LAKE PLACID - The North Elba town board doesn't plan to rubber-stamp an agreement with Essex County to provide busing between Lake Placid and Whiteface Mountain.
At a meeting Tuesday night, the board declined to act on a memorandum of understanding between the town and the county that would require the town to pay to offset the cost the county pays for the Whiteface Mountain bus route. The route itself would be coordinated by the village of Lake Placid and the state Olympic Regional Development Authority, according to town Supervisor Roby Politi.
"We have paid, in the past, $5,000," Politi said. "This is all a result of, a couple of years ago, there not being funding available, and that route was going to have to be shut down. And so at the last minute, they needed funding, and so the village, the town and the (Lake Placid Convention and) Visitors Bureau jumped in to allow that route to continue from Lake Placid to Whiteface and back, given that the primary users are hotel users and citizens that live here in the community."
North Elba town Supervisor Roby Politi
(Enterprise file photo)
The MOU calls for the town to pay $5,000 per year for 2011, 2012 and 2013. The town paid for 2011, but Politi said he refused to pay the $5,000 this year since a signed agreement didn't exist.
Before the town approves the agreement, Politi said he wants to meet with county officials, including county Manager Dan Palmer and transportation Director Nancy Dougal, as well as LPCVB President Jim McKenna and village Mayor Craig Randall. He said he wants to discuss "why this is becoming an annual affair as opposed to a one-time" infusion of cash to help the transportation system.
"I think it's obvious we need to have a transportation system that runs from our community to Whiteface, but I also think that we need to know what the cost is and who is paying what and so forth," Politi said. "I know that the mayor is concerned, too."
The rest of the board supported Politi's suggestion to table the agreement.
The county's proposed MOU calls for ORDA and the county transportation department to determine things like departure and arrival times, as well as the frequency of trips between Lake Placid, Whiteface Mountain and the towns of Jay and Wilmington. It also says ORDA and the county would "coordinate with the Village of Lake Placid and Essex County in an effort to reduce traffic through the village streets."
Under the agreement, Essex County would "operate at a minimum for the months of December through March of each year.
"This public transportation service shall be for the benefit of all residents of the Town of North Elba and Essex County together with any and all outside individuals, tourists or other persons desirous of using said public transportation," the agreement reads.
Fuel use agreement
The town board did vote unanimously to enter into an agreement with the county that will let county employees get gasoline and diesel fuel at the North Elba highway garage.
Under the MOU, nurses and other county personnel working in Lake Placid will be able to fuel up at the highway garage rather than having to travel back to Elizabethtown. Politi said the town will simply send a bill to the county for reimbursement.
"This benefits not only the county; it benefits all of us in a direct and indirect way," he said.
Contact Chris Morris at 891-2600 ext. 25 or firstname.lastname@example.org.