TUPPER LAKE - The village board plans to wade back into what last time became a sticky situation: paving and taking ownership of a road owned by town Supervisor Roger Amell.
Village Mayor Paul Maroun, Trustee Rick Donah and Department of Public Works Superintendent Mike Sparks walked Amell Lane with Amell on Friday, trying to figure out what needs to be done in order to get it up to village standards.
In March and April 2011, the village board considered using $16,800 in state money to help pave Amell Lane, which has so many potholes that mail carriers and school bus drivers were refusing to travel it at the time. Ultimately, the village board decided not to, saying the village's policy on accepting private roads didn't allow them to get involved.
Roger Amell, Tupper Lake town supervisor
(Enterprise file photo)
"It's completely out of our hands," then-Mayor Mickey Desmarais said at the time.
Amell told the Enterprise after the decision that he would fix the road himself and make it better than half the existing roads in the village.
"We'll resolve it," Amell said at the time. "Maybe it will end up being a town road."
That was a time of contentious relationships between the village and the town. At one point, Amell left a village board meeting after shouting at Desmarais.
But since Maroun took over the mayor's seat last fall, any disagreements have been more cordial, or at least more quiet, and the topic of Amell Lane is now back on the table.
"We're looking at it," Maroun told the Enterprise earlier this week. "I think that it's got to be revisited. Those people pay a lot of taxes.
"We've got to pave the street. I think it was wrong not to do it before."
He said the people who live on Amell Lane who pay village taxes deserve to have blacktop streets and get the services due to them.
"I mean, we don't live in Dodge City here," Maroun said.
Donah agreed, telling his fellow trustees at last week's village board meeting, "I just think we need to expedite that."
Maroun told the Enterprise that the village's policy that Desmarais cited when the board refused to do the work probably doesn't have teeth anymore, though he hasn't looked at it yet. He said he's been told of several examples of times when the village didn't follow it strictly when accepting ownership of other roads.
"It's been twisted and turned and punched holes in so many ways that it's probably an ineffective law," Maroun said.
He said that if people want to develop areas and increase the tax base in the village, it's only fair that the village support them by putting in roads.
Amell and his father bought the land and developed it a little more than a decade ago. Amell has said Amell Lane was supposed to be given to the village at the same time as another road in the development, Woodlawn Drive, but village Clerk Mary Casagrain said there's no paperwork in the village's records to show that was the case.
When they walked the street last week, Maroun said they looked at what it would take to do the upgrades correctly, blacktopping the road in a way that runoff and drainage will meet village standards. They also had to look at the sewer lines, since Amell put those in as well.
Sparks is putting together an estimate of how much he thinks it will cost to get the road up to standard. Sparks would not answer any questions about the situation, saying he didn't want to get involved in it and deferring to the village board.
Contact Jessica Collier at 518-891-2600 ext. 26 or firstname.lastname@example.org.