At the December meeting of the Claverack Town Council, the Town of Claverack became Columbia County’s first Purple Heart Community, joining other municipalities across the country along the symbolic Purple Heart Trail.
As a Purple Heart Community, Claverack pays tribute to our nation’s military service members who have been injured or killed in combat.
New York State Senator Daphne Jordan was on hand at the meeting to present the Town Board with a Senate Proclamation.
“This is a special honor for Claverack to be able to formally thank and pay tribute to our wounded military members,” said Claverack Supervisor Kippy Weigelt. “I thank Senator Jordan for her support of this program and her leadership on this and other veteran programs and issues. Most importantly, I thank all of our Purple Heart heroes – living and passed – for their service and great sacrifice.”
Senator Jordan’s office is working closely with local governments all across the 43rd Senate District in encouraging more localities to become Purple Heart Communities to help recognize the courage and sacrifice of the men and women of America’s armed forces.
To learn more about becoming a Purple Heart Community, e-mail Senator Jordan’s office at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Town of Claverack has been designated a Clean Energy Community by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA), recognizing its leadership in reducing energy use, cutting costs and driving clean energy locally.
Announced by Governor Andrew M. Cuomo in August 2016, the Clean Energy Communities initiative supports local government leaders across the state by providing grants to eligible municipalities to implement energy efficiency, renewable energy and sustainable development projects in their communities.
The Town of Claverack received the designation for completing four of 10 possible high-impact clean energy actions identified by NYSERDA as part of the Clean Energy Communities initiative.
“We are so proud the Town of Claverack has achieved this designation. It will allow us to become more aware of energy efficiencies, lower are utility costs and take advantage of the technical support now available to our Town when working on future projects,” said Supervisor Kippy Weigelt.
“Congratulations to the Town of Claverack for making this important step towards a cleaner and more renewable energy future,” said Alicia Barton, President and CEO, NYSERDA.
To earn the Clean Energy Community designation, the Town of Claverack completed the following high-impact clean energy actions:
Clean Energy Community Coordinators are available at no charge to help communities develop and prioritize clean energy goals, access easy-to-use resources such as guidance documents and case studies, and take advantage of available funding and technical assistance opportunities.
For more information on Clean Energy Communities, visit www.nyserda.ny.gov/cec. Local government officials or employees can find contact information for their respective coordinator here for assistance navigating the program.
Claverack taxpayers will see their third straight year of tax cuts in 2020 under the watchful eye and conservative budgeting practices of Town Supervisor Kippy Weigelt, Deputy Town Supervisor Steve Hook and fiscally conservative members of the Claverack Town Board.
The 2020 budget contains a tax decrease of 1.9%, the largest tax cut for Claverack taxpayers in recent history, and is more than $58,000 under the New York State Tax Cap.
The budget contains $2.7-million in spending.
While the budget includes significant cost savings to Claverack taxpayers, it also includes several upgrades and increases to meaningful town programs and services.
The budget includes a 2% raise to payroll and increases in the minimum wage. It also contains funding for assessment re-evaluation with the County, includes funding for additional park maintenance and repair costs and increases spending on senior programs.
“We’re focused on doing more with less,” said Town Supervisor Kippy Weigelt. “It’s not an easy job cutting the budget, but our taxpayers are at their limit. They need relief. We’ve done the hard work they elected us to do and we’re doing it without cutting services.”
The Town of Claverack has been able to control expenses through increased efficiencies, including consolidation of town positions and job duties, sharing services with other municipalities and creating a long term capital spending plan. At the same time, the town has made improvements and upgrades to infrastructure, town parks and highway equipment.
The Claverack Town Board Meeting scheduled for tonight has been canceled due to the snowstorm. The meeting will be rescheduled at a later date.
The snow is beginning to move out of the area, but roads remain snow covered and slick. It will dip down to the single digits tonight and with wind chills below zero. Gusty winds will cause blowing and drifting snow. Please stay safe and consider checking on elderly neighbors, friends, and family.
Additional updates will be posted to my Facebook page as needed.
PROGRESS! REPORT SHOW CLAVERACK'S FINANCIAL POSITION VERY SOUND
At the Monday May 23, 2016 monthly workshop meeting of the Claverack Town Board, officials received a briefing from A. Michael Bucci, CPA and Lisa Gill of the town’s accounting firm of Pattison, Koskey, Howe & Bucci, CPAs, P.C. During the workshop, Bucci and Gill provided financial highlights of the town’s 2015 operating results as summarized in the Annual Update Document (AUD) that is submitted by the firm on behalf of the town.
The information that Bucci and Gill presented was well received and generated discussion among the town board and its other elected officials in attendance. In summary, the Town of Claverack’s overall financial situation is very sound.
The town General A fund, which accounts for the general public services of the town, ended the 2015 calendar year with unassigned fund balance (savings) of $721,731 or 75% of the total budgeted appropriations for the town’s general fund. This was up approximately $66,000 from 2014. Better than projected revenues, in combination with the town’s keeping expenditures below budgeted levels, contributed to the successful 2015 financial year. Mr. Bucci explained that the conservative nature of the budget process for revenues, and the town board’s vigilance over expenditures, were the main reasons behind these results.
Mr. Bucci went on to praise town officials and staff for doing a very good job of controlling expenses despite many challenges. Reliance on savings (fund balance) is down significantly, putting the Town of Claverack in a healthy financial position.
Also in the May 23rd meeting, Ms. Gill discussed water usage and budget strategies for 2016 forward, and Mr. Bucci stressed the need for a memorandum of understanding with the town’s water supplier (neighboring Town of Greenport) to lock in rates for water usage at or below the cost of living increases.
Town Supervisor Clifford “Kippy” Weigelt thanked Bucci, Gill, and town officials for their part in moving Claverack in a positive financial direction.
“Safeguarding the people’s money is one of the most important things that we do as elected representatives,” said Weigelt. “Our team is doing a great job, working together, to control spending and reducing our dependency on cash reserves. We’re making good progress, and this report confirms that,” Weigelt added.
MILLBROOK ROAD BRIDGE – DONE!
After years of delay and indecision, the Millbrook Road bridge has been replaced and opened to traffic. This bridge was closed in 2010 due to extreme deterioration and has been closed ever since, forcing emergency services and local residents to use alternate routes. We made resolving the Millbrook Road bridge issue a top priority and are happy to be able to call this project complete. An official (ceremonial) opening of the new bridge is being planned for the near future.
LEARN TO USE SOCIAL MEDIA FOR SMALL BUSINESS AT THE CLAVERACK LIBRARY
The Claverack Free Library invites all these people and other local entrepreneurs to two workshops on how to use Social Media for Small Business. Attendees at the first workshop on Thursday June 30 at 5:30 PM will learn about web sites and search engine optimization (SEO). The second workshop on Thursday July 14 covers Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Thumbtack, e-vites, list-serves, and blogs. More Info here.
HAMLET PARK BEAUTIFICATION PROJECT
A beautification project was initiated last year at the Claverack Hamlet Park at the intersection of Route 9H and Route 23, with the installation of a sculpture of potted flowers on the south side of the park. We’d like to begin planning additional upgrades to the park and are seeking interested individuals to sit on a committee to help brainstorm, design, and organize these upgrades. Donations are being sought as well. If you are interested in serving on this committee, please email email@example.com.
MICHAEL COZZOLINO APPOINTED CLAVERACK TOWN JUSTICE
Former Columbia County Chief Assistant District Attorney Michael Cozzolino has been appointed Claverack Town Justice. Cozzolino fills a vacancy created by the retirement of Justice Charles Hoag, who has served in the position since 2005. The appointment was made by unanimous vote at the May meeting of the Claverack Town Board.
Cozzolino, a life-long resident of Claverack, is a graduate of Columbia-Greene Community College, Marist College in Poughkeepie, and Albany Law School. He began his career in 1987 as a Columbia County Deputy Sheriff. After graduating from law school in 1996 Cum Laude, Cozzolino worked for 15 years as an Assistant District Attorney, including eight years as Chief Assistant District Attorney, at the Columbia County District Attorney’s Office. In 2011, Cozzolino left the District Attorney’s Office to pursue a career in private practice, specializing in criminal defense and Family Court matters.
Cozzolino resides in Claverack with his wife Robin and two children Gabriella and Anthony. He joins Claverack Town Justice Michael Brandon, serving in the busiest town court in Columbia County.
SHAW BRIDGE HISTORICAL MARKER DEDICATION
Residents are invited to join the Claverack Historical Society, the Claverack Historical Preservation Advisory Committee, and the Claverack Town Board for a dedication ceremony of the newly installed historical marker for the Shaw Bridge on Van Wyck Lane. The ceremony will take place on Saturday, May 28, 3:30 PM (rain date Sunday, May 29) at the north-end of the bridge (where Van Wyck Ln meets Shaw Bridge Rd).
A narration of the history of the bridge, classical guitar/flute ensemble (period music, c1870), and light refreshments are planned.
The historical marker was obtained through a grant from the William G. Pomeroy Foundation “Historical Roadside Marker Program.” For additional information, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
OTHER NEWS FROM AROUND TOWN
The new bridge on Millbrook Road is nearly complete. Crews will begin paving operations very soon and then reopen the bridge when that is complete.
The closure of the Route 9H/23 bridge at the Claverack/Greenport town line was pushed back a week to May 25th. That bridge is expected to remain closed until November.
Work continues to bring a shuttle bus service to Philmont. Formal requests have been made to the county and state and we are awaiting the State’s approval.
At the April meeting of the Columbia County Board of Supervisors, I was honored to present the family of former Claverack Town Supervisor and long-time Civil Service Commissioner Stan Card with a proclamation on behalf of the Board, honoring Stan’s life and service to our residents. See video here.
The Board of Supervisors recently received an update from ECC Technologies, the firm contracted to draft a plan for the County to expand broadband telecommunication services, on their preliminary findings and recommendations. View the presentation to the Board here. There update may be downloaded here.
A reminder that the Town Board Meeting cancelled last week due to weather will be held tonight, 7:00 pm, at the Town Hall.
A draft agenda can be viewed here.
Hope to see you tonight!
Tonight's Town Board meeting has been cancelled due to weather and rescheduled for Monday, February 17th at 7:00 pm.
In an effort to make your town government more open and accessible, the Town Board will begin holding regular "office hours". Each Saturday, from 10:00 am to 12 noon, a member of the board will be available at the town hall to meet and greet residents and discuss any matters of concern.
Your input, opinions, and ideas are important to us. Stop by and say hello, have a cup of coffee, stay as long as you'd like. We look forward to seeing you!
I'm very happy to announce that long-time resident Bill Gerlach was appointed last night to fill the vacant seat on the Town Board. We have a specific set of goals we want to focus on to make Claverack thrive again and Bill's experience and background will go a long way toward helping us achieve those goals. He's a go-getter. His reputation in the banking and business community is one of achievement and excellence. Bill will bring that work ethic to the town board and we'll put his talent to good use on our economic development and small business initiatives.
Bill is a graduate of Hudson High School and Marist College, where he majored in Business Administration. He's spent much of his professional life in small business and banking. He served for many years as sales manager of Kd Office Works, an office supply store in Hudson that he was part-owner of. After selling the office supply store, he entered the banking industry. Bill is currently employed by the Kinderhook Bank as Vice-President of Commercial Lending. He resides in Claverack with his wife Mary, and has two stepchildren – Colin and Patrick Cranna. He serves on the Board of Directors of the Salvation Army and the Home for the Aged, and has previously served on the boards of the Columbia County Chamber of Commerce, Columbia-Greene United Way, and the Columbia County Golf and Country Club. He and his wife Mary are long time chairpersons of the Columbia Memorial Hospital Foundation's annual golf tournament.
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