Jerusalem storm damage tops $120,000

John Christensen

At the regular meeting of the Jerusalem Town Board, Highway Superintendent Robert Payne reported that the flooding from the April 27 storm has resulted in approximately $129,000 in road damage. Funds may be available from New York State Emergency Management Office and Federal Emergency Management Agency.

The exceptionally wet spring has delayed normal projects, especially road shouldering and grading. East Bluff Drive has experienced some of the worst settling. Payne also reported an outbreak of Giant Hogweed in the area of Kinney’s Corners. This noxious weed resembles Queen Anne’s lace, to which it is related, but is highly photo-toxic; its sap causes a severe rash and blistering of the skin when exposed to even moderate sunlight.

Payne concluded by announcing his bid for re-election.

Board Members Neil Simmons and Max Parson recently met with Keuka College administration. Simmons stated that Keuka represents 10 percent of the total value of the town. The college would like to discuss a possible sidewalk project in Keuka Park, and asks if it might be possible for representatives from the board meet with them regularly to facilitate communication between the town and the college.

Simmons also reported that, after discussion with the New York Attorney General’s Office, there doesn’t seem to be any legal grounds for the town to be reimbursed the funds expended in assisting with the prosecution of John Nicolo, who was convicted of multiple counts of conspiracy, honest services fraud, mail fraud, wire fraud, money laundering, and filing false tax returns. Nicolo’s holdings in the town, some owned in partnership with others, total in value  $750,500.

Simmons raised the possiblity of paying off the Cabot Group (Farash Properties) the $11,000 they seek in a lawsuit claiming that Strong Hall and East Bluff Apartments were over-assessed in 2009-2010. Simmons believes that it may be cheaper than mounting a legal defense. Cabot is also seeking $45,000 from Yates County and $54,000 from Penn Yan Central School District.

Other business at the May 18 meeting included:

• ASSESSMENTS?: Board member Michael Folts suggested that elected officials property assessments be made by an outside, independent assessor. The board took no action, but agreed to the concept.

• ASSESSOR?:?Town Assessor Butch Comstock will stay on until May 27. Six candidates have applied for the new appointed position. Max Parson has had a presentation plaque made for Comstock thanking him for his years of service.

• APPOINTMENT:?Carolanne Goebel was appointed Grievance Board Secretary.

•?ROUTE?54A MEETING:?There will be a meeting to discuss the rezoning of Rte. 54A June 7 in the Keuka College Refectory.

• ENERGY?AUDIT:?Following an energy audit report, Supervisor Daryl Jones will now look into the cost of hiring a sole contractor to replace the light fixtures in the town hall and barns. According to his New York Dept. of Labor contact, self-employed, sole contractors are exempt from the prevailing wage schedule.