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New leadership outlines goals

AMENIA — Newly elected town Supervisor Bill Flood and Councilman Cornelius “C.J.” Hoss officially took their seats on the Amenia Town Board during the organizational meeting on Wednesday, Jan. 4. Most of the meeting focused on housekeeping issues and establishing the board’s goals for the year.

The meeting began with Flood and Hoss taking their oaths of office to become the new faces on the board, along with the following incumbents who retained their positions during the November elections: Town Justice Norman Moore, Councilwoman Vicki Doyle, Assessor Ron Gazzoli and Town Clerk Maureen Bonds. Dutchess County Legislator Michael Kelsey also took his oath with the group.

Ian MacDonald, a partner with Daniels and Porco, was established as the new attorney to the town. He replaced Michael Hayes, who is now the principal court attorney for Dutchess County’s Hon. Peter M. Forman. (For more information on MacDonald, see the story on this page.)

Once the oaths were completed, the board’s first action of the year was to approve a list of housekeeping issues, such as setting the dates and times for Town Board meetings, selecting board members for various committees and establishing the elected officials’ salaries. (For town salaries and wages, see Page A1.)

The board also approved the first two resolutions of 2012. The first resolution authorized five town constables to carry identified firearms while carrying out their official duties. The second resolution adopted an investment policy for the town regarding the funds it collects and administers throughout the year, which is required by New York State law. The policy was based on guidelines provided by New York State Comptroller’s Office.

Goals for 2012 and beyond

Once the housekeeping issues were complete, Flood outlined his goals for Amenia as the town’s new supervisor. He began by thanking the voters and stating that the while the board may not agree on every issue, it plans to work together for the good of the community.

“We’ve agreed to agree to move Amenia forward,” Flood said.

Flood said that one of his top priorities is to get spending under control, which will be accomplished by having all transactions authorized by a bookkeeper.

He also wants the Town Hall building (formerly the Amenia Elementary School) to continue to receive improvements through a New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) grant. This ongoing work will help provide insulation for the building.

Flood mentioned he met with town grant writer Mike Hagerty to discuss the $195,000 grant that the town recently received through the Regional Economic Development Council’s Main Street Grant program. This money will be used to “rehabilitate and revitalize three commercial and eight residential units in mixed-use buildings and streetscapes on Main and Mechanic streets.”

This work will “move forward quickly,” Flood said.

Councilwoman Darlene Riemer said her goals were similar to Flood’s list. In addition to concluding the NYSERDA grant for the Town Hall and assisting in the implementation of the Main Street Grant, she wants to see the Trail to Train project extend the Harlem Valley Rail Trail from the Wassaic Metro-North station to the hamlet of Wassaic.

Riemer would also like to get a later train into the Wassaic train station so people can spend time in New York City and return without any issues, which could make Wassaic “a destination.”

Councilwoman Victoria Perotti echoed many similar sentiments. She focused mainly on Town Hall repairs and ways for the building to bring in revenue, such as trying to obtain a grant for the kitchen off the gymnasium that could be rented by farmers market vendors.

Perotti would also like to partner with the Harlem Valley Rail Trail Association to fix the parking lot at the bottom of Powder House Road and direct people to Amenia. She would also like to obtain funds for maintenance of the highway garage.

Doyle said she wants the board to keep an eye on the closure of the Taconic DDSO in Wassaic, which the New York State Office for People with Developmental Disabilities has said will close by December 2013. If possible, Doyle would be interested in salvaging any equipment or infrastructure-related pieces for Amenia.

Doyle also commended the town’s volunteers for providing free services to Amenia, such as the $5,000 worth of lights that were supplied for the trees in front of Town Hall. She also thanked the volunteer firemen and emergency responders for “keeping our bottom line as tight as it is.”

Hoss said he fully supported all of the items that were mentioned, but emphasized that all of these capital projects cost money. He said the board needs to be patient and think about five to 10 years from now.

“This is going to be a difficult year,” Hoss said, noting that there’s a fine line between growing and cutting services.

“Things are tight, but I think we can get it done if we work together,” Flood said.

Flood ended the meeting by thanking former town Supervisor Wayne Euvrard and the town staff for helping provide a smooth transition for the new board.

The next Amenia Town Board meeting will be a workshop held tonight, Thursday, Jan. 12, at 7 p.m. at Town Hall.

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