While many of us are dealing with this recent health issue in our community with many different challenges, I wanted to share some information from the town. I continue to receive updates from many county departments that are working extremely hard daily to help keep our residents safe and informed.
Town offices remain closed to the public but we continue to monitor phone calls and emails and most business can be conducted in this matter. Our town highway department continues working but all are practicing social distancing while they continue to maintain safe roadways.
The courts remain closed under NYS direction, if you have questions call the court and one of Justices will respond. If you need any of us please call 518-758-6248 and leave a message or send an email and we will do our best to respond.
I am not going to attempt to provide statistics, I think we all see all see a lot of that, but again I would request that if you have concerns and want information, please go to www.columbiacountynyhealth.com where information is posted daily. The Board of Supervisors has been and will continue to issue a daily press release, and these are found on social media or you can locate them on the county web site. www.columbiacountyny.com
David Harrison is our county emergency coordinator and has been working tirelessly along with others to help secure the needed supplies that many agencies may need during this situation. State supplies of PPE’s are about diminished and current supplies are coming from the Federal government or directly from suppliers, but the coordination of all this is impressive.
Jack Mabb is our county health department director and has been doing a great job. We all know directives and information seem to be changing daily or sooner, and Jack is challenged with coordinating all of this and his staff is overseeing those who have been diagnosed positive or are suspected. Test kits remain limited and are being used where absolutely necessary. The county is working very hard to acquire more test kits. Rob Lagonia who is supervisor of Austerlitz and chairs the Health and Human Services committee has been working very hard assisting his department and has recently received a large financial donation to help purchase more test kits as they become available. Rob has been doing a great job sharing information on social media and he is constant contact with health departments, so you can trust his information. Look him up on Facebook.
Sheriff Dave Bartlett reports that although crime is down in the county right now, his staff has been busy assisting the Emergency Operations Center. Dave has created a new hotline to assist with the elderly and vulnerable in our county, including those with medical conditions or who are disabled,” who would welcome a deputy checking on their well-being on a daily basis. Just Call 518-828-0601 X 1400 and leave a message.
Kevin McDonald heads up the County Office of the Aged and they are in charge of the Meals on Wheels program as well as many other resources for our senior population. The have been extremely busy and have received a lot donations and offers to help where needed. Locally Marilyn Burch and Rich Moran are our local OFA delegates, if you have questions or know someone in need, please contact them or send a message to any of us here at the town and we will share that information with the department that can be of assistance.
PJ Keeler is both our county Treasure and the County EMS coordinator. Our county EMS squads have been extremely challenged with new guidelines and procedures during this epidemic. All of our squads have been doing a fantastic job, but do remember the new challenges they face during this time, and have patience with them if you need to use their services. Staffing levels are biggest concerns during these times, but there are many plans in place to continue to provide Emergency services to all of our county residents. If you have any past experience and can help please contact them directly.
Columbia Economic Development Corporation has been tasked with assisting those private businesses that have been affected by these trying economic times. They recently have announced several grant programs that have been developed to help local business, please take the time to look at them at www.columbiaedc.com or call 518-828-4718. There is a great staff available to assist with questions or connections to funding opportunities.
Most town meetings have been canceled but we will have a “Virtual Town Board meeting” this coming Thursday at the regular time. Councilman Bill Schneider is setting up a “Zoom” meeting where we can all call in and conduct town business. Details on that will be coming soon. I will develop an agenda and hopefully get that out soon with a link that all can join in on. We will limit the meeting to required operations like bill paying and reporting on current events. We have no plans for any policy decisions; those will be held off until future meetings.
County Route 25A just over the bridge in Stuyvesant Falls remains closed due to a leak in one of the penstocks leading the Hydro Electric plant. A section of the penstock will need to be replaced. Albany Engineering is working on the repair, but will have to excavate a section of the road as the road has been widened over the years. Our county highway department and county engineers are all working together to assist in this project. I understand that power and communication wires will have be temporally removed to allow for the replacement of the penstock.
The shoreline stabilization project at the end of Ferry road is nearing completion; the new ADA fishing pier is complete and should be welcomed by all this spring. If you haven’t had the opportunity; stop down and take a walk to see it. I have posted a few pictures on Facebook over the winter of progress on this, but seeing it is a pleasure. Been a long time coming.
Scenic Hudson has announced completion of its work on access to the Hudson River and you can view it at
I would like to thank them and all the residents who supplied information for this project. I am in hopes that this will help in ongoing communication with the railroad and their future plans to increase safety along the waterfront areas.
I continue to receive daily updates from the New York State Association of Counties, and have been sharing that information with fellow board members. As we all know there are plenty of challenges in interpreting the information coming down from State or Federal Government’s daily, but NYSAC has been doing a great job of informing us. There has been way too much information to share in this letter but if anyone has any questions on any of these directives, please feel free to contact me. I may know or can get an answer for you. Now that the State Budget has passed, I will begin develop a plan as to how to town and county operations can be maintained with the predicted short fall in future revenues, I will be meeting with Supervisor Guzzi from Livingston as well as our county comptroller and treasurer on Monday to develop a financial plan for our uncertain future.
In closing I would ask everyone to take 5 minutes every day and check on a neighbor or someone in town that may be in need of getting out for their daily needs. Please share this letter or information with residents/neighbors who do not have access to a computer It’s also a great time to thankful to be living in this community. Let’s all be appreciative of our community and all the “essential workers” out there daily dealing with challenges so that we all may remain healthy and productive!