Hillsdale debates costs of brighter, cheaper future

HILLSDALE—The Town Board wants to upgrade the town’s infrastructure. “This infrastructure—sewers, sidewalks, lighting—is the lifeblood of the future of this town,” said Supervisor Art Baer.

The February 17 meeting began with a presentation by David Andrick of Enerpath, who discussed replacing the light fixtures at four locations—the Highway Department garage, the Parks and Recreation building, the former Town Hall, and the current Town Hall.

In Mr. Andrick’s plan, LED lights would replace all current light fixtures. Mr. Andrick described the current light fixtures as “obsolete.”

The New York State Electric and Gas Corporation (NYSEG) would cover part of the cost of replacing these light fixtures, but Mr. Andrick did not have the total cost at hand. The cost to the town and annual savings for each building are as follows: for the Highway Department garage, the town would spend $10,357 for an annual savings of $2,400. For the Parks and Recreation building, the town would spend $2,102 for an annual savings of $1,937. For the former Town Hall, the town would spend $1,404 for an annual savings of $1,382. And for the current Town Hall, the town would spend $1,173 for an annual savings of $345. Mr. Baer said that he thought the board would be able to come to a decision about this project “in the next 30 days.”

The board also heard an update on the sidewalk project from Tom Carty, chairman of the Comprehensive Plan Committee. Mr. Carty said that the life of the grant that the town has received used to be five years. That has changed. Now, the grant will expire in November 2016 if the town has not established exactly how the money will be used.

The board also moved to hire Victor Cornelius to write a different grant application for streetlights. He will be paid $4,000, of which the town will pay $2,000. The schedule for applying for this grant is such that the streetlight project could happen concurrently with the sidewalk project. This grant would be for approximately $400,000, with the town matching 25% of the total. Depending on the ultimate total awarded for this grant, the town would be responsible for roughly $125,000.

“Where are we going to get the money?” asked board member Carmen Barbato.

Mr. Baer responded that the town has a fund balance of about $500,000. “We have the ability to fund this,” said Mr. Baer. He also noted that even if the town was awarded the grant, it didn’t necessarily have to accept it if the board believes the town couldn’t afford the matching funds.

“The speculation is $2,000,” said board member August Sena, referring to the initial investment to hire a grant writer.

“If we’re going to do it, now is the time to do it,” said board member Steve Tiger.

In other business this week:

  • David Lewis was appointed to the vacancy left on the Conservation Advisory Council by Ed Fredrick
  • Cathy Lydon was appointed secretary to the Zoning Board of Appeals, replacing Ruth Dodds.

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