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Wednesday headlines

Apr 13, 2011 6:37 am
ICC passes budget — and football
John Mason reports in the Register-Star on the passage of a budget by the Ichabod Crane Board of Education in Kinderhook, and how the possibility of losing the local football team became the major point of contention at a crowded meeting on Tuesday night, April 12. ICC has ended up with a 3.9 percent tax levy increase to go before voters on May 17. As in Hudson and other local school districts, the board split - 5-3 in ICC's case - in their final budget vote on a spending plan that includes the closing of two schools, the elimination of 32.5 positions, and the discontinuation of the district's pre-K program. The matter that divided them, however, was the last minute addition of $31,000 for the varsity and junior varsity football program, Mason points out, which was also the issue that drew 9- minutes of impassioned speeches from district residents.

Unspent county grants total $375K
Colin DeVries of the Daily Mail writes that Greene County lawmakers have approved the transfer of about $375,000 in unused public safety grants, with legislators encouraging the funds be put to use before its too late. Four grants, awarded to the county Department of Emergency Services and the sheriff’s office, remain in county coffers while the projects they were intended to fund are still in progress. Two grants were awarded to emergency services in May 2009 and May 2010, totaling $299,972, for “support, planning, equipment, training and exercise needs associated with preparedness and prevention activities for terrorist events using weapons of mass destruction involving chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear and explosive materials.” As of Dec. 31, 2010, $239,449.43 of those Homeland Security grants remained. Two other U.S. Department of Homeland Security grants awarded in March 2010 and August 2010 to the Greene County Sheriff’s Office totaled $89,750 for a “prevention initiative consistent with the local Counter Terrorism Zone strategy, and “to create, train and outfit a countywide dive team to ensure a quick response for water-related incidents.” As of Dec. 31, 2010, $71,464.13 remained between the two grants. Finally, a U.S. Department of Justice grant of $80,000 was awarded for an emergency services radio study, accepted by the county legislature in October 2009. As of Dec. 31, 2010, $61,064.80 of the grant remained unused.

Valatie plans 10% tax cut in new budget
Emilia Teasdale of the Columbia Paper reports that the Valatie Village Board reviewed a proposed $706,905 annual budget proposed some major spending cuts at their most recent budget meeting, working to lower property taxes by 10%. Their areas of saving include closing Village Court, making lower interest payments on loans, and removing the position of deputy village clerk. "Discussion became heated over the Fire Department budget," Teasdale writes, noting how the Fire Company wanted to set aside money for future equipment purchases.

Lack of county historian stirs debate in Dutchess
The Daily Freeman has a story about how debate arose at a legislative meeting in neighboring Dutchess County Legislature over the lack of a county historian. The position, appointed by the county executive, has been vacant for three years and the issue came up during a routine resolution vote declaring Oct. 23 through Nov. 1 to be officially known as “Dutchess County Heritage Days." Legislature Minority Leader Sandra Goldberg said designating Heritage Days without a historian is doing it backward. Republican majority members responded that there were enough historians in the county already.

Library on way to magic number
Doron Tyler Antrim reports in the Daily Mail that the Cairo library board of trustees has noted that it is already quarter of the way toward reaching the $100,000 local match required as part its acceptance of a federal loan and grant package to build a new public library. The money has been collected from donations and fundraisers that library officials and volunteers have organized since last year, and does not include the donation of in-kind services, which have been estimated at about $15,000.

BOE merges 3rd ward districts
Jamie Larson writes in the Register-Star about the Columbia County Board of Elections' decision to combine two Third Ward voting districts in the city of Hudson. The change reduces the number of poll workers and procedural steps needed during elections and was announced at the informal meeting of the Hudson Common Council on April 11 in terms of its savings of $4,000 per year. According to state law, a voting district has to have fewer then 1,150 active voters in it. The new combined Third Ward district has 681, leaving Hudson's Fifth Ward the last one split into two voting districts, with a total 1,280 active voters.

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