Skaneateles Town Board hears from Mandana residents on a variety of local topics
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Skaneateles Town Board hears from Mandana residents on a variety of local topics

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MANDANA | They asked about how to get cable in certain sections of the hamlet, how to keep getting the quarterly town newsletter and how the town plans to handle emerald ash border and hemlock wooly adelgid.

Nearly 40 Mandana residents showed up to the Mandana Barn to bring their issues and concerns to the Skaneateles Town Board at its fourth and final scheduled special hamlet meeting of the year.

After introducing herself and the board members and their specific assignments within the board, Supervisor Mary Sennett opened the floor for questions and noted the board learned something new at each of the first three hamlet meetings.

As they learned at the June 9 Shepard Settlement meeting, board members heard that some Mandana residents, particularly those on Reynolds Road, also do not have access to cable.

Resident and local farmer Dirk Young said there is Verizon Internet service available, but neither cable nor Fios service is available.

When Sennett and Councilor Nancy Murray suggested they could negotiate the town's contract with Time Warner to bring service to Mandana, Young said a similar move was proposed a few years ago, but nothing came out of it.

"You didn't support me," he said.

Young also asked if there were any plans to put in a parking area at the Mabel Reynolds Nature Preserve in Mandana.

Murray, who oversees the town's conservation areas, said the current focus is on getting ready for the annual fishing derby at the town Conservation Area in Shepard Settlement. After that, she added, efforts to get a parking area may be renewed.

Resident and local florist David Laxton addressed the town's proposal to eliminate the print version of the quarterly town newsletter. Since some people in Mandana and elsewhere in Skaneateles do not have cable or Internet, he said the newsletter keeps them abreast of town news.

"It's a good way to link the town board with what's going on in the community," Laxton said. "It's a good thing to send that out."

But, Sennett said the newsletter costs $2,500 to print four times a year — "$10,000 maybe we could use for something else," she said — and two local newspapers already do a good job of delivering town news.

"I do recognize that not everybody has cable or is computer comfortable," she said.

She said the newsletter is available online already, and should the board decide to eliminate the print version, one possible option is to allow residents who wish to keep getting print copies sign up to receive them through the mail.

"We haven't done anything yet," Sennett said in terms of a decision. "I'm looking for feedback."

Resident Heather Carroll suggested the board could look into include the newsletter as an insert in the local newspapers or perhaps send out a postcard seeking residents to opt in to continue receiving it.

"I'm looking for ideas," Sennett said in response.

Toward the end of the meeting, a member of the audience asked what the town planned to do to prevent an emerald ash borer invasion, following a recent ash tree inventory the town completed.

Sennett the village, town and county have now conducted such inventories in their respective jurisdictions, and the next step for the town is to come up with a management plan for its trees.

"We need to have a plan for these trees," Sennett said. "Right now, they don't appear to be sick."

There is no money in the town's budget to cut down all of the ash trees, so the town needs to assess where the trees are and what risk they face in or pose to the surrounding area.

She told the audience a map of the tree locations is available on the town website, and she added she is hopeful there may federal or state grant money that can used toward preventing emerald ash borer.

"I'm hoping [Gov.] Andrew Cuomo will come up with something," she said.

Skaneateles Journal Editor Jonathan Monfiletto can be reached at jonathan.monfiletto@lee.net or (315) 283-1615. Follow him on Twitter @Skan_Monfiletto.

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