new highway barn
Story by Dan Hust
HORTONVILLE Delaware’s town board unanimously agreed on Wednesday (minus absent member Harold Roeder) to buy part of an old quarry for a new town highway department complex.
Around six acres now owned by a hunting club along Route 17B east of Hortonville will be acquired for $100,000, utilizing an existing town surplus.
A coming survey will reveal the exact amount of acreage to be bought, said Supervisor Ed Sykes, after which a contract will be drawn up.
For years, Delaware has sought a new home for the highway barn, which sits at the intersection of the Callicoon Creek and Joe Brook in Hortonville, where repeated flooding has expensively damaged equipment and structures.
“We have to do something,” Highway Supt. Bill Eschenberg urged, “... before someone gets killed, before our trucks end up in the Delaware River.
“You can build a town barn that people can be proud of, instead of driving by that dump,” he added.
“It really is a lousy location,” agreed Sykes.
Buoyed by plans to build the complex through grants rather than increased taxes, audience members largely seemed to support the move, though some thought the town might be better off selling the existing highway complex instead of the current idea of keeping it for storage.
Neighbors of the proposed new location Guy and Debbie Owen attended the meeting not to oppose the plan but to ensure it’s done right.
“We want to make sure our property value is maintained,” explained Debbie.
She and her husband asked the board to write down provisions that will prohibit the site from ever becoming a garbage transfer station, plus ensuring materials are stored properly so as not to contaminate their nearby well.
Though the town does not have to go through a zoning or planning board process, resident Michael Chojnicki suggested Delaware nevertheless engage its planning board to address such concerns in essence, treating the project like any other requiring planning board approval.
Eschenberg and several town board members indicated they didn’t have a problem with that idea.
“We owe it to the people of the Town of Delaware to do it right,” agreed Councilman John Gain.
Delaware’s new sole assessor system kicks off in January, when Assessor Reneé Ozomek takes her seat.
As a result, said Sykes, the township wants to reassess all properties, and the board agreed to undertake such by 2015, with full reappraisals done every four years thereafter.
As part of that effort, a data collector will be hired for $15 an hour, to be employed as needed.