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Carthage Central board considers new capital project, railroad PILOT program


WEST CARTHAGE — The Board of Education mulled over a new capital project as well as a Mohawk, Adirondack & Northern Railroad payment-in-lieu-of-taxes agreement.

Carthage Central School District Superintendent Peter J. Turner asked board members Monday to consider whether a January vote on a reserve fund for a potential capital project would be necessary.

The reserve fund would set aside funds for a future capital project. While two capital projects have been voted down in two years, board members agree a proposed third vote would evaluate the wants-versus-needs items of this year’s $16.9 million proposal.

Board member Mary Louise Hunt argued that putting a vote to the public during the start of the winter season could affect the vote’s turnout.

The group revisited the issue of building safety, which likely would be addressed in a future capital project.

Board member Kent D. Burto said that West Carthage Elementary does not have a front door security system; Mr. Turner said neither does the district office in Great Bend.

The board resolved to address the issue and seek community input at its next public forum, Nov. 20 in the middle school cafeteria. An exact time for the meeting has yet to be set.

The board also weighed the positives and negatives of entering a PILOT agreement with Mohawk, Adirondack & Northern Railroad. The PILOT would apply to a 46.25-mile railroad rehabilitation project through Jefferson, St. Lawrence and Lewis counties. The line runs from Carthage to Newton Falls. The $9.9 million project is funded through a state grant. All taxing entities affected by the project were asked to support signing onto the PILOT so the project can move forward.

“If we support the PILOT, it doesn’t impact the school. We’re only losing about $2,000,” board member Joseph A. Colangelo said. “I’d be in favor. Economically it could be nice to have jobs in the area go to Newton Falls.”

“It would affect three parcel properties in the town of Wilna,” Mr. Burto said. “It could support St. Lawrence County and I’d hate to hold that up.”

Roughly 15 miles of the 46.25-mile rail line is awaiting a resolution. Board member Tod W. Nash asked for further details before the board votes.

Mr. Turner hopes to have a resolution at a future meeting.

The next meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. Nov. 18 in the high school cafeteria.

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