PLATTSBURGH — An eight-minute commentary from City of Plattsburgh Mayor Colin Read on a local radio show has Town of Plattsburgh Supervisor Michael Cashman frustrated and speaking out.
Cashman responded en force to Read’s comments, saying he believes the mayor is purposely misleading the public.
“In typical fashion, the mayor presents a narrative to the public that the town is central to the city woes and must be part of the solutions,” Cashman said.
“The mayor professes to want to collaborate with others. But the reality is, his record speaks otherwise.”
Cashman’s response was a result of comments Read made on “Monday Morning With The Mayor,” on radio station WIRY, hosted by Dave Andrews.
Read talked about the city’s water supply, waste-water treatment options, inexpensive electricity and the ability to share those and other services with other municipalities in an effort to collaborate and help the city and the region.
He mentioned how the city supplied water for a major fire at the Comfort Inn and Suites (in 2008) as an example of how the city is willing to share services and help out regionally.
At one point during the interview, Read also mentioned the city-owned Clinton County Compost Plant off Rugar Street in the Town of Plattsburgh.
The plant, which has had numerous issues since it opened in 1986, once turned solid waste into a usable material that the city marketed.
Bad odor and frequent broken equipment were the plant’s main problems.
It has been dormant since 2004, three years after a major fire caused heavy damage to the facility.
The future of the plant has been a source of contention between the city and town since 2012 when the city first looked to keep its permits to operate the plant up-to-date.
The issue arose again last year when the city took similar steps.
The city said in 2012, and again last year, that they had no intentions of firing up the troublesome plant again, but wanted to keep the permits ready in case of an emergency.
The city has been shipping most of its solid waste to the Franklin County Landfill in Malone since the plant closed.
Read did not say on the WIRY show that the city wants to come out and re-open the plant, but he left the door open in Cashman’s view, by referring to new treatment methods the city could use with the plant that would not cause neighborhood issues like it did in the past.
When asked to elaborate, Read said the city does not have plans now to utilize the plant.
He added that the city wanted to move its Municipal Lighting Department plant to the Rugar Street site next to the compost plant, but couldn’t because of a town moratorium on utilities.
“We have to develop plans for that site since the moratorium caused us to have to look elsewhere for MLD. I have asked our various departments what can be done at that location that is either a continuation of what has been done in the past, or new ideas. So, the status quo is as far as it goes right now,” Read said.
Read said the moratorium turned out to be a “huge blessing in disguise,” since the city was able to buy the former Plattsburgh Distributing building on Sharron Avenue, also in the town, for the MLD operations.
“Being forced to look for another location came at just the right time,” Read said.
“We were able to find another location also on the edge of the city that costs about one-fifth of what new construction would have cost. We are very grateful to have found the Sharron Avenue location and are moving in as we speak.”
Cashman said he was puzzled by many of the mayor’s comments.
“It begs the question: What are the city’s intentions for the compost plant?” Cashman said.
“The plant has a history of pungent smells impacting the quality of life of residents as well as businesses in the city and town. . . In February of this year, the mayor said they don’t have any intention to use it. Yet we know the city refiled their permit, and in the interview this week, he seems to be flirting with investigating new opportunities. One might say something already doesn’t smell right here.”
Cashman also said the mayor’s comments about the city providing water outside the city for fires, doesn’t make sense.
“The mayor references a 2008 fire at the Comfort Inn from more than a decade ago with the city helping. Indeed they did, like neighbors should to look out for one another,” he said, adding that helping at local fires has always been a team effort.
“The surrounding Town of Plattsburgh area volunteer fire departments through mutual aid, as good neighbors do, continue to step up to fill in some of those gaps. Most recently with the devastating fire on Adirondack Lane in the city.”
When it comes to sharing water, Cashman said the town has been a leader in the region for years.
“We are a regional water supplier to the Town of Plattsburgh, as well parts of Beekmantown and Schuyler Falls. Our well established Water Capital Plan has already reduced costs by securing over $3.6 million in funds. In fact we were funded in years the city had also applied because our projects were more realistic and ready to go,” he said.
Cashman said the mayor bemoans paying taxes on property in the town, then, the city buys more.
“He neglects to speak with the school districts and volunteer fire departments that would be impacted by his bad ideas,” Cashman said.
The town supervisor also said that the mayor often paints a different image of reality.
“He states that the city takes great pride in their beach and parks. Yet numerous times this year alone, folks in the city would say otherwise,” Cashman said.
Cashman also said that Read, while talking about cooperation and collaboration, does not participate in the Clinton County Supervisor’s Association meetings, which would be a great way to share.
“He avoids situations where he has to build relationships,” Cashman said.
“So until the mayor comes down from his perch, stops lecturing from the bully pulpit and puts in the work to build relationships, I think he will be hard pressed for folks of Clinton County to see his proposals as anything more than bellyaching or seeking means to burden the taxpayers of the Town of Plattsburgh and Clinton County.”
MAYOR WILLING TO TALK
Read he is willing to discuss issues with Cashman, but the supervisor won’t.
“Maybe the town supervisor should stop listening to the radio program and getting upset,” Read said.
“I always run things by him before we move in a different direction, even though I rarely get a response. I’m always going to be forthcoming in the questions asked of me, though. And, yes, the city is always willing to entertain ideas. That is the mantra around here, and it is generating a lot of great creativity.”
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