AN UPDATE FOR CLAVERACK RESIDENTS
Teamwork and leadership result in significant progress
March 1, 2016
We’re happy to report that, working together, there have been some exciting accomplishments and significant projects undertaken recently on your behalf here in Claverack. Here’s a quick update.
Strong leadership and smart budgeting have put Claverack in a sound fiscal position going into 2016. Doing more with less is difficult, but it’s a demand of the times. Let’s face it, taxpayers are tapped out. As other municipalities continue to kick the fiscal can down the road, Claverack is taking real steps forward. By cutting spending, consolidating services, and budgeting in a way that reduces our dependency on cash reserves, Claverack is now the envy of many towns. That’s something to celebrate and be proud of. Together, we’re making progress!
Our primary focus the past two years has been fiscal policy and budgeting; trying to bring our budget into balance while keeping within the state tax cap and reducing our dependency on savings (fund balance). We’re very happy to report that we have kept that promise and done just that! Because we have been able to keep spending down, budgets tight, and taxes low, Claverack property owners have received tax rebates the past two years. We’re proud of that. At the same time, we have been able to balance our budget while reducing our dependency on cash reserves by an astonishing 46.1%. That took enormous effort and sacrifice by all town departments and officials.
We’ve placed heavy focus on sharing services with other local municipalities and the consolidation of town operations and services where possible to improve efficiency and to stretch every tax dollar as far as possible. Our town highway department, under the leadership of Town Highway Superintendent Lou Lamont, has done a fantastic job sharing services with other municipalities to save tax dollars wherever possible. Town Clerk Mary Jeanne Hoose has continued to run a tight and efficient operation in the town office. Efforts to preserve and archive town records continue, as does a new program to provide shredding services to town residents to avoid identify theft and/or discovery of sensitive documents. For additional information, call Mary Jeanne at 518-672-7911.
The Town Assessor’s Office was consolidated from three part-time Assessor positions into one full-time Assessor, while splitting the duties of administrative staff between the Assessor’s office and the Town Building Inspector’s office. Again, increased efficiency and saving tax dollars.
We also continue to share services with the Village of Philmont, utilizing the Philmont Police Department for Town Court security. This has resulted in increased revenue to the village, and decreased cost to the town.
We’re also very proud of the progress made to replace the Millbrook Road bridge. You may recall that this bridge was closed in 2010 due to extreme deterioration and has remained closed since. Emergency services have been forced to use alternate routes as they respond to calls for service in the area. We made resolving the Millbrook Road bridge issue a top priority and are happy to report that we’ve made significant progress. The replacement project is well underway and significantly under original estimates thanks to strict oversight and effective use of town resources to keep costs low. The new bridge will be completed in the fall of 2016.
The Claverack Town Park on Church Street has undergone significant improvements. In 2015, the entire entrance road was resurfaced, including the parking lot for the town office building. Additional improvements have been made to the athletic fields and the kitchen area at the pavilion. Use of the park is at an all-time high – including the very successful Summer Program for youth. The Claverack Republican Club’s very popular “Summer Concert Series” will return again this year, offering free concerts on Thursday evenings during the months of July and August. As always, tasty eats will be available for purchase.
A beautification project was initiated last year at the Claverack Hamlet Park with the installation of a sculpture of potted flowers on the south side of the park. This sculpture was made possible through a significant donation made in memory of Dennis Weigelt, who passed away in 2015. Dennis is the brother of Supervisor Kippy Weigelt and was a lifelong resident of Claverack and an avid gardener. Additional upgrades for the park are planned. Volunteers and donations are being sought to assist with the park beautification project. Contact Supervisor Weigelt for details.
Work on preserving the historical Shaw Bridge continues. We hope to re-open the bridge to foot traffic in the coming months. We’re very thankful for the work our highway department has done to clear brush and overgrowth near the structure and for the $1,000 grant received to place a historical marker on the bridge.
We were able to successfully renegotiate the town’s contract with Mid-Hudson Cablevision to expand service to areas in eastern portions of the town, including areas along Route 23 from the Yorkshire Motel to the Taconic State Parkway. This contract also provides for reduced or free service to municipal buildings and libraries.
While we have accomplished much, we have much more to do. Among other things, Economic Development, a county bus shuttle service for Philmont, and further tightening of the budget will be our focus in the coming years.
Thanks so much for your continued support and cooperation. We appreciate your feedback and encourage you to contact us with any questions or concerns that you may have.
Kippy Weigelt, Town Supervisor
Stephen Hook, Deputy Town Supervisor/Councilman
Brian Keeler, Councilman
Maryanne Lee, Councilwoman
Mary Jeanne Hoose, Town Clerk/Tax Collector
Lou Lamont, Town Highway Superintendent