FOUR FAMILIES HOMELESS AFTER PHILMONT BLAZE
Donations being accepted.
Four families are homeless after a huge fire ripped through an apartment building and a second home in the Village of Philmont. The fire was reported to Columbia County 911 Tuesday morning, shortly after 10 AM. The fire started at a row house on Block Street before spreading to a nearby home on Main Street.
The Philmont Fire Company was aided by several surrounding fire departments, with others providing standby coverage. All told, over 20 fire departments were involved with additional public safety agencies providing support at the scene.
The blaze left 14 people homeless. Various efforts have been organized to collect donations for those affected. More information on that below.
On behalf of the entire Town Board, I'd like to thank the Philmont Fire Company, the Mellenville Fire Company, A.B. Shaw, Churchtown and the many other mutual aid fire companies who responded to this terrible fire. We also thank the local businesses - like Mcnan's Variety Foods, High Falls Pizzeria, Cumberland Farms and others - who came together, as they so often do, to support the firefighters as they worked to extinguish the fire.
To help the families, consider donating in any of the following ways:
Our Community Cares
GoFundMe for the Wallace Family
GoFundMe for the Khan Family
GoFundMe for the Palumbo Family
SKIP SPEED HONORED FOR YEARS OF SERVICE
I was happy to join New York State Senator Daphne Jordan, incumbent Philmont Mayor Brian Johnson, Deputy Mayor Doug Cropper, past and present village officials and employees, and a host of friends and family to acknowledge and thank Philmont Mayor Skip Speed for his many years of service to the Village of Philmont at the Village's annual Organizational Meeting on Monday, April 5th.
Senator Jordan presented Skip with a New York State legislative proclamation, and I was honored to present him with a proclamation from the Columbia County Board of Supervisors.
Deputy Mayor Doug Cropper also honored Skip, on behalf of the Village Board, by handing over the blue sign that proclaimed his service as Mayor for years as you entered the village on Route 217.
We thank you Skip for your years of service, and look forward to working with the new Mayor and Village Board on joint projects of mutual benefit moving forward.
HOOKIE'S COOK'IN CHICKEN
Advance sale only -- get your tickets by April 17th.
Tickets are on sale now for the Claverack Republican Team Chicken Barbecue slated for April 29th at the Claverack Firehouse on Route 23.
This will be an advance sale only (no tickets at the door) / take-out only event.
Deputy Town Supervisor Steve Hook will be serving up his famous secret recipe barbecue chicken, complete with potato salad, coleslaw, dinner roll and drink.
Pick up will be 4:00 pm to 6:30 pm on the 29th.
This event will sell out!
Order your tickets by April 17th online here, or by calling 518-813-2516 or 518-851-7570.
TOWN ASSESSOR COMPLETES TOWN-WIDE REVALUATION
What do updated assessments mean for you?
Recently, Claverack property owners received a notice from Town of Claverack Assessor Charles Brewer regarding their new preliminary assessments. These assessments were the result of a town wide revaluation to bring all assessments up to current full-market value. It’s important that we understand what a revaluation does, and doesn’t do. I’ll try to explain. Read the full story here!
What do updated assessments mean for you?
Recently, Claverack property owners received a notice from Town of Claverack Assessor Charles Brewer regarding their new preliminary assessments. These assessments were the result of a town wide revaluation to bring all assessments up to current full-market value. It’s important that we understand what a revaluation does, and doesn’t do. I’ll try to explain that a bit below for you.
BACKGROUND -- It’s been ten years (2011) since the Town of Claverack completed a revaluation; a process that does not necessarily increase taxes, but rather revaluates everyone’s property to ensure no one is paying more than their fair share of the tax levy. All municipalities conduct revaluations to ensure compliance with State standards requiring that assessments be at a uniform percentage of market value. In other words, we need to make sure that property owner "John Jones" is paying the same percentage of value as property owner "Sally Smith." It’s simply about fairness and equity.
THE PROCESS -- The town wide reassessment project was a collaborative effort of the Town Assessor's office and the Columbia County Real Property Tax Service Agency. Columbia County assisted the Assessor with data verification, valuation support and guidance throughout the project.
In January 2020, data collectors began data verification and took photos for the Assessor of all parcels in the Town. In September 2020, a letter was sent to residential property owners which showed the inventory for their property; such as land size, square footage, number of bedrooms and bathrooms, pools, garages, sheds, etc. Property owners at that time were asked to review the data and return any corrections to the Assessor. The Assessor then reviewed the corrections and updated his file accordingly.
The final stage of the project was to value the properties based on the updated inventory. Once valuation was completed, notices of preliminary assessments/market value were mailed to all property owners in March 2021.
WHAT DOES A HIGHER ASSESSED VALUE MEAN FOR YOU -- First and foremost, it is expected that your assessment will rise over the course of ten years. This is perfectly normal. A higher assessment does not necessarily mean that your property taxes will go up. In fact, most property owner’s town taxes will stay the same or even go down – even though their assessments went up. Weird, right? Not really, if you understand the process. Let me try to explain.
Think of the total amount of taxes collected as a pie. A revaluation does not increase the size of the pie. The pie (tax levy) stays exactly the same. The revaluation simply ensures that the pie is cut up fairly; that taxes are fairly distributed based on current market values.
That said, you may feel that the Assessor is valuing your property for more than it’s worth, resulting in you paying more than your fair share of the tax burden. If that’s the case, keep reading for information on how to protest your assessment.
DISPUTING YOUR ASSESSMENT -- Let’s face it, you may not agree with the Assessor on the valuation of your property. In the 2021 Assessment Notification that was mailed to all property owners on March 18th and 19th, property owners who disagree with their preliminary assessment were advised to schedule an appointment to speak with a representative of the Assessor's office. All information/documentation from those meetings are forwarded to the Assessor and a final review of those assessments will be completed by the Assessor. Property owners that scheduled an appointment will receive the Assessor's decision in early May.
The tentative assessment roll will be filed on or about May 1, 2021 and will be published online. If any property owner at that time does not agree with their tentative assessment they can complete a grievance application (RP-524) and submit it to the Town Board of Assessment Review on or before Grievance Day, May 25, 2021.
I hope I’ve been able to help you better understand the revaluation process and what the end result may mean for you.
I’m including here a brochure from the New York State Office of Real Property Tax Services, that addresses some of the frequently asked questions about the reassessment process.
I would encourage anyone with questions to contact the County Real Property Tax Service Agency, the Town Assessors office or a member of the Town Board.
We've worked hard to keep town taxes low, even cutting taxes the past several years. This revaluation project is not an attempt to raise taxes, I give you my word on that. It's simply about making sure that the existing tax burden is distributed fairly and equitably.
Again, if you have questions, please call the County Real Property Tax Service Agency and they'll help you understand the process. If you think the Assessor has your property valued too high, dispute your assessment following the steps outlined above.
The Columbia County Department of Health has announced upcoming COVID-19 vaccination Points of Dispensing (POD) that will deliver over 1,600 vaccinations to eligible Columbia County residents.
The first POD, scheduled for March 17th is already full. But fear not, there are others scheduled and we have the information on when and where to register!
Three additional PODs are scheduled for March 18-20. All of these PODs are open to Group 1B, which includes 60+ seniors, residents with comorbidities, and Essential Workers including: public facing government and public employees, not-for-profit workers who provide public-facing services to New Yorkers in need, and essential in-person public-facing building service workers.
If you aren't sure if you qualify, check here.
The links for these PODs will be released as follows:
March 18th link will be released Tuesday, March 16 at 5 PM
March 19th link will be released Tuesday, March 16 at 5 PM
March 20th link will be released Wednesday, March 17 at 5 PM
The links to register will be posted here. (Scroll down to "CCDOH POD Registrations.")
For additional information, or assistance with registering, call the Columbia County Department of Health's hotline at 518-697-5560.
COVID-19 CASES CONTINUE TO GROW IN COLUMBIA COUNTY
(January 22, 2021) -- With 68 new positive cases of the COVID-19 virus as of midday Friday, county DOH Director Jack Mabb said there seems to be “no letup” in the virus’s continuing impact among county residents. There have been 2,799 positive cases since the beginning of the pandemic. “It’s hammering us,” he said.
As of Friday, there were 36 individuals hospitalized with the virus, which is a new record high for Columbia County. Six individuals are in the ICU, with two on ventilators. Director Mabb said that five recent deaths – three in nursing homes, two from the community -- bring the county total to 61. Active cases and mandatory quarantine totals were unavailable midday Friday. Director Mabb said the Ghent Rehabilitation and Nursing Center, The Grand at Barnwell, and Livingston Hills all continue to experience significant outbreaks of the virus among residents and staff.
“For those who still are not taking this virus seriously, it’s clear this is not a hoax,” said county Board of Supervisors Chairman Matt Murell. “People need to take all available precautions to do what they can to help confine the spread of the virus.”
Director Mabb added that the county DOH administered 107 vaccines on Thursday, and 400 on Friday, bring the total 1700 vaccines administered.
CLAVERACK TOWN OFFICE OPEN BY APPOINTMENT ONLY
The Claverack Town Office continues to be accessible to the public by appointment only until further notice. This includes the clerks office, assessors office and building department. To make an appointment, please call the Town Office number at 518-672-7911 and follow the directory to find the extension for the department you are looking for. Thank you for your cooperation.
For updates, check the town website.
COLUMBIA COUNTY DOH COVID VACCINE INFORMATION
Columbia County has established a call center to answer questions regarding the COVID-19 vaccine. Columbia County residents may call the hotline at 518-697-5560, Monday through Friday between 9am and 4 pm.
Please understand that, due to the very limited supply of vaccine provided by the state, it may take a substantial amount of time (weeks) before CCDOH can provide you with an appointment for vaccination. That said, if you have an opportunity to get the vaccine elsewhere, or a pharmacy contacts you to provide the vaccine to you, it is recommended that you DO IT.
For updated information, continue to check the CCDOH COVID-19 Vaccine Information webpage.
A NOTE FROM KIPPY
Things will likely continue to get worse before they get better; but it is our hope that with holiday gatherings now behind us and more and more people getting vaccinated, we will begin to stem the tide and start to see this pandemic eventually come under control.
In the mean time, please continue to be vigilant about wearing a face covering when in public, wash your hands often and remain socially distant when possible.
I assure you that I, Deputy Town Supervisor Steve Hook and the entire Town Board continue to be actively engaged and doing our part to keep our town finances under control, and town services available to residents .
These are difficult times, no doubt, but we'll get through it.
If the forecast is right, we're facing our first significant winter storm of the season Wednesday night into the day on Thursday; and while we're used to these storms here in the northeast, the first snowstorm of the season can sometimes catch us off guard.
That said, I wanted to give you a little heads up and layout the forecast, as it looks right now.
The National Weather Service has issued a Winter Storm Warning for Claverack effective 4 PM Wednesday through 1 PM Thursday.
It looks like snow will begin to fall here after 5 pm on Wednesday, so there should be (as it looks now) minimal impact on the Wednesday afternoon commute home. Snow picks up in intensity late Wednesday night and through the overnight into Thursday when snowfall rates could reach 1"-2" per hour. This will likely make for a very difficult Thursday morning commute. If you're able to go into work late on Thursday, or work from home, that would probably be best.
Total snow accumulations of 12" to 18" is expected by the time the storm winds down Thursday afternoon.
Again, heavy snow isn't new to us here, but please - since this is our first significant snowstorm of the season - plan to check on elderly friends, family and neighbors.
Stay up-to-date by subscribing to my email list, Kippy News.
If you haven't already enrolled in Columbia County's new emergency alert system NY-ALERT, now would be a good time!
The Columbia County Department of Health has scheduled a drive-thru COVID-19 testing clinic for December 15, 2020, 9 AM to 11 AM at the A.B. Shaw Firehouse on Route 23 in Claverack.
You must be a resident of Columbia County to be tested at this clinic and you must pre-register.
This is important information, and we'd ask that you consider forwarding this information to your friends and family.
Effective August 29, 2020, Columbia County is changing its mass-notification emergency alert system from CodeRed to the system provided by New York State known as NY-ALERT.
All Columbia County residents are encouraged to enroll in the new emergency alert system, NY-ALERT, prior to August 29th.
Existing landline telephones will be automatically subscribed to the new service.
Thankfully, our efforts to stay at home, socially distance and practice good hand hygiene have paid off. We've managed to slow the spread and flatten the curve, which helped avoid a healthcare crisis in our local emergency rooms.
New York State is slowly beginning to reopen, but unfortunately it will be some time before things return to "normal." That said, I regret to share with you the following cancellations:
The Philmont Memorial Day Community service and parade have been canceled. The Minkler-Seery American Legion Post 252 will still honor those Veterans who gave their lives for us with a service at each cemetery and at the Village Memorial Parks, with a time and date to be announced.
Chairman Jeffrey French is asking all Claverack residents to take a moment out of your day on May 25th to remember those service members who are no longer with us.
All rentals of the Claverack Town Park have been suspended for the Summer. This includes any private parties, gatherings, concerts, etc. The park will remain open for walking and playing, but residents are asked to refrain from playing any contact sports (basketball, etc.).
The Claverack Summer Youth Program at the Town Park has been canceled. The Town Board regrets having to make this decision, but we did not feel it was prudent to move forward with the program as State and County government have both discouraged summer camps and youth programs during this time. We look forward to having a program in Summer 2021.
The Claverack Republican Club's Summer Concert Series has been canceled for 2020. In making the announcement, Club vice-president Charles Schram said, “there was simply no way to make it work given the nature of the venue and the close interaction required.” The club will begin planning for the 2021 season at the first of the year.
Philmont Community Day has been canceled. Any donations, and all money from fundraising will be utilized for next year’s event. Anyone with questions or concerns can contact Secretary/Treasurer Brenda Baker by calling (518)-821-4481, or by email.
For additional updates and announcements, please continue to check the town website.
The Town of Claverack has received a limited amount of cloth face masks (not medical grade) from the County to distribute for free to Claverack residents who have been unable to obtain them elsewhere.
A limited supply of these masks will be distributed in the Claverack Library Parking Lot on Saturday, April 25th, from 12:00 Noon until about 2:00 PM (or until we run out). Masks are also available at McNann’s on Main Street in Philmont for those of you that live closer to Philmont.
The masks come in packages of five, so we are limiting the distribution to one package per family. We encourage you to share any unneeded masks with someone who needs one. They are made of soft cloth and can be washed and re-used.
Per the State social distancing guidelines, we ask that everyone maintain at least a 6-foot distance from one another if you come to get a package.
Please note that if you cannot make it on Saturday, there will be a supply of these masks at the Town Office on Church St during the week. If you come to the office, our Town Clerk will come out and give you a package.
We apologize for the short notice, but we just received these and wanted to get them out into the community without delay.
Claverack Town Board
Here's the latest information...
The Pine Haven Nursing Home continues to care for multiple residents who have been diagnosed with COVID-19. To date, over 20 residents have tested positive, some have succumbed to the virus.
In response to the outbreak, County leaders have helped to coordinate procurement of personal protective equipment for Pine Haven staff and Administrators from the facility have been in regular contact with County and State Health Officials to help coordinate response to the situation.
A number of local businesses have donated equipment and materials to the home. The Claverack Republican Club recently provided dinner to all shifts at the home to show support and appreciation for the work being done.
We sincerely appreciate all that is being done to support Pine Haven and the residents who reside there.
A MESSAGE FROM COUNTY TREASURER PJ KEELER
As we all know by now, the COVID-19 pandemic is wreaking havoc on our healthcare system and has been personally devastating for thousands of New Yorker's who have contracted the virus and the families of those who have lost their lives as a result. Our thoughts and prayers are with them all.
What may not be so apparent, is the economic toll that the pandemic is having across the country, including right here in Columbia County. When businesses are forced to close, spending and economic activity plummets. This in turn results in significantly less revenue flowing to local governments; money we count on to pay the bills. At the same time, we're forced to spend monies that may or may not have been budgeted for, to respond to the pandemic; things like overtime costs and equipment.
I want to assure everyone that the County finance team is fully engaged and responding to this situation. We are diligently working to assess the potential economic impact this pandemic will have on county and town operations and planning strategies to aggressively respond to the challenges ahead.
Make no mistake, we will get through this. It will take some tough decisions, belt tightening, and good conservative fiscal management, but rest assured we will take the steps necessary to keep our financial house in order... and I will keep you updated as we do.
My best to you all. Please stay home, stay safe, and be healthy.