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The Telegram
  • Herkimer to seek engineer for Bellinger Brook project

  • The Herkimer village board approved a pair of resolutions at Tuesday’s meeting to move ahead with the Bellinger Brook and culvert rehabilitation project.

    One resolution named the village the lead agency for the project while the other authorized placement of a legal notice to advertise for bids for an engineer.

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  • The Herkimer village board approved a pair of resolutions at Tuesday’s meeting to move ahead with the Bellinger Brook and culvert rehabilitation project.
    One resolution named the village the lead agency for the project while the other authorized placement of a legal notice to advertise for bids for an engineer.
    Bellinger Brook runs from Herkimer County Community College to the Mohawk River and over the years flooding has caused erosion and washouts down the length of the creek. This project is intended to deal with these issues.
    The state Department of Transportation red-flagged the bridge on Maple Grove Avenue last year. The bridge has been reduced to one lane of traffic and a weight limit was set that prohibits emergency vehicles from using the bridge.
    The village has been awarded a $225,000 grant for the project. It was announced in December as one of 725 economic development projects across the state awarded by the Regional Economic Development Council. The funds will be administered by the state Office of Community Renewal.
    Fire equipment
    Fire Chief John Spanfelner told the board he is seeking quotes from vendors for newly mandated equipment for interior firefighters. He said the state is now requiring all interior firefighters to be provided with equipment, including rope and carabiners, to enable them to exit a building should they become trapped. Spanfelner said the legislation came in response to an incident in New York City in which two firefighters died. Besides purchasing the necessary equipment, he said, there will be a cost for training firefighters in how to use it.
    Asked how soon the department needs the equipment, Spanfelner replied, “Like, yesterday.” He said while the legislation was passed in August, notifications listing the specifications for the equipment just went out last month. “Now we have to have 50 feet of rope; before it was 35,” said the chief.
    “It’s an unfunded mandate,” he said, adding failure to comply could result in a $1,000 per day fine. “I hear they’re already going out and fining departments.”
    He estimated the cost of the equipment could amount to $350 for each firefighter, multiplied by the 16 firefighters in the department, plus the cost of training.
    Sweeper repairs
    The board gave Department of Public Works Superintendent Peter Macri the go-ahead to have the village’s 2005 street sweeper repaired. Macri said the expected life of a street sweeper is seven or eight years, but this one is in excellent condition, a fact he attributed to the employee who operates and maintains it. Macri said there are several issues that need attention, however. He said the repairs would be costly, but not nearly as costly as it would be to replace the sweeper.
    Initial estimates for the repairs totaled more than $8,000, said Macri, but village employees were able to do some of the work. “It’s still $5,700 worth of repairs,” he said. “I hope to get another five years out of it. I don’t see why we shouldn’t.”
    Page 2 of 2 - A new sweeper would cost more than $300,000, according to Macri.
    Water samples
    The village received correspondence from the state Department of Health regarding its water samples.
    Water/Sewer Superintendent Scott Blais said samples are taken each year from the village well and reservoir sites. He said he sent the necessary samples to Upstate Labs in Syracuse as he has for the past 15 years, but later found out that only the samples from the wells had been tested as required. “By the time we got all the paperwork back, we had no sample,” he said.
    Technically, that put the village in violation of health department requirements. He said the health department understands what happened and he will add a paragraph to his yearly report to explain the situation. The lab has lost its certification, he said.
    In other business, the board:
    • Approved an amendment adding $15,000 to the cost for added work at the wastewater treatment plan, bringing the total to $165,000.
    • Authorized the village to advertise for workers for the summer recreation program.
    • Set a public hearing for April 2 at 7:05 p.m. on a proposed local law requiring absentee landlords to designate a local agent to be contacted in case of problems.
    • Authorized the village to add delinquent water and sewer fees, garbage collection fees, tree removal fees and other unpaid bills to the village tax levy. Asked how much this would be, Village Clerk Amanda Viscomi said she wouldn’t know until May. Some residents will pay the bills before then, she said.
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