WELLS - The Wells Town Board has voted to support classifying a majority of 18,294 acres of newly acquired state-owned lands as Wild Forest.
The board made the move at the request of the five Adirondack towns that are directly impacted: Indian Lake, Long Lake, Newcomb, Minerva and North Hudson, known collectively as the Upper Hudson Recreation Hub.
The land, purchased from The Nature Conservancy, has been added to the "forever wild" Adirondack Forest Preserve and will never be developed.
The board agreed its classification and subsequent management is not only "critically important" to the future of the five towns, "but the entire Adirondack Park."
The board fears the Adirondack Park Agency may be poised to "do business as usual," despite Gov. Andrew Cuomo's vision of creating economic opportunities for communities with large state land holdings.
Public hearings on several classification alternatives were held this summer. The board's resolution also says, "It is disheartening when APA staff ... failed to offer a broader range of options for public consideration such as a state campground, or any significant Intensive Use area."
Councilmen Deborah Taylor and Robert D. Wright were absent.
Superintendent of Highways Clay Earley reported the Windfall Road from the corner of Griffin Road to Dorr Road and the last mile of Pumpkin Hollow Road would be chip sealed. Also, bad spots on West River Road were skimmed over, he said, and will receive chip seal as well.
Wells Water District Operator Joe Wilson retired Aug. 28. George Paige was moved from the Highway Department into that position. Earley hired Ryan Turnbull, who possesses a commercial driver license, to replace Paige.
One bid was received for a surplus Case tractor the Highway Department has not used for more than 12 years. Marvin "Jim" Warner, Mayfield, offered $150, which the board accepted.
-- Lake Algonquin Hydroelectric Plant expenditures for August totaled $505 with revenues of $9,269. Year-to-date expenditures total $8,940 and revenues total $116,924.
-- Work has begun on the town's 2014 budget. The state's cap on any increase to the tax levy for the coming year is 1.66 percent.
-- The final equalization rate for the 2013 Assessment Roll is 93 percent. Towers said the town has maintained that rate for the past four to five years. No revaluation will be planned, he said, until the housing market rebounds.
The Wells Town Board will next meet Monday, Oct. 7, starting at 7 p.m.
Editor's Note: This article is primarily based on draft minutes of the Wells Town Board meeting of Sept. 9, 2013, as provided by Town Clerk Mari Wilson.