By Kellen M. Quigley

The October meeting of the Great Valley Town Board could be a busy one after the board set several public hearings for next month during its regular meeting Monday.

First, the town set a public hearing for its Oct. 14 meeting at 7 p.m. concerning the town going over the tax cap for its 2020 budget.

“As we move into our budget season, we know we’re going to be over the tax cap,” said Town Supervisor Dan Brown, adding that they want to get the public hearing done sooner before they run out of time at the end of the year. “We have to pass (the tax cap) before we pass the budget.”

Next, the board set a public hearing concerning a new contract with Charter One, which hasn’t had a contract with the town for over a decade.

“They come into Snow Pine village area and the school,” Brown said. “They service about 123 customers at just the school.”

Later in the meeting, the board set a public hearing concerning adopting a new senior tax exemption local law in the county for residents of the town.

“In the past, it was a very small number of people in town, just a handful,” Brown said.

Then, the town set a public hearing to consider whether or not to opt-out of the 50-year exemption on property taxes for solar or wind projects.

Finally, a public hearing was set to discuss passing a moratorium to hold off on local approval of wind or solar projects that are larger than 25 megawatts that may come into the town.

Although state laws prohibit municipalities from completely banning large-scale solar projects from setting up in the town, the board can pass local laws to regulate size, location and setbacks, according to town attorney Peter Sorgi.

“In the meantime, the planning board thought it was prudent to enact a moratorium on any local approval of wind or solar projects electric generation facilities over 25 megawatts for a period of six months so the town and planning board can look at regulations,” Sorgi said.

IN OTHER BUSINESS, Brown updated the board on a new plan for the grounds behind the town hall.

Although a plan to build a basketball court back there was not to be this year, a recreation area including a court and more could be coming in 2020.

Brown discussed the early plans to develop the open property to include recreation facilities for community members to use, including picnic areas and sports fields.

At the northeast end of the town’s property, there would be enough space to build a full-sized basketball court, Brown said.

“We talked about putting a paved access trail from Great Valley Road across to the town property so senior citizens could utilize this area,” he said. “There’s room there to put a small pole building with a picnic area in there.”

Brown said with the court’s location near the driveway and town’s pole barn, it would save the town money by not having to bring trucks out into the middle of the field and ruin the grounds. He also said it would be better for parking, even with the nearby baseball diamond on the other side of the proposed space for the court.

“There could be two different pavilions,” Brown said. “There would be a smaller one (by the playground) to go with the rental of the town hall, and then another small one with one or two picnic tables (by the basketball court).”

Brown said he would continue to work with the engineers to come up with more designs that the board could look at again.

At the Kill Buck Memorial Park, Brown said the refrigerator stopped working. The town will look at fixing it, but the board said a fridge isn’t needed down there and it could be removed completely.

“We have $15,000 to spend down there,” he said. “Does the board want me to get some ideas and prices on opening the kitchen area up.” By removing the old kitchen, Brown said they could open up a small stage area at the pavilion and have a smaller snack shack area.

“We could still open that up, and just work around the cooler or not,” he added.

A proposal to have a monthly food pantry held at the town hall will have its preliminary sign-up day on Oct. 5, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., at the town hall. There will be free hot dogs and refreshments.

“They’re hoping to launch the pantry at the end of October or beginning of November, depending on interest,” Brown said. “They’ll put a sign out here in front of the building to let people know that’s available for a week or so prior to that.”

As work for the Bonn Way water system gets underway, Brown said the town was able to knock about $6,000 off the original estimate. However, the generator needs to be replaced. Brown said it’s the original generator.

“The good news is the pumps that we are putting in are much smaller in size, so it will not need as large of a generator,” he added.

The next regular meeting of the Great Valley Town Board is scheduled for Oct. 14 at 7 p.m.