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Complaint from fire department puts Louisville’s fall cleanup in jeopardy

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LOUISVILLE - An anonymous complaint that came from within the Louisville Volunteer Fire Department has cost the town upwards of $6,000 and put its fall cleanup in jeopardy.

Highway Superintendent Vern G. Fenlong said that the complaint resulted in $4,103 in additional permitting and tipping fees, while also forcing the town to spend $2,000 to rent a bulldozer to cleanup its brush pile.

Mr. Fenlong said that in the past the fire department would burn the brush pile, which often would also include lumber and plywood. However, this year with the problems between the town and fire department simmering Town Supervisor Larry R. Legault said they elected to not ask the department to take care of the brush pile.

“It was considered a drill,” Mr. Fenlong said, adding that following the complaint he was contacted by the DEC.

“We could have ended up with fines,” he said, adding the town now has all the permits it needs to collect brush and leaves.

Given that the town budgeted $15,000 for both the spring and fall cleanup and this year’s spring cleanup alone exceeded those costs, Mr. Legault said this year there may not be a fall cleanup.

“It sounds like we’re not going to have a fall cleanup,” he said.

Board member Patrick D. Carroll agreed.

“Larry’s probably right, unless we get some extra sales tax,” he said.

Board member M. Gail Schneider said that should the town not be able to hold a fall cleanup, they should tell people why.

“Don’t have it this fall and explain why,” she said.

Mr. Fenlong noted that while Louisville has traditionally held two cleanups per year they’re the only town in the area to do so.

Without the additional fees that came as a result of the complaint, Mr. Fenlong said spring cleanup would have only cost around $9,000. He also noted that the fall cleanup typically costs about half as much as the spring one.

“If we didn’t have that extra $6,000 cost there, we could have shuffled internally if we had to, but I don’t know if we can do that now,” Mr. Carroll said.

“The best I can tell you is to think about it,” Mr. Fenlong said, adding a final decision wouldn’t have to be made until the board’s August or September meeting.

This year’s spring cleanup was held May 13-18 and came two weeks before a community meeting where town board and fire department agreed to work out their differences and had the cleanup been held after that meeting Mr. Legault said he thinks things may have ended differently.

“The situation with the brush pile occurred while there were issues ongoing between the town and fire department,” he said. “Since then we have put ourselves on a path to a better relationship with them and are working to resolve some of the issues.”

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