ELIZABETHTOWN -- Essex County lawmakers have agreed pay a $1,000 fine to the Adirondack Park Agency for putting antennas on the new County Public Safety Building without a permit.

"I find it ironic a government agency is fining another government agency," Supervisor Thomas Scozzafava (R-Moriah) said. "It's all coming out of the taxpayers' pocket."

The fine started at much more, County Attorney Daniel Manning III said.

"We negotiated it down, actually."

The fine started out at $2,500, Supervisor Joyce Morency (R-St. Armand) said.

Manning said five antennas were placed on the roof for public-safety communications, and he's submitted an application for an amended permit."

Manning said APA administrators wanted a high fine and were uncooperative.

"They're being more rigid than they have in the past."

RESPONSIBILITY

Scozzafava said he wants to find out if it was a contractor or county workers who put up the antennas found by the APA during an inspection.

Manning said the permit for the Public Safety Building said any communications towers would require a permit.

"I'm guessing someone at the jail put the antennas up there. Whether they knew that clause was in the permit I have no idea."

Crandell Associates and Architects of Glens Falls, the county's jail consultant, was supposed to oversee the project, Scozzafava said.

"I have no idea whether this was part of what they were supposed to do," Manning said. "I don't know how you'd find out."

Supervisor Ronald Jackson (R-Essex) said the APA told them putting the antennas in the original permit application would delay the process, so they left them out.

"I think going back (for approval) fell through the cracks. Someone assumed it was OK" to put the antennas up now.

WHIP ANTENNA

The antennas are on the top of a building that houses the county 911 center, Supervisor Gerald Morrow (D-Chesterfield) said.

"Who in their right mind thinks you're going to build a Public Safety Building and not have a whip antenna? I'm totally shocked. We're an agency that's dispatching to save lives and they fined us $1,000."

Morrow said the APA says it tried to warn the county "and we did not listen."

APA spokesman Keith McKeever was not available Monday afternoon for comment.

Supervisor Robert C. Dedrick (R-Ticonderoga) said he went up to Lewis to see how obtrusive the antennas are.

"It was an eight-foot whip antenna," Dedrick said. "I don't think we should have applied for anything. It looks like a car antenna. It is just ludicrous."

SNUB CONSIDERED

Supervisor Randy Preston (I-Wilmington) wanted the county to ignore the fine.

"I personally am against giving them the $1,000 fine. I think we're all government agencies, and we should work together."

Supervisor George Canon (R-Newcomb) said that if they don't pay it, the APA will hold them up on any future work.

"If we don't pay it, we'll pay a price for it."

Preston said he noticed the APA has not posted its street number on its Ray Brook headquarters.

"It has come to my attention the Park Agency is not displaying their 911 (address) number on their building. That is in violation of county law."

He asked Manning to look into fining the APA for the alleged violation of the county law that mandates such a posting.

"They've very quick to get other people, but they don't seem to follow the rules themselves," Supervisor Ronald Jackson (R-Essex) said.

Supervisors Scozzafava, Preston, Daniel Connell (D-Westport) and Roby Politi (R-North Elba) all voted against paying the fine, but the agreement passed with the other 14 members of the Board of Supervisors voting for it.

The antenna fine is probably the preview of things to come, Canon said.

"They just hired three more people for their enforcement staff. They'll be everywhere" looking for violations.

lmckinstry@pressrepublican.com

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