Resident asks village to prohibit horse droppings

Gwen Chamberlain

Village resident Charlie Spacek has asked the Penn Yan Village Board to require owners of horse-drawn transportation to prevent deposits of dung within the village.

Spacek approached the village board May 17 to raise the issue because, he says, “It’s just not tolerable anymore.”

He said he remembers when Mennonite families first moved to the area, their horse-drawn buggies were often outfitted with a device to catch the horse’s droppings. “It was nice and clean and respectful,” he said.

But now, he’s concerned that perhaps the growing amount of horse traffic, and the resulting waste, could be considered a health hazard.

“I think they’re great for our community, but they don’t respect our village. They don’t respect our streets,” he told the village board, explaining that he believes there are other business owners in the village who have the same sentiments, but are afraid to come forward with complaints.

Trustee Mike Christensen, chair of the village public safety committee, told Spacek he didn’t disagree with the concern, but noted, “In all fairness, I don’t see that it’s just a village issue.”

Spacek responded, “Maybe if you start something here, it will mushroom (to other areas). Penn Yan has the opportunity to do the right thing.”

Dan Banach, a member of the Municipal Utilities Board and Yates County Legislator who was in the audience, recalled when he was on the village board 37 years ago, he discussed the issue with members of the Mennonite community and they were “more than agreeable” to resolve the issue.

Other issues discussed at the Penn Yan Village Board meeting May 17 included:

• BOAT LAUNCH: The board approved a resolution establishing parking fees for boat trailers at the Keuka Street Boat Launch site. See related story on page A1.

• FIRE CHIEF’S CONFERENCE: The board approved sending seven fire department volunteers to attend the New York State Fire Chief’s Conference in Verona June 15-18 at a cost of $4,273, which includes lodging and meals at a per diem rate. The motion also approved any additional cost for up to 10 people to attend for one day. Trustee Bart Winslow recused himself from the vote because he intends to attend the conference.

• FIRE DEPARTMENT: Church praised Chief Rick Simpson and the members of the fire department for their work in April to deal with flooding in the village during heavy rainfall. The board approved Daniel Henries Jr. as a member of the Hunter Hook & Ladder Company, plans for a chicken barbecue during Cruisin’ Night on June 17 and for the department to participate in the following parades: Montour Falls on June 11, Hammondsport on July 2, Geneva on July 9 and Penn Yan on Aug. 27.

• PARKING: Nancy Christensen, owner of a retail shop on Main Street, said she was speaking as a representative of the Penn Yan Business Association when she complained about a lack of downtown parking. In particular, she said the business owners would like to see more enforcement of the two-hour parking limit on Main Street. She also noted paces in the municipal lot behind the firehouse are often filled with the cars of people who work in nearby offices, leaving limited space for shoppers.

Mayor Robert Church asked Mike Christensen to discuss the issue at the public safety committee level. Church and Mike Christensen told her the village can’t afford to take more real estate off the village tax roll to create additional parking.

They both pointed to the matter of tax revenues, noting that retailers collect sales tax that is paid to Yates County, but not shared with the village.

• RED JACKET PAVILION: Recreation Director Dan Doyle said a local business owner wants to make improvements to the pavilion at Red Jacket Park. Municipal workers have  installed new electric service and new lighting is planned.

• DOT AGREEMENT: The board approved an agreement for the detour planned by the State Department of Transportation for the period when the Liberty Street Bridge is being replaced. Attorney Ed Brockman said state officials will not sign a contract for repairing damage to village streets caused by the detour, but they will negotiate with the village after the project is complete. Brent Bodine, Director of Public Works, recommended the mayor sign the agreement, explaining with video and still photographs of the streets on hand, the village should have proof of the condition of the streets before the detour.

• PULTENEY WATER CONTRACT: The board agreed to adjust the water contract with the town of Pulteney, reducing the minimum purchased gallons from 20 million to 13 million gallons. The board also approved a payment schedule with Pulteney for the amount in arrears as of May 31, which is over $58,340

• APPOINTMENT: The board authorized Bodine to become a member of the New York Municipal Power Agency, based in Syracuse. NYMPA is a joint action agency of 34 New York State municipal members formed in 1996 by General Municipal Law. Bodine will be the president of the agency, noted Trustee Wayne Davidson.

• PROMOTION: The board promoted Douglas Marchionda Jr. to Water Treatment Plant Operator at an hourly rate of $19.58, effective May 13.

• MEETINGS: The board will hold a special meeting at 2 p.m. May 31 for approval of year-end invoices. The next regular meeting will be held at 6 p.m. June 21.