The town board hopes stiffer fines will make visitors think twice about where they park when hiking Overlook Mountain or visiting the swimming holes along Millstream and Ohayo Mountain roads.
In amending the town’s Vehicle and Traffic Law, the board created Critical No Parking zones that carry a $150 fine. Those zones include Meads Mountain Road from the Church on the Mount to the trailhead parking lot. West of the trailhead, the No Parking zone includes large sections off the road extending to a portion of MacDaniel Road.
To deal with the swimming holes, a Critical No Parking Zone will include the majority of Millstream Road starting at Route 375 and Ohayo Mountain Road from Tannery Brook Road to Broadview Road.
The state has touted Overlook Mountain as a recreational destination, attracting more tourists than usual who park along Meads Mountain Road when the small trailhead lot is full. Town officials have noted emergency vehicles may not be able to safely navigate the road during peak times.
Increased popularity of the swimming holes from social media has led to a dangerous parking situation along stretches of the roads that already have poor visibility.
The new critical zones are also Tow Away zones, but Wilber is confident the town will not have to tow that many cars. Instead, he believes it will be a deterrent.
Wilber and others on the board believe the vast majority of offenders are from out of town. People from New York City, it is surmised, tend to disregard the current fine of $25 since it costs that much to park in a garage in the city for a few hours.
Vets concert at Community Center
An otherwise routine motion to waive rental fees for a local group wanting to use Woodstock’s Mescal Hornbeck Community Center turned into a discussion about the state of today’s military and its veterans at the May 10 Woodstock Town Board meeting.
A local veteran plans a benefit concert July 16 to raise funds for wounded ex-service members, but Woodstock Councilman Jay Wenk, a World War II veteran, objected out of concern disabled veterans will be pushed into re-enlisting. “The attempt is to be able to get disabled veterans to serve again in the military,” Wenk said, noting what these men and women go through is a major reason why there are 22 military suicides per day on average.
But the rest of the board disagreed. Supervisor Jeremy Wilber doesn’t think people will be forced back into service. “It’s my understanding these are people who just like military life,” Wilber said. They would like to continue service, likely in a non-combat role, he said, but under present policy they cannot.
“The person running the concert sounded like he was being proactive and positive in finding solutions,” said Councilwoman Laura Ricci.
“It’s not getting people to re-enlist,” board member Bill McKenna said, adding the concert is meant to help these people find a way to continue their service. “It’s pretty disgraceful how they’re just cast aside.”
Councilwoman Cathy Magarelli said it could be considered discriminatory to not figure out some way they can continue their service.
Wenk said he understood all the points made, but felt he had to “respectfully disagree.”
Onteora makes its pitch
Onteora officials made a pitch for the 2016-2017 budget, which is set to raise the tax levy by $469,806, or 1.16 percent. Under the so-called state cap, the district this year can raise it by up to $652,250, or 1.61 percent. As part of a convoluted formula, the state caps levy increases to 2 percent, or inflation, whichever is lower.
By not increasing taxes right up to the cap, the district can use the difference as “carry-over” in the next budget year, Interim Superintendent Victoria McLaren said.
Spending will increase $1,565,803, or 3.03 percent from $51,656,975 to $53,222,778, but $550,000 comes from a one-time transfer to the capital budget too fix drainage problems at the Bennett playground.
New in this budget is funding for a School Resource Officer, something the district has been without for some time. The state police used to provide an officer, but that program is no longer available, McLaren said.
The new officer will be an employee of the Ulster County Sheriff’s Office, which will be reimbursed by the district.
The school board will have full input on the selection of the school resource officer in cooperation with the sheriff’s office.
“It is all about finding the right person,” Onteora Trustee Laurie Osmond said, noting the resource officer needs to build relationships with the students.
The budget also includes junior varsity football coaching staff to accommodate students moving up from the modified team.
The K-8 summer program will expand from 15 to 18 days.
In addition to the budget and trustee selection, voters will be asked to approve the creation of an $8 million capital reserve for major projects to be funded over seven years.
The capital fund will accumulate gradually from any money left over after each budget year closes.
There are seven running for five trustee slots this year. They are incumbents Laurie Osmond, Robert Kurnit, Bennet Ratcliff, Lindsay Shands and Kevin Salem and newcomers Leo Warren and Dale Allison.
The budget and trustee vote is May 17 from 2-9 p.m. at all four elementary schools including West Hurley.
Watch out for road work
The Highway Department reminds residents and motorists it will be doing various levels of resurfacing this year on Simmons Drive, Pond Road, Playhouse Lane, Sickler Road from No. 195 to Willow, Cedar Way, Cooper Lake Road to Lake Hill, Van Wagner Road, Maurizi Lane and West Ohayo Mountain Road.