Cochecton looking at extensive road damage
By Jeanne Sager
COCHECTON The pipeliners are gone, but the Town of Cochecton is hoping promises of return in the spring aren’t pipe dreams.
The town is looking at an estimated $1.2 million in damages to its roads.
It’s all tied, says Acting Supervisor Larry Richardson, to the work done on the Millennium project.
The last conversation between Millennium officials and Cochecton Highway Superintendent Brian DuBois ended in a verbal agreement that Millennium workers would return this spring to fix the roads.
The problem, says Richardson, is that was only a verbal agreement.
“We did ask the town attorney to write them a letter and get it on paper,” he noted. “At the last board meeting, our attorney reported he hasn’t heard back from them yet.”
DuBois has had estimates for repairs from a private firm which puts the cost at $1.2 million. It’s a number that Richardson says would be “devastating” to a small town budget.
“We pride ourselves in the fact that we may be the only town in Sullivan County that has no debt,” he noted. “We’re looking to build a new town hall this year, and we’re doing it ourselves.”
Debt of more than $1 million is a burden the taxpayers of Cochecton would have a hard time swallowing especially in light of the current economic crisis.
There is a bond in place for $250,000, which will cover at least a portion of the cost. Richardson said the town asked for a higher bond at the outset, calling for Millennium to set aside a $1 million bond.
“They wouldn’t hear of it,” he said.
Instead, the negotiated figure was $250,000, and the town is holding out hope that Millennium will remain true to its promises.
Not lost on Richardson is the amount of money the town already stands to lose over the Millennium in coming years because of tax breaks approved by the Sullivan County IDA.
He estimates the town is already losing anywhere from $500,000 to $700,000, figures that would just about make up the difference for road replacement.
“We’re just hoping that they’re going to stick to their word,” he said.
According to DuBois, the following township roads have sustained damage: Mitchell Pond East, Mitchell Pond West, Johns Rd., Brook Rd., Stony Rd., Cross Rd., Old County Rd., Skipperene Rd., Mohn Rd., Tyler Rd. and Fred White Rd.
According to DuBois, Millennium designated 10 roads in the town as “crossing roads.”
“I don’t expect it to cost the town one cent,” DuBois said of the road damage.