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Hourglass emptying while sand reserves dwindle

Time to find new reserves, said Vanselow

Sand reserves will run out by the end of next winter, said Johnsburg Highway Superintendent Dan Hitchcock. The town's highway department runs through 10,000 cubic yards of the material yearly adding traction to icy roads.

Sand reserves will run out by the end of next winter, said Johnsburg Highway Superintendent Dan Hitchcock. The town's highway department runs through 10,000 cubic yards of the material yearly adding traction to icy roads. Photo by John Grybos.

— Sand reserves are a looming issue for Johnsburg, said Supervisor Ron Vanselow at the Jan. 17 town board meeting. With only about a year — maybe two — of the public works resource left, the board is looking for options.

For the past year, the board's mulled over a deal with a private landowner in town that centered on a trade for unused town property.

“The wheels have spun, and it hasn't gone anywhere,” said Vanselow.

The landowner's no longer interested in the trade, and Vanselow said he wanted to take the discussion out of executive sessions, where it's languished while reserves dwindle, to the public forum for new ideas, though working with the private landowner is still an option.

New board member Kate Nightingale, with a background in geology, said she could draw on geologic survey data to see if there is any town-owned property that might yield sand.

It's important to move soon on this, said Vanselow, because extraction permitting to remove sand can take several years. The town can't wait until it has run out.

Board member Gene Arsenault called for more input from Highway Superintendent Dan Hitchcock. Hitchcock's expertise on public works matters should be sought before the town board makes a big decision, he said.

The town board's memberships in the Adirondack Association of Towns and Villages and the Association of Towns of the State of New York were also up for discussion, with the Adirondack Association getting criticism from Arnold Stevens.

“I haven't seen any value in it,” he said.

Besides their vocal stance on some issues, he questioned the need for town enrollment with the group. The Association of Towns provides legal advice of use to the board and the highway superintendent, but Stevens couldn't think of a time when the board used similar services with the approximately $550-a-year Adirondack membership.

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