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Heat pump, burn ban, found money and new lawyers; Full plate at Cochecton meeting

By Linda Drollinger
April 17, 2013

At its regular monthly meeting on April 10, the Cochecton Town Board faced two significant challenges: replacing a costly courtroom heat pump and the review and revision of town codified law.

Both issues were deemed sufficiently complex to warrant a special meeting at 6:30 p.m. on April 24. Supervisor Gary Maas advised that the regular meeting would recess until the special meeting, at which time the board and acting town attorney Karen Mannino will meet to discuss their collective codification project findings and recommendations.

The codification project will make all Cochecton town laws currently in force available on the town’s website. A firm named General Code, which specializes in the codification of law for online use, is the contractor overseeing the project, in conjunction with the board and Mannino. Partially funded by an Upper Delaware Council (UDC) grant, the project is due for completion in July.

Last week, the courtroom heat pump experienced what Maas referred to as “a catastrophic event.” One compressor failed completely and the other, inextricably linked to the first, is now also useless. Although the town received a warranty on the pump at the time of purchase, the pump’s manufacturer has since gone out of business, rendering the warranty null and void. Replacement of the pump being unavoidable, the board must now determine how best to secure a new pump compatible with existing system hardware. That will be decided at the special meeting on April 24.

Two new attorneys will represent the town. Mannino of Cochecton will replace town attorney John Keating until he has recovered sufficiently from illness to resume his duties. Attorney Alexandra Bourne will act as traffic court prosecutor for the duration of Keating’s illness, clearing up the three-month backlog of cases that has accumulated during Keating’s absence.

Maas noted that an outdoor burn ban is in effect from March 16 through May 14.

Code enforcement officer Greg Semenetz reported that five new-construction permits have been issued. He also reported on the status of several properties containing unsafe structures, the Pines Hotel property among them. He informed the board that the Pines Hotel property is currently in foreclosure; the cost to demolish several unsafe structures on that property is estimated at $40,000. Town policy is to inform any entity bringing foreclosure proceedings that the property on which it is foreclosing contains unsafe structures.

The meeting was recessed until April 24.