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Town deals with municipal matters

AMENIA — During the Thursday, Nov. 17, Amenia Town Board meeting, the 2012 budget and Local Law No. 4 were passed and two constables were hired.

2012 Budget

The 2012 town budget was unanimously adopted by the present board members.

No comments or concerns were expressed during the public hearing for the budget, which was held on Thursday, Nov. 10.

The total budget is $3,776,616, and the amount to be raised is $1,825,382. This will keep the tax levy well under the 2 percent cap.

The Highway Department’s line in the budget is for $999,096, which is up from the 2011 amount of $800,344.

None of the town employees received a raise. The town supervisor’s salary for 2012 will be $22,400.

Town Councilwoman Victoria Perotti, who was acting as the deputy supervisor while town Supervisor Wayne Euvrard was away, said that the town worked very hard to cut as much as possible from each department.

Local Law No. 4

During the meeting, a public hearing was held for Local Law No. 4 of 2011. No members of the public got up to speak, so the public hearing was closed. The law was unanimously adopted later on in the meeting.

According to the section of the law that describes the intent of the legislation, “The purpose of this local law is to revise the town of Amenia subdivision regulations to provide for automatic termination and revocation of a preliminary plat approval upon expiration of its original approval and any subsequent extensions granted by the Planning Board up to the statutory two-year limit. A related purpose of this local law is  to revise the town of Amenia subdivision regulations to eliminate the cap on the number of 90-day extensions of conditional final subdivision approval that the Planning Board can grant, and to provide for automatic termination and revocation of a conditional final subdivision approval upon expiration of the original approval and all requested extensions.”

Over the summer, the Amenia Planning Board recommended to the Town Board that a local law be adopted to make these changes.

Before the new amendments were adopted, the law stated that the final approval must be applied for within 180 days of receiving the preliminary approval, but there were no consequences if that time period passed.

The amendments to the town code adopted through Local Law No. 4 will make the preliminary approval automatically expire if the final approval is not applied for within two years.

Attorney to the Town Michael Hayes previously stated that the purpose of the law is to prevent applicants from keeping projects alive indefinitely.

When projects can stay in the approval process for unlimited amounts of time, it allows the projects to move forward, even if zoning laws, environmental regulations, community acceptance and other factors change, explained Hayes.

Placing stricter time limits on the application process also ensures that the projects are approved on recent and accurate information, he continued.

Many other towns have similar time restrictions for applications.

Constables

The Amenia Town Board interviewed five candidates on Tuesday, Nov. 15, for the open constable positions. During the Nov. 17 meeting, the board moved to hire Duewayne Jackson and Earl Eastwood.

Jackson is currently a safety officer at the Taconic DDSO in Wassaic. Eastwood is a constable in Pawling.

The town was originally hoping to hire only one constable, but when two fully qualified candidates applied, the town chose to hire both of them to ensure that there will always be constables available for court proceedings.

Both Jackson and Eastwood have all of the training required for them to start immediately, including a certification from the Division of Criminal Justice with Peace Officer status.

They both also hold pistol permits and own their own firearms.

An additional resolution was passed the same evening to authorize the new constables to carry firearms. The resolutions requires the constables to own their own firearms and requires them to maintain all necessary gun permits and training.

Trail to the Train

WSP Sells, who is contracted with the town to work on the Trail to the Train project that will connect the Harlem Valley Rail Trail from the Wassaic train station to the center of the hamlet, is currently working on drafting a design for the project.

Perotti, who is project manager for Trail to the Train, said that WSP Sells is currently gathering all of the information needed for the design.

“They’re really doing their homework. They have an excellent reputation,” she said, noting that the company has also made several site visits as part of their planning and design process. “They’re working very diligently.”

WSP Sells has not yet set a timeline for when they expect to finish the design report, but when the report is finished, the company will present it to the Town Board.

Throughout the design process, WSP Sells will be copying Perotti on all correspondence so that she can stay completely informed. She said she will give regular updates to the board on the progress.

Important Dates

• Thursday, Dec. 1: Joint meeting between the Town Board and the Planning Board to discuss the Nextel cell phone tower permit renewal, 7 p.m.

• Saturday, Dec. 3: The Care Truck will be at the Freshtown Plaza to collect food for a holiday food drive

• Sunday, Dec. 4: Amenia Festival of Lights, all day. Amenia tree lighting at 4:30 p.m., Wassaic tree lighting at 5:30 p.m.

• Monday, Dec. 19: Music concert at the Smithfield Church, 3 p.m.

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