New Lebanon banks on gravel-to-gravel coverage

NEW LEBANON–The Town Board recently discussed plans to buy a “screening plant” from the Town of Chatham for producing gravel and sand. “It’s not that easy to open a gravel bank,” said Highway Superintendent Jeffery Winestock at the New Lebanon meeting August 12, “and we have a gold mine.”

The screening plant—which costs about $125,000 new—will be purchased for $40,000. The town currently has a smaller screen, which they hope to sell for about $20,000 to offset some of the cost of the new screening plant. With the new screening plant the Highway Department will “be able to make [our] own product the way [we] want it,” said Mr. Winestock.

“I stress the fact of quality,” Mr. Winestock continued. “I’ve saved the taxpayers a million dollars over the last 16 years” by being able to produce gravel in-house, he said.

The current gravel bank has “close to 15 years left of material” said board member Bruce Baldwin.

“Watch Hill is an embarrassment to me,” said Mr. Winestock. “As long as there’s people in the world, they’re going to use roads…. I want to put the good gravel on the road and move forward…. I almost lost a driver and a truck.”

Mr. Winestock and the Board also discussed other roads that require extensive maintenance when it rains, particularly Terrace Drive. Mr. Winestock said that it costs $1,000 to repair the road every time it rains. “I don’t think even a fire truck or an ambulance could get up there,” he said.

Another matter on the mind of the highway superintendent was the need to keep the backhoe up to date. “I just wanted to throw the backhoe at you again,” he said. “I’m going to keep after you until you get mad and tell me to stop asking.”

During the public comment section, one member of the audience asked why there had been no discussion with the town about the Behold! New Lebanon project. When she asked why the board did not know about it, Town Supervisor Michael Benson asked, “Do they live under a rock?”

Mr. Baldwin said, as an aside, “I live under a rock.”

“There’s no transparency in this town…. There’s too much secrecy. Not healthy,” said the audience member. Several other members of the audience agreed.

In other business at the meeting the board:

  • Learned that it will cost $10,000 to $12,000 in engineering fees to bring Covenant Circle Road into compliance
  • Discussed the new Human Resources manual
  • Adopted a motion to jointly purchase a laptop computer with Canaan
  • Heard about a presentation on the Tracks Youth to Youth drug and alcohol abuse prevention program. The Berlin District once had the highest percentage of drug and alcohol abuse locally, but since the introduction of the Tracks program it now has the lowest
  • Heard that 250 people attended the community picnic. “Hopefully in three to four years we’ll do it later in the evening and have fireworks,” said one board member
  • Learned there will be a presentation about Governor Samuel J. Tilden on September 21.

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