ST. REGIS FALLS — An effort to establish a cat sanctuary in the hamlet of St. Regis Falls is making progress, with $3,500 raised so far to buy the required building.

That money paid the down payment on an $8,000 structure from Adirondack Sheds, Donna Bailey told the Waverly Town Council at a recent meeting.

But before starting more fundraising, she said, she wanted to get a statement of support from the Town Council.

She said there are many donors from many areas, not just St. Regis Falls, and that she believes the sanctuary is needed and obtainable. 

Bailey, who is associated with North Country Animal Shelter in Malone, said as soon as the Town Council gives the go-ahead she will work up a yearly budget.

SITE NEEDED

Late last year, the Town Council had agreed to lease land at its campsite in the hamlet of St. Regis Falls for the purpose, but it turned out its location near a waterway brought the Adirondack Park Agency into the picture.

It was decided the work needed to gather information for that permitting process was too cumbersome, so that site was rejected. 

The Town Council is still pursuing the idea, however, and continues to look for a suitable lot that would be leased for the sanctuary. 

That facility, to be called Sweetie's Cat Shack, would be a satellite of Sweetie's Cat Closet, the building that houses felines up for adoption at the Animal Shelter in Malone.

BUSINESS PLAN

North Country Animal Shelter Director Shirley Morton pointed out that a definite business plan needs to be put in place for expenses, such as the feasibility of such a venture, costs for site preparation, water and sewer connections, wiring and insulation, sanitary precautions to prevent spread of animal viruses and respiratory infections and kenneling due to sickness. 

She also added that a heat supply, fuel, litter and garbage waste need to be included.

Morton pointed out that liability insurance is vital, giving the example of an outbreak of ringworm, which is contagious to humans, that took place at the Malone shelter last year.

She commended  Bailey for her efforts to raise funds and to continue to carry her dream to house homeless cats.

Various lots were mentioned as potential sites for the sanctuary by townspeople in attendance at the meeting, but none were thought to be either available or acceptable. 

The matter was set aside until the next meeting.

The Town Council conducted other business as well:

NORTH RIVER ROAD: Letters have been mailed to residents on North River Road regarding interest by landowners to receive water and sewer services.

CAMPSITE: Discussion was held on how to keep expenses down at the town-owned campsite. Due to security cameras, which are in place year round to prevent thefts, the present cost needs to be looked into. Also, a question on the cost of supplies for the campsite was brought into discussion and how to cut back on that expense.

ACCOUNTING CLERK: The present accounting clerk, who also covers the Town Office, is leaving, and Town Councilor Lawrence Cheney pointed out that the office, which has two part-time people, may be better filled with one person. It was also mentioned by Cheney that the position may require a Civil Service appointment and should be checked out before going any further.

CAMERAS: Discussion has been held to install cameras in town at designated spots to catch speeders. Town Justice Jeff Fraser is expecting that the town will receive a $4,000 check from the Diversion Program. These monies are received when speeding tickets are issued and drivers opt to pay a $150 fine and take schooling to dismiss the ticket. The District Attorney's Office takes half, and half is given to the town where the speeding offense occurred. The monies can be used for anything the town chooses.

BUS GARAGE: It was agreed by all that the contract with St. Regis Falls Central School for buses to be parked in the town garage would stay the same at $22,500. 

RECYCLABLES: There will be an increase in the yearly cost of a ticket to deposit recyclables at the Town Hall, from $15 to $20. 

The Town Council will meet next at 7 p.m. Monday, April 20, at 7 p.m. at the Town Hall, 6 North Main Street, St. Regis Falls.

Susan Tobias was born in Westville (Franklin County) and was the fifth generation to live on the McGibbon family farm. She has lived in Plattsburgh since 1970. She and her husband, Toby, have six children, 18 grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.

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