Olive gets grants for town infrastructure

(Photo by Dion Ogust)

(Photo by Dion Ogust)

Earlier this month State Senator James L. Seward (R/C/I-Oneonta) announced a pair of grants he secured totaling $150,000 to assist with roof repairs at the Town of Olive highway garage and equipment needs for the Town of Olive Police Department.

“These grants mean property tax relief for the Town of Olive,” said Senator Seward in an accompanying press release. “Major expenditures are not always in the budget for local governments and this state funding will help ensure local services are maintained without hitting taxpayers’ wallets.”

Olive superintendent Sylvia Rozzelle asked why we’d taken so long to contact her about the big grants when we called to ask her how these repairs might dovetail with, or usurp, much talked-about plans for the town to build new offices where Olive could bring together its meeting hall, court room and weekday working spaces.


Then Rozzelle explained how the main share of the award, $140,000 in capital funding, will be used to replace a portion of the roof on the Town of Olive highway garage.

“This is for the best building we have in our town, which won’t be affected by any other plans down the line,” she said. “See, the garage is in three sections and we repaired the roof in the central part 11 years ago, then did the left hand portion of it all in 2010. The problem is that that which wasn’t repaired leaks, and leaks on some valuable equipment including that of Olive First Aid. Just like our main offices here leak…we’ve got buckets everywhere.”

Going on, Rozzelle noted that the reimbursable grant will allow the highway department to do its own roofing replacement, which they did for the central portion of their building in 2004 at a considerable savings over the jobbed out left portion done five years ago. That will free up money for new garage doors, and the creation of a new employees room instead of the portion of the garage currently used.

“We’ll save a lot in heat, and have something comfortable for them during the winter,” she added.

As for the question of a new office complex including court and meeting rooms, first brought up a couple of years ago as Olive started looking into ways to better mitigate their town’s problems whenever it floods, the superintendent noted that there would be a formal meeting on a just completed town buildings and needs assessment Tuesday, September 29. After that engineers will be brought in to study and back up whatever gets discussed, similar to what happened with the slow move from stream mitigation thoughts by town board members, and final funding for such changes that came through after engineers backed up those earlier thoughts.

“You need such clout to move on now,” Rozzelle explained in her no-nonsense way. “It’s the way things work these days.”

As for siting of that new town complex, she said it was too early for such talk…then spoke about how she’d like to see it go on the current “Olive campus,” perhaps where the ball field is now.

“West Shokan is still central in this town,” she said. “You spread things out too much and communication can become difficult in times of trouble.”

And the highway garage, now getting scheduled for a new roof and other improvements after everyone gets through the hard months from now through next Spring?

“That won’t be moving,” Rozzelle answered. “That I can tell you for sure.”