RIBBON CUTTING AT TOWN PARK
New handicap accessible playground equipment installed
Members of the Claverack Town Board gathered Tuesday evening to unveil new playground equipment at the Claverack Town Park on Church Street in Mellenville. The new equipment includes features that make the playground accessible to people and children of all abilities, following up on the Town’s commitment to “Think Differently,” an initiative the town adopted in 2018.
Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro joined Town Supervisor Kippy Weigelt at the unveiling, congratulating the Town of Claverack on their “desire to foster a welcoming and inclusive environment for residents living with special needs.” Molinaro presented a proclamation to the Town thanking them for their commitment.
Dutchess County Executive Molinaro created the initiative “Think Differently” in 2015. As a result, there are now more than 100 towns throughout New York State that have adopted the principles on which it stands.
Officials attending the ribbon cutting (in addition to Kippy and Molinaro) included Claverack Deputy Town Supervisor/Councilman Stephen “Hookie” Hook, Town Clerk Mary Jeanne Hoose, Councilwoman Katy Cashen and Councilman George Duntz.
EMERGENCY SERVICES APPRECIATION NIGHT
Big community turnout to support first responders!
The 5th Annual Emergency Services Appreciation Night was last Thursday at the town park with a record breaking crowd in attendance. The free event included nearly 100 first responders who were treated to hamburgers and hotdogs, giveaways and a concert by the local favorite band Jarrod.
Police officers, firefighters, EMTs & Paramedics, nurses and public safety dispatchers were all attended the event and were honored for their service.
The evening included presentation of the 2021 “Claverack Cares Award,” an award that is presented annually to a firematic, EMS, police or other first responder group or individual for outstanding service in assisting the residents of Claverack and outlying areas. This year’s award was presented to the Greenport Rescue Squad for their heroic and selfless efforts responding to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Emergency Services Appreciation Night is an annual tradition, part of the Summer Concert Series that takes place Thursday evenings in July and August at the town park on Church Street. The events are hosted by the Claverack Republican Club. All of the concerts are free of charge and open to the public.
Click here for a complete concert schedule.
NOTICE FROM THE TOWN OFFICE
Please be advised that an appointment is no longer needed to enter the Town Office. The only remaining requirement at this time is that masks must be worn by unvaccinated persons. This is subject to change as conditions dictate.
NEW PLAYGROUND EQUIPMENT AT THE TOWN PARK
Playground closed as work is completed
A nearly $100,000 investment will provide for much needed improvements to the playground at the Town Park on Church Street in Mellenville. The funds cover the purchase and installation of the new equipment, a longtime priority of Deputy Town Supervisor Stephen Hook and Town Clerk Mary Jeanne Hoose.
As a result of smart fiscal policy and budgeting, the Town was able to make this investment in our Town Park despite the economic uncertainty caused by the pandemic.
The playground is a space for area kids to enjoy a fun outdoor experience with their friends and family.
The upgrades include three new playground pieces that are handicapped accessible. (The kids are going to love it when they see it!)
We've made youth programs and services, such as the very popular Summer Youth Program at the park and the Winter Snow Sports Program at Catamount, a priority to help keep kids engaged in productive activities.
Unfortunately this year, the Summer Program had to be cancelled due to COVID-19 and a lack of available Camp Counselors, but we fully expect to be back in operation next year.
Work is expected to be completed on the new playground in the next 7 to 10 days.
Claverack is working!
HAMLET PARK IMPROVEMENTS
The Hamlet Park at the intersection of Route 23 and Route 9H is looking great, thanks to the hard work of our park maintenance staff and our Town Highway Department.
Today, Supervising Groundskeeper Derby Shutts raked out the landscaping and installed fresh mulch throughout the park. Town Highway Superintendent Lou Lamont and his team finished up installation of a new water spigot (yard hydrant) to keep the plants and flowers watered and seeded the area disturbed to bring water to the park.
Next week, a second flower tree will be installed on the north side of the park to bring lots of color and bloom to views from Routes 23 and 23B.
EVENTS / REMINDERS
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.”
COUNSELORS NEEDED FOR SUMMER YOUTH PROGRAM
A great employment opportunity for students age 16+!
The Town of Claverack is gearing up for its Summer Youth Program and is looking for persons interested in serving as Program Counselors.
The five week summer recreation program runs July through August.
Interested persons must be:
For an application click here. Please attach a resume with the application.
Completed applications must be returned by June 1, 2021 by either dropping them off at the Town Office (91 Church Street, Mellenville), by mail to Town of Claverack, P.O. Box V, Mellenville NY 12544 or by email to Deputy Town Clerk Rich Michael.
For more information, contact the Town Clerk's office at 518-672-7911.
PHILMONT MEMORIAL DAY SERVICES PLANNED
Village to be designated a Purple Heart Community.
The Minkler-Seery American Legion Post # 252 is busy planning this year’s Memorial Day Parade and service in Philmont.
This Memorial Day, May 31st, 2021, the Village of Philmont will become an official Purple Heart Community.
New York State Senator Daphne Jordan, Philmont Mayor Brian Johnson, Town Supervisor Kippy Weigelt, Deputy Town Supervisor Stephen Hook, Town Clerk Mary Jeanne Hoose and other elected officials and dignitaries are expected to attend.
The Town of Claverack was named Columbia County's very first Purple Heart Community in 2019.
Scheduled events are as follows:
Friday evening May 28th the Legion will hold services at the lower Main Street Memorial at 6:00 pm and at the two cemeteries.
Monday, May 31st there will be a small parade lining up at 8:30 am on Maple Avenue in front of the Philmont Firehouse. The parade will travel down Main Street to the Main Street Memorial starting at 9:00 am.
The Philmont Post Office is also taking part by promoting the Purple Heart stamp the week before Memorial Day.
These are exciting times. Claverack (and Philmont) is working!
The Mellenville-Philmont Food Pantry continues to provide much needed food and supplies to town residents.
Volunteers including Town Clerk Mary Jeanne Hoose, Deputy Town Supervisor Stephen Hook and many others continue to support the Food Pantry's mission by keeping the pantry supplied, distributing items to the community and keeping people up-to-date via the town website and Food Pantry's Facebook page.
The vast majority of the food and supplies that we offer do not come to us free; we have to purchase them. Many things, like meat protein, is expensive and makes it difficult for us to afford. So we have to be able to substitute with what we can afford, and use what funds we have.
Anyone wishing to make a financial donation to the food pantry may do so by mailing a check made payable to "Mellenville/Philmont Food Pantry" to the Claverack Town Office, PO Box V, Mellenville, NY 12544.
CLAVERACK REPUBLICAN CLUB PLANS ROADSIDE CLEANUP
The Claverack Republican Club will conduct a roadside cleanup of trash, litter and debris Saturday, May 22, 2021 in the Claverack Hamlet.
A number of years ago the group “adopted” three one-mile stretches of road leading to the traffic light in the center of the hamlet and every year members and volunteers, in conjunction with the NYS Department of Transportation, pick up the trash that has accumulated along the sides of those three stretches.
The cleanup will be held Saturday, May 22, 2021 at 9:00 AM. Volunteers will meet in the A.B. Shaw Firehouse parking lot (must be at least 12-years old).
Coffee and donuts will be provided.
Volunteers need not be a member of the Claverack Republican Club.... all are welcome!
HUDSON SEEKS TO REROUTE TRUCKS
New Route Would Push Trucks Out of Hudson into Neighboring Towns
The City of Hudson is working to have the established truck route moved out of their city and into neighboring towns, including the Town of Claverack. This could mean significant impacts to the roadways, homes and businesses where the truck traffic would be rerouted.
Among the proposals is to reroute all truck traffic up Route 9H/23 and onto Route 23B, through the hamlet of Claverack. This is unacceptable.
Other possibilities in the study commissioned by the City of Hudson would move the truck route to Spook Rock Rd, a county road that is full of twists and turns. This too would be unacceptable.
The City of Hudson invites community members to participate in a virtual public meeting on Tuesday, April 27, 2021 at 6:00 PM via Zoom. Registration is required for the event.
I will oppose any plan to move the truck route, that largely serves the greater Hudson/Greenport commercial district, out of Hudson and into Claverack. I would encourage you to speak up and do the same!
COUNTY COVID CASES CONTINUE TO DECLINE
Help Available to Seniors and Homebound Residents
The COVID-19 infection rate continues to be low in Columbia County with just 40 active cases reported countywide as of Friday, April 23rd. That's the lowest numbers we've seen since October 2020. That's very good news! This is do, in part, to residents being vaccinated. Over 45% of Columbia County residents have now received at least one shot of the vaccine.
New York State is providing vaccine for CCDOH vaccination clinics for anyone who works or resides in Columbia County and is 16+ years old (Pfizer vaccine). Please check the CCDOH website for posted registration links.
Columbia County seniors and/or homebound residents in need of assistance getting themselves registered for the COVID-19 vaccine are encouraged to contact the county call center Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. The telephone number is 518-697-5560.
NOTICE FROM TOWN ASSESSOR CHARLES BREWER
Pursuant to Sections 506 and 526 of the Real Property Tax Law:
Notice is hereby given that the Tentative Assessment Roll for the Town of Claverack is completed, and a copy thereof may be seen at the Town of Claverack Office Building, 91 Church St., Mellenville, NY until May 15th, 2021.
Notice is hereby given that an Assessor will be in attendance with the Tentative Assessment Roll for the Town of Claverack at the Town Office Building during the hours of 10 AM to 2 PM May 6th and May 11th, on the following two days May 13th, 6-8 PM and May 15th 10 AM to 2 PM.
Notice is hereby given that the Board of Assessment Review for the Town of Claverack will meet to hear and examine all properly filed complaints in relation to assessments of Real Property at the Town Office Bldg., 91 Church St., Mellenville, NY during the hours 4 PM to 8 PM on May 25th, 2021.
A publication containing procedures for contesting an assessment is available at the Assessor’s Office or the Columbia County Real Property Tax Office as well as online here.
Charles W. Brewer
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.