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Highway/DPW committee formed in response to public request

WEVERTOWN In response to significant public request for review, and the boards interest in exploring the topic, the Johnsburg Town Board has established a new committee to study the potential formation of a Johnsburg Department of Public Works (DPW). The informal committee, consisting of board members Vanselow and Arsenault, hopes to complete an initial viability study that focuses on combining the Johnsburg Highway Department into a DPW style of municipal structure. The new department could combine the functions of the existing Highway Department, the Parks and Recreation Department, and the Waste and Recycling Departments. I think its something that should be discussed, Supervisor Sterling Goodspeed said. Whether we look at it from the perspective of an elected or appointed position is less relevant than the potential that could be gained by the merger. Goodspeed also made clear his desire to establish a solid chain of command within the departments and his sense that the town may realize an overall cost savings resulting from this type of organizational shift. I have wanted to look at this for quite some time, Vanselow added. I think theres a potential for savings and more efficiency in combining those three departments, or at least having them share a closer organizational relationship. While the idea was supported based on its potential benefit to the town, Goodspeed also voiced his concern that a tentative budget was already underway and that any potential changes would have to be evaluated in relation to the 2009 budget cycle. The DPW committee plans to have an initial report available at the next regular board meeting. The recent work performed by the Warren County Department of Transportation to the intersection between Peaceful Valley Road and Route 28 in North Creek, drew the boards attention this week. The bypass for traffic turning south on Route 28 from Peaceful Valley Road is expected to improve the increasingly congested area, particularly during the busy ski season. The project will be completed at no cost to the Town of Johnsburg. In other business, a recent review of the towns 2008 budget expenditures brought the issue of paper product usage to light. While the town did not have proof, Supervisor Goodspeed noted his suspicion that theft from the numerous town-owned buildings in the community could be a contributing factor. In response, the town will begin stocking a smaller quantity of paper products in each location and closely monitor budget expenditures. The issue was one of many under review in the town as the 2009 budget proposal is finalized. A request by the State of New York to install a flushing hydrant at the entrance to their Peaceful Valley Road DOT facility was tentatively denied due to the offer hinging on the town waiving its $2,000 municipal water hook-up fee. Noting that once a single exception was made there would be many more requests to follow - the board chose to stand firm on the fee structure. Board member Vanselow commented that while he supported the boards stance on the request, he would like to see a financial summary of the offer to make sure that the value of the hydrant to the town, and the benefit it offered, did not offset the $2,000 fee. The next meeting of the Johnsburg Town Board will be Tuesday, October 21, 7 p.m., in the Johnsburg Library.

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