Municipal ownership of Beaver Brook Dam was discussed during Tuesday night’s meeting of the Manheim Town Council. During the public session representatives from the Dolgeville Village Board of Trustees addressed the issue with councilmen.
Dolgeville Village Attorney Norman Mastromoro said the village has been cited for a state Department of Environmental Conservation violation because there is no emergency action plan in place for the dam. The village has been instructed by the DEC to organize a plan within a specified time limit, he said. The problem is the village and town are not sure who owns the dam.
Mastromoro presented the town council with deeds filed with Herkimer County that he said prove the Dolgeville is not the sole owner of the dam. One deed stated the village of Dolgeville was the sole owner of the land, but was then transferred to Herkimer County in 1997. Another deed from 2006 found the ownership of dam was transferred from Herkimer County to the town of Manheim.
“The DEC based the ownership of the dam on an outdated permit application from 2000, in which the dam was under ownership of Herkimer County,” Mastromoro said Tuesday.
The DEC made the decision that the village is the owner, he added.
“The DEC claims the village owns the dam and is responsible to organize an emergency action plan, yet the Herkimer County deed states the town of Manheim owns the dam. The majority of the dam is in Manheim, and under the permit application from 2000, Herkimer County was the sole owner of the dam. All three municipalities should be involved,” said Dolgeville Mayor Bruce Lyon. “We want to work with the town and find out which municipality is sole owner of the dam.”
“I’m not disputing it, but according to the DEC the village of Dolgeville is the owner of the dam. The village has accepted the responsibly of municipal maintenance since the dam was built and through shared services the village uses the services of town mowers and tractors. With that the town is participating in the maintenance and upkeep of the dam property, but until we hear from the DEC that the village is not the owner of the dam, the village will continue to be looked at as the owner,” said Manheim Town Supervisor John Haughton.
Haughton suggested the village file with the DEC for a waiver. Lyon said Mastromoro has already done so and a letter has been sent to the DEC explaining the situation. The village hopes to hear a response from the DEC regarding the status of the required emergency action plan, he said.
In other business Tuesday night, the town council accepted a bid from Scott Moore of Scott’s Signs in Dolgeville to re-paint the town hall sign for $330.
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