Pay raises for Columbia County employees

The Register-Star reports that the Columbia County Board of Supervisors voted for a two percent pay raise for county employees Wednesday night. Supervisors voting “yes” on the pay raise were: Chairman Roy Brown, R-Germantown; Jeffrey Braley, R-Austerlitz; Reggie Crowley, R-Copake; Deputy Chairman Larry Andrews, R-Ghent; Art Baer, R-Hillsdale; Ed Cross, D-Hudson2; William Hallenbeck Jr., R-Hudson3; Deputy Chairman Bart Delaney, R-Hudson5; Pat Grattan, R-Kinderhook; Kevin McDonald, R-Livingston; Leo Pulcher, R-Stockport; and Valerie Bertram, R-Stuyvesant. Voting against: Art Bassin, D-Ancram; Robin Andrews, D-Claverack; Ray Staats, D-Clermont; Minority Leader Jesse DeGroodt, D-Chatham; Lynda Scheer, R-Gallatin; Ed Nabozny, I-Greenport; John Musall, D-Hudson1; William Hughes, D-Hudson4; and Margaret Robertson, D-New Lebanon.

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U.S. Rep. Scott Murphy in Columbia County Monday

Congressman Scott Murphy (D-NY20) will host make several appearances in Columbia County Monday Feb. 8, with chances for the public to ask the area’s U.S. Representative questions.
1) Noon: Congress-on-Your-Corner meeting in Ancram to discuss cellular service in Columbia County at Ancram Town Hall, 1416 County Rte. 7, Ancram, NY
2) 2 p.m.: Tour of JEM Woodworking in Ghent, 250 Falls Road (off Highway 9H), Ghent, NY
3) 3:30 p.m.: Congress-on-Your-Corner Meeting in Ghent to discuss local issues and the economy at Ghent Town Hall, 2306 State Route 66, Ghent, NY
After that, at 5 p.m., he will meet with the Columbia County Democratic Town Chairs in a closed meeting at Space 360 in Hudson.

Officials stressing One City Centre purchase

Check out that headline in The Register-Star by the usually smarter writer Francesca Olsen. If you read deep down in her story you see why the officials are stressing a future building purchase: they don’t want you to think about the tax increase they just passed. Five paragraphs in Olsen mentions “Local laws renewing an additional half-percent of mortgage tax and an additional $2 per $1,000 of additional transfer tax on real property were also enacted.” Finally, seven paragraphs in, Olsen quotes Rick Rielly, president of the Columbia-Greene Board of Realtors, saying, “These are taxes, any way you look at it.” Olsen doesn’t even dare to say who voted for the tax, only that, “The renewal of taxes passed, with Supervisor John Musall, D-Hudson 1, abstaining, Supervisor William Hughes, D-Hudson 4, voting no on the additional transfer tax, and Supervisor Ed Cross, D-Hudson 2, voting no on the renewal.” Cross voted no on both taxes.

UPDATE:
Here is who voted for the mortgage tax:
Ancram’s Thomas Dias; Canaan’s Richard Keaveney; Chatham’s Jesse DeGroodt; Claverack’s James Keegan; Clermont’s Raymond Staats; Copake’s Reginald Crowley; Gallatin’s Lynda Scheer; Germantown’s Roy Brown; Ghent’s Lawrence Andrews; Greenport’s John Rutkey Sr.; Hillsdale’s Arthur Baer; Hudson’s 4th Ward-William Hughes, 5th Ward -Bart Delaney; Kinderhook’s Douglas McGivney; Livingston’s Philip Williams; New Lebanon’s Margaret Robertson; Stockport’s Leo Pulcher; Stuyvesant’s Valerie Bertram; Taghkanic’s Elizabeth Young. The same group voted for the transfer tax, except for Hudson’s William Hughes, who voted against.

Today’s local headlines

(Cairo Town Clerk Tara A. Rumph, and board members Alice Tunison and Janet Schwarzenegger at the Aug. 19, 2009 town board meeting. Photo by Tom Roe.)

Cairo has another strained town meeting
Click here to download or listen to the Aug. 19, 2009 Cairo Town Board meeting.
CAIRO – At town board meetings in Cairo, the board’s women are separated from the men by Town Clerk Tara Rumph. Last night there was a real back and forth, as board members Rich Lorenz and Ray Suttmeier made comments after Janet Schwarzenegger’s attempt to pass a resolution to redact the names of folks who make complaints in Cairo from Freedom of Information Law requests. Alice Tunison asked Schwarzenegger several questions about her resolution. Lorenz (at 1:05:10 in the recording linked above) interrupted their discussion, and Tunison said, “I wish you wouldn’t do that Rich.” Tunison grilled Schwarzenegger, and then the entire group failed to second her motion, killing the resolution. Then (at 1:09:00) Lorenz waved a flyer and said “Tomorrow night the attorney general is going to have an open government transparency initiative, come to that and he’ll tell us what to do.” Tunison was livid. “Rich, I’m usually able to refrain from, but I just want to react a little bit here. I don’t know if that was just,” Tunison said. Lorenz interrupted, “Well that was just what this is,” Lorenz said, holding the flyer. Tunison shot back, “I can appreciate Janet’s effort, her work, she copied this, we had a very benefical discussion in my opinion. We gave time to look at it from every angle, and and I think it is a little flip and it seems somewhat disrespectful to her and her efforts. And I would personally just ask you not to do that.” “Shame on you Rich,” Suttmeier then sarcastically repeated three times. “And shame on him is very juvenile,” Tunison then said. Suttmeier said something else, which I cannot make out. Can you? (Listen at 1:09:50, put guesses in the comments.) “That’s ridiculous,” Tunison responded. Fortunately for decorum, someone wandered into the room at that point and Supervisor John Coyne was able to change the subject. But at the meeting’s conclusion (1:32:09) Tunison brought the kerfuffle back. Coyne then noted that the women were also talking during the meeting. Tunison responded, “it is two separate things,” comparing talking while others talk to board members making snide comments. “It was a put down, it’s unprofessional,” Tunison said of Lorenz’s comment with the flyer.

Club Helsinki in Great Barrington heads to Hudson
From Club Helsinki
“Berkshire County will see the end of an era,” their web site says, announcing that 15-year-old Club Helsinki closes its door there August 31. Club Helsinki will move the equipment over to the much-delayed, about-to-open second location in Hudson. “The Hudson venue will be everything the Great Barrington club was and more; a larger capacity without losing the intimate feel, a full service event space, recording studios, and an infrastructure custom designed for music production,” said owners Deborah McDowell and Marc Schafler in an e-mail statement. “It will be a Mecca for artists, agents, music fans and technicians alike.”

AG’s Office comes to Valatie, Cairo for fraud talks
From The Columbia Paper

A representative from Attorney General Andrew Cuomo’s Office will speak to seniors and veterans about consumer fraud issues as a part of the AG’s statewide Smart Seniors Program. The events take place at the Valatie Senior Center at 212 State Farm Road, Thursday, August 27 at 11 a.m., and at 7 p.m. for the Disabled Veterans, Chapter 186, at Cairo Town Hall, 512 Main St. in Cairo. The seminar concerns how to best avoid consumer scams that frequently target seniors, such as sweepstakes, mail orders, and identity theft. Both events are free. For more information visit the Attorney General’s website at http://www.oag.state.ny.us.

Soccer players, council dribble over park usage
From Jamie Larson in The Register-Star

HUDSON – “A dozen young men, primarily from the city’s Bangladeshi community, voiced their displeasure with the city’s position not to allow them to play at the Henry Hudson Riverfront Park,” Larson’s story said. Hudson’s Michael Chameides said the city’s signs at the park forbidding soccer are unjustified. Chameides said he doesn’t understand the argument voiced by Mayor Richard Scalera and others, that their activity damages the grass, since most of the time they play without shoes, and don’t play when the ground is wet. Mayor Scalera said the complaints he hears most often from residents about the park are about dogs running around off leash and soccer player disrupting their peace. His solution was to have the footballers play at the Charles Williams Park on the north end of Second St., which is in disrepair.

Ancram Dems choose Bassin for supervisor
From Diane Valden in The Columbia Paper

ANCRAM—Town Democrats picked Art Bassin for Town Supervisor over Rick DuBray 74 to 25, with 3 Democrats voting No, meaning they did not support either candidate at the Democrats’ August 8 caucus. Bassin, the chairman of the town’s Comprehensive Plan Committee, narrowly lost his bid for a seat on the Town Board in 2007.

Today’s local headlines

Town meetings to air on public access channel
CAIRO – The Cairo Town Board extended Mid-Hudson Cable’s contract at their regular board meeting last night. At the public hearing about renewing the company’s franchise agreement before the board meeting, Cairo Supervisor John M. Coyne and council member Janet Schwarzenegger both advocated recording town meetings for Mid-Hudson’s public access channel. Schwarzenegger said Mid-Hudson recently gave the town a camera to record any meetings, and Coyne said, “We would like to have somebody volunteer to run that camera so that these meetings can be videotaped and can be played on their public-access channel” and a man in the audience volunteered.

Columbia County Conservative Party backs candidates
http://www.registerstar.com/articles/2009/06/18/news/news03.txt

County-wide — Sheriff, David W. Harrison Jr.; Coroner, Angelo M. Nero.
Ancram — Supervisor, Thomas R. Dias.
Austerlitz — Supervisor, Jeffrey Braley Sr.; Town Council, Matthew Verenazi and Carol Pinto; Clerk, Sue Haag; Highway Superintendent, Robert Meehan, Jr.
Canaan — Supervisor, Richard Keaveny; Town Council, David Patzwahl; Clerk/Tax Collector, Charlotte L. Cowan; Highway Superintendent, Bernhard Meyer.
Town of Chatham — Highway Superintendent, Joseph M. Rickert.
Claverack — Supervisor, James Keegan; Town Council, James S. Folz and Michael S. Johnston; Clerk/Tax Collector, Mary J. Hoose.
Clermont — Highway Superintendent, James Potts Jr.’ Clerk, Mary Helen Shannon.
Gallatin — Supervisor, Peter Arnone
Ghent — Supervisor, Larry Andrews; Town Council, Larry Van Brunt and Linda Schlegel-Hess; Clerk, Rose Elliot; Highway Superintendent, Michael E. Losa; Town Justice, David W. Harrison Sr.
Germantown — Highway Superintendent, Richard Jennings.
Greenport — Supervisor, Edward Nabozny; Town Council, Glen Graziano; Town Justice, Robert Brenzel; Highway Superintendent, Richard Otty; Clerk, Sharon Zempko.
Town of Kinderhook — Supervisor, Patrick Grattan; Town Council, Patrice Leader; Town Justice, Lisa Mills.
Hudson — Mayor, Richard Scalera; Supervisor (1st Ward), John Musall; Supervisor (2nd Ward), Tracy Decker; Supervisor (3rd Ward), William Hallenbeck Jr.; Supervisor (4th Ward), Samuel Santiago; Supervisor (5th Ward), Bart F. Delaney Jr.; Alderman (1st Ward), Geeta Cheddie; Alderman (5th Ward), Richard Goetz
Livingston — Supervisor, David Fingar; Town Council, James Guzzi and Joseph Leto; Town Justice, Robert Moore; Highway Superintendent, David Lyons.
Stockport — Town Council, Joseph Salvatore.
Stuyvesant — Supervisor, Valerie Bertram; Town Council, Brian Chittenden and Edward Scott; Clerk, Melissa Naegeli; Town Justice, Joseph Bruno; Town Justice, Carrie O’Hare; Highway Superintendent, Bernie Kowalski.
Taghkanic — Supervisor, Elizabeth Young; Clerk, Cheryl Rogers; Highway Superintendent, Edward Waldron.

Regional Economics Better Than Most
http://www.timesunion.com/AspStories/story.asp?storyID=810991

A new study released today by the Brookings Institution says this region is faring better than most of the nation’s metropolitan areas during the downturn. Foreclosures? We barely have them. The Brookings report says the Capital Region has the second-lowest percentage (0.58 percent) of homes owned by banks. Only Syracuse is better, among the nation’s 100 largest metros. Dramatic job cuts? Not here. Brookings says the Capital Region lost 0.5 percent of its employment base during the first three months of 2009. That doesn’t sound great, but it’s 14th best. (Detroit, by contrast, lost 3 percent of its jobs, the worst rate.)