Germantown opts for ‘bombproof’ sewer upgrade

GERMANTOWN–The Town Board just managed a quorum for its February 21 meeting, but that did not stop those present from moving forward with several projects. Attending were Supervisor Joel Craig and board members Brittany DuFresne and Ron Moore III. Absent were board members Andrea Foley and Matthew Phelan.

The board approved moving ahead with an upgrade to the 20-year-old wastewater treatment plant. Mary Beth Bianconi, senior project manager of Delaware Engineering, P.C., in Albany, attended the meeting to review the need for the plant’s renovation, the history of research done for funding, a timeline and costs.

The board has already spent some two years considering this project and evaluated a couple of different options. Metal tanks, such as those now at the plant, rust, so the board chose to build a concrete tank, which lasts longer but is more expensive. Read more…

Hudson school board hopes to keep tight lid on spending

HUDSON–The upcoming budget and the suspension of two students dominated the Hudson City School District Board of Education meeting Monday, February 27.

The meeting began a half hour early with a community budget workshop at which Business Administrator Sharifa Carbon presented possibilities for the 2017-18 district budget based on the information available now. But the only questions and comments came from school board members and district officials.

“We don’t have to make decisions tonight,” said Superintendent Maria L. Suttmeier. “This is just an overview.” Additional community budget workshops will take place March 3 and March 27 before the regular school board meetings, as the budget proposal gets closer to completion. On May 16, the proposal will face voters for approval. Read more…

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Sen. Gillibrand talks with local farmers

U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) visited the Ooms Farm in Valatie Friday, March 3, to meet with local farmers and discuss pressing issues. Before the discussion session, the senator got a firsthand view of the Lely automated milking parlor, the first in the county. Then the gathering assembled in the machine shed. Those at the table included: Donna Williams of Field Goods, a local food distribution organization located in Ghent; Todd Erling, executive director of the Hudson Valley AgriBusiness Development Corporation; Phil and PJ Trowbridge of Trowbridge Farms in Ghent; Lindsey Lusher Shute of the National Young Farmers Coalition; Jim Davenport of Tollgate farm in Ancramdale; Linda Fix of Fix Bros. Fruit Farm in Hudson; and Eric Ooms (l, above) of A. Ooms and Sons in Valatie. Other local farmers were in the audience. Topics ranged from farm succession–as older farmers retire, younger generations can inherit the businesses–estate taxes, education for young people who might want to go into farming, and issues regarding labor and farm visas such as H-2A for migrant workers. Photo by David Lee

Cool, clear, costlier: Chatham hikes water rates

CHATHAM–Village Board is raising the water and sewer rates, effective March 1. The board took the action following a continuation of a public hearing on the increases February 23 at which several residents questioned the need for the increase and how it would affect them. The vote was unanimous.

The board also held a public hearing earlier in the meeting on a proposal to set a weight limit on Austerlitz Street of 5 tons in an effort to stop trucks from using it as route through the village. “Large trucks should be prohibited from Austerlitz Street,” Mayor Tom Curran said of the weight limit.

Several residents of the street attended the public hearing and thanked the board for considering the change. They talked about large trucks shaking their houses as they go down the street, which connects Route 203 to Routes 295 and 66. Read more…

Bunny tale has happy ending

State buys land for Doodletown rabbit refuge

ANCRAM—New England Cottontail rabbits, reportedly close personal friends of the Easter Bunny, can rest easy now because the Department of Environmental Conservation is going to protect them and a place they like to live.

The state DEC recently purchased 689 acres in Ancram and Taghkanic to establish the Doodletown Wildlife Management Area.

Ancram Town Supervisor Art Bassin made the announcement at the February 16 Town Board meeting. The Ancram land amounts to 325 acres and lies between Doodletown and Westfall roads, said the supervisor. Read more…