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Guilderland Archives — The Altamont Enterprise, July 16, 2009

Guilderland works to solve three long-term problems

By Anne Hayden

GUILDERLAND — Three of the biggest issues facing the town over the past year were addressed at a board meeting, which lasted four hours, on July 7 — stormwater solutions, solid waste management, and zoning law modifications.

Partisan concerns — the town board has three Democrats and two Republicans — lengthened the meeting.

Two separate stormwater problems were discussed, and, by unanimous votes, were granted funds to work toward solving them. Delaware Engineering was awarded a no-bid contract to study the stormwater drainage system in McKownville for $75,000, and the Blackberry Estates drainage system for $35,000.

Republican Councilman Warren Redlich had some concerns over the cost of the project, which he said he suggested putting up for bid in May 2008. According to Redlich, an engineering company present at the 2008 meeting had said the McKownville stormwater study could be done for $50,000.

“If we had put the project up for bid a year ago, we might have saved money,” Redlich said this week, noting that, despite the cost, he thinks the study is a step in the right direction.

Democratic Supervisor Kenneth Runion said the town was not prepared to put the project up for bid in 2008, because it was not sure about the exact problems facing McKownville. After the meeting in May, a survey was conducted by the town highway department, to see what issues there were, he said.

Delaware Engineering has done extensive work in the Blackberry Estates and McKownville areas, and is familiar with the work that needs to be done, which is why it was awarded a no-bid contract, said Runion.

A bid was awarded to M. Sullivan Construction, Inc., for the Route 20, Stuyvesant Plaza, and McKownville Reservoir storm drainage project. The budget for the project was $600,000, but the lowest bid came in at about $88,000 over what was anticipated. Runion said that the gazebo planned for the McKownville Reservoir park was eliminated, saving $30,000, and $11,000 worth of extraneous construction materials were cut. Stuyvesant Plaza agreed to put forth an extra $23,000 for the project, on top of the $100,000 it had first offered.

“I’m really disappointed that the bid came in for more than what we thought it would,” said Redlich. His concern is that the town will have to shell out more money than it has budgeted, which Runion said would come from a $25,000 contingency fund, if that were the case.

The board members also unanimously voted to pull out of the Solid Waste Management Partnership, and take Guilderland’s waste to the town of Colonie’s landfill instead of the Rapp Road landfill. After calculations proved that the cost of switching landfills would be equivalent, the board decided to make the change because it does not approve of the Rapp Road landfill expansion.

The fifth expansion of the dump is unpopular because it encroaches on the Pine Bush Preserve, and also because of the unpleasant odors that waft to nearby neighborhoods.

“This is a short-term Band-Aid for a long-term problem,” Redlich said. He believes that the town needs to make it a priority to keep searching for alternatives.

Runion told The Enterprise that he thinks the best option for a long-term solution will be the designation of a solid-waste management authority for Albany County, if it ever materializes.

“As long as there are local sites available, there is no incentive to move the process along,” said Runion.

A Committee to Review and Recommend Modifications to the Zoning Law was formed and approved, with one person added to the originally proposed eight members. The committee will review the town’s laws, recommending ways to make them conform to the comprehensive land-use plan.

Redlich and fellow Republican Councilman Mark Grimm were concerned that there was not enough Republican representation, and put forth the names of Ted Danz, the chairman of the Guilderland Republican Committee, and Martin Kehoe, a Republican attorney.

Redlich told The Enterprise that he has absolutely no problem with Regina DuBois, the Republican suggested for the committee by Runion, and thinks she will serve the committee well.

“I just felt that the minority should have its own nominee,” said Redlich. “We make up 40 percent of the town board, and would have had one representative out of eight. Having two out of nine is perfectly reasonable.”

After some negotiation, and an agreement that one Republican member could be added, Redlich and Grimm withdrew Danz’s name and appointed Kehoe to the committee, which was then unanimously approved by the board members.

 Other business

 In other business, the town board voted unanimously to:

— Rezone 2703 Curry Road, from residential to industrial;

— Release escrow for Water Extension Number 24, Oakwood Manor, in the amount of $128.77; and,

— Transfer funds from computer supplies to continuing education for the assessor.

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