BY MARIA BROWNSELL
With the New Year comes the annual Reorganization Meeting of the Town of Clarkstown. After being snowed out last Thursday, this years meeting was rescheduled to Tuesday night. The Clarkstown South High School Troubadours provided the music for the evening under the direction of Kip Bonsignore. Seven different people were sworn into their offices.
Councilman George Hoehmann’s oath of office was administered by Judge Craig Johns with his wife Kathy holding the bible and his children. He thanked his family and various different groups, including the CSEA, for supporting him in his reelection.
“During my campaign I did a lot of listening,” said Hoehmann. Many people wonder “are we going to be able to stay here? They like the services but don’t know how they can pay. I will do all in my power to make government affordable. I promise to continue to listen, to reach out and become more accessible to the people. Being a public servant is an honor and a privilege.”
Councilwoman Stephanie Hausner’s oath of office was administered by Judge Howard Gerber with her grandparents. Hausner thanked her grandparents for being her biggest fans and best volunteers with her reelection. She also thanked other family members for pushing her to do her best and inspiring her to serve the community.
“We need to do a better job to make sure our young people, seniors, and businesses can stay here. We can’t leave anyone out. We need to serve everyone in Clarkstown,” said Hausner.
Town Clerk Justin Sweet was sworn in by Judge Rolf Thorsen with his wife and his children. Sweet thanked his family, the town for voting for him, and others involved in his reelection. He spoke of the consolidation of the Town Clerk’s office and of its success. During the resolutions of the evening he was appointed to the position of Registrar of Vital Statistics and authorized as Marriage Officer.
Town Justice Scott Ugell’s oath of office was administered by Judge Victor Alfieri with his children. Ugell’s reelection makes him the longest serving town judge in the town of Clarkstown, with twenty two years there.
“As a town judge, you are dealing with very sensitive parts of peoples lives. I’ve been told by parents that had children come through that they were doing well later on and thanked me. It makes it all worth it,” said Ugell.
Town Justice Craig Johns was sworn in by Judge Charles Apotheker with his wife and children. This was Johns sixth time being elected.
“Being a town judge is to be cherished. One of the things I’ve done over the past twenty years was to start the Rockland County Drug court that is very successful,” said Johns.
Superintendent of Highways Wayne Ballard’s oath of office was administered by Judge Craig Johns. This was Ballard’s ninth win, with elections taking place every two years. He said how a lot of years have past and wanted to thank the town board for all they do and that he looks forward to working with them again. He also mentioned how he plans to keep taxes for his department down.
Supervisor Alexander Gromack was reelected making this his 10th year serving the Town of Clarkstown. He boasted of accomplishments including $450,000 saved through consolidation of the Receiver of Taxes and Town Clerk, over 1 million square feet of new commercial developments, 2,000 new construction and permanent jobs created with the Shops at Nanuet, 100 senior housing units built or under construction, reduction of 75 government jobs, $38 million received in local, state and federal grants, 200 acres of open space saved, $15 million tax stabilization fund created and the revitalization of several downtowns. The town also has maintained a AAA bond rating during the entire decade, he pointed out.
Clarkstown has received awards for their comprehensive plan by Pace University Law and New York Planning Federation. They has been recognized in many ways over the past year, such as one of the safest town in the country, one of CNN Money Magazine’s 100 best places to live in the nation, #1 booming suburb of New York by Coldwell Banker Real Estate, and even relieved a $90,000 grant from the State for their consolidation efforts of the Town Clerk and Receiver of Taxes.
Gromack spoke of working with the new County Executive Ed Day and trying to create a good relationship him. He wants the county to distribute the sales tax revenue more fairly as the Shops at Nanuet are projected to bring in $15 million of new county sales tax revenue and the Palisades Mall is projected to bring in $40 to $50 million dollars.
“I hope our ‘Day’ has come for economic fairness to our town,” said Gromack. “I pledge to continue to work as hard as I can to make Clarkstown a great place for all of us to live, and most importantly, a place where our children can find a safe and secure future. Clarkstown … a place they can proudly call home.”