At a meeting of the town board that was relatively free of the strife that has characterized the meetings of the past couple of years, the Tusten Town Board filled the vacancy that was created by the resignation of Carol Wingert, who won the election in November to become town supervisor.
At the meeting on January 3, Andrea Reynosa, who ran for a position on the board on the Rural Heritage line, was nominated for the post. Newly elected council member Norman Meyer said he would prefer that the board wait 30 days to see if any other members of the community were interested in filling the post.
Wingert and newly elected council member Tony Ritter both expressed the view that anyone interested in the job would have run for a council seat in November, and it was not necessary to wait. Council member Eileen Falk said that she could have gone either way, but since two members favored appointing Reynosa to the post, she would vote with them.
Meyer was the only member who voted against the appointment.
In other developments, bids were opened from four engineering firms regarding the creation of plans for the much-discussed esplanade, which is proposed to run behind the shops on Main Street, high above the Big Eddy. The bids were all in the neighborhood of $150,000, and the board created a committee to examine the lengthy documents in detail, with the aid of an engineer, to determine which is the best proposal.
Wingert explained that $75,000 of the cost will be paid with a grant, and the rest is included in the town’s budget. She added, however, that she was going to solicit businesses and individuals within the town to help defray the cost.
Resident Bernie Creamer questioned whether it was proper for the five property owners on Main Street to benefit from the project, when the rest of the residents would not. He asked if the five property owners would have their assessments adjusted if and when the project, which has been in the discussion phase for 20 years, is ever completed.
Planning board chairman Ed Jackson said those assessments would be adjusted.
Town attorney Jeff Clemente then asked, “Doesn’t this also improve the tourist trade, and make the town attractive so that people come and spend money in the town?”
Several people, including Wingert, answered yes.
In another matter, the board agreed to transfer a .55-acre parcel of land from the town to Sandy and Michael Zaccagnino in exchange for any costs incurred by the town regarding the transfer. The property is one of several so-called paper roads, which were proposed in the late 1800s by a development company, but were never created except on paper.
The town recently completed acquiring the lots from the county. The town offered the paper roads to adjacent property owners; it is difficult to sell a property with a paper road running through it.