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Dog census, new town park entrance sign among Lee board topics

Dave Gymburch
Staff writer
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Posted 11/13/19

TOWN OF LEE — Debating whether a dogged pursuit of counting canines should next go door-to-door, and approving a 4H/Boy Scouts project for a new town park entrance sign with a map, were among Town …

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Dog census, new town park entrance sign among Lee board topics

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TOWN OF LEE — Debating whether a dogged pursuit of counting canines should next go door-to-door, and approving a 4H/Boy Scouts project for a new town park entrance sign with a map, were among Town Board topics.

Among other items Tuesday night, the board reviewed town park tennis court surface repairs, and accepted quotes totaling about $19,100 for a new water department storage shed to replace a site destroyed by fire last summer.

• For a dog enumeration that included cards being mailed to town addresses with an Oct. 31 response deadline, Lee Supervisor John Urtz disagreed with a proposal by Town Clerk Sharon Mortis for the next step to be door-to-door visits by the town dog warden.

Urtz said the town appoints a dog warden to manage dog control and licensing in conjunction with state laws, adding “she is not the census taker;” the town’s dog control officer is Ann Marie Dolan.

The town would need to appoint someone to contact all the residences, while paying the person by-the-hour and for mileage from driving, he added.

Newly elected board member Shawn Finster, who takes office in January and was in the audience Tuesday night, at one point began discussing the door-to-door proposal with Urtz, who asked him “what would you pay” for a door-to-door census taker.

Finster said “I think it falls under the dog warden’s job.” But Urtz did not agree, adding “you don’t ask a person to take a census if it’s not part of their job.”

Urtz cited paying a dog census taker $13 an hour plus a mileage rate of 58 cents per mile, questioning whether the expense would be worthwhile in relation to how many more dogs may be licensed as a result. The town otherwise can continue to track unlicensed dogs through such ways as residents turning in complaints, he added.

The discussion ended with the board taking no action to launch door-to-door visits for the dog count.

The enumeration program since August has resulted in 450 new dog licenses issued, said Mortis.

Based on data gathered so far, Mortis estimated there are between 1,080 and 1,100 dogs in the town.

• The board approved spending up to $500 for materials for a project by a Cornell Cooperative 4H robotics group in conjunction with the Boys Scouts for a new 4-by-8-foot sign at the town park entrance including a map of the park.

Several youths in the audience performed a skit about a parent being confused by the park’s current abbreviations for field designations in trying to find what field her son was on for a game.

The board then heard a proposal to use Google Maps to help create an updated park map, and a proposal by 14-year-old Benjamin Abrams detailing the sign work.

Abrams, a Boy Scout who said the project would help him earn an Eagle Scout rank, estimated about $230 in materials would be needed and said donations could be sought from local businesses, but Urtz proposed the town fund it up to $500; if donations are received, it could save some of the town’s expense.

Board member L. James “Jamo” Jones Jr. said he work with the groups on finalizing plans for the sign and its location, plus checking for codes requirements.

The board and the audience applauded at the end of the youths’ presentation. Urtz called it “a great idea” and a “wonderful” presentation.

• A project to fill cracks in the town park’s two tennis courts, through the Gorman Group company which includes a Clinton location, has been done, said town Highway Superintendent William Baker, who recommended the bill be paid.

The cost is about $2,900, he said.

The work included the company returning to flatten out some areas left after its initial work in filling cracks, Urtz explained.

• The board accepted quotes from the local Docks, Decks & Steps business operated by Scott Rabe for an approximately 24-by-24-foot storage shed for the town water department.

The quotes included $9,734 for materials and $9,450 for labor.

The shed, to be in Lee Center near the town highway department building, will be in the same location as a prior shed that caught fire last July and was destroyed.

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