▶ Residents next in line to share thoughts on repairs, rebuilding

The fate of the highway garage is prompting heated debate at AuSable Town Council meetings.

With no clear direction for the future of a permanent garage, town residents will soon have a say in just what can be done to house the highway vehicles.

CONCERNS FOR WINTER

The existing highway garage has been closed, due to issues with mold.

A temporary work trailer and portable toilets are now in use for the department, but the real concern for highway workers is the winter, as starting the massive trucks can be extremely difficult if they are housed outside.

Highway Superintendent Timothy Booth said this could mean coming in an hour early for work on some days, just to get the vehicles heated enough to operate.

Town Supervisor Sandy Senecal said heaters will be installed in the vehicles to help them start in the mornings.

SPECIAL MEETING

A special session was scheduled for the Town Council to speak to professionals on the highway building issue; however, several members expressed the feeling it was unnecessary by simply not showing up.

Senecal said she was disappointed in the lack of communication, which will be vital in order to move the project forward.

"As far as I'm concerned, put a new roof on it," Councilor Darcy Pray said.

He said he has no intention of voting for a new building and said that just because there is a meeting on it "doesn't mean I have to show up."

WORK TOGETHER

With questions still abounding on the possibility of restoring the original highway garage, other members of the Town Council voiced concern that it would be a complicated process to bring the building up to New York state code.

"We got to get open-minded," Councilor Steven Sucharski said.

Working together, he said, will be the only way to move forward.

PUBLIC INPUT

The council conducted a work session last week to discuss the future of the Highway Department. Senecal said there will soon be a meeting in order for the public to be educated as to the condition of the old highway building.

"Our first course of action is to let the taxpayers know," she said.

The debate is over fixing the existing building or constructing a new building, with the cost possibly being in the millions of dollars.

"It's going to be a very difficult task," Senecal said. "But the garage has so many issues. We don't want to put money into a building that won't last."

The hope, she said, is to have the public share their feelings so the town leaders can do what they can to provide a space with the longest possible lifespan for the Highway Department.

PARK UPKEEP

At the same meeting, Councilor John Casey of Keeseville proposed that AuSable, Chesterfield and Keeseville come together to beautify Jaycee Park.

As no one actually takes care of the fields, Casey proposed that money be set aside in order to bring the fields into usable condition.

In addition, funds available from Major League Baseball could match the money put aside by the three entities, if certain stipulations are followed.

While work on the field is in its infancy, Casey hopes that room will be made in the 2011 budget with work beginning in April.

"The whole community benefits from Jaycee Park," Casey said. "We all should share in the work."

YOUTH COMMISSION

Also approved was a resolution to appoint Darlene LaMountain and Brian LaFountain to the Keeseville Youth Commission.

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