Work underway on Page Green, McLean roads

Page Green Road

Joe McIntyre/staff photographer 
Construction continues on Page Green Road just south of Ely Road. The road is scheduled to be paved before the winter. Work will continue next year.

Staff Reporter

Reconstruction of a section of Page Green Road has been underway in Virgil for about a month, and the milling of McLean Road and McLean Road Extension in Cortlandville will begin this week, said county superintendent of highways Don Chambers.
Both projects are receiving the bulk of their funding from the federal government with some help from the state Department of Transportation, Chambers said. The county is paying for about 5 percent of the project costs, with the federal Highway Administration shouldering 80 percent and the state DOT picking up 15 percent.
The roughly 7-mile length of Page Green Road will be completely reconstructed within the next few years, Chambers said, and will be broken up into three phases.
The reconstruction of the current phase costs about $3.4 million, Chambers said, and the 2.67-mile project limits for this phase are from 500 feet south of Ely Road to about 500 feet south of Congdon Lane.
Contour Construction of Binghamton was awarded the bid for the project July 27.
“We’re widening the shoulders out, and widening the road, too,” Chambers said of the project, adding that drainage on both sides of the road would also be reconstructed. “Anytime you have a major change in the structure of the road, it requires a lot of earth moving.”
About 45 rights of way were procured for the project because modern road construction standards wouldn’t allow for the narrow width of the existing corridor, he said.
“We’ll have that paved, and at least the binder course put on before winter. And they will be working as weather permits,” Chambers said. “We would not put the top course on until basically we nearly have the rest of the project complete.”
With about 500 feet past its intersection with Starr Road already paved, the section of Page Green Road between that intersection and the northern limit of the current project will be reconstructed by the fall of 2007, Chambers said. The section between the southern limit of the current project and Route 392 has been approved by the state DOT, but won’t be finished for another couple of years.
“We submitted proposals for that project several times, and it takes years to run through the process,” Chambers said. “You’ve got a lot of competition from other municipalities for this money, and there’s a lot of need out there, so it’s a matter of the project scoring high enough on the state’s list to get funded.”
The roughly $700,000 McLean Road project is funded in the same manner, with the contract going to the Suit-Kote Corp.
“By the end of the week, there should be a significant amount of the project milled… The areas where there’s curbing will be the areas where we milled, generally speaking,” Chambers said. “It’s not a total reconstruction; it’s basically an overlay project. They should substantially complete it by Oct. 15.”
Traffic will continue to flow through both traffic corridors, Chambers said, although lane closures and construction will slow it down quite a bit at times.



More county youths in juvenile detention

Staff Reporter

CORTLAND — An increasing number of adolescents in Cortland County are being entered into juvenile detention, a trend that speaks both to the increase in severity of behaviors by juvenile delinquents, and the need for increased service options for children with serious behavioral issues.
Through August, 38 children had been placed in juvenile detention in 2006, which projects up to 57 placements for the year, up from 42 in 2005 and just 25 in 2004.
The average time spent in juvenile detention is 30 days, according to Department of Social Services Commissioner Kristen Monroe.
It cost an average of $444 per night in 2005 to house a juvenile at the county’s primary detention center, Good Hope Home in Cortlandville.
This year DSS is on pace to exceed the $580,000 budgeted for its juvenile delinquent account, which includes all non-secure detention and foster care costs, by $200,000, Monroe told the Human Services Committee last week.
In 2005, the juvenile delinquent account expended $654,534.
DSS will likely request permission to transfer funds from other departmental accounts to pay for these costs next month, Monroe said.
But the larger issue is looking at ways to proactively address behavioral issues, which are becoming increasingly serious, to help children avoid detention.
Family Court Judge William F. Ames said that generally the court only puts a child in detention when “all available alternatives to detention have been exhausted.”
DSS and other county agencies need to create more available alternatives, Monroe said.
“Our trick is finding some immediate response programs that are successful and are a better option for families and for Family Court judges than detention,” Monroe said.




Sales tax revenue talks resume

Staff Reporter

The county and representatives of its municipalities will go back to the negotiating table again Wednesday in an effort to resolve a new contract for the distribution of countywide sales tax revenue.
The lone sticking point in the proposed agreement is the inclusion of an additional 1 percent of revenue that would go to the town of Cortlandville.
Legislature Chair Marilyn Brown (D-8th Ward) sent a letter to the city Friday proposing a return to the original distribution method for the towns and villages, essentially dividing the 1 percent slated for Cortlandville between the towns and villages.
Under this proposal, the county would receive 52 percent of total revenue by 2009, the city would receive 18.24 percent, and the towns and villages would divide 29.76 percent based on assessed valuation.
Legislator Ron Van Dee (D- 5th Ward), who has headed negotiations for the county along with Brown and County Administrator Scott Schrader, said that the county’s proposal made the most sense.
“I just think it makes more sense to take something to the floor that is going to pass,” Van Dee said. “There’s a lot of different ways to look at it, but they’re not going to be fair to everybody, and I think this is fair to everybody.”
Supervisor Dick Tupper, who has headed negotiations for the city and the towns and villages with Andy Damiano, city director of administration and finance, has said that Cortlandville needs the additional revenue to fund infrastructure for the expansion going on in the town, and that funding this expansion would ultimately benefit the whole county.
Many towns and villages have rejected this notion, however, saying that they need that additional revenue more than Cortlandville.
Legislators representing those towns have indicated that they will vote against giving Cortlandville the added 1 percent.
Neither Damiano or Tupper could be reached for comment this morning, but Tupper said Friday that he expected his side of the negotiations to stick to its guns and continue to make the case for an additional 1 percent for Cortlandville.
A negotiating session will be held at 1 p.m. Wednesday. in the county office building.



Whooping cough cases spark little concern

Staff Reporter

People aren’t too concerned about getting whooping cough, according to local health and school officials.
Since the county Health Department announced last Tuesday that five cases of whooping cough had been confirmed in Cortland County in August, it has received little feedback from individuals and parents, officials said.
Whooping cough, which is also known as pertussis, is an infectious disease of the respiratory system. It is characterized by a series of short, convulsive coughs followed by a deep inhalation accompanied by a whooping sound.
Whooping cough is contagious; it can be spread through the air by coughing, hugging, kissing, sharing food or drink, or face-to-face contact within 3 feet.
If left untreated, whooping cough can result in pneumonia, middle ear infection, loss of appetite, dehydration, seizures, apnea and even death.
The number of diagnosed whooping cough cases has increased in the United States in recent years. In Cortland County alone, this August’s five confirmed cases outpaced last year’s two confirmed cases.
As a result of the recent outbreak, the Health Department advised people 11 to 64 to see their doctors to find out if they should get immunization shots.
The shots are required for children under six; teens and adults are also encouraged to get the vaccine, as it wears off after some time.