The Daily Star, Oneonta, NY - otsego county news, delaware county news, oneonta news, oneonta sports

March 29, 2013

In Our Opinion: Full voting hours needed/Southside work long overdue

The Daily Star

---- — Full voting hours needed

A tied vote for mayor in Gilbertsville brought to light more than just a divided electorate.

It showed that the village wasn’t following its charter — and may not have been for a while.

After the 61-61 vote in the race between acting Mayor Diane Gallo and challenger Kenneth Nolan, who said he received many complaints from voters saying the hours set by the village, 2 to 7 p.m., didn’t give them time.
The village charter requires voting to be allowed between noon and 9 p.m., at minimum.
Nolan said Gallo, who was appointed mayor after the elected mayor, Shirley Musson, died in November, set those hours.
Gallo denied she was responsible for choosing the polling hours but said it was her understanding that they were the usual times.
“They do that because, in the past, if 12 people come out for an election, that’s a lot,” she said.
But if limiting hours beyond what is allowed in the charter prevents even one person from voting, that is not right.
We understand village officials have a lot of responsibility without a lot of reward, but voting is a fundamental right that shouldn’t be limited because of lack of knowledge.
Fortunately, Gilbertsville has a chance make it right. A runoff vote will be held Tuesday, April 16, with the full hours in effect.
Southside work long overdue
Traveling on Southside should be a little smoother later this year after a $1.5 million paving project is completed.
While it’s not the reconstruction project that had been discussed for years, we’re glad the state Department of Transportation has decided to work to preserve the road.
In previous versions, the DOT studied the addition of roundabouts to control traffic and proposed widening the Southside retail corridor with up to five lanes of traffic and adding amenities for pedestrians and bicyclists.
We’d love to see more lanes and better access for pedestrians and bicyclists, but we know the current economic reality of the state will not allow such a large project.
And rather than wait for the perfect, we’re happy with the good.
The project will run along state Route 23 from near the entrance to the Lantern Hill Mobile Home Park near Walmart to state Route 28 and along that highway to county Road 48, DOT officials said. Paving will be done on lower Main Street between Route 28 to state Route 7, which is the intersection of Chestnut and Main streets in the city of Oneonta.
The planned preservation work is long overdue. Potholes, ruts and general deterioration of the road make traveling on Southside an adventure.
We can’t wait to see the work completed.