Next DSS meeting is Thursday at 4:15 p.m.

Franceseca Olsen in the Register-Star reports that Columbia County Board of Supervisors’ Space Utilization Subcommittee, which is trying to find a location for Department of Social Services within 60 to 90 days, meets today at 4:15 p.m. at 325 Columbia St., Hudson. Olsen reports that at a Columbia Economic Development Corporation meeting this week, BOS Chairman Roy Brown, R-Germantown, and Supervisor (and county budget/corporate compliance officer) Art Baer, R-Hillsdale, “vocally opposed the CEDC’s plan to use $14,000 to fund a study of the economic impact on moving DSS out of Hudson.” The CEDC will pay Camion and Associates from New York City, “for the purpose of conducting a study on the economic impacts derived from the location of … DSS.” Read the entire story in the Register-Star.

UPDATE: Register-Star’s Olsen attended meeting and says, “the Board of Supervisors’ Space Utilization Subcommittee Thursday evening… voted unanimously to, ‘limit site selection to only within the city of Hudson without documenting the need for DSS to remain within the city limits.'”

DSS back to Ockawamick?

After months of protests, accusations, anonymous internet slander, and controversy, Columbia County’s Board of Supervisors chairman Art Baer held a love-in press conference last July announcing the county was bidding on One City Centre, on the corner of Green and State streets in Hudson, to use the building for county office space and make room at two other county office buildings (401 and 610 State St.) for the Department of Social Services, allowing DSS to remain in Hudson after the county’s lease on DSS’s home at 25 Railroad Ave. ends in 2011. Now we are back where we started, as the county’s bid of $2.6 million was significantly lower than three other bids. “I guess the question of what happens with DSS goes back to the (county space utilization) subcommittee for further review and research,” new BOS Chairman Roy Brown (Germantown) told The Daily Mail today. Which means several supervisors will be trying to move DSS to the Ockawamick property several miles outside Hudson, which caused all the initial controversy. Brown recently would not rule out such a move in an interview with The Register-Star.

Brown speaks to Register-Star

Francesca Olson holds the Register-Star’s annual interview with the current Board of Supervisors chairman, now Roy Brown R-Germantown. Brown wants Kohl’s to get their PILOT tax break to move into Greenport; is against hiring new workers to handle the increased workload at the Department of Social Services; will not rule out moving DSS to Ockawamick; and does not have enough money budgeted to bring the county courthouse in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990.

Today’s local headlines

Brown replaces Scheer as deputy on county board
From Parry Teasdale in The Columbia Paper

HUDSON — Chairman of the Columbia County Board of Supervisors Art Baer (R-Hillsdale) shuffled the leadership of the board, with Germantown Supervisor Roy Brown (R) replacing Gallatin Supervisor Lynda Scheer, as a deputy chairman of the board. Baer’s announcement of the move Friday said that Ms. Scheer resigned from the post “for personal reasons.” Brown stood with Baer on his controversial plan to buy the Ockawamick School building on Route 217 in Claverack and, initially, move much of the Department of Social Services there from Hudson. The change takes effect September 1.

Copake board finds ways to agree except on the deficit
From Diana Valden in The Columbia Paper

COPAKE – This is the sort of amazing story about local town meetings that is almost never written ’round these parts. Instead of deciding one of the night’s actions constituted a story and the rest did not, Valden bullet points 10 items that the usually contentious-across-party-lines town board agreed on last week. Then she writes how Councilman Bob Sacks, who has advocated cutting the town’s police force to cover the recently discovered large deficit, reported he was told by the Sheriff’s Office that patrols from that office cover Copake and all of Columbia County 24/7. Sacks also quoted the supervisors of other towns saying they could not afford their own police force and had no need for one because of coverage by the Sheriff’s Office and State Police. Copake Town Police Commissioner Jeff Nayer, then shouted, “Other towns don’t set what we do!” Mr. Nayer said that the Police Department had offered to cut 17 percent of its budget to help the town deal with the deficit, while other departments offered nothing.

New parties make ballot for November
From Jim Planck in The Daily Mail

Have A Voice candidates Karen Deyo, Keith Valentine, Linda Overbaugh, and Joseph Izzo will appear on the November ballot, as will Grassroots of Durham candidate Les Armstrong. The Have a Voice folks are Republicans, joining fellow GOPer Overbaugh in this bid to stay on the ballot for the four Catskill Greene County Legislature seats, after errors in her previous petitions kept her off the Republican line. Likewise with Armstrong, a Republican attempting to primary against Elsie Allan but now facing Allan and Democrat Sean Frey for the Durham seat on the legislature. Overbaugh and Armstrong’s third-party bids went unchallenged by opponents.

State parks in Columbia County fare better than most
From Mike McCagg in ccScoop

The New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation shows attendance at parks in the Taconic Region of the state park system, which includes Columbia County, is down 3.7 percent in the period from July 2008 through July 2009. Across New York, park attendance is down 4.5 percent, to 27.2 million visitors. Attendance dropped at the Clermont State Historic Site 18.5 percent to 43,456 visitors, at the Clermont State Historic Site 4.1 percent to 61,896 visitors, at the Olana State Historic Site 14.1 to 61,896 visitors, and at Lake Taghkanic State Park, 5.2 percent, to 95,862. At Taconic State Park in Copake attendance was up 12.9 percent to 13,313, and in Copake Falls attendance rose 5 percent to 73,066 visitors.

Farmland Protection on the way
From Francesca Olsen in The Register-Star

Last Tuesday the Planning and Economic Development Committee passed a resolution to apply for state grant funding for developing a Farmland Protection Plan, with matching funds to be provided by the Columbia Economic Development Corporation (CEDC), as Columbia County is one of the few in the state without such a plan. The Columbia County Agricultural and Farmland Protection Board submitted drafts of a plan to the state Department of Agriculture and Markets, but was not approved.

Mario’s moves forward with new warehouse
From Paul Crossman in The Register-Star

VALATIE — Mario’s True Value Home Center is planning a new 20,000-square-foot lumber supply warehouse, and hopes to have closed on the new location by sometime in early September, with winter construction.

Today’s local headlines

Proposal leaves DSS in Hudson
From The Register-Star

HUDSON – Columbia County Board of Supervisors Chairman Art Baer (R-Hillsdale) and Hudson Mayor Rick Scalera stood together at a press conference Tuesday and announced a new proposal that would keep the Department of Social Services in Hudson. The county would buy the One City Centre building on the corner of State and Green streets in Hudson; departments currently in the County Office Buildings at 401 and 610 State Street would move to City Centre. The total square footage of 401 and 610 State Street is 36,000 square feet, 24,000 at 401 and 12,000 at 610 State Street. DSS would stay in its current building on Railroad Avenue for the duration of its lease, which ends in 2011; and then move to One City Centre. Baer called the proposal “a great solution for a difficult problem” and said “I’m looking forward to implementing it.” “The logistics of the planning — there’s a lot to discuss,” said Scalera. “The commitment to keep DSS in the city of Hudson is what we’ve been working for.” Baer previously opposed such a plan, but switched positions because of falling real estate values. The Register-Star says One City Centre was going for $5 million last year, but now is selling for $2 million. “This is not a done deal,” Baer said. “We are only in discussion with the bank. There are still many pieces that have to be put together in the puzzle.”

Copake Green project set to sprout again
From CCScoop

COPAKE – Large developers bring big projects to small towns in this area, and often get special treatment. Like in Copake last week, where Housing Resources Executive Director Kevin O’Neill got to re-introduce his 139-unit Copake Green project to a Copake Planning Board meeting even though he was not on the agenda. From the CCscoop story:

“Although O’Neill did not request to be put on the agenda ten days in advance of the meeting — the Planning Board requirement — [Planning Board Chairman Marcia] Becker explained that, because there was a light agenda in July and because Housing Resources owns land in the town, she believed allowing O’Neill to make his twenty-minute presentation was the right thing to do.’It caused an uproar that we let him speak. . . . So from now on we are adhering to the ten-day rule,’ Becker said.”

Medical center, bank storage get green light
From The Daily Mail

CATSKILL – The Catskill Planning Board approved site plans for the 3,000 square-foot Urgent Care facility proposed for Grandview Avenue and for a Bank of Greene County storage facility on Windsor Street after hearing brief presentations on each proposal. The medical facility used Architect Josh Pulver, a relative of planning board member Michelle Pulver. She recused herself when it came to the vote, but as an anonymous reader commented on the story, “Nothing assures the approval of a project better than hiring the relative of a judge and town planner as your architect, and paying him astronomical fees.”

Copake opts for outside budget review
From The Columbia Paper

COPAKE–The Copake Town Board hired a second accountant to make sure the first accountant’s figures of a estimated $175,000 budget shortfall are correct. “We all agree that our first course of action should be an independent audit to verify the numbers or find out if they are not correct. We have to know where we are,” Town Supervisor Reggie Crowley told the audience at the Town Board’s regular monthly meeting July 9.

Court Sides With GOP On Ravitch, Paterson Vows To Appeal
From The Daily News’ The Daily Politics

ALBANY – State Supreme Court Justice William R. LaMarca granted the Republican Party’s motion for a preliminary injunction that prevents just-appointed Lt. Govenor Richard Ravitch from “exercising any of the powers” of the LG’s office, pending a final judgment, noting there is no provision in the Constitution that allows the governor to appoint a replacement LG when a vacancy occurs in that office.

Today’s local headlines

New Department of Social Services proposal?
From The Register-Star

“There will be a press conference at 4:30 p.m. today in the Supervisors’ Chambers at the county office building on 401 State St., Hudson, on the future placement of the county Department of Social Services. Board of Supervisors Chairman Art Baer, the Board of Supervisors, the Hudson Common Council, and Mayor Richard Scalera will discuss the future of a new home for the DSS staff and facilities.”

Nonprofit’s report cites lack of slaughterhouses in New York
From The Register-Star

Andrew Amelinckx writes an excellent story based on a report by Washington D.C. based consumer watchdog group Food and Water Watch that finds not enough slaughterhouses in New York state and blames federal policies that, it says, favors larger operations. There are two USDA certified slaughterhouses in Columbia County, Van Wie in Stockport and Hilltown Pork, Inc. Robert Beckwith of Hilltown Pork says he is backed up with animals until 2010. “People want to know where their meat is coming from,” he said. “There aren’t enough USDA facilities to meet the demand.”

Murphy plans steps to help dairy farmers
From The Columbia Paper

With milk prices falling to 1979 levels and New York dairy farmers expected to lose $650 million this year, new U.S. Rep. Scott Murphy plans to introduce legislation to help. The proposed legislation would further subsidize dairy farmers, and create a herd retirement program meant to curtail supply. “This proposal works two-fold, by providing immediate relief to our struggling dairy farmers today, and stabilizing the dairy industry for tomorrow. Before more small farmers are forced out of business, we need to bring fast relief and stability to the industry.”

Lates poll: Maloney 33% Gillibrand 27%
From Rasmussen Reports

In a very early poll, New York City congresswoman Carolyn Maloney leads appointed Senator Kristen Gillibrand with 33 percent of the vote to 27 percent and nine percent preferring some other candidate. Thirty percent are undecided.

Today’s local headlines

Art Baer, the chairman of the Columbia County Board of Supervisors, sat down with The Register-Star after taking a lot of heat in that paper the last few months without much comment. Baer, R-Hillsdale, generally continued his fight with politicians in Hudson in the 90-minute interview, blaming the criticism on meetings being held in that city, and saying that Hudson officials think only of themselves. Baer has been criticized for proposing the county move the Department of Social Services from Hudson to Ockawamick and close and relocate the Pine Haven Nursing and Rehabilitation Center from Philmont. Just this week he stirred up another storm by advocating moving homeless people into the 139-year-old St. Charles Hotel in Hudson. “His major frustration has been his inability to communicate with the public,” The Register-Star wrote. “We don’t have media, we don’t have coverage,” Baer said to the media…..The Daily Mail reports that Catskill’s revised subdivision law will be available for public review next week, with a public hearing soon after….The Austerlitz Town Board adopted a zoning law Thursday, according to The Register-Star. Town Supervisor George P. Jahn also said that the Pine Haven Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Philmont should not be moved to Kinderhook at the town’s meeting….The Town of Durham wants to put a cell phone antenna at 44 McAfferty Road, according to The Daily Mail. Some residents, who probably put cell phones next to their brains occasionally, say the 90-foot-high tower will give them cancer. The town kept the public hearing open until June 30.