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Guilderland Archives — The Altamont Enterprise, March 12, 2009

Altamont changes law to meet the green challenge

By Philippa Stasiuk

ALTAMONT— The village is going green. At its March meeting, the Altamont board passed a law that will allow for the replacement of old street-side trees that have to be cut.

The new approach was in response to a challenge. At the board’s December meeting, John Sands of Grand Street complained that his recently-felled sugar maple was the 19th tree on his street to be cut down and not replaced by the village. He challenged the board to create a tree preservation plan in 30 days.

Despite doing so in 90 days, Mayor James Gaughan and the village board fulfilled their commitment to Sands at the village board meeting on March 3 and, after a brief public hearing, unanimously approved amending the law that had prevented the village from replacing trees.

Timothy McIntyre, head of the public works department, explained that the initial ordinance was that no trees, shrubs, or bushes could be planted in the area between the sidewalk and the road because, in the past, some “monster trees” had created hazards to the sidewalks, and the water and sewer lines.

“This is an amendment to that law to go ahead and put some of these trees back that are from time to time being taken down,” McIntyre said.

Gaughan added, “We made a commitment to change the law and remove the prohibition. We’ll ameliorate the parks’ budget to allow a replacement of trees that are not the monster type that Tim talked about and to return some of the green streetscapes that were removed over time.”

McIntyre then clarified that the new law, the first in 2009, would also apply to state and county roads in the village.

Other business

The board also:

— Heard from Commissioner of Public Safety Anthony Salerno that the village had received an in-kind grant from the state’s Department of Criminal Justice of $1,300 to replace two prescreening Alco Sensor devices used for alcohol impairment detection;

—Set a budget workshop for March 17 at 7:30 p.m. Gaughan described the meeting as “the event where department heads come before the board and present proposals by budgets”;

— Set a public hearing on the budget for April 7 at 7:30 p.m., after which the board is slated to adopt the spending plan;

—Set the annual re-organizational meeting for April 7 at 7:30 p.m. Gaughan described the meeting as one in which, “the village swears in elected officials, fills appointive offices, designates the official newspaper, sets dates for regular meetings, the procurement policy, mileage allowance, training, and the official bank”;

—Heard a proclamation read by Mayor Gaughan recognizing and showing appreciation to Jeffrey B. Moller, Eagle Scout. Gaughan said the village board “extends our sincere congratulations” as Moller graduates from high school to major in engineering. He concluded, “We honor him for his commitment to scouting and for achieving the rank of Eagle Scout”;

—Accepted the resignation of Alice Begley, village historian, effective April 8 per letter of resignation. Trustee William Aylward said, “Alice was retained in office during my term and she was remarkably committed to the projects that the town had. It’s hard to find anybody like Alice. She is unique and, because she’s unique, it will be difficult to replace her.”

Begley told The Enterprise she will continue her work as Guilderland’s town historian and that, while she enjoyed her tenure in Altamont, she is looking forward to having more free time.

Gaughan said he was approving her resignation with regret, that she has served the village well, and that the board members would be consulting among themselves to provide her with an appropriate sendoff; and

—Approved applications from Thomas Fiacco and Joe Fiacco, of Helderberg Avenue, for membership as apprentice firemen in the Altamont Fire Department as requested by Chief Paul Miller. Trustee Dean Whalen said, “I know both of these boys and it’s admirable that they’re stepping up.”

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