Milo: ‘Boat owner should pay’

Loujane Johns

“The Town of Milo has already spent $5,000 of taxpayer money and we don’t want to spend any more,” said Councilman Jim Harris last week in response to a request to help pay for costs associated with the Nov. 1 attempt to move the Keuka Maid to the north end of the lake.

Harris was responding to a motion made by Leslie Church to pay a share of the latest Keuka Maid legal bill per a request from Yates County. The county has asked Milo and the Village of Penn Yan to split the cost with them. The county is asking Milo to pay $1,300 toward the cost.

On Nov. 1 the Keuka Maid was spotted heading towards Penn Yan from the town of Urbana at the southern end of the lake. As it reached the Keuka Outlet near Sarrasin’s Restaurant, it ran aground due to a drop in lake level. Robert Pfuntner, of Elmira owns both the Keuka Maid and Sarrasin’s, and the intent was to move it from the Urbana dock.  

Yates County Deputies terminated the unsafe operation and Captain Robert Hicks, Jr. and a crew of three were ordered to return to the mooring near Hammondsport. The return was a slow process and deputies accompanied the boat. Along the way, the boat ran low on fuel and emergency arrangements were made for refueling at East Bluff Harbor Marine.

Harris said the taxpayers should not have to pay for Pfuntner’s mistake.  

Councilman Dale Hallings said, “We made a motion after the last case involving the Keuka Maid - we would be done.” Hallings was referring to an injunction placed by Penn Yan and Milo nearly two years ago to keep the Keuka Maid out of the north end of the lake, after two service barges were brought to Sarrasin’s in 2007.  The injunction was lifted by Judge W. Patrick Falvey on March 16.

The Council members discussed what will happen down the road. Unconfirmed information raised the possibility that Pfuntner is going to dismantle the vessel. Harris said, “If he is junking it, he should use the proceeds to pay the costs.”

Legislator Mark Morris, who represents Milo on the county legislature said the Nov. 1 event occurred while the Legislature was meeting and the Sheriff was contacted to stop, inspect and then send the vessel back to port. “Hopefully, it will stay down there and not come back,” said Morris.

Board members and Morris agreed they don’t want this to be a county vs. town situation. Supervisor John Socha said it is a tough situation, “there’s no right way.”

All board members voted against sharing the bill, except Church, who voted in favor.

Other business at the Dec. 20 meeting included:?

• ZONING:  A letter was sent to Consultant Tom Harvey, who has been working on zoning for the town, asking him to get the new zoning map and definitions of the zones to the town by the end of January. Socha said at that time Harvey will be done. Socha said it was suggested by members of the public to form a committee to enact the zoning laws and not the planning board. “We have been advised to get it done quickly,”  Socha says.

A Resolution was passed to form a Legislative Adoption-Consulting Committee with a term of one year, to be appointed at the organizational meeting. The committee will consist of  representatives of the Yates County Planning Board, Town Board, Town Planning Board, Town Zoning Board, Town Attorney, Code Enforcement Officer and two Town of Milo residents. Its purpose will be for the discussion and development of existing and proposed town laws.

• DOG LICENSING:  A public hearing was held on adopting a dog licensing law. There was no public comment.  The state is no longer involved with the process and has turned the administration over to local municipalities. The local law was passed and Socha was authorized to sign an Inter-Municipal Animal Control Agreement with Yates County.

• ALLOCATION:  Approval was given to authorize allocation of Milo’s Children and Family Services Funding as in previous years, 70 percent to Penn Yan and 30 percent to Dundee. The state funds are applied toward summer recreation programs.

• AGREEMENT: Socha was authorized to sign the 2011 General consulting Agreement with Larsen Design Group.

• MORATORIUM: The board approved a  Local Law to enact a six month moratorium on Adult Use Business to the Town and County Planning Boards.

• SPEED LIMIT: A request was received with numerous signatures to ask the DOT to establish a lower speed limit on Rapalee Road. Socha said the board was not necessarily agreeing with lowering the limit, but would refer it on to the D.O.T. for study. Rapalee Road runs between State Route 14 and Plum Point on Seneca Lake near Himrod.

• MEETING: The annual organizational meeting was tentatively set for Jan. 5 at 5:30 p.m.