BY DYLAN SKRILOFF
New budget among topics discussed at Tuesday’s board meeting; big meeting on Champlain Hudson Power Express to be held in Stony Point on October 23
Supervisor Geoff Finn is claiming victory in his first battle against high taxes, as his inaugural budget is set to come in below the two percent tax cap, even as extra expenses were hoisted on the town by the county. The Rockland County Times has yet to look over the budget, but Finn and the board said at Tuesday’s meeting that the preliminary budget holds the line on expenses in all sectors of the town budget.
A budget hearing will take place on October 9 in the RHO Building during the regular board meeting, and a public hearing on the budget will be held October 23, also at the regular board meeting.
In other news from the town board meeting, it was announced that Noreen Smith, the decade-long director of recreations has resigned. The board voted to allot $55,000 in annual salary to replace her position. The police union said they were annoyed with the town board for looking at other options for their dental and life insurance plans.
During public comments, PBA representative Keith Hansen said the police union would be forced to take the town to arbitration if they continued on their current course. Supervisor Geoff Finn retorted that the town merely is seeking to find the same coverage at a lower cost. He said, “It’s time to give a little.”
So far, the town’s move appears to have paid off, as Hansen said upon hearing about the town’s interest in other plans, the current insurance company has offered to decrease rates 10 percent in order to keep the account. That would mean the town has already saved taxpayers tens of thousands of dollars, simply by posturing.
Local activist and leader of the Stony Point Historical Society Susan Filgueras told the 40 or so persons gathered that on October 23 the town will be hosting a hearing of the New York State Senate Standing Committee on Energy and Telecommunications pertaining to the Champlain Hudson Power Express. This is an important meeting for the community to express their opinions of the project which will run underneath Stony Point and require digging up of miles of ground, including potentially some sensitive areas.
The express will deliver geothermal and wind energy from Canada to New York City. The meeting is Tuesday, October 23 from 1 to 4 p.m. at the RHO Building.
A possible newsletter was also discussed at the meeting. The town is interested in sending information about current events to residents, but are hoping to attract a sponsor to pay for the costs.
Councilwoman Luanne Konopko confirmed that the results of the EPA’s recommendations for future economic development, were in line with the plans presented by the town’s own economic development committee the prior year.
Needless controversy continued over the new Film Commission/Committee. Members of the committee including chair Malcolm Dean were not pleased with language that limited the hours of production from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. and which required 30 days notice for a project. Film committee members noted they were still sore over being needlessly attacked by town’s lead counsel Dennis Lynch several months ago.
The town also commended Eagle Scout Thomas DiDomizio at the board meeting, as well as several generations of the Huslinger family for their dedication to firefighting. Honored were Robert Huslinger, Kevin Huslinger, Kevin Huslinger II, Esther Huslinger, Chris Huslinger Sr., Joan Huslinger, Chris Huslinger Jr. and Joseph Huslinger (honored but not there).
In an article covering the prior Stony Point board meeting, reporter Sara Gilbert stated that the town’s tax assessor Jack O’Shaughnessy was “resigning” from his post. In fact, O’Shaughnessy is not resigning, he is merely declining to renew a waiver he needs in order to keep the position. As such, O’Shaughnessy is not technically leaving due to resignation, but because he will no longer be eligible. There have been tensions between O’Shaughnessy and members of the board and that may have played a role in his decision to not seek a new waiver. As a former fireman who receives a pension, O’Shaugnessy must receive a waiver to be on public payroll.