October 11, 2013


Virgil deals with loss of clerk

City school board president serving as town clerk after death of Bonnie Hand

Staff Reporter

VIRGIL — With a unanimous decision, the Town Board Thursday evening appointed city Board of Education President Elaine VanDonsel to temporarily fill the position of town clerk, replacing the longtime clerk who recently died.
Harford Town Clerk Diane Michaud as well as other Virgil employees had been conducting business on behalf of the town since the previous town clerk, Bonnie Hand, died Monday.
After opening the meeting with a moment of silence, the board voted to appoint VanDonsel and her deputy clerk nominees — Linda Hall, manager of the Cortland Farmers Market; Carrie Sabin, who works in community relations with the Cortland Regional Medical Center; and Peg Stamp, who will continue to work handling the town’s water and sewer issues while showing everyone how the job is done.
Board member Dale Taylor said on Thursday afternoon that Hand was a smart and devoted clerk whose presence will be missed by the board and whose hard work will influence the county in years to come.
“(Drafting Virgil’s zoning laws) was probably the biggest piece of work she did while she was on the board.” said Taylor. “A lot of towns that have drafted laws have used ours for a template and I think that’s to her credit. The town has lost a dedicated clerk.”
Once she is sworn in this morning at the County Courthouse, VanDonsel will start immediately. She said Wednesday she was eager to learn about the position and ready to get to work
“I’m really happy to be able to serve the town,” VanDonsel said. “I’ve lived here for 19 years; we have a great town.”
The board appointed VanDonsel to serve until Dec. 31. It will be up to voters to decide on Nov. 5 if VanDonsel stays with the town through 2014.
VanDonsel is the only candidate on the ballot on both the Republican and Democratic lines.
In other news Wednesday, Cortland County Legislature Chairman Mike Park and county Solid Waste Committee Chairman John Troy continued their tour of municipalities to present information to the board on the proposed “Trash for Ash” solid waste disposal agreement between Cortland and Onondaga counties.
During their presentation, Park announced that earlier that afternoon the paperwork was filed on behalf of Cortland County so it could begin the State Environmental Quality Review, or SEQR process.
“I just signed contracts today to have our consultants,” Park said, “so they’re going to be working on starting the SEQR process. We have a lot of work to do; this is going to be a year process.”
He added the two counties have not agreed to a deal so far because the SEQR process has to be finished first in addition to the county wanting to conduct its own testing on the ash to make sure it is safe if the plans move forward.
If both sides come to an agreement, a transfer station would be built at the county landfill site so that trucks can transfer Cortland County’s trash by truck to Onondaga County to be burned in its incinerators for energy.
The incinerator ash would be trucked back to Cortland and placed in the landfill.
The Town Board will have a special meeting to hold two public hearings about potentially exceeding its 2 percent property tax levy cap and to hear comments from residents about next year’s budget.
The board will continue to work on drafting a budget during a workshop next week and is expected to be completed before the meeting takes place at 7 p.m. on Nov. 7.


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