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Village of Dansville ponders more Public Works staff

Chris Potter
cpotter@gatehousemedia.com

DANSVILLE — Could the Village of Dansville someday expand its Department of Public Works and handle more projects in-house?

The question was broached at Tuesday’s Board of Trustees meeting, with Trustee Dan Rittenhouse suggesting it’s a possibility the village should investigate.

“We always get more done in this village for less, because of our work ethic, because of our knowledge,” Rittenhouse said. “There’s a lot of things that factor in.”

Rittenhouse wondered aloud if the village could realize cost savings by adding a handful of Public Works employees during the busy summer months, the construction season. The move might allow the village to contract out less work and possibly save taxpayer dollars.

“No one is going to come through and do the job and care about the way it looks the way Scott Tracy does. It’s just not going to happen,” Rittenhouse said of Superintendent of Public Works Scott Tracy, suggesting the idea as “food for thought.”

Other trustees agreed, noting residents might be much happier watching village staff perform work on local streets rather than out-of-town contractors.

“I love the idea of employing people that live here, so they go to the stores here and buy from the restaurants here and do all that,” Rittenhouse said. “If they come in from somewhere else, these people aren’t taking village money and putting it back into the village (economy).”

In other business, Tracy reported work on Bank Street continues with curbing expected in mid-September before the project wraps up at the end of next month.

“It’s nice to be able to go in and rebuild a whole street like we’re doing with Bank,” Tracy said. “It’s a little street, only 700 feet long, but it’ll be all done, it’ll be curbed, it’ll look nice. It’ll drain. That’s a big thing we have on a lot of streets, drainage. I think people will be happy.”

Tracy said DPW would like to tackle Knox Street next year.

In addition to possible changes to Public Works, the village board will also investigate its policies around open burning and fencing. Both matters were raised by residents.

“You can put a fence right on the boundary line (between neighboring properties),” noted Mayor Pete Vogt. “It creates a problem because the person that didn’t put up the fence has to maintain along the side of that fence. … Now the fence is giving him additional work to do.”

The board discussed potential solutions and problems. A three-foot setback rule for fences could cause other problems with neighbors possibly entering the other property to do maintenance along their fence. The village noted liability issues and potential conflicts if the fence was put up because neighbors didn’t get along in the first place.

“It’s kind of a double-edged sword,” Rittenhouse said.