Delivering a State of the Town address, Warrensburg Town supervisor Kevin Geraghty talks of economic progress and infrastructure achievements during 2011 — as new town board members Joyce Reed (center) and Linda Baker Marcella (right) listen.
Despite escalating costs and expensive mandates, Warrensburg town government kept taxes flat for 2012 — yet has made considerable progress, town Supervisor Kevin Geraghty said in the annual State of the Town speech he delivered recently.
And the credit for the town’s accomplishments goes to the town employees for taking on additional duties as well as increasing efficiency during tough economic times, Geraghty said.
“Our workforce is at the lowest levels it has been in recent years, but our employees have responded by performing at the highest levels,” he said.
As an example of their work, he noted that town employees constructed a new pole barn on the Water District property off Library Avenue, saving tens of thousands of dollars in taxpayer money.
“With the help of our town employees, we’ll continue to make it through these tough economic times and steer Warrensburg into the future,” he said.
Geraghty also praised the work of three town employees who retired in 2011: Richard Galusha, john Higgins and Walter Haws, plus he welcomed Tracy Benoit and chip Webster to the work force.
Geraghty’s remarks were delivered during the town’s annual reorganizational meeting, which featured a swear-in ceremony for two incoming town board members, Linda Marcella and Joyce Reed. They were administered the oath of office by town Justice Mindy Fisk.
Among the accomplishments Geraghty noted was the continuing work on improving the town’s water quality. All recent test samplings but one — for dissolved copper contamination — were below state limits, and similar test results were encountered in lead sampling, he said. Progress continues to be made in installing commercial water meters, he added.
Local infrastructure achievements include sidewalk replacement, new sewer lines along Library Avenue and Thomson St. and installation of effluent disinfection apparatus at the town sewer plant.
Geraghty noted that the town Highway employees rebuilt Alden Avenue this year.
He observed that the town’s roadways were hard hit with the Memorial Day weekend storms, causing hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of damage — much of it restored through the work of local and county employees.
As for the future, Geraghty said state and federal grant funds would likely become more scarce.
Citing the state’s denial of a grant application to fund restoration of the Floyd Bennett Memorial Bandstand, Geraghty said the town would have to rely more on its own resources.
“We’re not going to be waiting for government handouts,” he said. “We’re going to go out and get things done on our own.”
Also, he noted that the town’s commercial scene seems to be on the upswing, with new businesses locating downtown during 2011: New Way Lunch, Rebecca’s Florists, the Smoke Shop, the Cutting Edge, and Sarah Morgan’s Grind-N-Gears and Groom Hair Salon — as well as the relocation of Heidi’s Clip Joint.
“These are just a few of the businesses that have put their trust in Warrensburg,” he said.
Geraghty said that he had solid faith that the commercial development would continue, citing plans for new retail development recently presented to town officials.
Warrensburg town government would be actively seeking to locate businesses here and create jobs, he said, primarily through a new economic development council headed by Marcella, who has expertise and experience in the field, he said.
“We’re going to go out and seek businesses to locate in our community and fill up our empty storefronts,” he said as he invited the public to join the council — only if they have a positive approach. “If you have a negative attitude, don’t bother to apply.”
Geraghty said the town has a bright future, because it has weathered the recession well, and commerce is gaining steam.
”I’m bullish on what’s going to happen,” he said. “And we’ll be tapping everyone’s expertise to move things forward.”