What's going on in Germantown?

Notes on the Town Board Meeting Feb. 25th, 2013

The meeting was called to order by Supervisor Roy Brown at 7:00 PM. Board members present: Don Westmore, Joel Craig, Joan Snyder, Mike Mortenson absent. Town Clerk, Charlene Diehl and also Town Attorney, Tal Rippleyea were present.

After unanimous approval of the minutes of the January Organization Meeting, the January Town Board meeting, and the approval of the payment of the audited bills the Board went into Executive Session at 7:05 PM.

The regular meeting was called back into order at 7:37 PM.

The Clerk announced that there were no written communications to the Board but noted that United Way was looking for donations of old computers.  Contact Beth Hansen at the Bank of Green County on Rt 9G for details.

Department Reports:

Highway Department, Rich Jennings reports that their primary activity has been snow plowing and sanding the streets.  He thanks drivers for cooperating in moving their cars to facilitate plowing, especially in the hamlet. They have been cutting dead wood and hazardous trees, leaving the cut wood behind them for those who wish to collect it.  In March they will begin prepping their equipment for street sweeping in the spring.  The Highway Department has set April 4th as the roadside clean-up date, with help from the Cub Scouts, and any other neighbors who would like to assist in this essential community project.  Riversweep, focusing cleanup along the Hudson River banks, will be scheduled sometime in April as well.  [I will contact Martin Overington to see if a date has been set.]

Rich Jennings says that anyone who knows of a pothole on our streets should call the Highway Department phone ( 537-6686) and they  (or the County) will take care of it ASAP.

Sewer Department:  George Sharpe Jr. reports that the average flow in the past month was 26,000 gallons per day.  He received 3 dig requests. All is quiet. They have 2 grinder/pumps (used in pumping out homes) being repaired.

Maintenance Department.  Anthony Cidras reports that he has cleaned the UV system thoroughly, has been monitoring the Lake Aerator System, cleaned all the light fixtures in Town buildings.  He is having a lighting audit being done by National Grid.  They have a program to improve or replace fixtures for greater efficiency.  Some of our fixtures are 30 years old, particularly the fluorescent ballasts. The change over should result in substantial energy savings: more light less energy.  Energy grants and the savings in operational charges mitigate the cost.  Any actual costs will be pro-rated over a year’s time in the Towns energy bills.  However, there is only a 10-day window of opportunity to take advantage of the program, once the report is delivered.  Consequently, the Board voted to approve the acceptance of the program ahead of time, subject to Roy and Anthony’s judgment when the plan is offered.   Rich Jennings says the old fixtures in the Garage especially need replacement. All Aye.  [Bruce Bohnsack, later in the meeting, notes that GTel had the same lighting audit and found it very beneficial.]

Anthony reports his chagrin about dog waste.  Some dog owners pick up after the dog, tie the plastic bag securely, but then walk over to the tree line and throw the bag on the ground! He is dumbfounded over this behavior.  He says that this is against town laws and he will issue tickets if he sees anyone doing such a thing.

Police Department: Roger Rekow reports there were 95.0 hours patrolled in the past month, including 8 tickets issued, 16 warnings, 1 parking violation, 1 response to an alarm, 1 arrest warrant given and one health emergency.  The patrol car made the following visits to the sites listed below:

Cheviot: 24, Anchorage, 24, School property 21, Palatine Park, 24, Dales Bridge, 21.

Committee Reports;

Economic Development: Bruce Bohnsack advises that the committee will next meet on March 9th,  AM  at the Gtel Conference Room (located in the little house behind the Gtel office) and will discuss goals for 2013.  The Kiosks are being built, and the hope is that they will be installed this spring, although one of them may need to wait until the sidewalk is settled. Speaking of Sidewalks:

Sidewalk Committee: Roy and Bruce share the progress being made.  Roy Brown and the engineer will be going to Albany to finalize plans for moving forward.  The Town has received $131,000 in reimbursement for expenses already borne by the Town for the project and this brightens the prospects for speedy completion of the sidewalk installation.  Roy notes that there will be a new “Box Culvert” installed at Rt 8 just east of Rt 9G that will cause disruption in traffic for perhaps up to a week (worst case) or as little as two or three days, and may cause a need to detour traffic on Palatine Park if you need to be traveling on Main Street.  This will be done in the summer, after schools have closed.

Parks Committee: Andrea Dunn reports that they have heard similar concerns about the dumping of plastic bags with dog waste along the near-by park.  She says the message form the Dog Park is “PICK UP AFTER YOUR DOG!”  And dispose of it properly, as well.  The group is planning a Sub Sale for April 5th at the Activities Building from 11AM to 2PM and from 4PM to 6PM.  These have been successful in the past ( Ed.: and have grown in reputation as a great buy!), however, they are  looking for other ways to raise funds for ongoing projects. She thanks Roy and Don for attending one of their recent meetings.  The next meeting of the Committee is March 4th, at 3:30 PM at the Conference building immediately behind the GTEL office.

Don Westmore asks about the prep for the soccer Fields? to begin

later next month.  Joel asks about Little League commitments.  Yes, they have several new teams interested, and there will be a sign-up day, March 16th from 9AM to 12 Noon at the Activities building.

Old Business:

Roy says the Audit of the Town’s finances for the 2012 year is on pace.  He and Janet Crawford are gathering up documents that they might need and says that the auditors will be interviewing some Town Personnel, but we don’t know yet who they want to speak to.

The Town is having an energy Audit done, as well as the lighting audit that Anthony spoke about.

Roy says that the Town’s representative to the Columbia County Environmental Management Council, Francis Szasz, has resigned after many years of service to the town.  Roy wishes to appoint Ellen Jouret-Epstein to the position, and the Board votes approval unanimously. [Ed.: Thanks for doing this Ellen!]

New Business: 

The town is able to adopt an annual resolution adding individuals who qualify for the State Program lowering taxes for “Senior Citizen & Limited Income Disability & Veteran”.  However, this year the town is at its State-determined maximum for the program, so only those already designated will qualify for the program.

History Department:

Sue Raab asks the Town for permission to install a new monitor to display information and special exhibits to visitors. They have the money available to purchase it.  Board approves, all aye.  She asks for an examination of the cement steps up to the building to see what adaptations could be made to accommodate people who use walkers.  The walkers don’t fit on the space provided.  She asks for help to solve this problem   the Board looks at Anthony and Rich and, among friendly laughter, they accept the challenge.

There is an issue of the supply of beverages for the Town Garage.  They have a machine to purchase sodas, and water is at no charge.  However, ordering the drinks was a task that Austin used to take care of and with his departure it had fallen into the cracks.  Janet Crawford will take care of this, after checking the files about what, and from whom, was ordered in the past.

Supervisor’s Report:

Roy Brown reports that he attended the large forum held in Greene County about the crisis in school funding. Germantown will certainly be affected by all the negative impacts of the fiscal future.

On January 31, Roy conducted a training session for municipal employees re Workforce Violence.

On January 4th and 5th Roy and Don Westmore attended the NY Association of Counties Conference. They sat in on several issue sessions, including one on unfunded state mandates, and both felt that the conference was valuable to them.  Don noted that they were the only ones from Columbia County who attended. Don’s participation in a session focused on Agriculture gave him a broader view of how important agriculture was to the area and wants to explore how Germantown can develop a more meaningful understanding of  the wider world of agricultural commerce.

Roy Brown announces a Public Presentation about the SAFE Act. This will be held at the Kellner Activities Building on Thursday March 7th at 7 PM. He says several local legislators will participate. This is sponsored by the Columbia County Sheriff’s Office, with Captain David Bartlett presenting.

 Janet Crawford says the town still needs more volunteers for the Planning Board and the Zoning Board of Adjustment.

Don Westmore adds that volunteers are needed for Meals on Wheels as well.  Call the Columbia County Office of the Aging: ( 822-4258) to get details.

Meeting adjourned at 8:32 PM

 To the best of my note-taking abilities.

Corrections and additions welcomed.

Kay Abraham,  537-5404


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