In G’town, unwelcome ads will trigger litter fines

GERMANTOWN—In response to advertising circulars being tossed all over town in non-biodegradable plastic bags, the Town Board passed a resolution Monday authorizing the police force to issue tickets for littering.

Councilman Donald Westmore said he regretted “the necessity of issuing such an obvious resolution. But as an expression of unhappiness, I support it.” The resolution passed unanimously. Councilwoman Andrea Dunn was absent.

“We were getting complaints” from residents, Supervisor Joel Craig said Tuesday, about circulars found on driveways and alongside roads. The town complained to the circular’s publisher, who promised to address the problem, but the littering continued.

Town attorney Tal Rappleyea confirmed that town law prohibits companies from even driving around and tossing material onto driveways. “Anything that gets thrown around town can get ticketed,” said Mr. Craig.

By town law “you go after the person or the company doing the littering,” Mr. Craig, added, not the hapless property owner subject to unwanted advertising.

The new resolution reinforces all of that and is general, not specific to this advertising circular. “We don’t want someone new coming into town and starting this all over again,” said Mr. Craig. “This applies to all.”

In other business, the board:

  • Authorized town justice Robert Beaury to apply for a Justice Court Assistance Program (JCAP) grant for further improvements to the town court, which is in Town Hall
  • Discussed the Red Cross and Columbia County Emergency Management tour of the Kellner Activities Building for possible use as a short-term (24-hour) warming or cooling shelter in the event of an emergency. The board put off signing a contract with the Red Cross, deciding instead to invite the emergency representatives to the September 15 workshop meeting for further discussion
  • Approved a contract with Greenman-Pedersen, Inc., engineers, to oversee sidewalk construction and inspection. “We hope to go to bid late this fall and start construction in the spring,” said Mr. Craig. “I know you’ve heard that before,” he added, referring to the years that the sidewalk project has been in process
  • Scheduled a workshop meeting for Monday, September 15 at 7 p.m.
  • Confirmed a short memorial service Thursday, September 11 at 9 a.m. at the 9/11 Memorial
  • Learned from town historian Susan Raab that “Germantown: The Stories of Our History” will be screened Tuesday, September 9 at 2 and 7 p.m. at the Germantown Library. Interest is high in this oral history project, she said, and reservations are encouraged, by calling the library at 518 537-5800. The Lions Club will show the film Wednesday, September 24, probably at 7 p.m. at Club Helsinki in Hudson
  • Learned from Mr. Westmore that as part of the annual Hudson River Valley Ramble, Germantown is sponsoring a kayak paddle Saturday, September 6. Working with the tides, paddlers depart Lasher Memorial Park at 11 a.m. for the Catskill-Ramshorn Livingston Sanctuary and return by 3 p.m. To register, email Mr. Westmore at
  • Reminded all that the Hudson Valley Apple Festival is Saturday, September 20 from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m., rain or shine in Palatine Park. The festival offers an arts and crafts fair, food vendors, an apple crate derby, a pumpkin ring toss and more. Entry is $5 for adults, free to kids 13 and under, accompanied by an adult
  • Thanked all the emergency responders who came to the town’s riverfront in response to an oil spill on Sunday, August 17. “You picture the worst scenario, but fortunately, this one turned out not that bad,” said Mr. Craig
  • Continued to sympathize with resident Frank Mammone about the debris that still litters his neighbor’s property. Mr. Mammone distributed color photos of the property. “I’ll pay for the clean-up, he said, “but I’m told that we must negotiate,” Mr. Mammone said. But he said that when he went there August 20 to meet with the neighbor, the neighbor “asked us to leave, so we did.”

If the property owner does not clean up the property, the town can ask the court to fine him. “His attorney will challenge us on all points of law, unless we’re very specific,” said Mr. Craig, who added that he would consult Mr. Rappleyea.

The next regular town board meeting is Monday, September 22 at 7 p.m. in Town Hall, 50 Palatine Park Road.

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