ICC acts quickly putting state aid boost to work

KINDERHOOK–The Ichabod Crane Board of Education responded promptly last week to an increase in state aid to public schools, approving a $39,189,544 proposed 2017-18 school budget at a special meeting. The budget, with a 1.47% tax levy increase, will go before voters on May 16.

Also at the Wednesday, April 12 meeting the board appointed Linda Collett interim director of special education and 504 compliance officer.

Along with the budget proposal, the board also approved placing a $477,789 bus purchase proposition on the ballot and there will be four board seats up for election as well. Candidates had until Monday, April 17 to submit their petitions in to the district clerk. Susan Ramos (incumbent), Tammy Crawford, Craig Luckfield, Dan Cohn (incumbent), Brendan Caluneo and Francis McKearin will all be on the May ballot. Read more…

County endorses local response to opioid addiction

HUDSON–The Columbia County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously to accept an Opioid Epidemic Response Plan at the full board meeting Wednesday, April 12. At the same meeting the board also authorized the Probation Department to allow trained probation officers to administer “lifesaving intranasal naloxone if they encounter an individual who appears to be suffering from an opioid overdose” and the supervisors approved hiring a “part-time legislative aide to act as a liaison for the opioid Epidemic plan.”

The position has an annual salary of $10,000.

The Opioid Epidemic Response Plan is the result of several month’s work by a committee convened by Supervisor Matt Murell (R-Stockport), chairman of the Board of Supervisors, to address the local impact of the nationwide opioid abuse crisis. Its first mission was to “clarify… the nature and extent of opioid abuse in Columbia County,” to identify to identify available “resources” to address the problem. The committee made recommended that Columbia County: Read more…

Budget in place, Valatie eyes grants to get greener

VALATIE–The Village Board approved a $1.7-million village budget for the 2017-18 fiscal year at the regular meeting Tuesday, April 11. There will be no change in the tax rate from the current year’s budget.

Village budget years run from June 1 to May 31. The board will hold an end of the year review of the 2016-17 budget May 31 at 6:30 p.m.

There were no comments during the public hearing on the budget from residents. Trustee Larry Eleby said of the budget, “I have no comment, but I like it.” Read more…

County board backs Faso Medicaid bill

HUDSON–Over the protests of demonstrators and dissent within its ranks, the Columbia County Board of Supervisors declared its support last week for a bill now in the U.S. Congress to “bar federal reimbursement for state Medicaid funds raised from local government.”

Currently county property taxes contribute to funding Medicaid services in New York, but the bill, H.R. 1871 sponsored by Representative John Faso (R-19th), would end that. Medicaid costs are shared by the federal government and the states, and only Congress can change the way this state funds its share of Medicaid, which provides healthcare for extremely poor people and some people with disabilities. What the Board Supervisors adopted at its meeting Wednesday, April 12 under its weighted vote system was a resolution telling Congress the board supports the funding change.

Demonstrators attended the meeting, many with signs reading “Healthcare for All,” protesting the resolution. Seven board members, all of them Democrats, including all five supervisors from the City of Hudson, voted against the measure. Ten Republicans voted for it. Read more…

Big time sun power gets frosty reception

Copake adopts solar panel law that limits project scale

COPAKE–A new law regulating solar energy installations adopted by the Town Board April 13 limits the amount of land that a utility-scale system can occupy to 10 acres.

But the law also says every utility-scale project is subject to site plan review and approval regardless of whether that proposed system exceeds any stated threshold for site plan review.

That may leave some wiggle-room, but whether it’s enough for a proposed 400-acre utility-scale project in Craryville remains to be seen. Read more…