said the village will need to develop a cohesive plan for the building. The original plan was for the Mount Utsayantha Rural Arts League to return to the village of Stamford and use the building, along with providing a base of operations for the historical society, Schneider said. The village purchased the building from the county for $6,000 with the goal of preserving the building. The county removed it from auction.
This led to the emergence of the former Westholm building on West Main Street, which was on the verge of collapse and awaiting ownership transfer.
The engineering report for the Churchill Athletic Club from Cedarwood totaled more than $90,000, and Mayor Schneider said the village should get another estimate, but said he plans to submit two separate grant applications to repair the building.
There was discussion about an incident that occurred at Rexmere Pond on Monday. The pond is owned by the village and there is no skating or swimming. Signs notifying the public are posted at the beach. However, a great deal of discussion regarding four people on the ice Monday, ice fishing, has raised concern. State police were called and the fishermen were asked to leave the ice. There were concerns that the ice was not yet safe, as members of the Stamford Fire Department conducted cold-water rescue drills there on Saturday, with almost no ice. Only part of the pond was frozen by Monday.
The state Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) recommends at least four inches of solid ice. Cobb said the ice was not solid at the edge of the pond, and he called in troopers out of concern for safety. Water was also moving under the ice, he said, and the consensus was that it was not safe. The discussion resulted in trustees agreeing to erect signs along the road around the two ponds, saying “No Ice Fishing.” Kalia was expected to put up the signs this week, with more permanent signs to replace the temporary ones.
Without signs, the trooper said, the only solution is to ask fishermen to leave the ice.
A draft local ordinance to restrict shooting within village boundaries will be open for public discussion during a public hearing scheduled for February 19.
A new local law regarding open burning within the village has been drafted. Several large open fires have raised concerns after being reported to the fire department in 2023. They will include a permit for special operations or events. Its purpose is to give fire officials the ability to put out fires deemed unsafe. A special events permit can be evaluated through the permit process and certain conditions apply. A draft of the proposed law will be available on the village’s website. www.stamfordny.com
Before completing his report, Kalia said he is still working on creating a pickleball court at the site of the old village pool and other types of games to attract the public to enjoy the space, picnic and use the new pool.