Murrell holds county gavel, promising ‘stable’ taxes

HUDSON–Columbia County Board of Supervisors Chairman Matt Murrell (R-Stockport) summarized his 2017 agenda at the board’s organizational meeting Tuesday, January 3, citing items that include sewer improvements for the Town of Greenport, fire towers, Columbia Green Community College finances, opiate addiction, broadband internet service and the Central Business Office—all while “keeping our tax rate stable and continuing to receive good ratings from New York State and Moody’s.”

Several incumbents from 2016 received confirmation to continue in the same positions for 2017. The Board re-elected Mr. Murrell chairman, Supervisor William Hughes (D-Hudson, 4th Ward) is minority leader and Supervisor Patrick Grattan (R-Kinderhook) is majority leader.

Mr. Murrell then reappointed as Deputy Chairmen Supervisor Ronald Knott (R-Stuyvesant) and Richard Keaveney (R-Canaan).

The meeting began with the dais empty of the usual officers. Board Clerk Kelly S. Baccaro called the meeting to order and ran the meeting until the board designated Mr. Knott its temporary chairman. Mr. Knott presided over the re-election of the board members. County Clerk Holly Tanner then administered the oath of office to Mr. Murrell, Mr. Hughes and Mr. Grattan, who took their leadership seats.

The supervisors resolved to hold full board meetings the second Wednesday of each month, established standing committees which meet regularly, and confirmed for one year, unless otherwise indicated:

• Mr. Murrell to the additional posts of budget officer and representative to the Columbia County Jury Board

• Ms. Baccaro as board clerk and Angela L. Rothermel as deputy board clerk

• Mr. Knott and Supervisor Arthur Bassin (D- Ancram) as directors of the Soil and Water Conservation District

• Mr. Bassin as county representative to the Cornell Cooperative Extension Board of Directors

• Supervisor Michael Benvenuto (R-Ghent) to the Fire Advisory Board for one year and Tom Rector and

Janet Shumsky to the Fire Advisory Board for three years each.

Before listing the 2017 goals, Mr. Murrell listed what he considered accomplishments of county government in 2016. They included paving and repairing more road and bridge miles “than we’ve done in years,” purchasing a bus for veterans, “submitting a government efficiency plan,” selling off Pine Haven Nursing Home, and getting rewarded by the state Controller’s Office, which called the county “free of fiscal stress” and by Moody’s, which upgraded the County’s rate, he said.

The next meeting of the full Board of Supervisors will take place Wednesday, January 11, at 7:30 p.m., at 401 State Street in Hudson.

Board of SUpervisors 2017

Ancram: Arthur Bassin (D)

Austerlitz: Robert LaGonia (R)

Canaan: Richard Keaveney (deputy. chair) (R)

Chatham: Maria Lull (R)

Claverack: Clifford “Kippy” Wiegelt (R)

Clermont: Raymond Staats (D)

Copake: Jeffrey Nayer(I)

Gallatin: John Reilly (R)

Germantown: Joel Craig (R)

Ghent: Michael Benvenuto (R)

Greenport: Edward Nabozny (I)

Hillsdale: Peter Cipkowski (D)


Sarah Sterling (D-1st Ward)

Rev. Edward Cross, Sr. (D-2nd Ward)

Don Moore (D-3rd Ward)

William Hughes, Jr. (Minority Leader) (D-4th Ward)

Richard Scalera (D-5th Ward)

Kinderhook: Patrick Grattan (Majority Leader)

Livingston: James Guzzi (R)

New Lebanon: Colleen Teal (D)

Stockport: Matt Murell (Chairman) (R)

Stuyvesant: Ronald Knott (Deputy Chairman) (R)

Taghkanic: Erik Tyree (R)

2017 Committees

• .1 Committee: Grattan (chair), William Hughes, Jr., Knott, Murell, Keaveney, Staats, Sterling

• Health & Human Services: (Public Health, Human Services, DSS, Youth, Office for the Aging): Grattan (chair), Sterling, Cross, Hughes, Nabozny, Keaveney, Teal, Lull, Scalera

• Public Safety (Sheriff, E911, EMS, Fire, Probation, District Attorney, Public Defender, Conflict Defender, Stop DWI, Coroner, Emergency Management):Michael Benvenuto (chair), Jeffrey Nayer, Lagonia, Weigelt, Cross, Hughes, Moore, Teal, Reilly

• Economic Development (Planning, Agriculture, IDA, CRC, Commerce Park, Soil & Water, Cooperative Extenstion and Workforce Development Board):Reilly (chair, Lagonia, Grattan, Knott,. Bassin, Cipkowski, Lull, Nabozny, Sterling

• County Government (County Clerk, Board of Supervisors Clerk, County Attorney, Board of Elections, Human Resources, Weights and Measures, MIS, Real Property, Historian, Planning, Tourism, Civil Service, Veterans and Fair Housing): Weigelt (chair), Craig, Moore, Lull, Knott, Scalera, Staats, Murell, Cipkowski

•Public Works (Engineering, Highway, Solid Waste, Facilities): Ronald Knott (chair), Guzzi, Nayer, Benvenuto, Sterling, Moore, Craig, Staats, Weigelt

• Finance (Budget, Treasurer, Controller, Corporate Compliance, CGCC, Central Services): Richard Keaveney (chair). Murell, Grattan, Knott, Hughes, Guzzi, Staats, Weigelt, Reilly.

Source: Columbia County website

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