By the end of November, the bridge on Hulbert Hollow Road may be repaired, if all goes smoothly, Spencer Town Supervisor Allen Fulkerson told the Spencer Town Board at its Nov. 10 meeting.
The project ran into some delays when culvert pipe was stolen, but it looks on track to finish this month. The bridge washed out over two years ago, and a temporary bridge was put in until the permanent one could be designed, bonded, bid out and installed. The actual project has gone along quite quickly, once begun.
Paying for the bridge had to be worked into the town’s budget. Fortunately, the South Hill bridge bond has been retired this year, so that budget line can now continue to reflect a bridge bond payment without adding a new additional expense line to the 2021 budget.
At the October board meeting, the town board had approved a $400,000 bond to cover the cost of this project, to be repaid over five years. Fulkerson told the board that the Hart Road bridge had also been repaired but with better walls this time. “Hopefully it will be trouble-free going into the future,” he added.
Under old business, Fulkerson said after months of waiting he finally received an email from Gary Hammond, Tioga County’s Commissioner of Public Works. The board has several roads or portions of roads it wants designated for qualified abandonment, which means that the town will no longer maintain them.
The email from Hammond indicated that the request was received but no action had been taken. The board has no idea why this routine request is taking so long, so it asked Town Attorney William Attorney to contact Hammond to try and expedite the legal process.
The roads that the town wants to abandon include Balander Road, a portion of Hagadorn Hill and Cooper Spur.
Three roads that the town wants to add to their inventory and now maintain are Aman Drive, Agnes Lane, and Timothy Lane. The county took control over them five years ago for non-payment of taxes. The town is already maintaining them and accepted them from the county when the fee was waived.
Having these be town roads will now help owners and buyers with mortgages because the properties on the roads will now have frontage on public roads. The resolution to add those roads passed unanimously.
Spencer Town Clerk Terri MacCheyne updated the board on a possible upgrade to the town’s website. The current website is hard to navigate and update; a new town resident, Sander van Dijk, offered in September to build a new one for the town to consider. He was present to show the council a prototype of the new site. There are some domain and email issues to be worked out, but MacCheyne’s first impression was that the proposed site is a great improvement, and she urged the board to seriously consider switching to it. The board is interested in an improved website but tabled any action until the emails, domain and certain other pieces are in place for them to evaluate.
In other business, the board:
•Approved the annual fire contract with the Spencer Fire Department for fire protection in 2021, under basically the same terms as last year, for $80,000.
•Held a budget hearing before the meeting began, but there were no comments from the public. In September the board had passed a resolution to override the tax cap, should it be necessary, given the downturn in the economy during the pandemic.
•Approved the purchase by the town highway department in September of two new sanders for $14,000.
The next meeting of the town board will be on Dec. 8 at 6 p.m.