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Town talks farmland, building policies and recreation

WASHINGTON — Thursday, Sept. 8, the Town Board met to discuss recent happenings in the town of Washington. The meeting began with a moment of silence to remember the victims of Sept. 11.

“I thought it was extremely profound, ” said Florence Prisco, town supervisor.

A generous gift

The town of Washington received a $25,000 gift from the Millbrook Tribute Gardens to go toward parkland expansion. This donation marks the fourth gift received from the Millbrook Tribute Garden this year.

Consolidation of the system

 The village of Millbrook’s and town of Washington’s court systems will soon merge. Representatives from the two municipalities met to discuss the upcoming consolidation of their court systems. The merger will include judges, court clerks, constables and special prosecutors, as well as the village and town clerks.

“All the staff involved with both courts met this month to talk about the coming consolidation,” said Prisco. “It was a very important meeting and the first of a few to be headed by Village Attorney Rebecca Valk and the town’s attorney, and we started discussing the process. It was a very important meeting.”

Farmland Protection Commission

The town of Washington’s Farmland Protection Commission is working out last-minute details in the completion of the new commission. Though the commission is not finalized, members have been chosen and are soon to be appointed.

 “They were chosen because these are people who volunteered to help the town,” said Prisco. “But we wanted to get a mixture of agricultural businesses and active farmers in the area [involved as well].”

The co-chairs of the commission are Tim Marshall, who is a dairy farmer, and Karen Mosca, who is the representative from the Town Board. The members consist of a diverse group of people who handle agricultural issues on daily basis.

The soon-to-be appointees include John Bruno, owner of a vineyard, as well as Mike Massarone, Doug Giles and Liz Baldwin — all of whom are working farmers. Additionally, Paul Schwartz, a Planning Board representative and veterinarian, is participating in the commission.

Julia Widdowsen, who is a part of the American Farmland Trust, will also be involved. Harry Baldwin, an agriculturalist, will serve as emeritus to the Farmland Protection Commission.

“All of these people have been interested in town business but also serve as a really wonderful cross  section of agriculture in the community,” said Prisco. “I think it’s going to be very nice. Of course we have the resolution and we have the commission bylaws.  As soon as I get the last of the commission put together then [we’ll] meet and pull these people together and start work.”

Use of building policy

The board discussed its policy for municipal buildings, because up until that point there had never been a policy written about building usage. The board had been researching the legality of having a political event in a municipal building because of the recent Republican and Democratic caucuses.

The board discovered, “It is legal to have political events in municipal buildings, provided you are consistent with their use,” said Prisco. “And it is mandated that you charge for that. We have not been doing that. So we have discussed it and our attorney is drawing up a building usage policy and fee.”

Prisco said they will continue to let people use the Town Hall building as they have in the past, however, now the town will have a policy and a nominal fee structure.

Park and pool year-end report

Recreation Director Warren McMillan gave a positive report of the town of Washington’s summer camp survey results and end of season report. The town park and pool opened for weekends only on June 4 and then opened for a full seven days a week on June 18. The park and pool closed Sept. 6.

The four sources of revenue for the park and pool consist of season passes, daily admission, concession stand and pavilion rental. The total each source of revenue generated this season amounted to the following: season passes, $19,205; daily admission passes, $9,877; concession stand profits, $1,300; and pavilion rentals, $2,450. The grand total amounted to $32,832 for 2011; the total in budgetary expenses came to $61,285 (which was slightly lower than the 2010 expense line of $64,327).

As for the summer camp survey results, 180 children attended camp (the Recreation Committee received 104 completed surveys). In 2010, 175 children attended the 2010 camp season (and 42 completed surveys were returned to the Recreation Committee at that time).

The survey results were extremely positive, said Prisco. Children rated the counselors, camp and overall camp experience positively. So, too, did parents, who noted that the camp was run smoothly, safely and in a well-organized manner that was fun for their children.

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