Anonymous donor honors library ‘angels’

HILLSDALE –One of the informal dictionary definitions of “angel” is “a person who provides financial backing for some undertaking, as a play or political campaign.” Or, perhaps, a library.

Someone familiar with the Roeliff Jansen Community Library (RJCL) has recently bestowed on the fund-raising campaign an unexpected gift of $5,000. That still leaves the library with nearly half a million dollars to raise to completely pay for its new, environmentally friendly structure, but the money is a big boost. And while the donor wishes to remain anonymous, that person’s intention is to honor the volunteer library staff with a commemoration “To The Extraordinary RJCL Volunteers” inscribed on a bench outside the main entrance of the nearly complete building on Route 22 just south of the Hillsdale hamlet.

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New Leb voters reject Town Hall plan

NEW LEBANON – Voters here soundly defeated a bond resolution that, if passed, would have authorized the Town to borrow up to $815,000 to renovate and expand the existing Town Hall. The result of the special election held Tuesday, June 29, was 88 in favor and 182 opposed.

“We will have to go back to the drawing board,” said Town Supervisor Meg Robertson (D). She said the Town Board will bring this matter back to the voters in the November general election. In the meantime, she and town officials will redouble efforts to secure grants and other funding from federal and state elected officials in order to reduce the amount of town funds needed.

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Town meets resistance on next step for plan

CHATHAM–A town committee that has yet to meet drew criticism from community members during the public comment section of the Town Board meeting last week, with residents questioning the board about the creation of a group that will recommend steps to implement the town’s comprehensive plan.

The new implementation committee will review the recommendations in the comprehensive plan to ensure that the town’s laws are in line with the plan. The comprehensive plan, a document that provides guidance about future land use and growth patterns in the town, was adopted last year after years of discussion and with hundreds of volunteers providing their input and support. Read more…

Tower residents have special interest in this lobby

HUDSON– Workers are starting to renovate the lobby of Bliss Towers, though officials and residents have begun to consider what might replace the 36-year-old, 9-story subsidized housing complex.

Financing for the lobby improvements comes from $250,000 in federal economic stimulus funds for this project, which had been on the drawing board for 10 years. Work is scheduled for completion in September. And while the repairs are needed, planners, city leaders and tenants met in April to discuss the future of the tower, which has high maintenance costs and is inefficient by modern energy standards. The high-rise building along with a surrounding complex of low-rise units comprises Hudson’s only public housing development. Read more…

County readies plan to expand bus service

HUDSON–Ken Flood, Columbia County planning commissioner, and public transportation consultant Debbie Soule reported on their transportation study and plan before a special meeting of the County Board of Supervisors’ Transportation Committee. The study, a nine-month work in progress, is now a 130 page document due for release next week.

Ms. Soule, who helps counties and towns with transportation issues including coordination, operations, marketing, funding and subsidies, was hired by Columbia and Greene counties, which will each pay 5% of her $100,000 contract. The other 90% is being funded by a state grant. She has worked with Amsterdam, Oswego, and other cities, in each case helping the municipalities save significant sums. Read more…