What's going on in Germantown?

My Notes on the Town Board Meeting 7-22-2013

This was a long evening—from 6 PM to 9 PM with few pauses.  I have 11 pages of handwritten notes, so please excuse any omissions and short cuts that I may take.

The Town Board meeting was called to order at 7:14 PM by Roy Brown, Supervisor.  All Board Members were present: Mike Mortenson, Don Westmore, Joel Craig, and Joan Snyder.  Town Clerk, Charlene Diehl and Attorney, Tal Rappelyea were also in attendance.

The Board approved the minutes of the previous meeting with one small word change.  They also approved the payment of the Audited Bills unanimously.


 Rich Jennings says the Highway Department has installed oil and gravel along several roads in a thorough way that should be good for at least 10 years.  They are mowing and weed-eating along the roads.  The new Broom (road sweeper) has been delivered and is now in use. Goes on and off with ease and sweeps  an 8 ft wide swath, reducing the number of repetitions to clear a roadway.  He advises that Route 8 will be chewed up next week and made ready for resurfacing by the County and recommends drivers find alternate ways of getting to town.

Sewer Department:  George Sharpe Jr. reports a 22,000 gallons per day flow for the month of June.  They had 9 dig requests. All tanks have been drained and cleaned.

Maintenance: Anthony Cedars reports: He has moved fill into the ballpark tree line. They are having trouble with the lake because of not algae, but plant growth.  The green in the lake is both duckweed and mille weed that is growing out of control because of the constant inflow of rainwater with its added nutrients and the very warm weather that promotes growth.  The algae problem is solved through the treatment they are doing, but not the plant growth.

They picked up 3 50-gallon bags of garbage from the Anchorage where lots of loose garbage washed up, probably from the high water in the river.  They still have a hard problem with people who drive onto the grass where there should be no parking.  They had placed large rocks to prevent driving but they are being removed every weekend.  They have now put in stakes and a chain and a “no parking” sign and will see what happens.  What about surveillance cameras?  Could be an answer. Or at least help.

The state had installed a place to wash boats to keep invasive species out of the river but people have just used the site to dump garbage.  Are there invasive species coming in at Anchorage? “Not unless they’re coming in Miller-Lite cans”, says Joel.[laughter]

Police Department Roger Rekow is on vacation so the report is given by officer DuBoise.   [I couldn’t hear well here, so this is incomplete]  12 tickets issued, 34 warnings, 1 DUI, I Alarm response, 1 dispute, 1 larceny, 1 marijuana bust, 1 aggravated felony, 1 burglary, I harassment, I domestic dispute,  and I robbery—This was at the Extramart .

Roy speaks about the information he has gathered about training and policy decision for the AR-15 rifles to be purchased.  He made inquiry at several towns in Columbia County and has put it together for the Board’s consideration, and the Police officers.  He wants feedback so the Board can develop the appropriate policies for Germantown. Discussion at the next Board meeting. August 19th.


Economic Development Committee:

Corrine Curry says they are very happy with the installation of the two Kiosks next to Otto’s, on land that belongs to the Fingar Insurance Company.  They have been receiving good reports and are waiting for feedback so they can work out any flaws or glitches as soon as possible.  Two donated benches will be placed nearby, as well.

PARK Commission:

Joel reports that the picnic went well in spite of the dire weather forecasts, which proved incorrect. Don says that the Executive Director of the Hudson River Foundation, Mr. Hines, was coming to Germantown to tour our various waterways and river shore.

History Department:

Sue Raab reports—many problems at the Parsonage.  She thanks Anthony Cidras and Janet Crawford for their help in the past month.  There is water in the Parsonage basement and she needs to have a de-humidifier to work against the mold that is growing. Purchase approved by the Board.  The downspouts are missing and need to be replaced.  The copper gutters have all been stolen and they need to replace them with [historically incorrect] weathered-copper-colored aluminum gutters. Water also seems to be coming down the chimney.  She needs some IT-tech to connect the computer they have with the town computer.  Joel says he could help with that.  She wants to know how the History Dept. can be connected tot he Economic Development Committee? Answer—Contact Corrine Curry (in the audience).


The Town needs to adopt the Update for the Hazardous Mitigation Plan and send it to the County for them to place it in coordination with the County Plan.  Once all communities and the County have a unified plan they are eligible to apply and receive funding from FEMA.

The resolution is read by Charlene and the Board votes: All Aye.

Resolution to appoint Jamie Del Pozzo as Secretary to the Planning Board and the ZBA: Vote:All Aye

Fracking Moratorium:  It will expire in October unless they vote to adopt it.  They still need to sponsor a pro-fracking program to educate the public (having had an Anti-Fracking program earlier in the year) Board indicates they should still try to find a pro-fracking speaker or two. Roy will try again.

Property Code Violations.  There are still two properties, one at 462 South Road and one at 4777  RT 9G, that have let their 30 day period go and not cleaned up their properties. After discussion the Board voted to go forward to the next step and do the clean up themselves (the Town) and bill the owners.  If they don’t pay, the case is turned over to the County, a lien is placed on the property and the County reimburses the town for its costs.  Board votes to proceed, after a hearing scheduled for August 19th, the next Board meeting. : All Aye.

Resolution to appoint Jeremy Smith to the Ethics Board.  All Aye.

Consider Establishing a Noise Ordinance.  Roy became aware of a noise complaint that led to a severe dispute between two neighbors.  Board members seemed skeptical about such an ordinance as hard to enforce.  Several comments from the audience reinforced the perception of a problem.  Roy said there was a Dispute Resolution group up in Hudson that might help this kind of dispute,  and basically decided to drop the idea of a noise ordinance.

APPLE FESTIVAL Roy reports progress for the plans of the Festival—bigger and better than last year.  Asks Town Board if they want to contribute $$ as they did last year ($3,000).

Mike Mortenson says he doesn’t want the town to contribute and would rather bring back the former 4th of July celebration and save the money for the fireworks, which are expensive.  Joel says yes (to the Apple Festival) for this year but to discuss the next year’s options and consider the 4th of July once again. Don says why not do both next year?  They can discuss the funding issues when they work on next year’s budget when they can study the pros and cons of doing the 4th of July.  (It had become too expensive in the judgment of the Board members back a few years ago). A motion was made to fund the Apple Festival for $2000.00 this year.  Mike Mortenson votes Nay, all 4 others vote Aye. Motion Passes.  Mike makes motion to save the other $1,000.00 in reserve for the fireworks next year. All Vote Aye.

The Board agrees to discuss in depth at the budget meetings.

Resolution to establish procedures to appoint the members of the Police Commission to set Police Policies.  Superintendent + two others.  Right now the others are Roger Rekow and John Rustici.  This is how the Board has done it for several years but they needed to have it formalized by resolution.  Mike Mortenson NO, All others Aye.  Motion Passes.


Roy reports on the sidewalk status.  What’s holding things up right now is a Right-of-Way issue that is complex.  They required  a clearance from the Germantown Reform Church for a small bit of land that was needed.  However, the Church can’t find the deed or any other paperwork that proves they own that piece of land and therefore cannot give permission.  Consequently, the Town must go through the process of claiming Eminent Domain, even though the Church is happy to give permission.  This means legal forms, going to the County Superior Court, etc. etc. this could add another month or two to the process. [UGH!]

12526 Event Friday July 19th. Good attendance in spite of the weather. Ken Flood, County Planner, attended, as did David Colby of the Chamber of Commerce. It was another sign to them that Columbia County was doing well. There was a ribbon cutting at the Kiosks as well.

Roy says the August 19th Board Meeting will have scheduled the first version of the Auditor’s Report for the Town.

Roy comments that there is now a flagpole next to the 9/11 Monument installed and paid for by volunteers.  Looks very nice.  There are benches as well.

The Board votes to go into executive session and the audience takes that opportunity to depart at 8:55 PM

To the best of my note-taking ability……

Corrections, additions appreciated.

Kay Abraham



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