The Village Board convened on Monday, November 5, for its first meeting of the month at Village Hall. The evening featured a presentation from a representative of the Housatonic Valley Association (HVA), a discussion of the Village’s Tentative Garbage Budget for 2019, and an outline of the involvement of Village Trustees in a number of community projects.
According to organization’s website, HVAToday.org, the Housatonic Valley Association is “a tri-state, nonprofit citizen’s environmental group that works to conserve the natural character, environmental health, and economies of the region by protecting and restoring local lands and waterways.” HVA Watershed Conservation Director Michael Jastremski was in attendance to update the Board on the group’s recent efforts involving the Ten Mile River Watershed, which includes a portion of the Great Swamp River located in Pawling.
“The Ten Mile River Watershed is an interesting case,” said Jastremski. “It starts in New York, but drains into Connecticut. It’s created a jurisdictional issue, so we formed the Ten Mile River Collaborative, consisting of watershed communities.” The Collaborative has been working for the past several years to create a watershed management plan for issues such as flood damage prevention and land protection.
Jastremski updated the Board on the benefits of joining the Ten Mile River Collaborative, which include the group’s assistance in mapping infrastructure, identifying projects, securing funding, and creating existing conditions reports for the area. “Having a plan like this in place opens the door to securing a lot of funding down the line,” explained Jastremski. The Board is currently considering an official partnership with the HVA.
In other business, Village Trustee Dan Peters outlined the 2019 Tentative Garbage Budget. This year, the proposed budget will cost an annual fee of $190 per unit, up from $180.65 per unit from the previous year. “This breaks down to $3.65 each week to have curbside garbage pick up, recycling twice a month, and an annual bulk pick up,” explained Peters. “In part, the reason for the increase is because recycling fees have gone up dramatically.” Peters outlined the rising costs of recycling services, which have seen an increase from $20/ton to $63/ton over the previous year, and will increase again on January 1 to $73/ton. “We’ve had multiple discussions about this, and there’s just no way around it. Recycling in this country is changing,” added Peters. In addition to rising recycling costs, officials also anticipate the need for repairs for Village garbage trucks and a cost-of-living increase for personnel as part of the tentative budget for 2019.
Mayor Robert Liffland concluded the meeting by describing some of the duties and responsibilities of the Village Trustees for the public. Mayor Liffland works closely with Dutchess County to secure grant money and is involved with economic development strategies in the Village.
Trustee Earl Slocum has been involved with alleviating the parking shortage that currently exists within the Village. In addition to promoting better enforcement practices, Slocum was also instrumental in securing 32 additional merchant parking spots. He works closely with the Pawling Merchant’s Committee, and serves as a liaison to the Chamber of Commerce and the Pawling Community Foundation.
Deputy Mayor and Village Trustee Dan Peters has been the driving force behind Pawling’s Wastewater Treatment Facility, and his efforts as part of the Joint Sewer Commission have helped to secure over $4.3 million of grant money toward the eventual completion of the new facility. Trustee Peters is also working to improve infrastructure and roadways within the village.
Trustee Lauri Taylor serves as a liaison to the Village Planning Board and the Pawling Merchant’s Committee. She is also involved in a number of projects, including collaborations with surrounding municipalities, seeking grants, and promoting tourism and marketing within the Village.
Trustee John Burweger is spearheading the Village’s Pedestrian Plan and is working closely with Dutchess County to revamp, repair, and expand sidewalks and bike paths in and around the village. Burweger is also active in the ongoing examination of the Village Master Plan.
Mayor Liffland recognized the efforts of Village Clerk Jennifer Osborn and Village Treasurer Elizabeth Shedd. Osborn and Shedd were praised for their organization, dedication, and devotion to saving taxpayers money.
The next Village Board meeting will be held on Monday, November 19, at 7:00 p.m. at Village Hall, 9 Memorial Ave.