Two Meetings of the Town Board: 12/16 and 1-6
Sorry to have been so absent in the past 2 months. I have not posted the notes on the December Town Board meeting on Dec. 16th nor the Organization meeting on January 6th. Fortunately for those of you desperate for local news, those meetings were well-covered by the Columbia Paper and the Register-Star. Both papers can be seen on-line and the coverage is quite good, though I am partial to the Columbia Paper because my friend, Debby Meyer, is the journalist.
In general, to catch up, the meetings held few surprises. At the December meeting, other than the routine Board business and the Department and Committee reports, the primary feature was a presentation from Roy Brown that covered the accomplishments by the Board in his two terms (8 years) of service as Supervisor. It was quite comprehensive, focused on the positive developments, and generously included references to the individual Board members—and individual residents– who contributed to the successes. When the meeting came to the end several people spoke, to offer best wishes for those who will not be back in Town Government in 2014. Roy Brown, Supervisor, Joan Snyder, board member, and the Town Clerk, Charlene Diehl. There was coffee and cake served in the hallway after the meeting adjourned,
I spoke, primarily to Roy but with a bow to Joan Snyder, who persevered to finish her term in spite of poor health, (this after nearly her whole adulthood in public service of one kind or another) and Charlene Diehl, with whom I have had a pleasant working relationship. I gave credit to Roy for the change in tone of the meetings from one of sometimes vocal hostility to one of civil exchanges among the Board members and between the Board members and the public. In general, I find that members of the public who have questions are treated in a welcoming attitude rather than a defensive one, and that efforts have been made to improve public access to information. I also praised him for his move towards more a more progressive view of what Town Government can do. It has actively sought out grant funding and it sought the energy audits that resulted in a more efficient use of energy, such as installation of the solar panels on the pavilion’s roof.
[I was actually a little surprised that there was no one who might have put on a little bigger party for the departing officials—three people who have served for quite a long time in the town. I made a couple of calls but there seemed to be no response indication that anyone was doing anything. Maybe it’s just not a Germantown thing.]
As for the Organization Meeting on January 6th, there were two pieces of “news”. One, the regular Town Board meetings have been moved from the 3rd Monday of each month to the 4th Monday of each month. This change means there will be only one conflict (The meeting to be held on the 19th in May, because of Memorial Day) with holidays that fall on Mondays. So. adjust your thinking to that new model: 4th Monday!
The second bit of “news” is that all the advisory committees (Economic Development, History, Parks, etc. have been dissolved and will be renewed after some examination of each groups’ mission and structure. As this process moves forward I will keep you abreast of things.
Otherwise, the Organization Meeting reaffirmed the basic elements of Town operation. All of the details of the actions were contained in the long agenda published for the meeting. Among the items included were:
Designation of the official newspaper for legal notices, approval of bank accounts for 2014, designation of the Town Attorney, (Tal Rappleyea ) Town Engineers, appointing chairs for the Planning Board and the Zoning Board of Appeals, designating the members of the Police Commission, etc., etc.. setting the order of business for meetings, setting the calendar of regular meetings and listing the salaries of certain employees.
The most remarkable thing about the reorganization meeting was that it marked the first for Joel Craig as our new Supervisor. Welcome Joel! We also have two new Board members, Matt Phelan and Andrea Dunn, and a new Town Clerk, Joyce Vale. Welcome all of you!
The next regular meeting will be the January Board Meeting scheduled for 7 PM on Monday January 27th. I hope to be more on top of the meetings now that the holidays and the cold dark nights are somewhat behind us.
Kay Abraham 537-5404
Corrections, additions welcomed.