Cost of keeping Keuka Maid away is $15,000

Loujane Johns

The Milo Town Board voted in November to authorize Supervisor Jack Snow to spend $2,000 for legal fees to keep the Keuka Maid from docking at the entrance to Keuka Lake Outlet.

Following the injunction that’s kept the dinner cruise boat from the north end of the lake, a $15,000 legal bill was received and paid by the Village of Penn Yan without any contibution from Milo or Yates County.

Snow and other Milo officials had met with Village of Penn Yan and Yates County officials and all agreed the injunction was necessary to stop plans by owner Robert Pfuntner to bring the boat from its mooring site in Urbana to dock near Sarrasin’s Restaurant, which he also owns.

The Keuka Maid offered dinner cruises out of Hammondsport for several years.  Following a tragic accident in the north country, New York State became more stringent on the inspection of such vessels.

Unable to lift the large vessel from the water for an inspection, the owner then used the boat as a floating restaurant facility.  Last summer a wedding reception came to an abrupt halt when the vessel began taking on water.

And last fall, two kitchen barges previously used with the dinner boat cruise business were beached on property located near Sarrasin’s Restaurant, also owned by Pfuntner.

That set off the injunction.

When the local officials met they discussed concerns they had about the boat even making a trip up the lake to dock in Penn Yan, fearing it might sink and cause environmental problems.  The big issue, however, was the fact that the county, village and town are working on a waterfront project to revitalize the Keuka Outlet area and the large boat sitting at the entrance was not part of the plan.

At the January meeting of the Town of Milo newly elected Supervisor John Socha asked members to approve a letter to be submitted to the Yates County Legislature asking for them to pay one third of the cost of the Harris-Beach legal services invoice. 

He said, “A lot of us were surprised the bill was so high.”

Councilman Carroll Graves suggested Milo negotiate with the county and the village.  Audience member Bill Laffin added he thought the injunction benefited all three entities. All members voted in favor with Earl Gleason abstaining.

The Milo Town Board discussed other issues, including:

GRINDER PUMPS:  Socha reported that eight grinder pumps were lost last week during a brown out. 

He said insurance companies, NYSEG and the town engineer have expressed concerns about the issue.  Some homeowners also reported appliance burn-outs. Grinder pumps work like a garbage disposal on a larger scale when household waste is discharged into the sewer system.

The breakdowns occurred in the East Lake Road and Willow Grove area.  Socha believed the cost to rebuild each pump is about $500-$600.

APPOINTMENT: Following the recommendation of Councilman Dale Hallings, the board appointed Russell Hunt to the Comprehensive Planning Committee.

FIRE INSPECTIONS: Socha reported that Building & Zoning Officer John Welsh and Secretary Jane Lamphier have formulated a fire inspection list and inspections have been started.

WATER: Graves said the Keuka Housing Council may be able to help obtain some aid for the Himrod water hook-up.

FENCES:  The proposed fence and hedges law will be sent back to the committee for revisions before final approval.

WATERFRONT:  Town Clerk Pat Christensen read a letter of support for a waterfront grant request.

All members approved.