Town of St. Joe meeting starts on somber noteThe St. Joseph Town Board started its July 2 meeting announcing the death of Zoning Administrator Dwight Farnham. Farnham, 72, died Friday, June 19, at Lakeview Hospital in Stillwater from an undisclosed illness.
By: By Chris Hamble, Hudson Star-Observer
The St. Joseph Town Board started its July 2 meeting announcing the death of Zoning Administrator Dwight Farnham.
“I was lucky to have known him, and lucky to be able to speak with him on a weekly basis,” said Town Chair Theresa Johnson. “He did a big job for this community.”
The entire Town Board acknowledged that he will be greatly missed. Farnham, 72, died Friday, June 19, at Lakeview Hospital in Stillwater from an undisclosed illness.
Building Inspector Todd Dolan has been appointed by the Town Board to temporarily take over some of the zoning administrator’s responsibilities, specifically building and driveway permits, until the annual January review. During that time, Dolan, or another citizen, may be appointed to take over full duties as zoning administrator.
The sealcoating of River Road begins in early August, with the Town Board accepting a bid by Scott Construction Thursday night. The board chose to use a private company because they can complete the project faster and keep more of the road open at any given time. The project should be completed before the beginning of the 2009-10 school year.
Ch. 168 hearing
The Town Board will hold a public hearing regarding the recently passed changes to Chapter 168 of the town code. The hearing is at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 6, during the regularly scheduled board meeting. The public is encouraged to attend.
Minor wording changes to the chapter were also approved Thursday night. While not changing anything that has been previously passed, there was some confusion as to the definition of “traditional” and “innovative” techniques as they pertain to subdividing. These definitions will be cleared up and discussed during the public hearing.
Town Clerk Marie Schmit said that as of Thursday night’s meeting, 241 citizens have responded to the recent town internet survey, with “more and more that keep trickling in.” The results of the survey were mostly negative with local residents simply not satisfied with their current Internet providers.
“It’s quite overwhelming — people want some help,” said Chair Johnson. However, the cost of such an undertaking is even more overwhelming.
“If we did this, it would cost more than the road budget,” said Supervisor Dan Gavin. “We simply can’t afford to do it.”
Gavin also argued, “The government should not provide Internet services to the public,” saying that the matter is better left to the private sector. With such a large budgetary burden on the proposal, it’s all but dead in the water, which would leave the high-speed Internet needs to private companies, which provides another set of problems.
Gavin said that from a business standpoint, it would be hard to convince a company to build infrastructure in such a small community because it would be hard for them to turn a profit unless they dramatically raised prices for the consumer.
“Unless there was a tremendous government subsidy, they simply won’t build here,” said Gavin.
Johnson agreed, but offered another suggestion.
“It’s important to at least make the providers aware of the situation,” said Johnson. Results of the survey will be made available to service providers and to the public at the St. Joe Town Hall. The public is encouraged to take a look at the results and even send them to their own service providers.