As we near the close of 2012, I would like to take a quick reflection on some of
the issues the board worked on this year. While I would like count these
subjects as achievements, I fully respect that many of these issues were
influenced by previous administrations and without the help of all of our
department heads and residents around town; none of these would be
As 2012 began, we adopted an Ethics law that eliminated the need for a town
Ethics committee, whose action has never been needed in town, and appoints
the County’s Ethics committee as the towns, if the need arises.
I met in February with Congressman Gibson’s office and representatives of CSX
in regards to the Schoolhouse road bridge which remains closed, and
presented an alternative to them, we still await replies from CSX; I will continue
these talks this year.
Worked with the County IDA to extend the PILOT program for Bio-Medica, I
believe to be the town’s largest employer.
I had the pleasure making the final payment on our town hall building; much
credit goes to former Supervisor Tod Grenci who was in charge when the
building was built.
I have met several times throughout the year with Allied Health Care in efforts
to maintain Sand Bar Park a “town park” while attempting to help make
driveway improvements that would benefit the Hydro-Electric plant.
I attended several broadband symposiums sponsored by Congressman’s
Gibson’s office and the County Economic Development Committee to study
what requirements our County residents have when it comes to broadband and
what role the County could play.
In May we had guests from Columbia Land Conservancy and Scenic Hudson
attend a board meeting to speak about conservation easements, as I often
thought they were misunderstood by residents.
In June we were able to get representatives from DEC to attend a town meeting
and make a presentation on the future riverfront development at the end of Ice
House Road. As it stands now DEC has committed to spending the
$250,000.00 that the town received in a settlement from GE 20 years ago.
This can only happen if DOT installs a gated crossing at Ice House Road. I
spoke with both agencies at the beginning of December and was told that both
projects are scheduled for 2013. We will continue to remind both agencies of
their commitments, so that we all may enjoy improved river access.
We also got great news from DOT who conducted several public meetings on
the future of Ferry Road and it appears they have listened, and now have
stated that a traffic light will be installed to improve safety of the crossing and
therefore eliminating the threat to residents who live there or who enjoy river
access on that road. There were already new gates and lights installed at this
location, and we can expect work on a traffic light to occur sometime in the
I have continued to work with DOT to receive approval to get to the
construction phase of the Rail Road restoration grant that was approved years
ago, and due to new requirements implemented by Federal and State
agencies, we have not been able to proceed to construction, but we are making
progress. Meanwhile we have a very active committee that has had a great
year of fundraising that has been used to offset the towns share in the grant
funding. We also have seen volunteers who, on a regular basis get together
and have done a great job with restoring doors and windows and maintaining
to building. If you have not had the opportunity to see how this building looks, I
encourage you attend an event and enjoy the building. Remember this is a
town building and anyone who has ideas on uses for this historic community
building, should feel free to contact a board or committee member.
The town board and our town Highway department have had a busy year with
the Capitol project of renovating the towns Highway garage that was built in the
early 1960’s and has had little major work preformed since. We added a truck
bay with radiant floor heat and insulated the building with high density foam
insulation to conserve energy going forward. We also constructed two salt and
sand storage areas, one near the garage where trucks need to get loaded and
a larger facility on Sharptown road with large overhang roofs to store
equipment out the weather, which not only makes us compliant with state laws
regarding salt storage but helps to extend the life of our equipment, and allows
for the storage of a full years worth of material, which enables better
purchasing. Engineers had estimated a cost of $845,000.00 for this project,
but it was completed for around $750,000.00 including some new parking lot
paving that was not included in the cost estimates. Although a referendum had
passed authorizing the town to borrow the full amount of $845,000.00 we
completed the project with only needing to borrow $700,000.00. This bond will
be paid off over the next 15 years at about $65,000.00 a year. Working this
new payment into the 2013 budget as well as the decision by the board to use
$40,000.00 less of the fund balance to offset taxes, required us to increase
the amount to be raised in taxes by $14,000.00, so you can see some serious
cuts were made.
The Highway department also replaced one of our large plow trucks with a new
truck and dump body, and the entire cost was paid for out of reserve funds.
Bernie did a great job of selling the old truck at twice the price that suggested
by the dealer.
December brought out the new town web site which had been in the planning
much of the year. Our original web site had been set up and maintained by a
local resident who retired from this work this year, and the town now desired to
have a site that could be easily managed in house. Our Town Clerk, Melissa
Naegeli has been doing a great job in learning to manage this new site in
house, eliminating the need for outside contractors to input data to the site.
We hope this new site will help keep residents informed.
Changes made in health insurance program that the town provides for its
highway employee’s will net a savings of about $8,000.00 a year going
forward. Changes to the municipal phone and internet services are expected to
save tax payers $800.00 a year, while providing town offices with the latest
technology. The town board has just begun looking into a lease program for
solar electric panels for the town hall that would help offset monthly electric
bills without any capital investment.
We ended the year with the news that the Hydro Electric plant in which the
town is a co-licensee in was up and running with one generator and for a short
time on Friday the 28th, was on line with National Grid. 2013 will no doubt bring
a dedication ceremony as they get the plant fully operational. Restoration
efforts of the building itself will also continue, keep posted on our new web site
for more news on your opportunity to see this operation in action. We also saw
the retirement of Charlene Leach from our towns planning after only 30 years
of faithful service on that board.
I have enjoyed my first year as Supervisor and again would thank all
department heads and fellow residents who have helped make 2012 an
enjoyable and productive year here in the town of Stuyvesant.
Happy New Year!
Supervisor Ron Knott