Update: Jerusalem town board

John Christensen

The Jerusalem Town Board had to admit they need Butch Comstock to stay on as assessor at their meeting June 15. According to the county, the town’s final corrections and sign off of assessments for the year must be signed by an acting assessor.

Comstock has retired after several years as the assessor, but was willing to stay on until a new assessor could be appointed at $20 per hour or $300 per week. The town board thought they could dispense with his services this spring, but this last duty came as a surprise. Comstock will be called upon only on an as-needed basis for $20 per hour until the new assessor takes over.

Seven possible candidates have been vetted with the help of Pat Brede of the county’s Real Property and Wendy Gibson of  the county’s personnel department. The committee will narrow this down to the best two or three to be interviewed by the board.

Other business on the town’s agenda:

• PUBLIC HEARINGS:  To be held at the July 20 board meeting for a highway encroachment issue on West Bluff Drive, and a demand of property cleanup on Rte. 54A.

• INSURANCE: Yates County Legislature Chairman Taylor Fitch presented arguments for the town to remain with the county’s self-insurance plan for workers’ compensation rather than going with the New York Municipal Insurance Reciprocal group.

• COMPUTERS: A resolution to install equipment to allow remote access to the town office computers for the town board and office employees was tabled to address security questions.

•  HIGHWAY: Fuel costs remain a concern for the highway department. Diesel fuel is about $1 per gallon higher than was budgeted. The new truck that was ordered is in, and the town is looking for a used sander unit to install on it. SEMA funds will be available for spring storm damage.

•  WATER: A hydrant in the town has been shut down too fast on two occasions by the same fireman, causing the water meter at Bedient’s to blow out. The fire chief will be contacted.

•  HOGWEED: A DEC grant is available through this summer for the elimination of toxic Giant Hogweed. Annette Toaspern, a Master Gardener, has prepared a chart listing all reported specimens in the town. Any residents finding hogweed on their land should contact the Cooperative Extension and the Master Gardeners who will contact the state hotline.

• WIND FARMS: The wind farm subcommittee has made changes to the distance and noise regulations for wind turbines. The public hearing will scheduled after the SEQR has been drafted and the changes are approved by the county planning board.

• ASSESSMENTS:  Independent assessment of elected officials’ property will be made by April 2012. The board believes that a reciprocal agreement with other towns’ assessors will make it a simple matter.

• RECREATION: Bev Eccelston was appointed Recreation Director from July 11 through Aug. 11. The program is fully staffed and will serve the largest group of children in its history, though county funding has been cut. Taylor Fitch presented a $325 check from the Jerusalem Republican Committee for the program.

• THANKS: The board expressed thanks to Jordy George and Bob Payne for the flags installed in Branchport for Memorial Day. Thanks were also given to the Sheriff’s Dept. and SWEAPS program for helping on Clean Up Day. “They were a Godsend,” said Max Parson. Marshall Gurnee will be presented with a certificate of gratitude July 20 for the work he has done in the town’s cemeteries.