Insurance drives benefit costs in Hudson schools budget

HUDSON–Next year’s budget, this year’s computer problems, and a last minute change of a test from computer to paper received attention at the Hudson City School District (HCSD) Board of Education meeting March 25.

The meeting began with a 2019-20 budget workshop run by Business Administrator Sharifa Carbon. Budget topics included health insurance price increases, Hudson’s property reassessment, State aid uncertainties, and tax levy possibilities. “My updating of the budget is moving forward” and so is developing communication with the community about it, said Ms. Carbon.

Ms. Carbon recommended planning for a 9% increase in health insurance costs. Some neighboring school districts can expect “solid double digit” percent increases she said, and “health insurance is the driving factor” in designing the HCSD’s 2019-20 budget. Already, it takes up two-thirds of the district’s benefits budget. Ms. Carbon said the budget should “make sure our employees have the best health insurance that we can afford to give.” Read more…

New Claverack Library nears completion

Standing in what will be the main area of the new library this fall (l to r) are Claverack Free Library Board of Trustees President Stephen King, Library Director Thea Schoep, Board Secretary and Building and Capital Committee Chair Jennifer F. Post, Treasurer Susan Roberts, and Vice President Mario Verna. Behind them are the open windows of the original brick wall of the firehouse that look into what will be the Children’s Room. Photo by Kate Mostaccio

CLAVERACK–It may still be exposed framing, hanging coils of high-speed internet wiring, and bare concrete but that doesn’t hinder members of the Claverack Free Library Board of Trustees and the library’s director from enthusiastically sharing what each area of the new building will feature when the library opens in early November.

The project to move the library from its current 1,400-square-foot home at the intersection of Route 23B and Route 9H in the hamlet to the adjacent former A.B. Shaw firehouse has been years in the making.

In the late 1990s, talks began about exploring the need for more space. The right opportunity finally came along in 2010, when the A.B. Shaw building became available. The location was perfect–since focus groups had made it clear that the community wanted the library to remain in the hamlet. Read more…

Is it a meeting?

ANCRAM—An invitation sent out by the library to certain town officials asking them to engage in a “community conversation” that excluded the general public triggered concerns that the session would violate the state Open Meetings Law.

Now, after further consideration, the library has issued a new invitation, which does include the public…but, there are still complications.

During the March 21 Ancram Town Board meeting, Deputy Supervisor/Town Councilman Hugh Clark raised questions about an invitation from the Roeliff Jansen Community Library received by Town Supervisors, Town Board members and Town Clerks in Ancram, Copake and Hillsdale—the three area towns the library is chartered to serve. Read more…

K’hook solar farm awaits approval vote

VALATIE–The town Planning Board held a workshop meeting Thursday, March 14 to go over the plans for a solar farm from East Light Partners and to hear from a representative from the Bank of Greene County about a new branch. Both projects are planned for properties along Route 9 and both companies will be back in front of board this week.

The Planning Board is scheduled to conduct a public hearing on the East Light Partners project this Thursday, March 21. Neighbors have been notified about the project to put about 20 acres of solar panels on a site of about 100 acres off of Route 9 across from Knickerbocker Lake Road on the town border with Rensselaer County. The company will lease the land.

The company has been working with the board since December to make sure it is following the new town zoning laws on large solar projects, which include screening so that the panels cannot be seen from the road. The Town Board approved changes to the zoning code for solar equipment in November 2017 and, according to Planning Board members at last week’s meeting, this is the first large solar project proposal they have reviewed. Read more…

Local officials decry sorry shape of Route 22 surface

CANAAN–Channel 13 WNYT in Albany joined local elected officials for a first-hand look at State Route 22 between Peaceful Valley Road in Canaan and State Route 20 in New Lebanon. Both local and state elected officials have called on the State Department of Transportation to repair, mill and pave dangerous sections of the highway. The 10 miles of road have been a “priority” of DOT Region 8 for over 10 years.

The Canaan and the New Lebanon town boards, and the Columbia County Board of Supervisors all have passed resolutions recently, each of which noted:

• The heavily traveled highway has not been paved in 25 years, while 10-15 years is the norm, and the road is in unacceptable condition, with a multitude of dangerous potholes and sections of eroded pavement Read more…