2018-09-12 / Front Page

Walton Volunteer Recognized

School Tax Bills, Flood Mitigation Project Delayed
By Lillian Browne

Walton Supervisor Joe Cetta presented Greg Graupman with a certificate of appreciation on Sept. 10 for his volunteer work throughout the Walton community. Lillian Browne/The Reporter Walton Supervisor Joe Cetta presented Greg Graupman with a certificate of appreciation on Sept. 10 for his volunteer work throughout the Walton community. Lillian Browne/The Reporter WALTON - Longtime Walton resident and community volunteer Greg Graupman was recognized by the Walton Town Council for his community improvement efforts at a meeting held Monday, Sept. 10.

Supervisor Joe Cetta thanked Graupman saying, “We are a better town because of your efforts.” Graupman, humble in the acceptance of the award certificate, credited 4-H members, Pride in Walton members, businesses and community members for improving the appearance of Walton.

With Graupman’s initiative a large storefront mural depicting and celebrating scenes from the Delaware County Fair was hung on Delaware Street last year, historical marker signs were refurbished, new “Welcome to Walton” signs were erected, trees and flowers were planted, and many other community improvement projects were completed.

A second mural will be affixed to a building on Bridge Street within the coming year, Graupman told council members.

In other business before the council, Clerk Ronda Williams stated that school tax bills will be mailed out to taxpayers on Sept. 14, later than normal. Taxpayers, Williams said, will have 30 days from the date they are mailed to pay the bills without penalty.

In other business:

• Flood Plain Manager and Code Enforcement Officer Steve Dutcher announced that because bids came in higher than expected, the stream bank restoration project along the west branch of the Delaware River adjacent to Stockton Avenue and South Street, has been delayed. The low bid for the project came in several hundred thousand dollars over the funding that was available for the project. It is possible, Dutcher said, that the project will be re-bid in the spring, with a second look at project design. Hopefully, he added, there will be also be additional funding available at that time.

• Village resident Allan Fairweather asked whether the town can do anything to alleviate the flooding and/or run off issue in the area of Ogden Street and Prospect Avenue. Cetta responded that the town has not done anything to create the issue and hopes that the village will do something to correct the problem.

• Bid openings for the soil removal project on Water Street are scheduled for Sept. 14, Dutcher reported. If all goes according to plan, it is likely that the soil removal project will begin at the end of September or the beginning of October. A project priority, Dutcher said, is the installation of a culvert and/or drainage system at the back of Veterans Plaza to help remove standing water following a rain event.

• The hiking trail construction project on New York City Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) owned lands between state Route 206/Bear Spring Mountain and South Main has been delayed, Dutcher reported, because he has not been able to meet with a local hiking club representative who may help with the maintenance of the trail. The application for permission to build the trail has been prepared and is ready to submit to DEP, he said.

• Highway Superintendent Walt Geidel reported a stream bank restoration project along Beers Brook Road has been completed and grade control structures have been positioned with rock below the streambed. Geidel also reported that he continues to seek information about logging town-owned property behind the highway garage off state Route 10 to create a source of revenue. The property must be assessed to determine whether the timber is harvestable. A gravel parking area has been constructed at More Park on Murphy Hill Road, Geidel reported.

• The use of Veterans Plaza for a prayer rally on Oct. 13 and for a pumpkin painting contest on Sept. 29 was unanimously approved.

• Five building permits and two certificates of occupancy were issued in August. Fourteen building inspections were completed, one floodplain development permit was issued and seven certificate of occupancy searches were completed.

• There will be a special meeting of the Walton Town Council on Oct. 15 at 6 p.m., to adopt the tentative 2019 budget, following a budget workshop. It is anticipated that a public hearing on the proposed 2019 town budget will be held on Monday, Nov. 5.

• Cetta reported that he has inquired at the post office about the time line to have the post office steps repaired. It is unknown when the repairs will be made, he reported. The building is a historic landmark and the repairs must reflect the requirements imposed for designated structures. A code is not being violated, Cetta reported, because there is a wheelchair accessible ramp available as an alternate entrance. Regarding county issues, Cetta reported the eminent domain proposal for the county’s highway maintenance garage property has been rescinded. Eminent domain proceedings will not be used to secure the property, he said. Cetta further reported that he proposed an alternate site for the a new county highway maintenance garage to the county’s Department of Public Works committee. It remains unknown, Cetta said, where the new building will be constructed. However, he said, the original plan has been “downsized” to be incorporated into a smaller footprint. Cetta told council members that he told the county DPW committee that Walton will not take over maintenance of county roads within the town. That statement spurred a dissenting statement from Council member Luis Rodriguez-Betancourt who said that it may be beneficial for Walton taxpayers to incur the expense of that maintenance, which could result in less tax dollars being paid to the county. There is a duplication of bureaucracy, Rodriguez Betancourt continued. Road maintenance, he said, could be done better and more efficiently if it were done by towns rather than the county. The county’s highway department problems have been ongoing for 20 years, Rodriguez-Betancourt pointed out. “They don’t want to give up their jobs, so they won’t do it,” he said. “Every town has to look after themselves and that (town maintenance of county roads) should not be a dead issue.” Council member Patty Wood suggested that county consider DPW “hubs” as an alternate solution to their siting problems.

The next regularly scheduled meeting of the Walton Town Council will be held on Monday, Oct. 1 at 6 p.m.

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