Canaan gets news on Rte 22 repairs, drivers’ licenses

CANAAN–Columbia County Clerk Holly Tanner came to the Town Board May 14 meeting with a presentation on compliance with federal identification requirements when securing a driver’s license in New York State.

Also last week the town received some good news May 17, when the state officially announced repairs on a 3.5-mile section of Route 22 from one-half mile south of state Route 295 to three miles north of Route 295 in the town.

At the meeting, Councilperson Brenda Adams brought the board and public up to date on the status of an upgrade for state Route 22 in Canaan and New Lebanon. The good news is that a project for repaving sections north and south of the state Route 295 intersection is being put out to bid. Securing the go-ahead was helped along by many local leaders, including Michael Tucker, president and CEO of the Columbia County Economic Development Corporation.

Milling the road surface is part of the project, though that process will not as deep as a long-lasting repaving requires, according to local officials.

Confirmation of the project came in a press release from State Department of Transportation Acting Commissioner Marie Therese Dominguez, who said that work will begin soon on a $500,000 project to resurface and improve the 3.5-mile section of the two-lane highway.

Potholes and crumbling pavement along and other stretches of Route 22 have led to pleas for repairs from local officials and residents. State Senator Daphne Jordan (R-43rd) said in the release that the announcement was “welcome news.”

Assemblyman Jake Ashby (R-107th), also quoted in the release, said he had worked with “New Lebanon Supervisor Colleen Teal to improve the conditions on Route 22 and am proud that our work is coming to fruition.”

Ms. Adams said that the work on Route 22 is expected to begin in mid-June.

As for Ms. Tanner’s presentation at the meeting, while New York now offers four types of driver’s licenses, emphasis is on securing either: a Real ID in order to board a domestic flight within the United States, enter a federal building or military base, and provide photo identification; or an Enhanced ID in order to board a domestic flight, enter a federal building or military base, cross the border to Canada and Mexico plus some Caribbean countries, and again for photo identification. Enhanced ID costs an extra $30, perhaps making a passport a better option for those traveling internationally.

In other business at the May 14 meeting:

• The Town Board unanimously approved: Kim Cammer town assessor for another six-year term beginning October 1, 2019, noting the extraordinary work she has done; Suzanne Desnoyers Gardella secretary to the Zoning Board of Appeals; and Mary Jahn secretary of the Planning Board. Town Supervisor Richard Keaveney led discussion of means available to encourage and ensure retention of professional staff like Ms. Cammer, including use of multi-town cooperatives for access to better benefits

• Councilperson Terese Platten reported on a grant being submitted to NYSERDA (New York State Energy Research and Development Authority), as Canaan is newly eligible having been named a Clean Energy Community. Ms. Platten noted NYSERDA is looking for projects that enhance collaboration and cooperation along with opportunities for knowledge transfer. Having looked at and rejected a variety of ideas that lacked impact and scope, the board approved submission of a grant request for $35,000 to cover the purchase of a Mitsubishi Outlander plug-in hybrid SUV for the Canaan code enforcement officer and an inter-municipal agreement. The board expects the cost savings for operating the vehicle will be significant

• The board unanimously approved a building permit fee exemption for the Canaan Congregational Church and its reconstruction project, thus saving the church $2,000

• Highway Superintendent Bernie Meyer provided background on selection of a new front loader bid and purchase approved by the board for $125,833, which is subject to a permissive referendum on or about June 18. The value selection process uses factors beyond price alone in determining a winning bid, such as: horsepower; tires (which can cost as much as $1,200 each); trade-in values; service and warranty. John Deere in Clifton Park submitted the most competitive bid

• Superintendent Meyer also reported on: extensive beaver activity that affects town culverts, which is being addressed; continuing heavy rains have toppled trees, including one earlier that closed School House Road; the town crew completed its Bristol Bridge guard rail project

• May 28 from 4 to 8 p.m. is Grievance Day for residents concerned about their assessments. Seniors for the STAR program must prove eligibility for exemption or tax credit.

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