Clearing the way

NORTH CREEK - The Warren County budget crisis hit-home this week as the Town of Johnsburg and local businesses scrambled to handle post-storm cleanup on Main Street.

News of the County's reluctance to continue clearing North Creek's sidewalks first broke Dec. 3 at a Public Works Committee meeting.

During the meeting, County Highway Superintendent Bill Lamy mentioned North Creek's clean-up request in the midst of defending the department during budget discussions.

"I received a phone call from Sterling requesting snow removal from the sidewalks of downtown North Creek," Lamy said. "He stated that the business owners were upset about the current state of the sidewalks."

In Johnsburg Supervisor Sterling Goodspeed's absence, Committee members Merlino and Geraghty expressed considerable resistance to the request and disbelief that County personnel were providing the service - including the use of County overtime.

"That was my concern this year but we have been assisting them for years with this," Lamy said.

The board then moved to end the assistance to North Creek without further discussion or dissent.

On Dec. 11, the issue was again brought to the table, this time with Johnsburg's Supervisor Goodspeed present.

"The policy change approved at the last meeting, which I was unable to attend, alters a historical inter-municipal agreement between the County and Johnsburg," Goodspeed said. "In the current economic context, I think the committee's assessment was fair enough, but there has been a deal in place between the two municipalities since the 1980's."

Goodspeed referred to an inter-municipal agreement in which the Town of Johnsburg provided Town land to the County in exchange for sidewalk snow removal in North Creek.

"I have found County correspondence dating back to 1994 where this agreement is referred to," Goodspeed noted in reference to County garage property located at the Ski Bowl in North Creek.

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