Following a Warrensburg town board meeting Monday Jan. 30, council members discuss what they’d like to see the government accomplish in 2012. (Left to right): Bryan Rounds, town Supervisor Kevin Geraghty, Linda Marcella and Joyce Reed.
Looking toward brightening the town’s future, Warrensburg’s municipal leaders said they will be pursuing efforts to upgrade the town’s infrastructure, jumpstart commerce, develop jobs and enhance the local quality of life.
At a special meeting held Monday Jan. 30, the town board members identified their goals for Warrensburg during 2012.
Town Supervisor Kevin Geraghty said his top priority was to boost local commerce downtown by filling vacant storefronts — at least two during the upcoming year. He said that the town’s Economic Development committee, now being formed, would be charged with the responsibility of making it happen.
Most of the other goals he identified for 2012 were related to town improving town infrastructure or making it more efficient: establishing a new water well for the town, increasing the capacity of the town sewer plant by 100,000 gallons per day, continuing to replace at least 1,500 feet of sidewalk per year, finishing the installation of water meters to all homes, and converting town facilities to solar power.
He also talked about continuing to seek funding sources for restoring the historic Floyd Bennett Memorial Bandstand, taking steps to sell off surplus town properties, and boosting efficiency of the water district and raising water charges as necessary to make the district self-sustaining. He also suggested finishing mapping the water district infrastructure, as well as continuing to boost water quality, particularly meeting the state standards for maximum iron, lead and copper content.
He also said he was aiming to work with the state Environmental Facilities Corp. to have Warrensburg designated as a “Green Community,” enabling the town to receive grant funds and to engage in pilot projects. Specifics of such a designation might include promoting the use of rain barrels around town to manage stormwater — reusing it to conserve water and lower the load on sewers.
Adopting solar power, he said, would help the town qualify for a “green” status. He said that the town is now working with two engineering firms to assess the financial savings the town could reap by installing a half-dozen or more large arrays of solar panels to power town facilities.
“We’re told so far that there’s good potential in town for solar power,” he said. “We should have it up and running by September.”
On a financial note, Geraghty said he’d like for the town to add $50,000 to its fund balance — a goal which he believes is realistic, considering an anticipated health insurance premium rebate in 2012, as well as increased sales tax receipts.
Deputy Supervisor John Alexander added several goals to the list, including selling the town Senior Citizens building, investigating the feasibility of installing submersible hydroelectric turbines in the Schroon River, assisting Hudson Headwaters Health Network towards expanding the Warrensburg Health Center. and pursuing development of senior housing and retirement condominiums in the Warrensburg hamlet.
He also suggested upgrading the town phone system to decrease the number of incoming lines from 15 to five or fewer, to control costs and establish a message system.
He also suggested lobbying to share services with the school district and boosting efforts toward their consolidation from two campuses into one.
Town board member Bryan Rounds suggested pursuing modernization of the highway department’s fleet and equipment inventory, taking steps to make the town landfill self-sustaining financially, and implementing zoning changes that focus on improving the commercial district, including allowing light commercial activities in the King Street neighborhood. He also suggested taking more steps toward fair and equal enforcement of town codes.
Board member Joyce Reed suggested promoting development of senior housing and seeking grants for upgrades to basketball courts, and exploring the feasibility of developing a youth recreational center.
“I’ve heard from a lot of parents they want a youth center in our community,” she said.
Geraghty, Rounds and Alexander all suggested launching a fund drive to raise money to restore the Bennett Bandstand.
Board member Linda Marcella suggested reviewing and updating town policies, creating a procedure for internal audit controls, and drafting a five-year development plan with the help of local citizens.
“Goals are great, but timelines should be in place and they should be regularly reviewed to make sure we’re moving ahead,” she said. Geraghty replied that that process was already occurring informally, as he pledged to prepare a formal list of goals presented at the meeting.