I was deeply saddened yesterday to learn of the passing of Claverack's beloved friend and public servant Bill Blaauw.
Serving with Bill as a Town Councilman on the Claverack Town Board, I learned so much from him. He was a mentor. His demeanor, professionalism and common sense approach to every issue that came before us helped to teach me the right way to represent all town residents while serving on the Town Board.
Bill devoted his life to public service. He gave countless hours to his community as a volunteer firefighter, serving nearly 60 years with the Philmont Volunteer Fire Company. His leadership and service earned him the 2020 Lifetime Firefighter Achievement Award from the Columbia County Volunteer Firefighters Association.
In addition to his multiple terms on the Philmont Village Board of Trustees and the Claverack Town Board, Bill served many years as the Claverack Town Highway Superintendent and, after his retirement, as the Deputy Town Supervisor.
Bill will be sorely missed. We should all learn by his example. Be kind, be neighborly, be thoughtful, be understanding and be generous.
Godspeed, my friend.
Since being elected Claverack Town Councilman back in 2003, I've worked hard to keep our town safe, friendly and moving forward. Together, we've accomplished so much. As your Town Supervisor, we've seen five straight years of tax cuts, tight budgets that are under the State tax cap, investments in roads and bridges, upgrades to our town parks, a new user-friendly town website, shared services with surrounding municipalities, and so much more!
My campaign for re-election is in full swing and we just released my new campaign video.
Because of our conservative budgeting and fiscal policy and our early attention and action to address the threat, we were able to thwart the looming fiscal crisis brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. We spent countless hours working with the Town Board, our accounting firm and bookkeeper, and county officials to plan for and respond to this situation. We also engaged with county Public Health and public safety officials to ensure all that could be done was done to protect our town.
But our work is not done. In my next term, I will continue to safeguard the fiscal well-being of our town, see through the building of a new Town Hall, community center and emergency services substation, and work to bring more affordable housing to our town for seniors.
We can do this! But we need your vote on Election Day!
To learn more, visit www.ClaverackisWorking.com.
Thanks so much.
The weather wasn't the best, but at least the rain held back while the community came together to mourn the loss of those who gave their lives in battle on this Memorial Day 2021, in Philmont.
Town Supervisor Kippy Weigelt, Town Councilman and Deputy Town Supervisor Stephen ("Hookie") Hook, Town Councilman George Duntz, Town Clerk/Tax Collector Mary Jeanne Hoose, Congressman Antonio Delgado, NYS Senator Daphne Jordan, Philmont Mayor Brian Johnson and other dignitaries and elected officials attended.
The event, organized by the Philmont American Legion, included a shortened parade down Main Street, from Maple Avenue to Elm Street.
Following the parade, speeches were given and prayers shared.
While delivering his remarks, Town Supervisor Kippy Weigelt said, "With any luck, we are beginning to see the end of this terrible pandemic that we've been living through and dealing with for over a year now. It's been difficult to be separated from our family and friends; not able to see them or hug them for so long. And while the pain of being isolated from those we love during this pandemic is real, today - Memorial Day - helps to put it in perspective for me.
Far too many military families will never see their loved ones again. They've been lost to war and conflict, defending our freedom and liberty. These families will never again share a holiday with their fallen service member. They can no longer call them to share exciting news or just to tell them they love them. They'll never again share a meal or a family vacation with their military hero. The pain of being isolated from loved ones that we've all felt in recent months, is permanent for these Gold Star families. As we begin to open up and spend time with family again, our hearts are again full; while the hearts of our Gold Star families remain broken... the void left ever present.
So today, as we gather for barbecues and family get-togethers to observe this solemn day, let us not forget that there will be an empty chair at the home of many patriots. Let us never forget them or their sacrifice. Let us always support their family and their loved ones left behind.
To those who gave all, I thank you. We thank you. This village, town and nation thanks you. We will remember.
Thank you all again for attending. It's an honor to serve as your Town Supervisor and to speak with you here today.
God bless this great country."
Rich Morris and Jeff French conducted the presentation at the War Memorial.
State Senator Daphne Jordan recognized the Village of Philmont as an official "Purple Heart Village."
Happy to partner with the Claverack Library to temporarily provide space for Town government and Court services as we work to build our new Claverack Town Hall and community center!
The new building will include space for a new Town Hall and Town Court complex.
We're also investigating the feasibility of using the nearby Agawamuck Creek to generate power for the new building, and considering space for an "emergency services substation" that would provide police and EMS an area to work from, thereby improving service and response to the Philmont and Mellenville communities. Much more to come on all of this!
(From The Columbia Paper) The former Claverack Library building will become the temporary home of the Claverack Town Court and Town Hall during construction of a new Town Hall and Community Center in Mellenville. The town also plans to utilize the new library’s meeting spaces for municipal functions during construction.
Minor renovations are now underway at the little white building at the intersection of state routes 9H and 23B, with the addition of a new wing with a fully ADA-accessible bathroom and a new entryway to bring the building up to code.
“This joint project provides the town a space to hold court and conduct meetings while we take the necessary steps to plan and build a new town office complex that will house the court as well as all of our offices, in addition to providing much needed community space for the public,” said Town Supervisor Kippy Weigelt in a press release. “We are grateful to the library for their willingness to rent this building to us while we embark on this exciting project.”
“This is a wonderful partnership between the town and the library,” said Library Board Vice President Stephen King. “It will allow the court and town meetings to take place in a historic much-loved building and the library to make improvements that will make it available for rental in the future, thus helping keep the library healthy and vibrant into the future for all.”
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 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
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 email@example.com.
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.