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The Telegram
  • Herkimer moves to turn elections over to county

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  • Voters in the village of Herkimer may be going to the polls next year in November instead of June.
    The village board approved a resolution Monday to turn the operation of the village election over to Herkimer County.
    The move would save money, as the village would not have to hire election inspectors, according to Village Clerk Amanda Viscomi. She said the village would have to notify the county of the candidates.
    “We no longer have the voting machines,” said Mayor Mark Ainsworth, adding that some people were confused about where to vote in the last village election.
    While the board voted unanimously to make the change, the action is subject to permissive referendum, according to Viscomi. That means a resident could collect signatures on a petition challenging the board’s decision.
    Codes issues
    The board heard from two residents about codes issues in the village.
    Ron Hess Jr., of North Washington Street, complained that heavy smoke from a neighbor’s wood boiler enters his home and he has received no help when he reported the problem to the codes officer.
    “On Oct. 24, the smoke was so heavy it set my smoke detectors off,” he said. He added that he suffers from asthma and his son has had nosebleeds and a cough because of the smoke. The smoke has turned the walls of his house brown, he said, adding that other neighbors have similar complaints.
    Village Attorney Nicholas Macri said the codes enforcer looked at the situation, but did not see a breach of village codes. He suggested it might be a civil matter.
    Hess cited a 1990 local nuisance law regarding actions that affect the health and safety of others.
    Macri said he would talk with the codes enforcer and have him check with the state Department of Environmental Conservation to find out if there is an open case regarding the matter.
    Fred Weisser, of Maple Grove Avenue, said he had filed a request with the village to find out who managed a particular property in the village and, within a couple of hours, received a call on his cell phone from a property manager. He objected to the way the matter was handled and to his cell phone number being given out.
    Weisser also asked about the status of the former Glory Days building. Ainsworth said he has been in contact with the new owner and she plans to visit next week with an architect. He said she is in the process of lining up a plan and funding to rehabilitate the building. When Weisser commented on how long the process is taking, Ainsworth pointed out that the building was only released in August after being sealed off for the investigation that followed the March 13 shootings. Shooter Kurt Myers was holed up in the Glory Days building from the morning of March 13 until special teams entered the building the following morning and shot and killed him.
    Page 2 of 2 - Ainsworth said the village is in a Catch-22 situation when some businesses are struggling to make ends meet. He said the village board is taking the problems seriously and he has suggested publicizing tickets issued for codes violations.
    “We’re trying to do what we can do,” he said. “We approved a resolution making downtown a historic preservation district and that does give state tax credits to businesses that want to come downtown.” He added that Richard Cancelino, the village’s property maintenance officer had gone to individual apartments to try to sort out problems with improper garbage disposal.
    Weisser asked about placing cameras in the downtown business district. Ainsworth said the village is moving ahead with this, although the cost would prohibit installing multiple cameras at one time.
    Trustee Katherine Nichols asked if police would be continually monitoring the cameras’ views.
    Police Chief Joseph Malone said they would not, but the cameras would be useful in an investigation. He pointed out that it was a camera that enabled police to make an arrest in the attempt to set fire to Weisser’s Jewelry store on North Main Street.
    Weisser praised the village police and firefighters for their involvement with the Herkimer Now Halloween trick or treating event and party.
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