Always something

Wrong surface on cul-de-sac in Highland

Posted 7/20/22

ELDRED, NY — After months of waiting for the weather to warm, a chip-seal surface was put on the Barryville cul-de-sac instead of smooth asphalt. No one at the Highland Town Board meeting on …

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Always something

Wrong surface on cul-de-sac in Highland


ELDRED, NY — After months of waiting for the weather to warm, a chip-seal surface was put on the Barryville cul-de-sac instead of smooth asphalt. No one at the Highland Town Board meeting on July 12 knew why, and highway superintendent Tom Ebers was not present to explain.

The chip-and-seal surface is inappropriate, because the paint purchased for the mural that is scheduled to be painted there is not compatible with the rough and pitted surface.

“We had a discussion that included our highway superintendent of the three options recommended by manufacturers that would be appropriate for the paint application,” councilmember Kaitlin Haas said. “We all determined that Option 2 was the best option.”

The discussion took place at the March town board meeting, when it was determined that application of an asphalt surface in April would give it enough time to cure before paint application in early spring.

“The day prior to the resurfacing, it came to our attention that they were proposing a very different process than what had been discussed and that the manufacturer had recommended,” Haas said.

Doreen Warner, mural-painting lead, said she learned of the switch in the surface the day before on Facebook. Early-morning calls to the highway superintendent were not successful to stop the resurfacing, she said.

The problem now is that the surface needs to be redone. “We can’t direct the actions and operations of the highway superintendent; we have not determined whether he plans to resurface it,” Haas said.

According to supervisor Jeff Haas, the board proactively in April solicited RFPs for resurfacing the cul-de-sac. Estimates to lay down a three-inch asphalt blacktop surface, compacted to 1.5 inches, indicated that resurfacing would cost approximately $30,000 for the 1,100-square-yard space. The board is waiting on another quote, he said.

The monies for the project are earmarked from the $125,000 Silver Feather Grant from Sullivan Renaissance. In-kind services from the highway department total $25,000. Over $35,000 has been spent on the project to date; that includes the initial engineering for Eagle Observation 1 and 2, and budgeted improvements to the Kate Project, which include an historical marker, materials for a walkway, a bench and signage for the entire project.

Not “wanting to beat a dead horse,”Jeff Haas said; it all came down to a meeting between him and the highway superintendent to get the 284 form amended. Haas said that 284 forms, which come out of the state comptroller’s office, can be amended at any point.

“We have a paving project that we need to be done. And the only person we can use to do it is the highway superintendent. The highway superintendent has not submitted that on his 284 form.”

He reported that $145,000 of the $350,000 paving budget, with two roads still outstanding, had been expended. He added that state monies were expected, including a Pave NY plan that could reimburse the town on paving expenses. He said that “the town’s portion of the Silver Feather award will be far in excess of $25,000 that the project asked for.”

Haas added, “The highway superintendent is responsible for all the roads in the town. We’re responsible for the highway superintendent’s budget. We are not his boss; he is his own boss, he’s an elected official. We have to convince him to do this project. All of us. We asked this project to be done.”

Audience members asked why the 284 form was not submitted and why it wasn’t done right the first time. “That would be a question for him,” Kaitlin Haas responded. “We were not aware of the change of plans.”

Warner, focused on resurfacing the cul-de-sac roadway, said that in speaking with engineers, the best practice is to apply a tack coat to keep the chip-seal surface stationary. It needs to be applied before the asphalt is laid, so that the chip-seal surface does not move and break up the surface over time. She also asked if contact information on the proper remediation needed to be forwarded to the highway superintendent. Jeff Haas said he couldn’t answer that question and said that the paving companies the town had reached out to “also had their own engineers and their recommendations would also be considered.” Kaitlin Haas will be in contact with Sullivan Renaissance about the developments.

In other highway business, the board postponed a motion to approve highway superintendent expenditures on a different 284 form. The form contained details of the paving of town roads, including County 21, 22, 42 and 29; and town roads Mail Road, Woods Road and Schumacher Road. Jeff Haas began to read the details out loud. Attorney to the town Michael Davidoff suggested that since the issue was also pertinent to a personnel issue that the discussion happen in executive session. The board seemed relieved by the suggestion. “That’s a good idea,” Kaitlin Haas said.

And the constables?

The town board offered no public information on the suspension of the constables, saying it would be discussed in executive session. When prompted by a member of the audience to discuss the June meeting minutes report that an investigation had been completed, the board responded that it was still “getting its ducks in a row” and would not speak on it until they did.

On July 18, the board released a redacted investigation report. Click here for more information.

Routine business

As part of the building report, the board approved an upgrade to the DVR system that the constables have maintained at the Highland Justice Court in Barryville. Board member Chris Tambini reported that the cameras “are OK,” and that the image ought to be “routed to the town hall, rather than the monitor down there.” Board member Fred Bosch agreed that the camera did not need to be replaced, “but I do believe we should have the routing of the monitor up to Sue’s office rather than the back room [of the courthouse.]” Kaitlin Haas added that it was the same system that was used in the highway garage. Later in the meeting, Jeff Haas said that the “whole of the operation” had been moved to the town hall.

In other business, the town received no bids for painting the town hall and increased the hours of groundskeeper Tim Schott to paint the building. Bosch said that Schott had experience in painting. Town clerk Sue Hoffman said that Colin McCarthy, a professional painter who responded to the RFP saying that he was too busy to do it, indicated that he was willing to help guide, at no charge.

As part of the youth and park development report, Kaitlin Haas reported that the youth program at Camp Koinonia was receiving good feedback and still had openings.

Issues raised during public comment focused on the efficacy of the survellience camera at the Route 97/55 intersection, and unchecked speeding on Route 97 in Barryville.

“I’m on Route 97 and I used to see several stops a day,” Joann Heusman, owner of the Barryville Emporium, said. Other residents testified to the lack of a policing presence and potentially dangerous incidents around Barryville Farmers Market traffic on Saturday mornings.

The board indicated that the state police and sheriff’s department were on board to assist and Tambini suggested that a constable car parked at the Yulan Fire Station on Route 97 might be a deterrent.

Following an executive session, the board approved some highway expenditures, while holding others back.

Highland Town Board, Barryville cul-de-sac, resurfacing, Sullivan Renaissance,


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