By Doug LaRocque
By all accounts it was a routine meeting for the Granville Village Board of Trustees on Monday evening, Nov. 6, at least until it came time for public comment.
It was then that Telescope Casual Furniture CEO Kathy Juckett and Mayor Paul Labas became engaged in a difference of opinion over how the village has handled the lack of a crossing guard on Quaker Street (NYS Route 149) between the elementary and Jr./Sr. high school buildings.
Mayor Labas repeated his previous argument that since the Granville School District chose not to renew its contract with the Village Police Department to provide a school resource officer, it was no longer the village’s responsibility. In fact, he said a meeting with District Superintendent Tom McGurl prior to the start of the school year, saw McGurl claim the district would handle the situation. The district’s attorney, Jay Girven, denies this.
There has not been a crossing guard in place since the first week of the school year. There is now a tentative agreement between the two entities where the village will hire a crossing guard for three hours a day, with the school reimbursing the village for the cost, estimated to be about $5,400 for the remainder of the school year. The settlement also calls for the installation of an enhanced crosswalk warning system at the site. The trustees approved the concept at the meeting, pending an actual contract in hand. The Granville School Board is expected to vote on the contract at its next meeting.
A Police Presence
In the meantime, Mayor Labas has instructed the police department to provide crosswalk coverage at the start and end of the school day until a crossing guard can be hired. The assigned officer will handle routine matters after the assignment, but will break away for emergencies. The village is advertising for the crossing-guard position.
Whose responsibility is it?
Superintendent McGurl has publicly stated the district is responsible for student and staff safety on their campus, but Quaker Street is a public road and while crossing it, the village bears the responsibility for their safety.
That was part of the argument put forward by Kathy Juckett. She felt the village was lacking in not doing so since the start of the school year, saying every day without a crossing guard is endangering people’s safety.
Mayor Labas disagreed. Their discussion was at times passionate.
The other portion of that verbal exchange involved a video camera that NYVT Media was using to tape the meeting for the first time. Mayor Labas made clear he had no problem with the meeting being taped but asked Juckett if she, and by extension Telescope, bought the camera for NYVT Media.
Editor’s note: The answer to that question is no. NYVT Media purchased the camera itself. It is used for many events, such as sports, parades, governmental meetings, etc. When it is a commercial event, it is represented as coming from the Telescope Broadcast Center. Nothing of the sort for political or governmental meetings. There is no sponsor attribution in these cases.
Winter parking ban in effect
As of Nov. 1, the winter ban on overnight parking on village streets is in effect, from 8 p.m. to 8 a.m. Mayor Labas indicated this applies to every night, not just during inclement weather. This is a change from previous years, when the hours were 11 p.m. to 5 a.m.
Under the law, landlords are required to provide two off-street parking spots per apartment, a provision of the law the mayor says will be enforced.
Lead pipe survey
The Environmental Protection Agency, (EPA) has ordered every water utility to inventory all its water service lines, both public and private, to determine if any lead piping exists. The village is asking its residents in the water district to help complete this survey. There are specific instructions available on how to do this. The only tools required are a coin, a magnet and a camera (cellphone cameras are acceptable).
For more information, please call 518-642-1815 (leave a message) or the village at 518-642-2640. You may also email [email protected]
This test does not apply to well-supplied water systems. Mayor Labas says the village is not aware of any lead service systems.
In other news, the monthly testing results show the village water supply is safe to drink.
There have been several instances of aggressive dogs running loose in the village, including one that allegedly killed a cat.
Police Chief Bassett says they are doing their best to identify the animal’s owner and according to police reports, in at least one case may have. All information gained is being turned over to the Animal Control Officer for investigation and possible prosecution.