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Lewis County legislators to weigh ATV permit change, discuss office

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LOWVILLE — Lewis County legislators will meet next week to consider a change to the county’s all-terrain vehicle permit system and further discuss the office building project.

Lawmakers on Tuesday set a public hearing for 10:30 a.m. Wednesday on a proposed law changing the ATV permit fee to $65 and eliminating any club member discount.

Permits now cost $40 for an ATV owned by a member of a club in the Tug Hill Adirondack ATV Association and $80 for a machine owned by a nonmember.

Some club officials have expressed concern the switch would remove an incentive for riders to join clubs.

Legislators initially set a public hearing for Tuesday on the matter, but a required legal notice of it was inadvertently never published.

Board of Legislators Chairman Michael A. Tabolt, R-Croghan, said the special meeting should also include more discussion on the proposed $11 million office building on outer Stowe Street.

While lawmakers seem to have settled on a two-story design, rather than three, that issue has never been formally determined, and proposed placement of offices also warrants more discussion, he said.

At the request of Buildings and Grounds Committee Chairman Jack T. Bush, R-Brantingham, lawmakers on Tuesday authorized that committee to solicit proposals from potential construction managers, even though the project has not been given the go-ahead yet.

“It’s important to have the expertise right at the start of the process,” he said.

Mr. Bush reported that his committee plans to tour buildings today that may be used to house county offices at least temporarily, assuming the former St. Peter’s Catholic School on Shady Avenue is taken over by the Jefferson-Lewis Board of Cooperative Educational Services.

Committee members are also to meet Wednesday afternoon with village officials to discuss water, sewer and street issues involved in the proposed building project, he said.

Lawmakers on Tuesday also voted 10-0 to remove from the annual tax auction a 4.5-acre parcel on Fish Creek Road in the town of Greig, near the county-owned Singing Waters park, and an 85.6-acre parcel off North Osceola Road in the town of Osceola.

The county has foreclosed upon both properties for nonpayment of property taxes, although the owners may still redeem them up to five business days prior to the late May auction.

County officials said the Greig parcel, which includes extensive road frontage, would aid access to adjacent county reforestation land that has very little frontage. An off-road ATV trail could also be developed on the parcel to decrease road mileage in the county ATV system, said Legislator Philip C. Hathway, R-Harrisville.

Meanwhile, a portion of the Osceola property may be usable as a new radio tower site to improve emergency communication, while the rest could be sold at next year’s auction, county officials said.

While some lawmakers questioned pulling the parcel without knowing whether it could be used, Legislator Jerry H. King, R-West Leyden, argued the move should be made to avoid losing an opportunity.

“If we don’t pull it out now, we’re not going to have the answer between now and the auction,” he said.

Some Osceola residents are eager to get ATV trails in their area so trails could be developed on the property’s outskirts, said Legislator Richard C. Lucas, R-Barnes Corners.

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