At the town’s organization meeting January 5, Mr. Crowley said he set up a Hotmail account just for the purpose of letting people know about emergencies, such as the county-wide emergency declaration that was issued during the snowstorm of December 26 and 27.
Mr. Crowley sent out a broadcast email about that emergency and was pleased with the way the system worked. He is now assembling a list of the email addresses of people who want to receive such notifications.
Mr. Crowley said that the system “is strictly for emergencies” and that he will not respond to questions or other communications received at the address.
Also during the organization meeting, the Town Board changed its regular meeting schedule and meeting time. As usual, regular monthly meetings will take place on the second Thursday of the month, but now at 7 p.m. The board will only meet on two Saturday mornings during the year and that is on the second Saturday of April and October at 9 a.m. Saturday morning Town Board meetings were previously slated quarterly to allow residents who might only be in town on weekends to see their Town Board in action, but the meetings were not well attended.
In other changes, without discussion the board appointed John Cady as the town’s ombudsman, after going about a year without one. The board appointed no one last year following a disagreement over whom to appoint and whether the town needed an ombudsman at all. But by law, the Town Board must appointment someone to the post.
Morris Ordover was appointed the town’s Freedom of Information Law officer, to respond to requests for town documents or other town information under that provision. Responsibility for that job previously fell to the town clerk.
Michael Torchia of the Sickler Torchia Allen and Churchill accounting firm will remain the town’s accountant, but Democrats Bob Sacks and Linda Gabaccia voted against the appointment, while Republicans Mr. Crowley, Councilmen Dan Tompkins and Walt Kiernan voted in favor. Ms. Gabaccia said Mr. Torchia made too many mistakes.
Other appointments/designations are as follows: Town Attorney Tal Rappleyea; Town Council on the Cascino cases Rapport Meyers Whitbeck and Rodenhausen; official newspapers The Columbia Paper and the Register-Star; Official Depository First Niagara and Salisbury Bank; District #1 and #2 polling places at the Town Hall; Budget Officer and Deputy Supervisor Joe LaPorta; Building Inspector Ralph Shadic; Deputy Building Inspector Don Shadic; Registrar of Vital Statistics Vana Hotaling; Deputy Town Clerks and Deputy Registrars Lynn Hotaling and Larry Proper; Zoning Enforcement Officer Ed Ferratto; Park Superintendent Mike Bradway; Dog Control Officer/Enumerator Wes Powell; Animal Shelter Columbia-Greene Humane Society; Town Historian Gloria Lyons; Person-in-charge of Williams Cemetery Robin Bruce; Police Chief Robert Lopez; Custodian Ron Piper; ZBA Secretary Terri Traver; Planning Board Secretary Lisa DeConti; Police Commission Jeff Nayer Wayne Miller Jan Near; Sole Assessor Craig Surprise; Summer Park Director Bridgette Roberts; Summer Park Assistant Director Colleen Miller and Computer Consultant Sean Carbine.
Salaries were set for 2011 as follows: highway superintendent $52,231.70; supervisor $12,875; justices $10,300; council members $3,605; town clerk/tax collector $29,554; deputy town clerk (salaried) $5,300; deputy town clerk (hourly) $14; sole assessor $28,000; building inspector $9,500; deputy building inspector $6,465; court clerk fulltime $14.21/hour; substitute court clerk $13.80; budget officer $500; historian $400; ZEO $9,550; park superintendent $7,725; court officer $13.90 + step; police $13.90 + step; police chief $10,000; custodian $15,000; dog control officer/enumerator $3,300; planning and ZBA secretaries $13.80; summer park director $3,750; summer park assistant director $2,500.
An intermunicipal cooperation agreement between the Copake Highway Department and the highway departments of Ancram, Taghkanic, Hillsdale, Austerlitz and the Taconic Hills School District was signed as was an agreement between Copake Highway Superintendent Bill Gregory and the Town Board for how highway funds will be spent in the coming year.