Lloyd gets updates on streetscape project

By Mark Reynolds
Posted 6/7/22

Last week Lloyd Supervisor Dave Plavchak gave an update to the board and the public on the streetscape project that has been proposed for the hamlet of Highland.

Plavchak highlighted the areas …

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Lloyd gets updates on streetscape project


Last week Lloyd Supervisor Dave Plavchak gave an update to the board and the public on the streetscape project that has been proposed for the hamlet of Highland.

Plavchak highlighted the areas where new sidewalks will be put in, “starting up around Eltings Place, down through Main Street, through Vineyard Avenue and up to Commercial. There was a section of Commercial Avenue Extension and the corner of Church Street that was also part of it.”

Plavchak’s comment that the Commercial Avenue extension was part of the project is incorrect. At the initial presentation of this project, it was pointed out that the extension was not included and a sidewalk was to be installed by developer Keith Libolt. However, the Town Board let this issue languish for three years, with Libolt eventually reneging, stating that he would give the town $10,000, an amount that is far less than what the cost would be to put in the sidewalk. It is unclear, at this point, if the town has even received a check for this lesser amount from the developer.

Plavchak said he has been discussing the overall project with the engineering/planning firm of Barton & Loguidice in the past few weeks, “and this is the same project where we are trying to underground all of the utilities.” The firm pointed out that there is a right of way and four or five construction easements that still have to be secured. The bid for the project is supposed to go out at the end of this year but obtaining the right of way and the easements would push the project bid out to 2024.

Plavchak said to make sure the bids go out by the end of this year, he suggested that the firm, “descope the areas that had right of ways in them and pick them up on another phase. The reason I want to do that is so we can get started, and if we’re successful getting the grant to bury the utility cables, we can get it done and then go back and do Commercial Avenue and Commercial Avenue Extension and Church Street.”

Plavchak recalled that the initial 2016 grant was part of a Safe Streets Project, “and the priority was to get a sidewalk from the Middle School over to the Highland Public Library.”

Councilman Joe Mazzetti agreed, saying this sidewalk is of primary importance.

“I’m glad that we’re not going to wait because you see what happens when we wait, like the Tillson/Toc project, where the prices get exorbitant and you can’t get it done and the plans get outdated,” he said. “I think we should move as quickly as possible. I’m tired of talking about these projects and it seems like some of them are for 8 years old and they are not built yet.”

When Mazzetti asked when the board will be able to see some progress on this project, Plavchak said the town can not, “go out for bid until the end of the year because they have to close up the rest of the designs, so you won’t see it until next year.” He said this might prove advantageous because the utility grant may end up coming in at about the same time.

“Then you won’t have any poles and wires in the downtown area and that would be a big plus,” Plavchak said.

The board approved a resolution to exempt the town from the requirements of the eminent domain law relating to the future streetscape project.

Plavchak announced that the town has applied on time for grants with Homeland Security and FEMA.

“We put grants in for a generator for the pump station down on Oakes Road and a generator for the water plant up on Reservoir Road for a total of $1.3 million. We also put in another a $1.2 million grant to bury the utilities in the town. They all went in today and we probably won’t hear back until the November time frame. Obviously we’d like to get all three of them but they are in and we’ll wait for the results.” He noted that the town hired Barton & Loguidice last February to write these grants.

HIPAA Violated
During a routine approval of resolutions the board unanimously accepted the retirement of Ronald Hull from the Sewer Department. “due to a non-work related disability at the request of Water/Sewer Administrator Adam Litman. Mr. Hull would like to thank the town for 19 years and 3 months of service.” Before moving to the next resolution, Councilman Lenny Auchmoody elaborated upon Mr. Hull’s health issue in a clear violation of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act [HIPAA]. This 1996 federal law established national standards to protect sensitive patient health information from being discussed without the patient’s consent or knowledge.

As the board meeting was breaking up, Auchmoody was confronted by a fellow board member for his comment and he responded by saying, “Well, what are you going to do, call a cop?”

In a subsequent interview Auchmoody admitted this accounting was accurate, claiming that he never heard about this law in his life.

“There is no question in my mind that I said it and I won’t deny it, but I had no idea there was anything wrong with that,” he said. “Somebody said HIPAA laws, [but] I’m not a doctor.”

Auchmoody said, “If somebody wants to complain, let them complain to me. Write my name down on the complaint; I’m the one that said it.”

Auchmoody added further comments on the issue.

“Maybe that’s one of the problems we have in this world, when nobody will say there’s something wrong with a kid in school and then he walks in with a machine gun and wants to start killing people,” he said. “Now I know I shouldn’t have said that to you, but maybe that’s the problem; you shouldn’t say this, you shouldn’t say that. Maybe it should go back to the way it used to be; as long as you said it and it wasn’t a lie and weren’t defaming anybody...This is crazy, this world is getting nuts. I’m sorry I said it, but I had no idea.”