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Invaders from afar threaten town lake

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GERMANTOWN–Swimming lessons are on for this summer in the town’s lake on Palatine Park Road. After that, swimming may be curtailed, or even ended.

Algae and water chestnuts are the problem, and coming up later in the summer, duckweed. Anthony Cidras and the town Maintenance Department have placed aerators in the water, which help, and the lake has been treated for the first two invasive weeds. The lake is safe for swimming.

The Town Board discussed the condition of the lake and the cost of its remediation at a workshop meeting June 4 and the regular board meeting June 18. “It smells like dead fish,” said Councilman Michael Mortenson.

In an ideal world, the town would drain the lake this fall and dredge it, removing the invasive weeds and deepening the lake. In today’s world of limited funds, that’s a daunting project for a town of about 2,000 citizens.

Not having a lake at all would save the town $12,000 in salaries for four lifeguards, which could be used for other programming, and the cost of continuing lake maintenance.

About 20 children have already been signed up for two weeks of swimming lessons, which begin right after school ends. “Swimming lessons are very important,” said Councilman Joel Craig, “but I question keeping the lake open for the whole summer.”

The consensus on the board was to keep the lake open for swimming lessons, continue to monitor it for recreational use and possibly reduce, or even end, swimming hours. The lifeguards can be employed in other park programs. Decisions about remediation would be considered during the budget process.

In other business, the board:

*Decided that rather than referring town ethics issues to the county Ethics Board, as several towns are doing, Germantown would expand its Ethics Board from three to five members. A public hearing on the change takes place before the next Town Board meeting, July 16. In the meantime, those interested in serving on the town Ethics Board–which has considered three cases in the last 10 years–are asked to contact Deputy Supervisor Austin Sullivan. Appointees must be voting residents of the town.

*Learned from Supervisor Roy Brown that he will announce by the July board meeting the date of an information meeting regarding hydraulic fracturing. He looks to hold a joint meeting with Clermont and to present two experts, pro and con, on the subject. In April the board voted to begin an 18-month moratorium on natural gas and / or petroleum exploration activities.

*Learned from Andrea Dunn that the Parks Commission earned $1,300 in its June 14 sub sale. In addition, an anonymous donor gave $3,350 toward the playground renewal project. Since the sub sale was a sell-out, another is being planned.

The Parks Commission’s federal tax-exempt status under section 501(c)(3) of the tax law is pending, and the group is working with the Lions Club on a Hudson Valley Apple Festival scheduled for September 22 and 23. The softball tournament planned for July 7 and 8 is in process, with more women’s teams signed up than men’s.

Commission member Brittany Dufresne and her husband Bill are parents of a boy, Cooper Charles, born June 3. All are doing well.

*Learned that Mr. Brown and Bruce Bohnsack, chair of the Economic Development and Sidewalks Committees, met with engineers at Region 8 of the state Department of Transportation regarding the extension of the hamlet’s sidewalks. DOT has approved the design for the new sidewalks.

*Learned from Mr. Bohnsack that the EDC is at work on an initiative to make Germantown bicycle-friendly, for all level of riders. The committee is also at work on new Main Street signs for the west side of Route 9G, on an information kiosk and on a Business Breakfast for 12526 businesses. As a business-friendly initiative, Mr. Bohnsack inquired about extending the mixed-use zoning designation several hundred yards east on Main Street, where zoning is currently residential. This would be a zoning change, requiring a recommendation from the Planning Board, an environmental review, notifying the county and a public hearing.

*Learned that the Request for Proposals for the wastewater treatment plant utility and expansion study had drawn three proposals. Mr. Mortenson and Joan Snyder will consider these, conduct interviews and get back to the town board.

The board went into executive session to discuss a Police Department matter. All board members attended the meeting except Ms. Snyder, along with about a dozen residents.

 

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