Thursday, September 12, 2019

Wells TB August 12, 2019

Wells supports Sisto land purchase by Adirondack Land Trust
By Pete Klein
WELLS—At the August 12 meeting of the Wells Town Board, Hamilton County Board of Supervisor’s Chairman Bill Farber presented the board with a plan for the Adirondack Land Trust to possibly purchase a 78 acre property, currently owned by the Sisto Trust, for eventual purchase by New York State, with the lands north of Rt. 8 as an addition to the Forest Preserve and a NYS Conservation Easement on lands south of Rt. 8.
The Town Board needs to support the purchase through a resolution. In turn the land could be swapped for a right of way in Benson to access Cathead Mountain via a former hiking path to allow installation of a microwave path/dish which would improve emergency communication for fire and ambulance in Wells, Hope and Benson. Additionally, the Rt. 8 property would be subdivided for tourism allowing for parking and hiking trails. The non-profit Hamlets to Huts Program might be interested which would extend hikers experience for more than one day, staying in the community and hopefully spending money in Town.
Hamlets to Huts currently operate in North Creek, Inlet and Blue Mountain.
Hamilton County Sheriff Karl Abrams spoke in support of the entire project because it will dramatically improve dispatch communications for our fire and ambulance.
Highway Superintendent Clay Earley asked about the current hotel on the property and people living in it, hoping they would have plenty of time to relocate. He was told the State will evaluate the structural soundness of the building.
Councilperson Vanessa Saltis thinks this is a great opportunity to improve radio communications and historic preservation and increase tourism via Hamlets to Huts and asked what the timetable is. Chairman Farber said the owner wants to transfer the title as soon as possible while the father is still alive. The second piece is for the board to approve a resolution supporting the transfer.
Councilperson Andres Lauria supported the plan.
Resident Nick Mauro Jr. thinks it’s a very good idea, particularly opening access to Cathead for the benefit of the town and southern part of the county.
The board passed the following resolution in support of the plan: “WHEREAS, the Adirondack Land Trust is contemplating the purchase of a 78-acre property, currently owned by the Sisto Trust, for eventual purchase by New York State, with the lands north of Route 8 as an addition to the Forest Preserve and a NYS Conservation Easement on lands south of Route 8, and WHEREAS, the property is located in the Town of Wells) along the East Branch Sacandaga River adjoining the Siamese Ponds Wilderness and Wilcox Lake Wild Forest, and WHEREAS, these lands will provide public access to the area known as Griffin Gorge, allow safer trailhead parking off Route 8, allow connector trails to the adjoining State Lands and nearby communities, and provide recreational opportunities that benefit the Town of Wells, be it “RESOLVED, that the Town Board of Wells supports the purchase of the said property, including the eventual acquisition by New York State using EPF monies, AND BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that Supervisor Donald W. Beach is hereby authorized to provide a letter indicating this support to the Adirondack Land Trust, with copies to the Hamilton County Board of Supervisors, the Hamilton County Sheriff, and the Hamilton County Emergency Services Director.”
Supervisor Beach reported on the Lake Algonquin Hydroelectric Plant for July 2019. Revenues totaled $11,875.54; expenditures totaled $971.52.
The board passed the following resolution: “WHEREAS, the NYS Office of Real Property Tax Service has notified the Towns with Sole Appointed Assessors that said appointment terms are expiring on September 30, 2019, and WHEREAS, The Personnel/Finance Committee has recommended re-appointing James Abbott as Sole Assessor to a full-term, NOW THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that James Abbott be appointed as Sole Assessor of the Town of Wells for a term that begins on October 1, 2019 and expires on September 30,2025, and be it further RESOLVED, that a certified copy of this resolution be forwarded to the NYS Office of Real Property Tax Service.”
The board authorized the clerk to advertise for the Code Enforcement Officer’s position in the Hamilton County News and Leader Herald.
Highway Superintendent Earley reported that Craig Rd. sealing is complete. Currently his crew is in the process of paving approximately 1.2 miles on West Hill.
Councilperson Saltis reported that Summer Rec was very successful with about 35 children participating. Trips to Perry Lanes, Mohawk ballgame and High Rollers were well received, and the staff was amazing. Swimming lessons had 5 children most times and 4 learned to swim. She would like to continue the swimming lessons in the future.
Town Clerk Maryellen Stofelano announced that 2019-2020 hunting licenses are now available for purchase at the Clerk’s office.
Supervisor Beach distributed to the board a year to date income and expense report for the General, Highway and Water Districts Funds.
Councilperson Tim Hunt asked the status of pavilion at the beach. Supervisor Beach has purchased the metal roof and screws for a total of $574 and will move forward once the crowds are gone.
Highway Superintendent asked the status of the addition to the garage to house the Fly car as winter is quickly approaching. Supervisor Beach has an estimate of $7,000 for an addition. He will speak to GAVAC with hopes of them underwriting a portion or all the cost.
Councilperson Lauria reported that the group dedicated to our lake should soon formulate an association of some sort and will have more information at the next board meeting.
Vince Abbott-Forgione commented on the timber in the lake this summer. Apparently, some people are cutting trees and pushing them into the lake. He feels people should be responsible for removing the trees and asked how we can address this.
Councilperson Lauria added that a few people each year remove trees and stumps with their own boats. A goal for the Lake Group will be an organized effort each spring to remove trees/timber.
Vince Abbott-Forgione feels that a lakefront homeowner should be responsible to remove anything that is in the lake.

Editor’s note: This story is based upon the minutes of Town Clerk Maryellen Stofelano.

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