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Chatham Town Board rejects hiring consultant for $42K to update comprehensive plan

Mar 28, 2021 5:30 am

Emilia Teasdale is reporting for The Columbia Paper the Chatham Town Board has rejected a plan to hire a consultant to work on the update of the town’s Comprehensive Plan at the cost of $42,000, its online meeting Thu., Mar. 18. Board member, and the Comprehensive Plan Update Review Committee co-chair, Abi Mesick said the committee had interviewed six candidates and they were presenting Michael Allen of Regrowth Planning to the board. Board member Vance Pitkin voiced concerns, saying he was unsure hiring a planner would sit well with the taxpayers. Pitkin also asked how the board got to this point, saying he remembered discussing a survey about the Comprehensive Plan update the committee was working on, but he did not recall talking about scrapping the plan and hiring a planner. Mesick stressed the committee was not scrapping the current Comprehensive Plan, but argued they would get a superior product working with Allen and that he would complete the work in one year. She pointed out the town spent $60,000 on the 2009 Comprehensive Plan and that took 3 years to finish. After the board voted down the motion to hire Allen, Mesick asked the board to look at the proposal and decide what they would move forward with. She asked,“What price tag do you think is reasonable?” Board member John Wapner said he would be comfortable with a survey. He said that he would not discuss a budget until he knows what the task for the planner is. At the same meeting Town Supervisor Donal Collins reported the town could receive about $419,000 in funds from the federal American Rescue Plan. He said he had been to round table meetings with U.S. Rep. Antonio Delgado and Senator Charles Schumer about the funds. Collins said he is now awaiting information on how the funds can be used. Collins also announced that Town Assessor Daniel Horst will resign, effective sometime in July, to take an assessor position in the town of Kinderhook. In his letter of resignation, Horst wrote that by taking the new position he would now be able to “run for office in Chatham.” The board said they intend to find a replacement that Horst can train before he leaves. Read the full story in The Columbia Paper.