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Maybrook adds full-time cop

December 7th, 2012

Maybrook may be in the market for a fourth full-time police officer, with recent actions by the town of Montgomery forcing the issue.

At a recent Village Board meeting, Mayor Dennis Leahy announced that he had met with Town Supervisor Michael Hayes and Village of Montgomery Mayor Stephen Brescia to discuss a recent NYS Comptroller’s decision that the town is not assessing its villages properly for town police services. Walden already has a full-time force and is exempt from any town police assessment.

The villages of Montgomery and Maybrook currently have part-time forces and would be subject to this revised assessment.

Leahy told his board he asked Hayes for an estimate of what the new assessment would cost Maybrook so the village can “plan accordingly” when preparations begin for the 2013-14 budget year.

Although Leahy has yet to receive the estimate from Hayes, he said the situation gives Maybrook two options: Pay the new assessment or hire one more full-time police officer, which would make the village exempt from any town assessment as Walden is.

Leahy said once he receives the relevant information from Hayes, he will work up a comparison of costs between the new town assessment and the cost of hiring another full-time officer. Maybrook’s current police budget is approximately $318,000. He said he cannot yet estimate the cost of another full-time officer to the village. He also said the current town police assessment is “minimal,” but he expects the new charge to greatly increase that cost.

“I will lay out the full figures on our options to the board,” Leahy promised.

In other business that interplays with the town of Montgomery, Leahy announced he has asked the Town Board to include some funding for the newly chartered George C. Bullis Memorial Library in Maybrook, as the town provides to the Josephine Louise Library in Walden and the Montgomery Library. A new town budget will take effect January 1, 2013.

“Since we now have a certified library,” Leahy said, “I would like it to be funded by the town as the other two village libraries are. The supervisor said he’d look into it.”

The George C. Bullis Memorial Library was recently chartered by the NYS Education Dept. Next up for Maybrook’s library is to join the Ramapo Catskill Library System (RCLS).

In other business, the apparently abandoned building at 401 Tower Ave. was again up for discussion in light of the Village Board’s recent passage of an unsafe buildings local law. Last month, the board voted unanimously to adopt the law to give the village wider and quicker authority to act on abandoned, unsafe buildings. At the board’s recent meeting, Trustee Robert Pritchard wondered if the building at 401 Tower is the “first victim” of the new law.

Village Attorney Kelly Naughton said the village’s former law only applied to unsafe buildings; the new law expands that to include abandoned buildings.

“Instead of waiting for something like flooding of the building to occur,” she said, “the building inspector can take notice that the building is abandoned and the village can act sooner, legally.”

The issue arose when an empty apartment building at 401 Tower was the site of a break-in a few months ago. Copper pipe and a water meter were stolen, causing 50,000 gallons of water to spew into the street. The Village Board met in emergency session to declare the building a dangerous and unsafe structure. The village public works department sealed the pipes and secured its doors and windows. Village officials then asked Naughton to work on new laws to register landlords of vacant buildings so they can be contacted quickly when there is a problem with their property and to allow the village to act quicker when a problem exists.

At its recent meeting, the Village Board received the building inspector’s most recent report on 401 Tower, will consider the number of past and current building code violations on the building and then decide what action to take. The board can either authorize the village DPW to make repairs to the building or authorize the building’s demolition. Whichever action the board decides to take, a public hearing would be held to give the property owner the opportunity to address the issue.

According to county real property records, the building at 401 Tower Avenue is owned by Joseph Vinci. His address is given as 401 Tower but no one has lived in the building for a while. Now that the village has determined the three-family structure is unsafe, no one can legally live there. County records also describe the apartment house, built in 1915, as in “poor” condition.

By AUDEEN MOORE

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