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Opinion

March 13, 2014

Candidates offer view on village

In the upcoming elections for the Village of Cooperstown, the candidates for mayor and two trustee positions are running unopposed. This situation spares voters from listening to and reading a lot of electioneering rhetoric. However, it unfortunately denies voters an opportunity to question the candidates on issues facing the Village and also denies candidates an opportunity to explain the actions they have taken and to state their views and positions on upcoming issues. Although board meetings frequently find us debating the best way to accomplish our goals, the three of us have common views concerning the needs of the Village. We think clarifying our positions on some issues might be useful.

Much of our time as trustees is spent trying to deal with the large and aging infrastructure of the Village, including: ancient sewer and water pipes under many of our streets, six parks, a national landmark baseball field, an historic village hall, a water treatment plant, a sewer plant, a fire hall, and several miles of streets. Maintaining all this requires careful balancing and prioritization to make sure Village taxpayers get the most for their money.

For example, state and federal law require us to reduce seepage from our old sewer pipes. We are continuing to consolidate sewer projects, along with replacing old water pipes in several streets in the same area, and then completing the sewer and water line replacements. We then completely resurface those streets and replace curbs where necessary. While this process creates detours and disruptions for nearby residents, it is by far the most cost-effective way to address these projects. Replacing all the old pipes is an enormous task, and building up enough funds in the reserve accounts takes several years. We completed a major project on Walnut and nearby streets last year. The next major sewer, water, and resurfacing project will probably be in 2015-16. To extend the life of streets not due for major work, we have developed a planned maintenance program to coat several streets each year with oil and stone.

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