Local Government

Local Government 10.22.20

Excerpts from Letter Asking Legislature and County Executive to Address Structural Racism

RENSSELAER COUNTY – We, the undersigned residents of Stephentown, New York, wish to commend the members of the Rensselaer County Legislature for the passage of Resolution No. P/35, honoring the late Congressman John Lewis and his service “by renewing Rensselaer County’s commitment to ensuring that the principles and ideals of the American promise are available to all citizens and that justice is afforded to all Americans.” (Title of Resolution P/35, page [p.] 1.) However, in light of the Legislature’s acknowledgement of both our Country’s historic racism and of the activism necessary to combat this injustice – activism in which Congressman Lewis was engaged throughout his life – we are dismayed that the Legislature has failed to pass any resolution that would give substance and demonstrate commitment to its own words. In particular, although the Legislature has had at least three opportunities in the last couple of months, it refuses to acknowledge our Country’s continuing structural racism, fails to develop a plan or to otherwise take action to combat racism, and declines support for the Black Lives Matter movement.

The Legislature’s failure to go beyond honoring Congressman Lewis . . . is unacceptable and entirely irreconcilable with the assertions that are the bases for the honor it extends. The members of the Legislature cannot have it both ways. They cannot . . . acknowledge historic racism and honor Lewis’ activist responses to it and then . . . oppose resolutions that address the continued existence and destructive power of racism and the critical need for activism to combat it. The defeated resolutions set out some of the logical next steps in any serious intent to fight racism and are within the spirit of the words that the entire Legislature endorsed. Absent resolve to take the next steps in combatting racism . . . we must conclude that the Rensselaer County Legislature’s Resolution honoring Congressman . . . Lewis is tainted with cynicism and dishonesty.

Sandra Nathan, John Serio, Jack Spillman, Marilyn Lenkowsky, Natalie Amiama, Robin Catalano, Catharine Hough, Shelley Geller, Jennifer Anikst, Erin Duffey, Matt Wycoff, and Pam Kueppers. 

Sand Lake FYI 

SAND LAKE – Our November Town Board business meeting will be held on November 11, which is Veterans Day.  To celebrate this day, we will be honoring the 75th Anniversary of the Walter Adams American Legion Chapter here in Sand Lake.  We will also be honoring Duane Wehau, who is a charter member of this American Legion chapter.  This is a fitting way for the town to honor our veterans and the sacrifices they have made for all of us.  

We also anticipate launching the military members banner program at the November 11the meeting.  As I mentioned last month, the town is moving forward with our own banner program honoring our veterans.  We plan on having applications available at the meeting on November 11th.  Our thoughts are to hang the banners prior to Memorial Day and take them down after Veterans Day.  Each banner will cost around $200.  We will provide you with more information as it becomes available.  

Our October 28th Town Board Workshop meeting will focus on the 2nd Dyke Culvert.  The Town Board voted earlier this year to proceed with the engineering study and design of the culvert even though we were uncertain about the status of the Member Item grant that funds it.  We learned this summer from Senator Daphne Jordan’s office that all Member Item grants have been frozen indefinitely due to the massive budgetary issues of State government.  We invite any interested citizens to attend the October 28th meeting and share their thoughts.  The Engineering & Design study conducted by Barton & Loguidice is available on the town website.  We will also have an engineer from Barton & Loguidice available to answer your questions at that meeting.  

The Averill Park Fire Department reached out to me regarding the Holiday Parade.  At this point in time, the parade is scheduled for December 4th.  However, given COVID-19 concerns, we do not anticipate holding an event at Butler Park following the parade.  I think the Holiday Parade is a fantastic event and many of us look forward to it every year.  

Nancy Perry, Town Supervisor  

North Greenbush Report

NORTH GREENBUSH – North Greenbush’s October Town Board meeting featured a presentation by the Climate Smart Committee on the Climate Smart assessment. Despite obstacles created by COVID-19, the Committee met virtually several times with a staff member from Cornell Cooperative Extension to review town documents, laws and procedures and to assess strengths and weaknesses. Highlights of the presentation include explanations of the town’s stormwater management program, an overview of electric vehicle and charging station programs and a discussion of the importance of preserving trees and wetlands to combat climate change. A representative from the RPI Tech Park discussed their initiatives such as the creation of a Monarch Butterfly Habitat Site and replacement of street and parking lighting with LED fixtures. The committee’s recommendations include updating the Comprehensive Plan to include a resiliency/sustainability component and undertake stormwater mapping. Additional funding may be pursued to continue Cornell Cooperative Extension’s assistance in certifying the town as a Climate Smart Community.

At September’s planning board meeting, a resident proposed acquiring acreage currently owned by the town behind the Pastures to construct houses for his family. In exchange, he will build a passive recreational area which would include walking trails and possibly a bocci or pickle ball court at no cost to town taxpayers. The park would be accessed via Pheasant Lane. Legal and administrative hurdles need to be cleared before such a proposal may be considered. At a time when state aid to New York towns and cities is likely to be reduced, this seems like an excellent opportunity for the town. Please reach out to me at msabo@<span class=”oe_displaynone”>null</span>northgreenbush.org with your thoughts on the addition of a new park.

A public hearing on the proposed town budget (available on the town website) will be held Tuesday, November 5, 2020 at 6:55 p.m.

Submitted by Councilwoman, Mary Frances Sabo

Schodack Town Board GOP Report

SCHODACK – Since the beginning of the COVID-19 outbreak, we have striven to ensure the safety of our residents as well as our employees while balancing the needs and expectations of services our Town provides. For several months we have asked for and appreciated your cooperation and patience as we have navigated these troubled waters and while we know we aren’t out of the woods yet in regards to COVID, we have arrived at a much more stable and secure spot. With appreciation to all the hard and dedicated work by our employees and the sacrifices so many of you have made, it’s our privilege to announce that plans have been made and protocols established that will allow us to reopen both our Town Hall building and our Town meetings to the general public.

Upon entering the building, each visitor will be asked to record their name, a series of screening questions, and have their temperature taken. From there they will either be allowed to visit the department they have business with or enter the meeting room. We still ask that visitors abide by CDC recommendations of wearing a mask and maintaining social distance when possible.

We’re confident that with these procedures in place we can safely reopen our Town Hall to the people its meant to serve, you, the residents of Schodack. Our thanks and appreciation to our Supervisor David Harris and fellow Town Board member Tracey Rex for their help and input on formulating this reopening plan, and to all our employees for stepping up these past several months and tackling whatever challenges that have been thrown their way.

A special thank you to our Highway Crew, Police, and First Responders for their quick action and response to the damaging wind storm on October 7th. Multiple wires and trees came down in very short order but these fine folks responded just as fast and had many unsafe situations resolved very quickly and our roads reopened and safe to travel. Thanks again for your quick actions.

Jim Bult, Scott Swartz, and Mike Kenney

Town of East Greenbush Fall Cleanup

EAST GREENBUSH – Fall Cleanup will begin on Monday, October 26th, 2020 and resume for the next 4 Mondays. The leaves must be in biodegradable bags and brush must be tied up into 4 foot bundles put out alongside of the roadway but not in the road.

The dates are as follows: October 26th, 2020; November 2nd, 2020; November 9th, 2020; November 16th, 2020

Please be advised that these are the “ONLY” dates the Department of Public Works will be performing Fall Cleanup.  If you miss these dates, you may bring these items to the Transfer Station located at 

246 Ridge Road, Town of East Greenbush. Residents must provide proof of residency or a Transfer Station permit and are allowed to bring these items all year long at no cost.

Please do not place bags of leaves or bundles of brush on the pavement, in front of culverts or on top of catch basins.  Place all items on edge of the road.

Sincerely, Daniel Fiacco

Commissioner of Public Works

Town of East Greenbush

School Tax Bills – Town of Schodack

SCHODACK – School tax payments for all properties in the Town of Schodack are due. Schodack Central School District bills are due by October 30, 2020 and payments for East Greenbush School District by November 2, 2020. Payments may be mailed to: Shawn Masters/Receiver of Taxes PO Box 436 East Schodack, NY 12063 or placed in the secure drop box near entrance door of the town hall. Payments postmarked at the US Post office on or before the due date will be accepted as paid on date of postmark. Payments left in drop box must be placed in the drop box prior to close of business at 4:30pm on due date to be considered paid on time. Please contact the office at 518-477-7935 with any concerns or questions.

Shawn Masters/Receiver of Taxes

Rensselaer County Office of the Minority – October 2020 Highlights

RENSSELAER COUNTY – Health: The legislature unanimously accepted additional funding from the NYS Department of Health for the counties Immunization Action Plan. This supplemental funding is intended to expand the health department’s influenza outreach and promotion efforts. Due to COVID-19, the flu shot is more important than ever. The flu season is peaking and tends to last into spring; therefore we encourage anyone who has not received a flu shot, to do so now, there is still time.

Youth: “Coats for Kids Campaign” – The 2020 annual Golf Fundraiser at the Troy Country Club exceeded all expectations with an attendance record of approximately 125 attendees and raised $ 14,500. The legislature passed a resolution to purchase 900 coats, which will be distributed through several agencies to needy children.

Broadband Access: The legislature is urging New York State and the Federal Government to address the lack of broadband access in rural eastern Rensselaer County. As COVID-19 has many students in remote learning and parents working from home situations, broadband access is more essential than ever and many households are still without internet access.

Racial Justice: The Minority office has once again submitted a resolution P/36 to address racial justice in Rensselaer County. Republican committee members continue to refuse to allow the resolution out of committee for the full Legislature to vote on.

NEXT MEETING – Tuesday, November 10, 2020 in the Rensselaer County Chambers located on the 3rd floor of the Ned Pattison Government Center, 1600 7th Avenue, Troy.

Residents are welcome to contact our office at 270-2890.

www.rensselaercounty.org & follow us on Facebook: “Rensselaer County Legislature – Democratic Team”

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