On Thursday, May 1, the Somers Town board met for the first of their two monthly meetings. A date that marked an anniversary which Supervisor Richard Morrissey chose not to let go unnoticed or unappreciated.
“Kathleen Pacella is widely respected as one of Somers’ finest citizens. She began as an assistant to the building inspector and would take over as town clerk in 1984. She has made herself available to all those who need her without hesitation and performed her duties with the utmost sense of duty, kindness, compassion and humor,” Supervisor Morrissey piled on the accolades, as he presented the Somers mainstay with a plaque.
As such, the town designated May 3rd Kathleen Pacella Day, but backtracking from the end, the board got down to business on a number of issues for the duration of the 45 minute meeting.
Beginning with the town local roads and highways, Board Member Anthony Cirieco went over the bond system that has allowed the town to maintain its road ways. “It basically amounts to $1 million loan a year over a 10 year period, clarified Cirieco.
Conceding that the current system predates most of the board, Richard Clinchy expressed his unease with a process that only allows a certain amount of repair each year. “The roads get into a condition where now you have to do some serious spending, he said, while hoping at some future date a capital investment plan can replace it.
Cirieco agreed but felt that what's in place still has value. “It has a longer life, and your investment will last as long as the bond. That adds credibility, and we have budget funds in place to repair things like potholes so it's not complete neglect,” said Cirieco.
Supervisor Morrissey then weighed in on some of the issues around 684 – specifically where the highway shrinks from three lanes to two near Route 35. “It causes added traffic, and that puts more wear and tear on the road,” said Morrissey
The same goes for both the lack of exits around train stations and numerous exits in disrepair up and down 684. As such, a consortium of towns that include Bedford, North Salem Lewisboro and Somers intends to take on the issue as a group. “We felt one town going up against the department of transportation is not going to be heard, said Morrissey, “and the group provides a better chance for changes over the next few years.”
The evening then turned to admitting Somers Realty into the Amawalk Water District. Formed in 2000, any entity that wishes to connect must pay fees retroactive to the formation. Somers Realty is doing so as per the planned Hamlet they are involved in on Route 6. “We are enabling these developments, said Cirieco, “and their inclusion means no new wells have to be developed while there will be no negative affect on water pressure.”
Moving on, the supervisor put out the call to the town for more volunteers to take part in the many openings on local boards. “We need your help,” pleaded Morrissey.
In turn, the Morrissey praised the work on the substance abuse Council, which provided segue into the alarming problem of narcotic drug use in Somers and across the country. “It's not only school-age and young adults, it's older adults as well,” said Morrissey.
Clinchy then brought the issue into focus of a recent roundtable which was attended by New York State Senators Greg Ball, Phil Boyle and David Carlucci. “It wasn’t just a photo op. The stories from the audience were on believable. One woman actually brought in the ashes of her son,” said Clinchy.
As such, one of the hopes of the gathering was to facilitate treatment through the criminal justice system and creating legislation that requires insurance companies to provide reimbursement.
But In the interim, the board acknowledged the gateway that often comes of leftover prescription drug opiates that find their way into the hands of anyone living in or entering the home. “We have a drug lockbox at the police department where 20 to 30 pounds are dropped off per month. No one will ask your name. They will just dispose of the contents so please avail yourself of the service,” Morrissey concluded.