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Weekend in review

Jan 15, 2017 5:00 am

Some of the stories that made the news Fri., Jan. 13, through Sun., Jan. 15:

Monday is Martin Luther King Jr. Day, and the Daily Freeman has a rundown of how various services and offices are affected.
Amtrak is on its holiday schedule.
Banks are closed.
County offices are closed.
Federal offices are closed.
Financial markets are closed.
For information on Greene County Transit's schedule, call (518) 943-3625.
No mail delivery.
Metro-North is running on its Saturday schedule.
Schools are closed.
State offices are closed.
For information on the Trailways' schedule, call (845) 339-4230.

Rick Karlin reported at Capitol Confidential according to the state Association of Counties the growth rate of sales tax receipts is slowing, and some counties actually finished the fourth quarter of 2016 with a loss of sales tax revenue. Locally, sales tax receipts decreased in Columbia and Duchess counties between 2015 and 2016, but sales tax revenues increased in both Greene and Ulster counties. The Association of Counties is not sure why this is occurring, but some possibilities include rising health care costs, wage stagnation and the continued shift of retail from brick and mortar locations to the Internet. Counties use sales and property tax revenue to provide road and bridge maintenance, emergency dispatch services, sheriff road patrol, restaurant inspections, veterans services, worker training, addiction prevention counseling, and senior programs.

Debby Mayer reported in The Columbia Paper at its 2017 organizational meeting the Germantown Town Board decided to move its regular meetings to the third Tuesday of the month this year, beginning January 17. In other business, the board hired James Trapp as its new code enforcement officer and building inspector, Les Olsson was appointed to the Board of Assessment review. Ron Moore II was chosen deputy town supervisor, and Town Clerk Joyce was named registrar of vital statistics. The board also appointed Edward Colwell to chair the Zoning Board of Appeals, and Steven Bathrick to the ZBA. Stephen Reynolds was reappointed to chair the Planning Board.

Brendan J. Lyons reported in the Times Union Hoosick Falls officials are looking at farmland located along the Hoosic River as the village's new alternate water supply. The site is situated approximately one mile south of the water treatment plant on Route 22, on land owned by Hoosick town board member Jeff Wysocki. The state Department of Environmental Conservation recently drilled a test well there and the results indicated the water is free of the toxic chemical PFOA. Beginning two weeks from now, the state will install a larger well line to test the strength of the aquifer and confirm whether it will be able to supply the village with the 500,000 gallons it needs every day. The search for an alternate water supply in Hoosick Falls began nearly a year ago under the direction of the DEC, and the agency analyzed a total of four groundwater locations during that search. Many residents in the area have elevated levels of PFOA in their bloodstreams because of the village's tainted water. The DEC identified 11 current and former manufacturing sites in Hoosick Falls where it said PFOA chemicals may have been used. Saint-Gobain operates manufacturing plants on Liberty and McCaffrey streets in the village. The McCaffrey Street site is a few hundred yards from the water treatment plant and has been a focus of the contamination. The state declared that property a Superfund site last year.

Mid-Hudson News [dot] com reported blood testing continues in Newburgh, and it could be several more months before everyone who requested the service is screened. Since the bio-monitoring and blood sampling program began late last year, 545 people have been tested. More than 3,000 residents have requested the opportunity to participate. The blood testing program was needed after it was learned the city of Newburgh's primary source for drinking water contained the carcinogen PFOS. The chemical came from the New York Air National Guard Base at Stewart Airport. The city is now getting its drinking water from the New York City Catskill Aqueduct.

Rosa Acheson reported in the Register-Star the state Department of Transportation has approved a permit to allow A. Colarusso & Son, to make curse cuts and other changes on Route 9 and Route 9G. The approved permit was presented to the Hudson Planning Board at its monthly meeting Thu., Jan. 12. Colarusso has proposed the use of a former rail bed as a haul road to provide an alternative route from its quarry to the Hudson River dock, eliminating the need to use the designated truck route through Greenport and the streets of Hudson. On a peak day, residents could see as many as 280 tractor-trailers on city streets, traveling to the riverfront and back, the company's engineer told the board. The Greenport Planning Board has been assigned lead agency status and previously requested specific data for current and anticipated truck volume. The Hudson Planning Board has done the same. "I think we can come up with something," the engineer said. Audio of the most recent Hudson Planning Board meeting can be found on the newsroom page at wgxc [dot] org.

Bethany Bump reported at Capitol Confidential Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo wants recent college graduates to buy a house upstate and near a downtown center. On Fri., Jan. 13, Cuomo unveiled the 37th proposal of his 2017 State of the State, a $5 million Graduate to Homeownership Program aimed at getting millennials to invest in their first home. “Upstate colleges and universities have world-class programs that produce highly skilled graduates — who then leave for opportunities elsewhere. This program will incentivize recent graduates to put down roots in upstate communities, helping to bring new energy into their downtown centers, spur their development and increase their economic vitality,” Cuomo said. The program will provide subsidized low interest loans, down payment assistance and homebuyer education courses. The loans would come from the State Of New York Mortgage Agency, which has served more than 8,000 residents during the past six years.

Daniel Zuckerman reported in The Daily Mail Greene County Jail Superintendent Michael Spitz felt the need last week to clear the air with county legislators over jail population figures. Spitz said some unidentified legislators have alleged the data he has presented was inaccurate. Spitz said lawmakers should not be voting on a new county jail plan without knowing the details. "Some of you guys that supposedly are running around telling people that the numbers that I have given to the county are lies — some of you haven’t even set foot in the jail," he said. Spitz provided everyone with information on the number of incarcerated people in Greene County from 2008 through 2016. Greene County Administrator Shaun Gordon told the paper it was unclear why there was a discrepancy in the numbers because he is in contact with Spitz on a daily basis about the project. Spitz’s comments came as a surprise to Groden. "No one debated the numbers with me," Groden said. The total population of the county jail in 2016 was 536 — 427 men and 109 women, according to the daily population sheet. The daily population count in 2016 varied from a high of 78, to a low of 44, according to the information provided.

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