My notes on the Town Board meeting 5-19-2014
The Board meeting ws called to order at 7 PM by Supervisor Joel Craig. Members Andrea Dunn, Don Westmore, Matthew Phelan and Town Clerk Joyce Vale were present; Mike Mortenson was absent.
The minutes of the previous meeting and the month’s audited bills were approved unanimously by the Board.
The Town Clerk reported communications to the Board from the Columbia County Office on the Aging. The Office is conducting a survey of the elderly in the county with the aim of developing policies to provide helpful services, such as transportation. The survey can be found on the County’s website and there are copies available at town hall for those who wish to respond The website is
www.columbiacountyny.com/ and the phone for the Office on the Aging is 828-4258
Joel introduced Susan Brown the Superintendent of the Germantown Consolidated Schools. She spoke to the Board about the School Elections to take place Tuesday May 20th which will offer three issues to be decided. 1 Proposition I: Approval of the Budget for 2014-2015, 2 Proposition II: Approval of a Construction Project, and the Election to fill two vacancies on the School Board. Additionally, she spoke about the measures to improve the process by which the Budget is developed by implementing a 6 step process beginning by examining the past three years of actual spending, reviewing the implications of the previous years’ reductions, designing a program based on Student needs and Leadership Teams assessments, anticipating the next year’s needs, the schools goals and the recommendations from school committees, considering external factors and, finally, last minute adjustments as new information is available (such as the amount of State school aid figures)
The goal is to make the budgeting process more rational , thoughtful and transparent for the public.
In addition the school administration has developed five steps that are reflected on the budget:
1 Hiring a High School Social Studies teacher (with an English Certification as well),
2 Hiring a Library Media Specialist;
3 Reorganizing Administration into three Instructional Leadership Teams,
4 Providing high-quality professional development (focused on implementing Common Core), and
5 Providing Early Intervention for students who need extra help.
There was discussion among the Board and Ms Brown regarding the role of the Schools in the over-all wellbeing of the Town, with expressions of concern that the School System has not had the good publicity it deserves for its progress in recent years. Both spoke of greater cooperation and communication between the two primary administrations in the community.
Maintenance: Anthony Cidras says that work has been done on the Highway Departments garage roof and they are awaiting the next rain to see if it is done effectively. He has prepped all the summer equipment, picnic tables, grills, all ready for use. They are expecting delivery of the new, more secure, doors for Town Hall from Harrington’s. The funding for these doors was a grant through JCAP, derived from a need for greater security for the Court, which meets at Town Hall. Joel asks about the status of the “floating islands” proposed for the Lake. Anthony replies that they will be meeting with the contractors on Wednesday or Thursday and will come tot he Board with the recommendations that come from that meeting.
Highway Department: Don Westmore read from a report provided by Rich Jennings: They issued two permits for new driveways. They are ditching Hilltop Road for better drainage, laying stone on several other roads. The new John Deere tractor has just arrived and they are enjoying mowing with it. The order for new culverts and pipes has just been received and the Dept will be working on improvements to Cheviot Road ASAP.
Sewer Department: George Sharpe Jr. reports that they had an average daily flow of 20,000 gal/per/day in April. They approved 4 dig requests. He is uncovering and cleaning tanks.
Police Department: Roger Rekow reports there were 122.5 hours of patrolling service provided in April. This includes 9 traffic tickets, 17 warnings, 1 trespass complaint, 1 dog complaint, 3 assists to the fire department, 1 to EMS and 1 to other agencies. Patrol visits to the following: Cheviot: 36, Anchorage:35, Schools: 29, Palatine Park: 31, and Dales Bridge: 22.
Roger notes the Memorial Day Parade Monday May 26th. Service at the Memorial near Town Hall will take place at 9:00AM, The group goes to the Cemetery and then the parade marches down Main street through the village. If there is heavy rain the ceremonies are moved to the School auditorium.
Business and Economic Development: No report; meets Wednesday May 21st.
Community, Arts & Tourism: Corrine Curry reports that ARTspace has a new home, and she thanks Laurie Marchisio who has provided space in one of her buildings (the former location of the Library before the new one was built) She thanks Billy Kimmel, Norman Mintz, Adrienne Westmore, (hosting the opening reception, Sat. May 24th) Ginny Sibbison who is helping organize the coverage for “sitters” at the shows. She thanks Anthony Cidras and Joel for their help. There are 4 Shows planned over the summer and a fifth Holiday Gift show in early December. The first show features Germantown artist Dawn Breeze and opens Saturday May 24th from 11AM to 4 PM and with a reception from 5PM to 7PM that evening. The show runs weekends through June 14th
Joel discusses the Town Map which has been drawn, featuring the local businesses in town. The basic map is digital and can be used to feature different aspects for other purposes when needed. He asks for a motion to fund the payment for the map as conceived and receives unanimous agreement. All Aye.
Parks and Recreation: Andrea Dunn reports that they are working on getting the preparations for the 4th of July celebration organized. She also says that the Emergency Preparedness Committee is meeting and will make a report in the future.
Fourth of July Committee: Matthew Phelan reports that they will have a DJ to make sure they have music locked in. They are sending out vendor registration forms and letters going out to local businesses for donations. They are working to set up volunteers for the Parking and they are working with Anthony regarding the use of the park features, layouts. [They seem to be very enthusiastic about the venture.-ed.]
Old business: None this meeting’
The Camp Director and the Assistant Camp Director have sent a recommendation to hire as counselors a list of young people they have interviewed. (all local kids) List:
Pre-school camp director—-Sharon Nordfors
Pre-school co-camp director—-Tammy Lyons
Camp counselors are:
Motion to hire? All Aye, approved.
Applications to attend the Summer camp may be found on the Town’s website.
Waste Water Plant; A representative from Delaware Engineering spoke briefly about their interest in preparing a grant application for a formal study of a comprehensive long-term solution for the ailing water treatment plant. This is done in order to apply for any state and federal funding for the project, hopefully by next year. It will be costly and the more grant money we can get, the easier the burden on the Sewer District residents. After brief discussion the motion was made and the vote was unanimous: all Aye.
On a more specific issue, there is an on-going problem at a Maple Ave. location. Joel offers a motion to approve the work of Greenman-Pederson, Inc. to draw up engineering plans to rebuild the troubled portion of the sewer line. When The Town has the engineering plan it will put out the bid for a contractor with the hope of getting it done as quickly as possible. All Aye
Joel notes that Clarkson College students will place a monitor in the Hudson River for a study of water/tidal conditions.
Joel notes the County’s efforts to get a survey from residents about their need for access to broadband service. The survey is on the County’s website: /www.columbiacountyny.com/
Grievance Day will be on May 27th from 2 to 4 PM and 6 to 8 PM at Town Hall. This is for the benefit of property owners to seek redress and air complaints about their property assessments.
The Town Board of Germantown will hold its second Town Board Workshop meeting on June 16th at 7 PM. All invited to attend.
Kay Abraham asked about the decision to seek a comprehensive study and solution for the waste water plant. She reminded the Board that some years ago it had contemplated an engineering company’s report that offered Plans A, B and C for repairing the failing system. Joel said that those plans had been focused on making repairs and not on a comprehensive solution for the Town. She asked if there were indeed funds to be had, and the Delaware Engineering representative said that there were funds to be had and a realistic chance of getting our grant application funded.
Peter Fingar spoke: He was at the center of the sewer problems on Maple avenue. He had an apartment building there with tenants who have currently no septic and no sewer. He feels that he needs a solution immediately and urges the town to act quickly. Joel says they will move as fast as possible to rectify the situation.
Meeting adjourned at 8:00 PM
The next meeting will be on June 23rd, 7 PM
To the best of my note-taking ability,
Kay Abraham 537-5404
Additions and corrections welcomed