The Claverack Town Board recently recognized William "Bill" Blaauw with a community service award. Bill has been a big part of the Claverack and Philmont communities for 60 years. He joined the Philmont Fire Company in 1963, rising to the rank of Chief, and serving in the department still today. In addition to multiple terms on the Philmont Village Board of Trustees and the Claverack Town Board, Bill served many years as the Claverack Town Highway Superintendent. After retiring from the highway department, he was re-elected to the Town Board and appointed Deputy Town Supervisor.
As a town official, Bill set a high bar. His common sense approach to decision making and his concern for all issues and residents earned him much respect. We thank him for his many years of service and friendship.
The Town of Claverack will receive $195,000 in grant funding in the sixth round of the state’s Regional Economic Development Council awards. The announcement came today by Governor Andrew Cuomo at a news conference held in Albany.
The funding will go toward two town projects; restoration of the historic Shaw Bridge and a study of historic sites and access points within the Claverack Creek watershed.
A total of $170,000 was awarded to restore the internationally renowned Shaw Bridge, which crosses the Claverack Creek on Van Wyck Lane. The bridge will be restored to its original 1870 appearance, but as a pedestrian and bicycle bridge.
The second award, totaling $25,000, will allow the Town of Claverack to study the existing visual and public access to important historic sites within the Claverack Creek watershed, and identify waterfront access sites that will expand public recreation opportunities, including boating and fishing.
“I’m very happy to learn that we’ll be receiving this funding,” said Claverack Town Supervisor Kippy Weigelt. “Restoring the Shaw Bridge for pedestrian use and expanding access to areas for walking, biking, fishing, and boating are all worthy causes that will benefit everyone,” Weigelt added.
Supervisor Weigelt acknowledged the hard work of the Claverack Historic Preservation Advisory Committee, including Committee Chair Ian Nitschke, and congratulated them on the awards.
The Village of Philmont also received $191,250 to install a new disinfection system at the Village’s Wastewater Treatment Facility.
A complete listing of all 2016 Regional Economic Development Council awards can be found at www.regionalcouncils.ny.gov.
PHILMONT BUS SHUTTLE SERVICE TO BEGIN IN SEPTEMBER
As you know, we worked hard to get a bus shuttle service for Philmont residents approved. I’m very happy to announce that the new service will begin operating on Monday, September 12th. The new shuttle service, part of the lumbia County Public Transportation System, will take passengers to and from Hudson and Greenport twice daily, each and every Monday. This will allow residents access to goods and services not readily available in the Village. The ride will cost passengers just $1.00. Many thanks to Johnston & Pulcher, Inc. and Columbia County government for helping make this happen. We’ll provide more information on the routes and pick-up/drop-off times and locations soon.
FALL BRINGS COOLER TEMPERATURES, PUMPKIN EVERYTHING, AND BUDGET WORK
Fall is almost here and along with the cool air, colorful mums, and comfort food comes the always difficult work of crafting the following year’s budget. As outlined in previous updates, we’ve been able to make good progress cutting town government’s dependency on cash reserves, and moving the town to a strong financial position – but further work needs to be done. We’re faced with a very difficult tax cap for 2017, but are determined to produce a budget that complies with the cap, which would once again bring much needed relief and State property tax rebate checks to Claverack residents. The budget is the single most difficult issue that we deal with as your town officials, and certainly one of the most important.
TOWN HALL/COURT BUILDING
As announced earlier this year, we’ve undertaken a study of the current Town Hall/Court to get an idea of the structural condition of the building, and to review the space needs for town departments and organizations that use the Town Hall. An inspection of the building by the engineering firm Crawford & Associates found serious structural issues making it necessary and prudent to abandon the current building. The committee will now begin looking at alternative options (rebuilding on the same site, or relocating to a new location) and what to do in the interim.
KEEPING IDENTITIES OF SENIORS SAFE (DOCUMENT SHREDDING PROGRAM)
The office of Town Clerk Mary Jeanne Hoose, in conjunction with County Clerk Holly Tanner, will once again sponsor the KISS (Keeping Identities of Seniors Safe) document shredding program for town residents in September. Seniors may bring sensitive documents for shredding to the Town Office on Church Street Monday through Friday, 9:00 AM – 3:00 PM, from September 6th to September 23rd. More info here.
The Columbia County Board of Supervisors Broadband Sub-Committee is working collaboratively with grassroots groups and industry leaders to expand broadband service to residents across Columbia County. As part of that effort, an online survey has been created to help map underserved areas. There are separate surveys for residential and commercial (business) customers. Links to both surveys can be found below. (Note that the residential survey asks for your address, but that information is not required to complete the survey).
Link to the residential broadband survey here
Link to the commercial (business) broadband survey here
OTHER ITEMS OF NOTE
The final concert in the Claverack Republican Club’s 2016 Summer Concert Series was held Thursday, August 26th. I’d like to thank the many volunteers who work so hard to bring these events to our town park each summer – and special thanks to the generous sponsors who help pay for the entertainment and allow the concerts to be offered free-of-charge. We’re also happy to report that approximately 150 kids took part in this year’s Summer Youth Program at the town park! The kids participated in a variety of recreational programs, sports, and field trips during the six-week camp. A huge thank you to all of the staff and volunteers who help make this program a success every year.
Congratulations to Philmont Volunteer Fire Company on 120 years of dedicated service. Your selfless devotion to the safety and wellbeing of our community is very much appreciated!
The September meeting of the Claverack Town Planning Board will be held on Wednesday, September 7th due to the Labor Day holiday.
The Mellenville Fire Company will host the 18th Annual Kim Harvey Memorial Golf Tournament on Saturday, October 1st. Contact Jim Brady at 518-755-8878 for information.
Columbia County Hazardous Waste Collection Day will be held Saturday, September 10th at the County Highway Garage on Route 23B in Greenport. Residents with large quantities of materials must contact the DPW Administrative Office prior to the date by calling 518-828-2737. The event runs 8:00 AM to 12:00 PM. Click here to review what materials will be accepted.
The A.B. Shaw Fire Company will host its Annual Car Show & Chicken BBQ on Saturday, September 24th from 10:00 AM to 6:00 PM (Chicken BBQ starts at 3 pm) at their firehouse on Route 23B.
As you know by now, Key Bank announced last week that they would be closing their branch in Philmont effective April 29, 2016. This closure is likely related to the trend of large financial institutions moving away from brick and mortar spaces, focusing instead on electronic, mobile banking. It’s a sign of the times. It’s cheaper to run a website than it is a retail space. It’s more convenient for many to do their banking from their computers and smart phones than it is to go to a bank to process transactions. The problem is, for communities like ours, online banking isn’t necessarily the best option for large segments of the population. On top of that, many in this same demographic – like senior citizens – often do not drive, leaving them with few options to do their banking.
I recognize the affect this closure will have on Philmont and surrounding residents, and I – like those in Philmont village government – am determined to do my part to help mitigate this situation to the extent that government can. That said, I have already begun to petition and fight to bring a county shuttle bus service to Philmont. This system would provide residents with a means of transportation to-and-from Greenport to conduct banking and other business on a weekly basis. I am committed to making this happen for Philmont, and will fight to make it a reality.
Let me also say this. Key Bank’s abrupt closure of their branch in Philmont speaks to the value and benefits of small businesses. We have already seen at least one small local bank show interest in helping the residents of Philmont in Key Bank’s absence. Small, locally run businesses care about the communities they operate in. Yes profit is important, indeed vital, to them as well – but so is the general wellbeing of the community. So I would encourage all residents, now more than ever, to patronize and support our local small businesses. When possible, purchase your goods right here in Philmont and the greater Claverack area. Spending your money locally – to the extent possible – supports the local economy and helps to provide those precious local jobs.
Let’s all do our part.
I will keep you updated on the progress of bringing the bus route to Philmont.
Per Village of Philmont officials, the Boil Water Advisory issued for the Village drinking water on Thursday has now been lifted.
UPDATE: The Boil Water Advisory is now lifted, per Village officials.
Statement from the Village of Philmont:
All areas below Prospect Street on Village municipal water are on a boil water advisory until further notice due to a water main break. [This includes Prospect Street itself.]
For additional information, contact the Philmont Village Office or check the Village of Philmont website: www.philmont.org.
Some time ago I proposed the Town of Claverack enter into a shared services agreement with the Village of Philmont whereby the Philmont Police Department would provide Court security services to the Town of Claverack Court. This agreement would result in a savings of nearly 50% on our budgeted Court security costs. I'm happy that we've been able to finalize this agreement. Read Story.