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Thu., Oct. 8
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Citizens group urges Canton village board to support Route 11 upgrades


CANTON — A group that’s against the proposed I-98 “rooftop highway” urged village trustees Monday evening to team up instead with neighboring Potsdam to develop an upgrade plan for Route 11.

Members of YESeleven say federal and state funding would be better spent improving the existing highway that extends all the way from Watertown to Plattsburgh, linking several north country communities.

Instead of sitting back and waiting for state transportation officials to impose a plan, Richard W. Grover, a village resident, said communities should be proactive in relaying their vision for Route 11 and potential economic development.

“Route 11 is the lifeblood of our community,” Mr. Grover said. “We would like to see Canton and Potsdam planning offices begin to initiate addressing the future of Route 11 and how that will shape the next 40 years of those communities.”

John T. Casserly, a town resident, said members of the YESeleven met with state Department of Transportation officials in August and received information about highway safety, development issues and economic planning.

Created about three years ago to oppose the 1-98 plan, the YESeleven group has more than 530 supporters, Mr. Casserly said.

“We’re an issue advocacy organization. Our mission is to upgrade Route 11 and enhance its efficiency,” he told the board.

The YESeleven group has the opposite goal of the Northern Corridor Transportation Group, which supports building I-98 parallel to Route 11 so that truck traffic could move quickly in the north country, which they claim would spur economic development.

Village Mayor Mary Ann Ashley said the issue will be placed on next month’s agenda for further discussion.

“Now that this idea is on the table, we need to get a dialogue going,” Ms. Ashley said.

In other action, the board agreed to increase the health insurance contributions from noncontractual village employees.

Starting Jan. 1, the contribution toward health insurance premiums will increase from 10 percent to 15 percent and rise again in 2015 to 20 percent.

The hikes are similar to increases approved earlier this year for the village’s Department of Public Works employees and water/wastewater employees.

Ms. Ashley said policy agreements for the village’s nine noncontractual employees will be reviewed in January.

The board held two executive sessions, one before the public meeting and one after.

According to a document provided by the mayor, both closed-door sessions were held to discuss “the medical, financial, credit or employment history of a particular person or corporation, or matters leading to the appointment, employment, promotion, demotion, discipline, suspension, dismissal or removal of a particular person or corporation.”

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