May 16, 2007

Voters approve school budgets

Husband of ousted teacher wins write-in spot on city school board


Bob Ellis/staff photographer    
Students arrive this morning at Cortland Junior/Senior High School. Voters approved a $38.4 million school budget for the district Tuesday.

From Staff Reports
The husband of a first-year teacher in the Cortland City School District whose contract was not renewed won a write-in seat on the Board of Education in Tuesday’s election.
All area school budgets passed, and Cortland was the only area district that did not have enough candidates running for the number of open seats on the board.
William Young, of 11 Jewett Ave., won the write-in seat. The votes were tallied this morning and Board Clerk Carolyn Dorn announced the result shortly before noon.  Young spoke at an April 23 board meeting to protest what he said was a decision not renew the 2007-08 teaching contract for his wife, Melinda Young.
The final tallies in the Tuesday elections were as follows:

Budget: $11,359,954 proposal, up 8.7 percent, 154-107
Candidates (two seats): Incumbent RayeLynn Kurtz, 197 votes, and Charles Winters, 206 votes
Proposition: Bus purchase, 159-92

Budget: $38,448,817, up 6.4 percent, 346-136
Candidates: Lisa Hoeschele, 366; write-in candidate William Young, 107
Proposition: Bus purchases, 350-107

Budget: $30,157,227, up 5.2 percent, 670-364
Candidates (four seats, one of which is for one year): Incumbents Russell Kowalski, 794; Anderson Young, 783; Perry Dewey, 731, and previous board member Kathy Zahler, 694 (elected to one-year seat)
Proposition: Bus purchase, 649-297

Budget: $8,660,220, up 7.6 percent, 189-103
Candidates (two seats): Incumbent Michael Skeele, 145, and Michael Cizenski, 222
Propositions: Adding $50,000 for technology equipment for classroom use (170-121); adding $50,000 to provide summer school for elementary students from kindergarten through sixth grade (179-112); purchase of a school bus and a truck (158-132); increase the library funding from $21,300 a year to $22,450 a year (195-96); $12,000 for district-wide summer swim and baseball programs, administered by the village of DeRuyter (207-85)

Budget: $15,256,195, up 4.2 percent, 246-106
Candidates (two seats): Incumbent Linda Competillo, 255, and newcomer Robert Miller, 286
Proposition: Bus purchase, 245-92

Budget: $36,162,815, up 8.7 percent, 529-221
Candidates (three seats): Incumbent Nicole Albro-Sprouse, 610; incumbent Forrest Earl, 595; and incumbent Mary Beth Mathey, 587
Proposition: Bus purchase, 533-177

Budget: $15,000,185, up 8.2 percent, 222-62
Candidates (two seats): Bush, 243, and Glenn Gates, 214
Propositions: The purchase of three new school buses, 213-65; and raise $10,000 for Peck Memorial Library, 205-74

Budget: $9,281,306, up 3.7 percent, 137-39
Candidates (two seats): Incumbent Ginny Mott, 138; newcomer Kimberly Morse, 120. Newcomer Leann Everts, with 57 votes, also ran.
Propositions: Buy one bus, 133-38; purchase a bus in an emergency situation, 120-53; and to continue a capital reserve fund for transportation equipment for another five years, 135-35

Budget: $17,569,719, up 3.9 percent, 449-166
Candidates (three seats): Steven Fland, 378, Anne M. Haessner, 332, and Sherri Bancroft, 308 were elected. Also running were Douglas Hart, 292, Leigh Hess, 264, and Joseph Lorah, 192. Haessner, Hart and Lorah were incumbents.
Proposition: $15,500 for Powers Library, 393-197



Police say woman held 2-year-old’s head under water at her Dryden home.

Staff Reporter

DRYDEN — A Dryden woman was charged Tuesday with holding a 2-year-old girl’s head under water in a partially filled bathtub, causing the child respiratory failure and brain swelling.
State police on Tuesday charged Marie Manos, 34, of 758 Ringwood Road, Apt. 2, with first-degree assault, a felony, after police received a 911 call about the incident at around 4:45 p.m.
Manos made voluntary admissions to the police officers about the crime, according to a felony complaint filed with Dryden Town Court. The confession was not filed with the court as of this morning.
The girl was transported to Cayuga Medical Center and then moved to University Hospital in Syracuse for treatment of what police are calling “life-threatening injuries,” according to a news release sent this morning by the State Police.
Investigators could not be reached this morning for further information about Manos’ relationship to the child.
The press release states that the girl was “in the care of Manos” at Manos’ home at the time of the incident. The police report did not say how long Manos is believed to have held the child’s head under water.
The girl’s medical condition was not available this morning.
Manos is scheduled to be arraigned at 8 a.m. Friday in Dryden Town Court. She is being held in Tompkins County Jail on no bail.


DeCarlo proposes rental permits

Staff Reporter

CORTLAND — As the city waits to receive a lawyer’s recommendation on a proposed moratorium on multi-family housing in residential areas, it is considering a way to keep landlords from putting too many people in single-family housing.
Alderman Nick DeCarlo (D-4th Ward) has proposed a rental permit program that he thinks would deter landlords from filling up single-family houses with tenants and make it easier to punish landlords who are doing that.
Aldermen said at Tuesday’s Common Council meeting that a city law only allows up to three unrelated people to live together in a single-family house, but landlords are filling houses with many more unrelated people, especially students.
Currently landlords do not have to get a permit to rent out property. DeCarlo said this morning that a rental permit program could require landlords to reveal at the beginning of each semester how many people are living in a housing unit.
Not only would that hold landlords accountable for the number of people in the building, but it would also help firefighters determine how many people live in a house in the event of a fire.
DeCarlo said the permit program could also give the city codes office the power to inspect a single-family rental property on a regular basis, possibly once a semester, without the landlord’s approval.
Currently, the only residential rental properties that can be inspected regularly are multi-unit dwellings, said Amy Bertini, code enforcement officer. Multiple dwellings, those that have three or more units, are inspected once every three years, she said.
Larry Knickerbocker, the city’s lawyer, said if the codes office has the authority to enter the properties regularly it can more easily get proof, such as affidavits, that a violation is taking place.


City taking steps to prevent future flooding

Staff Reporter

The city will be taking action to slow down Otter Creek on the city-owned Waterworks property, rather than immediately supporting a feasibility study for a detention pond on Route 281 that has been proposed by the county as a first step to solving the flooding problems of the past few years.
The city Department of Public Works will be re-installing a weir — which is a dam that allows the volume of water passing through it to be controlled — in Otter Creek on the Water Works property.
Meanwhile, the state Department of Environmental Conservation will be working with the DPW to clear some of the excessive brush from the West Branch of the Tioughnioga River and its intersections with Dry and Otter creeks.
Presumably, the county Office of Environmental Health had required that the weir on the Waterworks property be removed about a decade ago. But since documentation of the decision can’t be found, the city now has the go-ahead to reinstall the previously effective weir.
The weir would be put in early next week and would cost only about $500, said Public Works Superintendent Chris Bistocchi.
“There were previous people involved in the city that said that there used to be a dam in the Water Works and it was removed for health reasons,” although it had helped control flooding, Bistocchi said, referring to the weir.
Tuesday morning, Bistocchi met with John Helgren, public health engineer for the county Office of Environmental Health, which is part of the county Health Department. Helgren said the county did not have any record of the decision, and he believed putting the weir back in place would not be a problem.
Mayor Tom Gallagher said there was no record of the weir being removed in minutes of the now-defunct Water Board.