G’town taps firm to for building, code enforcement

GERMANTOWN—The Town Board made several noticeable changes during its annual reorganization meeting Monday.
The board changed the date of its regular meeting to the third Tuesday of the month, starting with this month, on January 19.
The quarterly workshop meetings will also take place on Tuesdays, the second Tuesday of the month: March 8, June 14, September 13 and December 13.
The board appointed Crawford & Associates to “represent the town on all code enforcement and building inspection matters.” Supervisor Joel Craig confirmed after the meeting that John Fieser, longtime code enforcement officer and building inspector, no longer works for the town in that capacity.
As the board discussed the change, Mr. Craig said that Crawford & Associates “brings more resources to the table. They have two licensed code enforcement officers” to provide backup for each other. For example, the Germantown Fire Company wants a building inspector to “sign off” on a building damaged by fire before the company leaves the property, he said, and Mr. Fieser was seldom available to do this, because of his other work.
The board had a proposal from Crawford last fall and budgeted for the change. “The [2016] budget has $2,000 for personal services and $20,000 contractual,” Mr. Craig explained in an email Tuesday. “The 2015 budget had $10,000 for personal services and $500 contractual. We had been budgeted at $10,000 for as long as I can remember.
“We are looking to have certified code enforcement officers who can provide backup, expanded hours and daytime inspections and meetings with homeowners and contractors,” he wrote. “Additionally, we will be looking to increase code enforcement to prevent violations from getting out of hand.”
The Town of Livingston also employs Crawford as building inspector and code enforcement officer, and there are opportunities for shared services, and grants for shared services. For example, Livingston has longer hours for the building inspector, and since the same company now represents both towns, Germantown residents could go up the road to Livingston when necessary.
“This is a work in progress,” Mr. Craig emphasized. “We have a one-year contract with Crawford, and then we’ll evaluate. There are a number of zoning issues we want them to follow up on as soon as possible.”
In another change, the board named The Columbia Paper as official newspaper for the town.
After some discussion, new board member Brittany DuFresne agreed to take the post of deputy town supervisor.
In other designations:
•Supervisor Craig appointed Donna Diehl deputy town clerk, himself as budget officer, Janet Crawford as supervisor’s administrative assistant and Jami DelPozzo as part-time clerk-typist to the ZBA, Planning Board and code enforcement, and as alternate member to the ZBA and Planning Board
•Police commissioners: Mr. Craig, John Rustici and new board member Ronald Moore II. Long-time commissioner Roger Rekow retired, with a plaque thanking him for his service, at the end of last year
•Town Board committees: Mr. Craig and Ms. DuFresne, town government; Matthew Phelan and Mr. Moore, public works and highway; Andrea Dunn and Ms. DuFresne, parks and recreation; Mr. Moore and Mr. Craig, budget and finance
•Some designations do not change: Sickler, Torchia, Allen & Churchill as the town’s accountants, Tal Rappleyea as town attorney and Greenman-Pedersen Inc. as town engineers on “day to day” matters and projects specified by the board
•Dog shelter: Pine Plains Veterinary Associates; dog control officer: Anthony Cidras. Town historian: Susan Raab. Ethics Committee: Faythe Smith, chairman; Jeremy Smith, Donna Diehl, Joan Snyder, members. One seat remains vacant on this committee
•ZBA chair: Steven Savoris. Edward Colwell was appointed to the ZBA (through 12/31/19) and Teresa Repko was reappointed (through 12/31/20).
•Planning Board chair: Stephen Reynolds. George Sharp Sr. was appointed to this board to fill a vacancy (through 12/31/22).
•2016 annual salaries were accepted as per 2016 budget: supervisor, $7,500; deputy supervisor, $2,200; justice, $6,000 each of two; councilman, $2,600 each of four; town clerk, $7,500; deputy town clerk, $2,200; assessor, $18,258; highway superintendent, $56,645; historian, $1,000; budget officer, $1,200; assessment review board, $150 per member, $300 for the chairman. Mr. Cidras earns $16.23 per hour as parks and maintenance supervisor.
Mr. Craig said he plans to announce the members of citizen advisory committees at the Tuesday, January 19 town board meeting. All board members attended the reorganization, along with two town staff members and one reporter.

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