Former trustee offers tips to fix conflict

Gwen Chamberlain

A former village trustee who has been critical of the way Penn Yan officials are managing contracts for sewer services addressed the village board last week.

Robert Hoban, who was also formerly the chairman of the Municipal Utilities Board told village officials he didn’t think that issues he’s brought up in the past have been considered in talks with Jerusalem officials.

Previously the two municipalities had been caught up in legal battles over sewer services, but since last year, officials have agreed to work toward resolving problems without involving lawyers.

Mayor Robert Church told Hoban that the village’s committee, which includes representatives from the MUB and village board would be meeting with Jerusalem officials later in the week to continue discussions, and that the issues Hoban has raised concerns about would be discussed.

“This is not going to be a quick process,” he told Hoban, explaining the village can’t “just automatically change things.”

Rom French, MUB chairman said Hoban wants to be part of the committee, but he (French) will not appoint him. “He’s not on the committee and he doesn’t think we can do the job without him on the committee,” French declared.

As he was leaving the meeting following the exchange, Hoban said he doesn’t think the members of the committee can negotiate.

Business at the Feb. 15 village board meeting also included:

• ETHICS CODE: The board approved a resolution setting a public hearing on a proposed law revising the recently adopted Ethics Code, based on an opinion from the New York State Attorney General. Trustee Rich Stewart cast the lone “no” vote, and later explained in an email:

“This law would change our Code of Ethics to make it that any trustee who is a fireman — active or inactive — could vote on all issues dealing with the fire department, including ones that they would receive a direct or indirect benefit. I don’t think that would be in the best interest of the people of Penn Yan. Other trustees who have even the slightest possibility of having a conflict of interest must recuse themselves. I’m on the Penn Yan Library Board and I recuse myself from any library issues.”

The public hearing will be held March 15 at 6:20 p.m.

• WATER AND SEWER BILLS: Penn Yan water customers will see a change in the way their bills are calculated if a propsed local law incorporating different units for measurement is approved.

The local laws establishing the units will be the subject of two public hearings on March 15  and of a public forum to be announced.

• PUBLIC HEARINGS: Several other public hearings regarding proposed local laws were set for the March 15 meeting. They begin at 6 p.m. with alternate members of the Historic Preservation Commission;  and continue with laws regarding site plan review, boat trailer parking at the Keuka Street Boat Launch, increase in the rate for sidewalk replacement, amendment of the waterfront development conservation district regulations.

 • PICKIN’ IN THE STREET: The board approved a request from Daniel and Elizabeth Hoover, owners of Yankee Mercantile, for an event called “Pickin’ in the Street” which will be held from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Aug. 20. The event will include local bands and artists and will highlight local and natural foods. A block of Main Street, between Seneca and Elm Streets will be closed for the event.

 • PERSONNEL: The board unanimously agreed to promote Bill Jensen to Assistant Director of Public Works with no salary change; eliminate the position of Deputy Assistant Director of Public Works; and promoted Brent Bodine to the position of Director of Public works at an annual salary of $70,000, all effective Feb. 25.