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Ripley has new hope for State Veterans’ Cemetery

RIPLEY — A project to create a State Veterans’ Cemetery in Ripley that had been set aside due to lack of funds, may have a new chance at life thanks to a Veterans Day speech by Governor Andrew Cuomo, members of the Ripley Town council learned at their regular November meeting.

Former Ripley Town councilman, Robert McIntosh, who had worked from 2012 to 2016 to establish a State Veterans Cemetery in the area, asked the council to support renewed efforts to bring the work to completion in light of Governor Cuomo’s announcement.

On the 100th anniversary of Veterans Day, Governor Cuomo declared that the state is committed to the establishment of a State Veterans Cemetery. In his speech, Cuomo said: “We owe the men and women who served in the nation’s military the greatest debt of gratitude — and we owe it to those who have passed away a place of rest in New York alongside their fellow service members.”

McIntosh reviewed how in 2012, he proposed the installation of the first State Veterans Cemetery in Ripley In the years that followed, he said, he presented the idea to county officials, secured a site which he had tested for stability, and spoke with several state and federal officials.

The project fell by the wayside, however, when McIntosh was informed that although the federal government would build the cemetery, any site considered must have 15 years of perpetual care costs set aside. “They told me I had to come up with $8 million,” McIntosh said. “That was more than I had in my cookie jar.”

In his speech, however, Governor Cuomo announced he will introduce legislation to streamline the process for accessing federal funding and he announced the creation of a committee to oversee the development of a cemetery.

McIntosh proposed that the council support an action to immediately contact County Executive George Borello and request assistance in bringing McIntosh’s work to fruition. The board passed a resolution to support McIntosh and directed him to renew his efforts immediately. “Let the game begin,” McIntosh said.

In other business, the council passed a motion to purchase the pump that it has been leasing from Xylem Water Solutions and Water Technology in Batavia. The pump has been used since March to pump sewage where a break occurred in the line under the Norfolk-Southern Railroad tracks on Shaver Street. The council agreed to spend $14,633 for the 6-month-old pump, which is $6,000 less than the pump costs new. Council members also agreed to spend $1,888 on hoses.

Ripley Supervisor Doug Bowen noted that the town would be saving money in the long run by purchasing the pump, which could be used in a variety of situations. “We thought that, given the amount of money we were spending leasing the pump, we might as well look into buying it.”

Council members also awarded bids for a new plow truck. The contract for the vehicle chassis was given to Freightliner who was the low bidder at $108,184, and the contract for the plow package was awarded to Viking for $111,000.

In a related matter, Bowen told the board, “We are going to be down one highway employee.” Council members formally accepted the resignation of Daniel Babcock, effective Nov. 8, and agreed to post for a part-time temporary employee to plow sidewalks, as needed. Applications for the position must be submitted by Nov. 26.

In other business, town board members passed a resolution approving a shared service agreement with Westfield for assessor services. Westfield Assessor Bonnie Rae Strickland was at the council meeting and told the board that she and Lindsay Simpson will gladly help Ripley. Strickland noted that Simpson will be available in Ripley every Tuesday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Board members also passed a resolution to post for the assessor position.

In another matter, Bowen read a resolution authorizing and establishing regulations for Water District 3, aka Shorehaven. While the board passed the resolution, questions regarding the interconnect with Westfield were raised during the privilege of the floor segment of the meeting.

Bowen explained, as he had at previous council meetings, that the purpose of the interconnect was twofold: a project must be large enough so that the grant ranks high enough to qualify, and projects must be sized to maximize the available grant money. Deputy Supervisor, Michael Rowe added that “That’s how we got extra points.”

Bowen also reminded members of the public that “You spend the borrowed money first, then go into the grant money.” Therefore, Bowen said, the interconnect with Westfield incurred no additional costs for Ripley.

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