After an extended medical leave, Town Justice Frank Engel submitted his resignation effective November 30, the Woodstock Town Board announced at its October 17 meeting.
The board thanked the long-serving judge for his service, solicited applications for his replacement, while also adopting the 2018 water and sewer budgets.
“The board will be seeking all interested individuals who would like to be considered for the position,” Supervisor Bill McKenna said, requesting those interested to submit five copies of their resume to either the town clerk’s or supervisor’s office at 45 Comeau Drive, Woodstock, so the Town Board can begin reviewing them. A formal request for applicants will be made at the next Town Board meeting.
“Frank has just done a tremendous job,” McKenna said. “Twenty-five years. That’s a long time to be sitting on the bench. He’s a real gentleman. He did a great job.”
Added McKenna, “I’m very proud to call him a friend. I wish him luck in retirement.”
Councilwoman Laura Ricci also had praise for Engel. “He’s given so much to the town in his time as judge. He’s always fair. He always listens. I have 100 percent respect for Frank for his past time as judge and for today.”
Councilwoman Cathy Magarelli described a life lesson Engel gave her daughter.
“About 20 years ago my daughter was speeding quite fast on 212 going to her job. We appeared in front of Frank and he gave her quite a hefty fine which I made her pay for,” she said. “But, I thank Frank because maybe he saved her life.”
Councilman Richard Heppner said his daughter knocked down a mailbox in an accident and Engel made her replace it. “I think the court system in a small town is one of the harder things to do,” Heppner said thanking Judges Engel and Husted and the entire court staff.
Councilman Jay Wenk noted Engel’s decisions have never been overturned and pointed out he served on the rescue squad, meaning he would get called to work more often than other judges.
Water and sewer budgets adopted
The board held public hearings on the water, on-site and hamlet sewer district budgets where, as in past years, nobody spoke.
Highlights of the water budget are $0 tax levy, $158,975 in metered sales, $50,269 from meter charges, $5,000 in interest and penalties, $400 in interest and earnings and $4,050 from the fund balance. Unchanged is the $17 base fee per quarter while the rate per 100 gallons is 42 cents, up from 41 cents. The new rate is effective December 1.
The on-site sewer district users pay for the operation and maintenance of their systems, which totals $52,103. The costs will be financed through $200 in interest and earnings and $51,903 in special assessments on improved properties.
Hamlet sewer district capital costs total $81,008 and operation, maintenance and reserve costs are $278,086 for a combined total of $359,094. Operations will be financed from $700 in interest on revenue, $5000 in interest and penalties, $240,000 from metered sales, $29,886 from meter charges, $81,000 from benefit assessments and $2,500 from service to other governments.
The quarterly base fee is unchanged at $17. The benefit assessment will be $7.42 per unit and the usage rate is $1.02 per 100 gallons.
Rates are effective December 1.
More short-term rental woes
Yerry Hill Road resident Duff Allen again complained about noise, speeding and quality-of-life issues caused by Airbnb-style rentals in his neighborhood. He noted people are afraid to take walks because of speeding cars.
“They feel they’re in the country and there’s nobody here,” he said.
Magarelli noted the board is figuring out how to put more money in the Building Department budget for enforcement of laws already on the books.
Councilman Richard Heppner is heading a committee to formulate recommendations on how to change current regulations and come up with fee schedules that will help fund increased enforcement. He plans to report to the board in November.