Sullivan County Democrat
Callicoon, New York
March 1, 2013 Issue
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Dan Hust | Democrat

As cameras roll on Wednesday, Delaware Supervisor Ed Sykes speaks to his fellow town board members – from the left, councilpeople Cindy Herbert, Harold Roeder, Al Steppich (hidden) and John gain – about the coming gas drilling commission. The meetings are being broadcast, unedited on Time-Warmer Cable Channel 23 every Monday between 8 and 10 p.m.

Drill team

By Dan Hust
HORTONVILLE — The Town of Delaware will get a drilling commission after all.
On Wednesday, the town board voted 3-2 to create such, with Supervisor Ed Sykes and councilpeople Cindy Herbert and John Gain in favor. Councilmen Harold Roeder and Al Steppich were opposed.
“I don’t think at this point in the game it’s going to accomplish much,” Roeder mused, pointing out that the neighboring Town of Cochecton unsuccessfully tried the same idea last year.
“I don’t think anything will be gained by it,” agreed Steppich. “I’m kind of cool about it.”
But Sykes thought it would be worth a try.
“I think if it’s done honestly and everyone wants to look at it honestly ... I think there is some good to it,” he argued.
“We won’t know if it’s positive or not without trying it,” added Gain.
Yesterday, Sykes said the commission will feature 6-7 members from both sides of the gas drilling argument – “level-headed, not fanatic one way or another” – with names submitted by the board and the public (Sykes welcomes calls suggesting candidates at 887-5250, ext. 1).
By the next town board meeting (set for September 19 at 7 p.m. at the town hall in Hortonville), Sykes wants to have a framework in place, though he said there’s “no instruction book” for how the commission will proceed – save that it will solicit experts and give advice to the board.
The meeting featured a variety of speakers opining about gas drilling and can be viewed in its entirety on Time Warner Cable channel 23 every Monday between 8 and 10 p.m.
he town has also received letters about the pro-drilling resolution the board passed in June – 35 against and one for the resolution – with more expected, as a new group called Delaware Concerned Citizens has mailed form letters all over the township, decrying the resolution. Those letters will be collected by the group and delivered to the town at a future date.
Changes coming
As a result of last month’s sometimes vitriolic public comment session, Sykes indicated the town board will be changing aspects of the comment policy.
“We’re going to prohibit clapping and booing,” he told the Democrat yesterday. “We’re going to have proper decorum.”
Such changes will be a topic at the next board meeting, he said.
Streetscape will happen
On a less controversial note, Sykes was relieved to announce that the Callicoon streetscape project was successfully rebid and will soon begin.
“We do have a project!” he told the packed town hall Wednesday night. “We should have contracts in a few days.”
The winning bid – $61,800 – was from the same firm, NGS Construction out of Eldred, which had the first bid. The county required the project to be rebid when major parts of it were changed to lessen the original $72,000 bid.
The streetscape effort – which will replace and reconfigure portions of a parking lot, retaining wall and stairway in the center of Callicoon – initially only had $42,000 from the state and Sullivan Renaissance with which to work, but the railroad is pitching in with $1,000, said Sykes, and the township itself will provide in-kind services to dismantle the existing retaining wall.

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