By Maria Mirakaj Brownsell
It may have been a frigid winter night outside, but inside Clarkstown’s town hall it was warm with the hopes of a new year. Tuesday, January 06th, the Reorganization Meeting of the Town of Clarkstown was led by Police Chaplain David Lothrop. David M. Ascher was sworn into oath as Town Justice by County Court Judge Rolf Thorsen. His father presented him with an engraved gavel prior to his speech.
“I’ve always prided myself on being successful at bringing town boards efforts together, building on each other’s talents and ideas,” said Supervisor Alexander Gromack during his State of the Town Address. “There has always been a collaborative effort to work together on many projects and programs that we have brought forth both individually or collectively to enhance the quality of life for the people in Clarkstown,” he said Gromack.
He continued in his speech to list accomplishments of the town in the past 11 years that he has been supervisor. He said that budgets have always been balanced, they met the state cap for the second time now, provide the maximum property tax exemptions to veterans provided by state law, and they have over 13 million dollars in their tax stabilization fund. The town was the only town in Rockland to receive federal stimulus in the amount of 1.8 million dollars. Since he has been the supervisor, 71 million dollars in federal, state, and county grants has been received which has been used to update infrastructure, pave our roads, revitalize our hamlet centers, complete over 140 flood prevention projects, protect open spaces, construct the towns first emergency communication tower, new heavy duty highway equipment and many other uses. The consolidations of different departments has taken place; triple a bond rating has been received; they are the first town in Rockland to enact term limits for elected officials to encourage more residents to get involved in the electoral process.
“We are the first town in Rockland to review and revise our budget process to make it more open and transparent to the public. We have constructed the first solar field on a landfill in the entire state of New York. We have closed massage parlors that were engaged in prostitution and human trafficking,” continued Gromack.
The National Anthem and Good Bless America was sung by Nanuet High School Junior, Emily Cohen. Clarkstown’s Poet Laureate, Harry Waitzman, read a few of his poems. The invocation was performed by Msgr. Emmet Nevin of St. Paul’s Church in Congers. The Benediction/blessing was done by Rabbi Brian Leiken of Temple Beth Shalom in New City.
“Progress requires a plan. Our plan going forward is to continue working with the town board to find other opportunities for downsizing our town government without cutting essential service. I plan to continue working with the town board to make our budget process even more open and transparent with new software on our website that will enable every resident to view the budget in a more user friendly format. If government wants to be more responsive to its citizens, it has to listen to what they say. And if citizens want their government to be more responsive they need to join their conversation,” ended Gromack.