Council Puts off Five-Points Intersection; Allocates Funds to Pay for Fire Supervisor

At the December 2 City Council Meeting, at Mayor Joe Sack’s recommendation, the Councill voted unanimously to postpone the traffic and pedestrian safety improvements at the Five Points Intersection (Midland Avenue, Grace Church Street, and Manursing Avenue).

Published December 4, 2015 1:26 PM
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At the December 2 City Council Meeting, at Mayor Joe Sack’s recommendation, the Councill voted unanimously to postpone the traffic and pedestrian safety improvements at the Five Points Intersection (Midland Avenue, Grace Church Street, and Manursing Avenue).

At the December 2 City Council Meeting, at Mayor Joe Sack’s recommendation, the Councill voted unanimously to postpone the traffic and pedestrian safety improvements at the Five Points Intersection (Midland Avenue, Grace Church Street, and Manursing Avenue).

The Mayor acknowledged that safety improvements at this intersection have been under discussion for years, but it was necessary for the project to “take a back seat” for other priorities.

Instead, the Council proposed to reallocate $100,000 of the capital spending for one-half year’s salary and benefits for a fire supervisor, an administrative position. Speaking for the Council, Kirstin Bucci and Richard Mecca stated that it was the unanimous view of the volunteers and the full-time professional firefighters that an administrative position was needed to better coordinate the two departments, especially in light of the decline in the number of volunteer firefighters.

Mayor Sack acknowledged that using money from the Undesignated Fund Balance, traditionally used for capital spending, to pay for operating expenses was “not a sustainable practice,” and, “we have to address how to pay for this position a year from now.”

A major issue still to be addressed is the Rye Free Reading Room funding for 2016. At the November 16 Budget Workshop, Chris Shoemaker, Director of the Rye Free Reading Room, asked the Council for more funding, which may be in the range of $30,000. He stated that the largest piece of the funding would be for Sunday service hours as requested by the community.

Joe Murphy, a longstanding Rye resident who has been honored for his community service, spoke at the December 2 meeting in support of the request from the library. Murphy, speaking on behalf of the Rye Senior Advocacy Committee, said a place for seniors to enjoy on Sundays was a significant community need, similar to the space the library provides for teens.

The council will vote on the final budget December 16.

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