Village Board agrees to take on Ferry Lane improvements

Village officials have agreed to pay the cost of improving Ferry Lane, a private road beat up by heavy truck traffic over the years going back and forth to the former municipal water plant no longer in operation.

“After many visits and talks with residents there we just feel it is the right thing to do,” Mayor Rick Nelson told the village Board of Trustees at its Sept. 20 monthly meeting.

That unanimous decision followed a lengthy discussion in which board members mulled over the pros and cons of taking on the job on a road the village does not own, but has an agreement to maintain in good order. The road leads to the old water plant that was forced to close after PCBs were found in the Hudson River, polluted by General Electric over many years. The plant was shut down by the state and the village now buys its water from the Saratoga County Water Authority.

Before the plant was closed, however, the road was subject to heavy truck traffic to and from the plant. The village has a longstanding easement to use the road. Last April, Ferry Lane residents came to the board meeting claiming the village had failed to listen to its concerns to repair it. Since that time, the Mayor and Trustees have been considering their options.

In the end, Mayor Nelson said the village would “bite the bullet,” and pay to have the work done. Some 3,000 feet of the roadway will be milled down, regraded and blacktopped at a cost of about $23,000. The work is schedule to be completed before winter.

“I don’t like the idea of setting a precedent of paving a private road, so I think our responsibility should end here,” said Trustee Frank Tatum, who held meetings with Ferry Lane residents and voted to support the road work. “We don’t need access to the water plant anymore.”

In other business September 20:

  • The Village Board set a public hearing date of 7 p.m., Oct. 18, in the village meeting room, to discuss three local laws relating to the village’s MS4 stormwater prevention, planning, mitigation and control plan. In June, village approved the hiring of a new Stormwater Management Officer Tuesday night to help the village draft Stormwater Management Plan as required by state and federal law. Small municipal stormwater sewer systems or MS4s that are located within the boundaries of an “urbanized area” are regulated under EPA’s Phase II Stormwater Rule. This requires MS4s like Stillwater to develop a stormwater management program that will reduce the amount of pollutants carried by stormwater during storm events to waterbodies to the “maximum extent practicable.” The goal of the program is to improve water quality and recreational use of waterways. New laws must be on the books by mid-November.
  • Mayor Nelson announced that the village is applying for a Restore New York grant to pay for the demolishing of a rundown property at 617 Hudson Ave. The state has made $50 million in funds available to support community redevelopment projects such as this. The goal is to get the property back on the tax rolls and improve the neighborhood.
  • Village Engineer Ed Hernandez reported that the village has once again been unsuccessful in securing state grant money under Water Infrastructure Improvement Act to help finance the Hillside water tank improvement project. The water tank has corroded and reached the end of its service life. The village estimates replacing the tank and a water line between the tank and Lake Road will cost $550,000. The village, twice unsuccessful now, had hope to secure enough money to pay 60 percent of that cost. The tank project will remain on hold until other financial resources can be found.
  • The Village is investigating a plan to replace all of its street signs if state grant money can be secured to finance it. Village street signs have been replaced piecemeal over the years and do not match. The village would like to upgrade its signs and sign posts and bring consistency in style, color and design. Each sign plus sign brackets would cost about $150 to replace. The cost of the new sign posts is unknown at this time.