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Arkwright officials: Spend on roads first

OBSERVER Photo by Jo Ward The Arkwright Town Board discusses town roads and a possible new town hall. Seated from left to right are Councilman Chris Jackson, Councilwoman Lynn Bedford, Councilman Chris Cannon, Town Supervisor Ted Wightman, Councilman Larry Ball and Highway Superintendent Craig Harrington.

ARKWRIGHT — Roads appear to be the top priority for the town of Arkwright. At this week’s regular Town Board meeting Councilman Larry Ball introduced a resolution for an $1,800 survey of the property that the current town hall sits on, but he was met with some resistance.

“Would I like to see a new town hall, yeah, but these people out here paying taxes for these roads and the shape that they’ve been in for the last 20 years or more, that’s ridiculous,” Councilman Chris Jackson stated. “It should not be that way and it should not have gotten to this point. Maybe a town hall in five years or after the roads are taken care of, yeah maybe, but not now.”

“Are you aware that about four years ago the town almost lost its polling place because this place is totally inadequate?” Ball countered, citing that the polls might be moved to Sheridan.

“Then so be it. These guys are paying taxes for these roads to be fixed — that should come first,” Jackson interjected.

Ball commented that he himself, lives on one of those rough roads, with Jackson further commenting that like everyone else, Ball is a taxpayer and therefore should have the same desire to fix his road as others do.

“I have the same exact view,” Councilwoman Lynn Bedford added. “Top priority here in Arkwright right now is our roads. I really can’t look too far past our roads.”

Ball, feeling defeated, asked new Town Supervisor Ted Wightman, if he should call their architectural firm and scrap the town hall plans once again.

“I think you should tell them to hold them until it is the board’s desire to take this up at another time,” Wightman said.

Not ready to back down, Ball then asked the new councilmembers if they were aware that the wind company is paying the town $300,000 a year in addition to their voted on budget. He clarified that that money was being squirreled away for the new town hall.

“I think the taxpayers should come first,” Jackson further commented upholding the belief that the price of car versus road conditions is unfair.

“When I campaigned this last fall, one of the main issues I heard in campaigning was a town hall,” Ball responded. ‘It’s a disgrace and an embarrassment.”

“It’s not fair to the taxpayers to have horrible roads,” Bedford interjected. “I’m complaining about my road. It isn’t fair to me, and it isn’t fair to the people that voted me into this position to say to them, ‘you know what? Sorry, your roads can’t get fixed because a town hall is top priority.’ No, the people that voted me in want a change and they want change in a positive direction and a positive direction is to have priorities. And the priorities in this township is better roads.”

Ball then switched tactics asking new Highway Superintendent Craig Harrington if he could spend his budget plus the additional $300,000 in a year.

Harrington responded that he theoretically could, but more planning and research would be needed. He stated that it’s not a lot of money in regards to the cost of how much it is to fix a road, citing that to fix one mile is roughly $20,000 for just the top coat, so not including milling. Harrington resolved that he would have more information in his upcoming March report.

The state of the town hall was brought up later in the meeting and it was agreed that for the time being needed repairs would be done to the current building to hold it over.

The next Arkwright Town Board meeting will be held on March 9 at 7:30 p.m.

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