Town Board talks recreation, grants and board business
AMENIA — The Amenia Town Board covered a wide variety of topics at its first workshop meeting of the year on Thursday, Jan. 12, including a possible new town newsletter and reports from the various town committees.
Maureen Rooney, president of Rooney Design Group in Amenia, supplied the board with three possible newsletter designs that could ultimately become a free, bimonthly newsletter for town residents. She said that each issue would cost $1,200 per issue to produce, which would be generated through advertising sales.
Rooney offered to produce the first issue for free, and the ads would cover her design fees for subsequent issues.
“I’d be willing to take it on,” Rooney said. “I think we could make it work.”
As far as content for the newsletter is concerned, Rooney said that people would have to submit copy to her.
“All content would be subject to approval by the town board,” she said.
Board member Darlene Riemer said the newsletter sounds like a great idea, and that it would “give depth to the community.” She also said that businesses would have to give a commitment up front for ads so issues of the newsletter could be produced without any sort of delay.
“This gets people more involved, and that’s what we’re here for,” said Supervisor William Flood.
Riemer told the Town Board that the Recreation Commission discussed ways to expand the use of the Wassaic park at its meeting on Tuesday, Jan. 10. The commission received a demo by Mark Morrison of Mark K. Morrison Landscape Architecture PC to show how the park could house a baseball field and soccer fields.
“We’d like to make it a usable and child-friendly ball field,” Riemer said, noting the commission would like to pursue grant money for the playground.
Riemer also said that the commission is tentatively planning to host a movie night at Town Hall on Friday, Feb. 3.
“We want to host other events at Town Hall as well. We’re open to suggestions for all ages,” Riemer said.
The Enhancement Committee was scheduled to meet on Wednesday, Jan. 18, to discuss the December 2012 Holiday of Lights event. Town Board member Vicki Doyle planned to emphasize at the meeting that “now is the time for ideas,” even though the festivities are almost a year away.
“Other towns have a much bigger crowd. More planning is needed now,” Doyle said.
Flood suggested that the new Town Hall (formerly the Amenia Elementary School) should be the venue for holiday parties since it’s so large. Doyle responded that the Amenia Free Library has hosted Santa for 20 years, making it a tradition. She used the point to reiterate that planning for holiday events must begin now.
Grant writer Mike Hagerty was on hand to discuss the town’s various grants, including the $195,000 Main Street Grant that Amenia was awarded in December 2011. The town will use the funds to “rehabilitate and revitalize three commercial and eight residential units in mixed-use buildings and streetscapes on Main and Mechanic streets.”
“The project can essentially begin once we get the executed contract back from the state,” Hagerty said, noting that the town has a two-year window for the grant.
Flood said he has talked with the Bank of Millbrook in an attempt to get loans for businesses related to the grant’s revitalization projects. The town would guarantee payment of the loans with the grant, while the businesses would have to pay the interest.
Doyle said the town only received $463 in grant funds for a free dance class utilized by Webutuck students, which is “down significantly” from last year. The class was turned down by the Dutchess County Arts Council for funding, although the council did give $1,200 to the Wassaic Project.
“I assume we’re still devoted to the dance class,” Doyle said. “Even if we have to cut a class, we’ll move on with the bare minimum.”
• The board approved $2,249.71 for Servpro to remove and dispose of a carpet with mold on it in the Town Hall’s court room.
• The board agreed to go out to bid for an integrated computer system for Town Hall.
• Flood suggested that to save money, the town should let go of the cleaning company that currently cleans Town Hall twice a week and replace it with a single part-time employee for both cleaning and maintenance. The cleaning company earns $15,600 per year. The board approved a motion allowing Flood to investigate a job description for the possible part-time employee.
• The board approved a state bid of $2,433.64 for two new computers for Town Hall. They will replace computers in the bookkeeping department and the planning and zoning office. The computers cost $733 each, with the remaining $1,000 going toward software.
• The board agreed to lease a new copy machine for Town Hall for $160.88 per month to replace an old one that “wasn’t working properly,” according to Flood.
• Marco D’Antonio told the board that two leaks have been located in the water district’s wells, which has caused some wetland flooding. He said the new parts are ready to install.
• An Old Amenia Landfill site visit and pre-bid meeting will be held on Tuesday, Jan. 31. Flood said that if the bids are too expensive, the town will not accept them. The project has a budget of roughly $10 million.
• Board member Victoria Perotti said that the Town Hall is still collecting items for the Immaculate Conception Church food pantry. Nonperishable items may be dropped off at Amenia Town Hall Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.