The Village of Cobleskill is hoping it can leverage a $485 bill from Railroad Management Company LLC into long-asked for and even longer-needed work on the railroad bridge by CVS and the underpass by Key Bank.
“My first reaction is that we don’t pay it,” Deputy Mayor Howard Burt said of the surprise bill last Tuesday.
In the past, the bill from the railroad for easements for the village’s water and sewer lines has been $54 a year.
In theory, it allows the village access to lines running under railroad--originally D&H, then Canadian Pacific, and now, Norfolk Southern--property for repairs.
But Water Superintendent Joe Redmond said that often requests are denied or ignored and as a result, a number of the connections are dead ends, including at Veterans Drive and Everett Street.
After reviewing the contract with the railroad, Village Attorney Shawn Smith said it’s pretty straight-forward; the railroad does have the right to increase the bill for the easements with no warning, he said.
But the language in the 1920s agreement over maintaining the pedestrian bridge and the underpass are less clear.
Mr. Burt pointed out that the village has been trying to get the railroad to do something about the bridge, which has long been closed because it’s unsafe, for 30 years.
“And the underpass by Key Bank. We can’t use it, they won’t repair it. It’s theirs. They own it,” he said.
But requests that the railroad address either spot go unanswered.
Mr. Redmond said there are about 5-6 spots in the village, including the dead ends, that the easements cover.
Trustees voted not to pay the bill; Mr. Smith will contact the railroad to see if he can set up a meeting.