WARRENSBURG - Despite the tough prevailing times, the town government's leader offered an upbeat vision of Warrensburg's future as he pledged to contain taxes during a State of the Town speech he delivered Jan. 4.
"We have just finished one of the most challenging times for local government - The economy is in a recession, the State is near bankruptcy and Warren County has cash flow problems," he said, noting that the town board was able to drop the town tax rate by 17 cents per thousand. "Our number one priority for 2010 is to stay within budget while continuing to move the Town forward."
Geraghty said that 2009 was a year of considerable progress, with new attractions opening locally, headlined by the resurrection of Hickory Hill Ski Center and the Warrensburg Historical Museum.
He said the town board would be working to help businesses relocate and succeed in Warrensburg.
"We will continue to evaluate economic development opportunities for the community," he said, noting the board is seeking to expand the hamlet as far north as the Rte. 8-Rte. 9 intersection to accommodate development.
"The Warrensburgh Museum of Local History reopened this summer and will serve generations to come," he said. "Attendance will continue to grow once people find out what a treasure we have in the Museum and the efforts of the Historical Society and its members - Thanks go to all those dedicated people."
Other positive developments in 2009, he said, included installing flashing speed limit signs on Library Ave. and completing sidewalks along Elm St. He noted the town was awarded $38,919.20 in grant money to replace sidewalks around the local elementary school, and engineering was completed for the Woolen Mill Bridge on Milton Ave., which is scheduled to be replaced this year.
Geraghty said that work has progressed on the town's Master Plan, which is intended to enhance quality of life for residents. A $60,000 state grant was received to help move this project along, and additional input from the public will be appreciated, he said.
Also underway is a project to replace the Tot-Lot playground at the recreation field, Geraghty said, noting that a matching $62,500 grant was received from the state with the Town contributing in-kind services and materials.
"Our goal is to have a modern, safe environment for the children to play," he said.
The town has applied for grants to bankroll several projects in town, including state-ordered sewer plant disinfection and expansion, sewer main extension along Library Ave., and to rebuild the historic Floyd Bennett Memorial Bandstand.
He said the town is seeking to rectify high copper content in the drinking water, which may be a matter of aging pipes in individual households, rather than in the town water system. The town has launched a study with state authorities to determine the source of the high copper levels, and to determine potential corrosion treatments, he said.
Geraghty said that in several weeks, town employees will begin training in the use of the computer equipment associated with water meters, which are likely to be in use for metering by summer.
"If the Town Board approves, we'll seek out grant funds for a new source of water," adding that the board may decide to sell some town Water District property on Alden Ave.
Geraghty noted that despite state aid cutbacks, the town Highway crews will continue to work on road projects and pave roads.
"We did finish the year with a fund balance," noting the town will be saving money up for new highway equipment.
"I will continue to work in the best interests of all the Taxpayers, keep Warrensburg moving forward and work with the Town Board to meet all goals," he said.