Round and round we go

Sparring initiates after Essek brings up roundabout

OBSERVER Photo by Jimmy McCarthy Trustee Doug Essek says during a Monday workshop that he started an online petition on regarding the proposed roundabout on Routes 60 and 20. The petition urges those against the project to sign on. As of Monday evening, the petition had over 350 signatures.

The proposed roundabout wasn’t on the agenda Monday, but it led to a back-and-forth between two Fredonia trustees.

With news of the roundabout at the Route 20 and 60 intersection proceeding, Trustee Doug Essek took a moment during a workshop to discuss the project and how it needs more public and business engagement.

Essek said he initiated an online petition, which states an opposition to construction of the roundabout. Essek notes several cons on the petition page and how other solutions like reduced speeds and cameras on lights should be considered.“I would encourage every citizen who does not think this project is in the best interest of our community to go to and look up my petition and sign it if you support my position,” Essek said.

Trustee James Lynden stated that the topic wasn’t an agenda item Monday evening. He also said it’s not the opinion of the full board.

“(It’s) a statement that you wrote on a public page that is in your opinion, and you state what you claim as facts by the way I read it,” Lynden said. “And I don’t believe there’s facts. Those are not facts.”

Essek shot back and told Lynden that’s his opinion.

In addition to saying that Essek’s comments were misleading, Lynden said he doesn’t believe it was the right forum to bring up the matter.

“It’s a state project, not a village project,” Lynden said.

Essek said the proposed roundabout impacts village businesses including McDonald’s, Tim Hortons and Tuscany Deli. Essek said the board gave the same respect when Trustee Kara Christina expressed her desire to start a petition to show the village’s support when JCPenny announced its closure.

“(That) was brought up at a board meeting too,” Essek said. “This is something I feel strongly for just like Kara did with JCPenny.”

Lynden said her petition was supportive of a business.

“What your supporting is something that is against the safety of the community and you’re looking to prevent a project from moving forward,” Lynden said. “That’s a quite a bit different. You’re looking to prevent a project from going forward, and it’s a state project. It’s not spending village taxes.”

Essek noted the project uses federal and state dollars. He said these taxes increase every year and create a burden for hardworking families and businesses.

“Every dollar, whether it comes from local, town, county, state or federal levels, needs to be used in a fiscally responsible manner,” Essek said. “There is no free money.”

Mayor Athanasia Landis said the proposed roundabout is located in the town of Pomfret and operated by the state. Landis interjected and brought the discussion to an end.