Copake cuts deficit, imposes new tax

COPAKE–It took two hours of wading line by line through the latest revenue and spending projections, but in the end the Town Board, with the guidance of its accountant, Michael Torchia, whittled an estimated $200,000 budget deficit down to $80,000 at a special budget workshop meeting August 19.

By the end of the meeting, a majority of board members decided to make up the shortfall by borrowing the money and instituting a one-time “negative fund balance elimination tax” based on the assessed value of property in the town.

Read more…

Plant stubs out closing rumor

Ancram Mill exec says smoking paper plant plans to remain open and busy

ANCRAM–Recent layoffs at the Ancram Paper Mill have provoked speculation about what the future holds for the historic mill that has been a fixture of the community and landscape along the Roeliff Jan Kill for 266 years.

Fears of closure are unfounded, says the mill manager, who condemns rumors about the mill’s impending demise and is working to revive business in new ways. The latest layoffs may only be temporary.

The current state and ultimate fate of the mill, owned by Schweitzer-Mauduit International, Inc., is not a topic of conversation limited only to company employees. The topic was openly discussed near the end of the Ancram Town Board’s August 20 meeting.

Read more…

Chatham endorses new comprehensive plan

(NOTE: This is an updated version of a story that appeared on this website last week.)

CHATHAM–After five years of discussion and debate the town joined a growing list of local municipalities that have adopted new comprehensive plans.

The board unanimously approved the latest draft of the plan Thursday evening, August 20, following a 25-minute public hearing. One member of the board, Beth Ann Rippel, was not present at the meeting, but town Supervisor Jesse DeGroodt said she also supports the plan.

Read more…

Miller sentenced a second time in Gropp murder case

HUDSON—Columbia County Judge Paul Czajka sentenced Mickey Miller to seven years in prison and five years of post release supervision in county court the morning of August 26.
It was the second time Mr. Miller was sentenced after pleading guilty to second degree attempted robbery in connection with the 2004 home invasion that led to the slaying of fruit farmer Henry Gropp.
His first conviction was overturned by the state Appellate Division Court May 7.
In court Wednesday, Assistant District Attorney David Costanzo asked the judge to set the above-mentioned sentence, defense attorney Veronica M. Kosich agreed and Mr. Miller had nothing to say in his own behalf.
Read more…

Judge sues judge

New Leb justice alleges a conspiracy against her court

NEW LEBANON–The long-simmering battle in the town’s justice court–hinted at in board minutes, overheard in conversations, recognized in an ethics committee report–went public last week when the junior justice, Darcy Poppey, filed a civil action in state Supreme Court alleging a “conspiracy” aimed at her court by the whole Town Board and other officials.

The officials call the charges “baseless,” and one official named in the suit says she fears for her safety.

Read more…