Spafford town board facing numerous issues as 2012 opens

— The mild weather so far this winter has been good news for the town of Spafford as far as the highway maintenance budget is concerned, the town board heard at its Jan. 12 meeting.

Up until last weekend’s snowstorm, Spafford’s plows barely left the town garage. And with no plows on the road, costly items such as sand and stone are in plentiful supply. That combination means there has been very little dent in Spafford’s road clearing budget.

“We’re in very good shape, especially with what happened last winter,” Town Supervisor Webb Stevens told the board.

The town board — which now includes Councilor Lou Hanlon, who was elected in November and replaces Merrill Clark — also voted at the meeting to change course on its previous consensus and signed a contract with the CNY SPCA to pay $152 to fund animal cruelty investigations in Spafford.

The SPCA lost about $40,000 in its county revenue for 2012 and last month asked every town in Onondaga County to pay $.09 per resident to fund the investigations.

In December, the Spafford Town Board agreed that it did not support the proposed contract, seeing no benefit to the town, which has a dog catcher and very few animal cruelty cases. Spafford, in fact, had zero animal cruelty arrests last year, according to the 2010 SPCA report.

At the Jan. 12 meeting, Hanlon felt strongly that the board should sign the SPCA contract, and some other board members subsequently changed their minds on the issue. The board therefore voted to sign the contract, which Stevens did that night.

The board also briefly discussed the issue of hydrofracking, and whether or not to extend the current moratorium on fracking in Spafford. The town’s current six-month moratorium ends in March, and the Board is currently in favor of extending the ban. The town attorney currently is working on the extension language, which will be slightly different and “a little stronger” than the current language, and will be presented to board and at a public hearing in coming months, Stevens said.

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