Walden mayor, trustees unopposed in village election

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The upcoming Walden village election on March 19 will see Mayor Susan Rumbold and three village trustees up for re-election for fresh two-year terms, but this year’s balloting may be anticlimactic, as all four races will be non-contested, ensuring new terms for all four incumbents. Trustees Faith Moore and Lynn Thompson will each secure their second terms on the council, while Trustee Brian Sebring will gain his seventh term on the board.

Rumbold will earn her third term as mayor, and the official is eager to continue in the role for another two-year stint.

“As always, I’m happy to continue my service to the Village of Walden,” she said. “I think there’s been many positive things that have happened for the village in the past year, and I look forward to continuing in that direction to bring positives to the village.”

The third-floor offices in Village Hall are set to get a security upgrade, as Walden has plans to install a pane of bulletproof glass to protect the employees working behind the clerk’s counter. The proposal has an initial price tag of $9,237, though the board decided during its Feb. 19 meeting to continue to investigate the grade of bulletproof glass needed for the renovations before the work is approved.

“If you go visit most municipalities, particularly the court offices and the village or town clerk’s office, you’ll see a glass window with a hole plus a slot for papers to go through,” Village Manager John Revella said. “That’s pretty much the idea we’re going with here. Instead of having the double doors wide open to the whole room, where someone could easily walk through and jump over the desk, we’ll have a desk up to the entryway with glass above it. So there won’t be any way to get through without going through the employee only door.”

The funding for the proposed renovations would come from the village’s capital account for building improvements. Once approved, it would take four to six weeks for the materials to arrive, while the renovations themselves should be able to be completed over the course of a weekend.

During last Tuesday’s meeting, Rumbold noted that a village contingent including herself, Revella, Walden Police Chief Jeff Holmes, Deputy Mayor Faith Moore and additional village department heads paid an introductory visit to State Senator James Skoufis’ office this month. The session was an opportunity for the official, who took over for the retiring Senator William Larkin, to learn about the issues that Walden wants to focus on. “The meeting was to get to know him, but also to bring him up to speed on concerns we’ve had in the village for quite some time,” Rumbold said. “Hopefully he’ll be able to help us maneuver through the various agencies that need to assess these issues and try our best to get them completed.”

Among the concerns that the group told Skoufis about was the declining quality of the railroad crossings on Coldenham Road and Grant Street. With the New York State Department of Transportation and the Norfolk Southern Railway and Middletown & New Jersey Railroad companies all involved in the potential repair of the crossings, the renovations have been held up. “It’s been years, and it just keeps deteriorating,” Rumbold said. “You’re dealing with two railroads and then the DOT, and it’s really becoming an issue trying to cross those railroad tracks. There have been several accidents there. I believe the one on Coldenham Road is on their list to be repaired, but nothing on Grant Street, and that’s one that needs to be addressed as well.”

The state is planning on fixing at least one crossing in the near future, but the timetable is not set in stone. “Coldenham is coming up in this calendar year, I believe,” Rumbold noted. “At least that’s the indication, but we have had projects through the state DOT that have been slated for a certain time period and then for whatever reason had to be pushed back. But these are really concerns because a lot of traffic goes through both of those railroad crossings and they’re really starting to deteriorate and they need to be addressed. So we’re kind of stuck in the middle of the whole process, so it’s kind of like the three of them, the two railroads and the DOT, have to get together and decide who’s responsible and what needs to be done and when. We just don’t seem to be able to get those questions answered and get satisfactory answers for any of them.”

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