Finn Puts Community Development Block Grant Monies on Hold; Board Discusses Several Issues

Correction: the initial article stated the $50,000 grant was for bathrooms at the RHO Building, which was the 2013 CDBG grant. However, the $50,000 on hold is for Kirkbride Hall, which was the 2012 CDBG grant.

BY CHERYL SLAVIN

Tuesday night the Stony Point Town Board handled several important pieces of business before adjourning after a brisk 40 minute meeting.

Supervisor Geoffrey Finn and three of four board members agreed to put implementation of a $50,000 Community Development Block grants for removing architectural barriers at Kirkbride Hall and at the Justice Court on hold, with the rationale being that the town is seeking to sell Patriot Hills. Finn persuaded the council that it would be smart to wait before using the money.

In 2011 the Rockland County Times assailed Rockland Community Development Director Joe Abate for failing to disburse any funds to Stony Point from the Community Block Grant program. He said at the time the town had a bad mark for not use monies in a recent grant as the police department refused the make use of their grant for reasons of “excessive paperwork.”

The town has received $50,000 in back-to-back years since then, with some town officials crediting the newspaper for the gains. Abate could not be reached for comment in time for the paper’s deadline.

In other business at the meeting a bid for drainage improvements on Elm Avenue, pending since Hurricane Irene in 2011, was awarded to Montana Construction Corp. of Lodi, New Jersey was discussed at the meeting.

The board was delighted that the cost of about $268,000 would be entirely reimbursed either by insurance or FEMA. Bids were also awarded to Schultz Ford for the purchase of a new dump truck and to Gabriella Truck Sales for a new 4×4 pickup truck. Pending further assessment of the extent to which asbestos removal is needed, the board decided to wait to request bids on the handicapped bathroom improvements in the RHO building.

The longest discussion concerned the ongoing question of whether and how to fund a Stony Point newsletter. Councilmember Luanne Konopko opened by explaining that not every town resident has Internet. Therefore a hardcopy newsletter mailed to every resident would be an excellent communication tool; the issue was how to finance it. The Economic Development Committee had come up with a plan to have different businesses sponsor each of the quarterly newsletters at $2,000 a piece, but so far it had only come up with $500. She suggested that the town finance the remaining $1,500 for the first issue.

Supervisor Geoff Finn agreed that the newsletter was a good idea, but thought two issues a year would be enough. He wanted more time to explore other options including examining the Haverstraw newsletter in order to get ideas. He stated that at the right price he would support the town wholly funding the newsletter, which could then include all community and government news. Konopko reminded him and the board that this issue had been under discussion for some time already and that the EDC was more than ready to move forward on it. However, she agreed to Finn’s request to study the question further.

The board also passed two motions to cut the unkempt lawns at 8 Getty and 30 Zachary Taylor and bill the negligent owners thereafter. Supervisor Finn stated that the town does not tolerate negligent property ownership, and urged the public to report any eyesores.

The meeting was also attended by Stony Point Town Council candidates James Monaghan and Edward Onderdonk.