G’town board cleans house at Police Department

GERMANTOWN–After several moments of silence commemorating September 11, 2001, the Town Board last week addressed its agenda, including what is to be done with the Police Department’s weapons and other equipment.

At an August 7 special meeting the board unanimously voted to abolish the Germantown Police Department. But citizens who want voters to decide whether to retain the department compiled 70 signatures on a petition, which has placed the question on the November ballot.

No matter what the outcome of the referendum, the board’s actions last week create doubt about whether there will be much left to retain.

The Police Department had acquired two AR-15 assault style rifles. The board has decided to donate one of the weapons to Germantown School District.

Asked by a member of the audience who in the school would be responsible for the rifle, Supervisor Robert Beaury responded, “How the AR-15 is stored by the school district is not the board’s responsibility.”

The district does have a Columbia County Sheriff’s Office deputy on duty as a school resource officer.

The board decided to sell the second AR-15 and other weapons. The department’s Tasers will sold as surplus or destroyed and the police vehicle will be sold at fair market value. The board said that workshops will be scheduled in 2019 to discuss policing in Germantown going forward.

In a related matter, Paul D’Onofrio, deputy director of Columbia County Emergency Management, presented plans for the October 13 Emergency Responders Drill training drill, which will be held at the Germantown School. According to Mr. D’Onofrio, the anticipated participants include 10 separate police departments, 10 fire stations and 9 EMS companies along with 100 casualty volunteers.

They will begin arriving approximately at 6 a.m. and the drill will conclude around noon. The drill will impact traffic from Main Street to Route 9G with limited access; Main Street is expected to close for a short period. Final details will be presented at the October 9 Town Board meeting.

In other business at the September 11 board meeting:

• Tracy Martin presented the plans by Otto’s Market and others for a community celebration focused on local farmers. The event is set for September 30 from 5-8 p.m. at Palatine Park. The aim is foster the Germantown community and its agriculture by having farmers recount their stories. A dinner will be provided for the farmers. There will be free food and music. Also, a viewing of the documentary, “Seeds of Hope” one in a series Hudson River Stories by Oceans 8 Films about the plight of native American seeds that are in danger of extinction in the Hudson River Valley

• The 2019 town budget workshop dates are September 18 and 24 at 6:30 p.m.

• The board did not adopt proposed Local Law No. 3 of 2018, which would have called for appointing alternate members to the Zoning Board of Appeals and Planning Board. Town Attorney Corine Smith advised that the board does not have the power to appoint alternates, a situation that results in the board having to rescind an already appointed alternate

• The board discussed restrictions on long-term parking of trucks and cars in the municipal parking lot, which will require crafting three laws

• The town plans to modify its portable phone and portable entertainment devices policy for all employees operating town vehicles so that it matches the policy adopted by the state and county

• The anti-discrimination and harassment policy of the town will be updated by the board

• Supervisor Beaury, along with officials from the Greenway, the Department of Transportation and the City of Hudson met with Amtrak about the fences and gates that the railroad plans to build along the tracks. Mr. Beaury said paperwork has been submitted to Albany

• Suzette Booy, director of county Real Property Tax Services, and Ralph Delpozzo, Germantown assessor, are scheduled to make a presentation to the board at the October 9 meeting.

The next board meeting is Tuesday October 9, 2018.

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