Town Considers Partnership with Grant Firm

The Pawling Town Board convened for a workshop meeting on Wednesday, April 3, to discuss a possible partnership with Millennium Strategies, a grants consulting firm that helps local governments secure funding for a variety of purposes. Also on the agenda were an update on Whaley Lake, a proposal to upgrade the Town of Pawling official website, and considerations for a project that would map the trail network in Pawling’s parks.

The evening began with a presentation from Dave Jenkins, Director of Business Development and Client Services at Millennium Strategies. Based in White Plains, the grants consulting firm has been in operation for thirteen years and represents municipalities, counties, school districts and non-profit organizations throughout New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Delaware. Millennium Strategies aids clients in financing projects by pursuing grants at the federal, state, and county levels. The organization specializes in assisting with every aspect of grant application procedures, including locating smaller and lesser-known sources of funding that could benefit municipalities such as Pawling. “We try to lift up rocks and find opportunities that you might not be aware of,” explained Jenkins.

Jenkins outlined Millennium Strategies’ approach to working with local governments. The firm’s services include consulting with department heads to identify areas of need and then pursuing funding accordingly. These efforts could produce grant awards for Pawling’s parks and recreation programs, infrastructure, water and sewer projects, as well as the proposed community economic development study.

Employing Millennium Strategies would involve a twelve-month commitment at a cost of approximately $36,000. In addition to grant seeking and writing, the firm’s services would include frequent communication with local officials and department heads with weekly notifications about new grant opportunities. “We are very proud of the work we’re doing, and we try to put grant applications in the best possible positions,” explained Jenkins. “There are opportunities in Pawling.” While considering a partnership with Millennium Strategies, the Town Board will consult with Village officials about a possible joint effort.

In other business, officials provided an update on the status of Whaley Lake as the dam reconstruction project comes to a conclusion. Responding to residents’ concerns that the lake water is still lower than historical levels, Councilman Phil DeRosa and Owners Representative Vinny DiMarco urged continued patience as Whaley Lake continues to settle. Officials assured the public that the lake water level will return to its historic average. “We should let the lake behave naturally,” said DiMarco. “The shorelines have been exposed for a year, and we have permission to adjust the lake levels six more inches. We should wait and go with a consensus to try to keep everyone happy.”

The Board then approved a proposal from Business Automation Services, Inc., (BAS) to revamp the Town of Pawling’s official website. Board Members explained that allowing BAS to host Pawling’s website will allow for several key upgrades, including cloud storage for meeting podcasts, archives for old material, better links to information, and a more user-friendly interface.

The meeting concluded with Board members discussing the creation of a trail map that would accurately chart all the hiking and biking trails throughout Lakeside and Murrow Parks. The proposed trail map will be a joint effort between Town officials, the Oblong Land Conservancy, the Pawling Community Foundation, and other running and biking clubs. “This is a way to get everyone to the table,” explained Supervisor James Schmitt. “There’s no reason why we shouldn’t all be working with the same information.” The creation of an updated trail map will help ensure better access and maintenance of the trails for visitors, and will also serve to make sure that each trail is named to allow for faster responses in the event of an emergency.

The next Town Board meeting will be held on Wednesday, May 1, at 7:00 p.m. at Town Hall.