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Carthage to look into leasing land near reservoir

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CARTHAGE — The village Board of Trustees instructed the water superintendent to further research leasing out village-owned forestland and to draft a lease agreement.

Water Superintendent Ernest L. Prievo brought the matter to the board’s attention in December, suggesting that leasing the 500 acres around the reservoir in Belfort would give the village more control over the property. Mr. Prievo reported to the board that people were trespassing on the land and that hunters were interested in using the land.

The issue was tabled Jan. 22, with village President G. Wayne McIlroy saying, “I’m not in favor of leasing. ... I’d leave it forever wild.”

With Trustees Kathleen E. Latremore and Rebecca M. Vary requesting more information, Mr. Prievo was asked to pursue the matter.

Mrs. Latremore voted to pursue the matter without committing to supporting leasing the land at a later date.

“It’s a way to say who is on the land and when. If we lease it, there is someone there to monitor who is on the property,” Mrs. Latremore said.

Ms. Vary also was in favor of gaining more information.

“We should explore the options, not so much for the revenue stream but that would be a bonus,” she said.

Trustees Michael F. Astafan and Linda R. Smith-Spencer were not at the meeting.

The water superintendent said through his research he had some qualms about leasing the property.

“I’ve almost have had a change of heart,” he said. “I don’t know if we would be any more or less liable leasing than having it posted. If we lease we know who is there, but once a hazard is identified like a tree down or bridge out, we would have to respond.”

Mr. Prievo pointed out the money garnered from leasing the land might not cover any liability incurred. He also said access to the property could be gated at only one point.

“The gate will cut down on access but does stop hunters or others from coming in from the other direction,” Mr. Prievo said. “The leasees will police it themselves. If they are paying to be there, they won’t let others in.”

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