The Village Board honored long-time Trustee John Basile Tuesday night for his “outstanding and dedicated” service to Stillwater residents.
Basile announced in December that he would not run for another four-year term on the board after serving since 2007. His last official day in office is April 5.
“Mr. Basile, you’ve been a great asset to this village,” said Mayor Ernest Martin, as he presented the outgoing Trustee with a plaque for her service. “We’ve appreciated what you’ve done very much.”
Basile, also the Deputy Mayor, spent much of his two terms using his technical expertise to help navigate the village through a series of comprehensive water and sewer problems. Over the years he has been the board’s lead liaison between the Water and Sewer Departments, and Department of Public Works. During that time, the village has undergone a massive overhaul of its aging sewer system and a shut down of the water treatment plant after PCBs were found infiltrating village drinking water.
“Some people have asked me why I’m not running again and it’s pretty simple,” Basile told the board. “I have some other things I’d like to do with my life.”
He added that his original objective for running for the board was to help with the aging sewer system, “but pretty quickly into my term we all found out we needed to work on a lot more than just that.”
“It was water and sewer and many other things,” he said. “I’m very glad I had an opportunity to participate in that and I’m honored and privileged to have served my village. And by the way, I am still here and I will always be around paying attention to what is going on, and to be a resource in any way I can help.”
In other business:
Trustees voted to accept the application from Camelot Associates to erect five, two-story apartment buildings on the long-vacant American Linens factory property on North Hudson Avenue. The application calls for constructing 40 apartments on the lot.
The decision did not come without discussion, however, as Trustees Ellen Vomacka and Judith Wood-Shaw continued their push for an alternative plan that would include retail space along with the apartments. The developer had proposed mixed residential and retail construction there eight years ago but have abandoned the retail idea because they claim they can’t get businesses to move to the village.
Vomacka and Wood-Shaw said if the developer can’t draw the 8-10 businesses it originally proposed there should at least be room for two, such as a diner and a laudromat.
“It just doesn’t behoove the village to go forward without any retail space at all,” Vomacka said. “By doing that we haven’t grown we’ve just added more apartments. You all know how I feel about it.”
“According to the developer’s application, they have spent eight years trying to make (the property) retail usable and it hasn’t worked out,” Basile said. “I believe it’s a complete application.”
A public hearing will be held on the proposal at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, April 21, as part of the next Village Board meeting.
In other action March 17:
- Fire Chief Jeff Mahar reported that he met with a grant writer and will be receiving a 40-page questionnaire needed for research in hopes of securing federal funding to purchase more than a dozen new air packs for the Newland-Wood Fire Company No. 59. The department is in need of replacement fire packs for units that are about to expire and soon will no longer be able to be used. “He was pretty positive,” Mahar said, “and very upbeat about some of the stuff we talked about. Hopefully, it will come through. We’ll see where it goes.”
- Village Engineer Ed Hernandez said the final sewer upgrades approved by the Village Board in December should begin with the contractors some time in April. He also reported that the Park Avenue bridge needs repairs and renovations, based on NYS Department of Transportation inspections, within the next 4-5 years, and he is working with the Saratoga County Planning Department on that project.
- Trustee Basile reported the village has dealt with eight water main breaks this winter, and a ninth at the trailer park that hasn’t been addressed yet. This number of breaks is not unusual and many municipalities are dealing with the same issues due to this year’s extreme cold snap. He also reported that the village performed special tests for lead and copper in the drinking water and the results came back “satisfactory” for the three areas the village has experience problems with in the past.
- Trustee Timothy Campbell reported that the village ice skating rink is now closed for the season but was very “well used” this winter. He thanked the village DPW for clearing snow off rink several times this year so it could be fully used.
- Trustee Vomacka reported she is working on a plan to set up an emergency alert system similar to what Saratoga County offers that would notify village residents by text should there be an emergency such as a boil water advisory or other situation. Residents would be able to register for the alerts from the village website.
- Trustee Wood-Shaw reported that she has submitted paperwork for a $2,000 grant to the Stillwater Foundation of Global Foundaries for two new picnic tables and two benches for the village’s new playground area installed last fall. She also reported that Advanced Power of Wilton did a site review of the village complex and will make a proposal for installing a back up generator system in case of loss of power. This is a “much needed piece of equipment because we have no back up power in place,” she said.