Tonia Shoumatoff

County Legislator Mike Kelsey appeared at the Amenia Town Board last week after an absence of several months and was welcomed by Supervisor Perotti.  He reported on the county budget which he voted against because funding the wage increases given to county employees that would cost $2.9 million came from sources that were supposed to go to mental health services.  A wage increase of 2 percent will be retroactive; the increase for this and next year will be 2.5 percent.  

Colleen Pillus in the County Executive’s office assured TMI that there were would be no diminution in mental heath services.

Kelsey thought the only way to fund the increases in employee wages was to raise property taxes.  County Executive Molinaro assured the county legislature that would not happen.    

In an interview with Michael Herzog last week, we learned about water, storm water, mapping the Village of Millbrook’s underground infrastructure and his work on the Wappingers Intermunicipal Council (WIC), of which he is the chairman. Herzog also heads up the village water committee.

Herzog spoke of the upgrade that the water-treatment plant needs to meet the standards of the Dutchess County Department of Health. He explained that the source of the village water supply has been declared by the Board of Health to be influenced by groundwater and that the village is putting together a proposal that will be prepared by Delaware Engineering to deal with this problem. (See the article by Arvolyn Hill in this issue.)  

Making sure the treatment system is working to maximum efficiency is under the supervision of both state and county agencies. Herzog spoke of a shared services grant of approximately $600,000 that paid for an upgrade of the village sewer system.

Extending the Harlem Valley Rail Trail to Wassaic has been a slow process for Amenia’s town board. The need for the trail can be seen every August, when visitors to the Wassaic Project can be seen trudging along Route 22 toward the annual art show, which draws thousands, many of whom arrive by train. 

The extension of the rail trail been has been in the works for more than five years. WSP Sells, a large engineering firm based in Briarcliff, was hired to administer the job. On January 20 the  firm submitted a Final Design Report. A hard copy and a CD may be seen at the Amenia Town Hall. 

According to Amenia town supervisor Victoria Perotti, the project is estimated to cost $925,700. The federal Transportation Enhancement Grant (TEP) will pay $480,000. The town’s share is $120,000. The town has a $100,000 Community Development Block Grant that has been extended through 2015, a $100,000 Dormitory Authority Grant and a $10,000 Greenway Grant.   

 At the Amenia Town Board meeting of February 5, risk consultant and surety underwriter John Duffy made a presentation in which he said that the improvements to the Silo Ridge project should secured by bonding so that 100 percent of the risks are covered. The risks are the reclamation costs and the costs of the site improvements. 

Duffy pointed out that “New York Town Law 277 stipulates that a performance bond or other security be taken in connection with site improvements and that it should be ‘sufficient to cover the full cost’ of such improvements.”  

Towns are being urged to jump on the green funding bandwagon by addressing cimate change and including resilient infrastructure projects in a new series of grant applications.  

“What we are seeing is a growing trend for funding applications that score more points by including sustainability, resiliency and green infrastructure components,” according to an article in Talk of the Towns (a publication of the Association of Towns) by Donald Fletcher and Chris Lawton, engineers with Barton and Loguidice.  The Association of Towns has its annual training conference on Feb. 16-17 in NYC and includes training on green opportunities in its syllabus.

After almost seven years of heading up the Amenia Wastewater Committee, Janet Reagon resigned last week. She sent in her letter of resignation to Supervisor Victoria Perotti on January 22.

“The best chance Amenia has had in years to find a solution to the long-standing need for a sewage treatment system in the hamlet of Amenia has slipped away.”  

Reagon’s letter explained what happened: 

“A year ago, things looked promising: the NYS Environmental Finance Corporation had guaranteed a $3 million no-interest loan, we were working closely with the Dutchess County Water and Wastewater Authority, and there was a reasonable plan for treating wastewater in a manner similar to the method used in Hillsdale, NY.” 

           “In order to get the EFC loan, the Town had to show by May, 2014, that there was a plan in place to come up with the other $1.4 million without borrowing more money.  Steps need to be taken in order to close the financing by August 5, 2015, which cannot happen without such assurance”.

January 22, 2015 

At the January 14 meeting of the Amenia Planning Board, representatives of Silo Ridge announced that they will soon be submitting 160 new documents as a completed application, spelling a new chapter to a process that has been in the works since 2002. The meeting was attended by the town board as well as members of the public. All the documents were apparently not ready for filing, but they are expected in a matter of days, said Pedro Torres on behalf of Silo Ridge Ventures.

The submission will mark the end of a phase that has drawn more than 300 pages of comments from the public and interested parties on the plans to turn the Silo Ridge golf course into a destination golf course, for residents only, with high-end homes, to be built by the Discovery Land Company. 

Posted: December 3, 2014 

The Amenia Library was built by the WPA (Works Progress Administration) is the 1930’s. Very little has been done to the small brick building since then except for a new roof and heating system. A new sign and storm windows, funded by the Main Street grant last year, have spiffed up the look of the traditional red brick exterior.  But the stacks are cramped, the children’s area desperately needs more space and there is no space for special collections such as the Lewis Mumford books, bequeathed to the library by Sophia Mumford.

 

The library is a positive presence in the village of Amenia.  It is a popular place.  Its online capability for research, the helpful staff, and its small but relevant collection is frequently borrowed. 

 

The Town of Amenia filed its annual financial report with the State Comptroller which disclosed how much the town received from taxes and other sources and how that money was spent for the calendar year ending December 31, 2013.

In 2013 the town’s total revenue from all sources was $1,247,261, $69,401 less than its revenues for 2012. The difference is more than accounted for by the receipt in 2012 of $81,667 in Federal Aid, a sum that was not received in 2013. 

In 2013 the town spent $1,375,243, $53,836 more than it spent in 2012 a difference of 3.9%. 

In 2014, the town budgeted $1,267,674 or $107,568 less than it actually spent in 2013. 

As of December 31, 2013, the town reported that it had 22 different bank accounts with a total balance of $1,108,942.  

The town also had time deposits of $1,200,480 plus collateral in the amount of $3,828,000.  The collateral represent funds earmarked for particular projects such as completion of the landfill remediation that is still under construction. 

Terry Gipson, a Democrat from Rhinebeck, is establishing a presence in the Harlem Valley.  His signs have popped up along Route 22 and on the side roads.  He is making appearances at church suppers and town events.  He recently took a tour of the Taconic DDSO, and was interviewed by The Millbrook Independent.

He is currently serving a second term on the Rhinebeck Village Board.  He owns the Rhinebeck-based graphic design business, Gipson Design Group.   He has been active in the Chamber of Commerce and other civic groups since he moved to Rhinebeck from White Plains in 2007.  He worked as design director for MTV Networks and as a designer for Rockwell Architecture. He graduated with an MFA from Penn State and a BA from Texas Tech.

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