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Hilltowns Archives The Altamont Enterprise, January 22, 2009
Berne re-organizes for 2009
By Zach Simeone
BERNE The town took steps last week towards addressing issues both new and old. The new library and senior center is now in the design phase, and the town’s wind moratorium is being re-drafted.
And, while the Jan. 14 session served as the town board’s regular monthly meeting, it included Berne’s 2009 re-organizational meeting, too, and appointments to town posts were made.
Library and senior center
The Berne library, which is now cramped in its Town Hall quarters, is planning to move to the senior center in the old grange hall on Route 443. The two organizations will share the space.
“The town board, seniors, and library met and laid out a preliminary sketch of the new building, and we should have the results from the asbestos testing this week,” Crosier said Wednesday. “I will be sending off the sketch to Dominick Ranieri.”
Ranieri, owner of Dominick Ranieri Architects, designed Glass Works Village in Guilderland, and will help with the transformation of the old grange hall into the new hybrid library and senior center. Ranieri also designed a senior residential complex that Jeff Thomas plans to build in Berne, as well as Thomas’s senior complex in Guilderland, Brandle Meadows.
Carl Walls, president of the Hilltown Seniors, wasn’t at the Jan. 14 meeting, but is happy to know that the process is ongoing.
“Since I wasn’t at the meeting, I don’t know what was said, but, if everything that’s been promised is done, it’ll be the right thing for the seniors and the town,” said Walls.
“What we’re looking to do,” Crosier said, “is add a 2,500 square-foot addition on to the rear of the building. The library space will be in the existing building. The 2,500 square feet will be our multi-use community room, new kitchen for the seniors, and moveable partitions in the community room.”
After disagreements between the town board and planning board on whether or not small-scale, home turbines should be outlawed during the impending wind-power moratorium, a new draft is being put together. The planning board had suggested that small-scale turbines be allowed.
“The planning board made some changes to the draft of the moratorium, but the town board was uncomfortable with it, so it was sent back to [Town Attorney William] Conboy, and he’s going to re-draft our wind moratorium,” Crosier said. “Once we approve the draft, we have to have a public hearing, but we still have things to accomplish yet to reach that,” he said.
The moratorium will likely be discussed further at the regular February town board meeting, Crosier said.
State of emergency
The town board also discussed the state of emergency that Crosier declared during last month’s ice storm. Crosier this week expressed his pride in the town’s ability to handle the situation.
By the morning of Friday, Dec. 12, the town was without power. The outage lasted five days.
“Our volunteers jumped into action, the town’s highway crews worked feverishly to get our roads open and passable so emergency apparatuses could get in,” Crosier said. “National Grid, I thought, had a superb response to a devastating storm. By noontime, we had secured 100 sleeping bags and 75 cots, our shelters were manned 24 hours a day, and our volunteers gave people a place to eat and sleep where it was warm. We had a backup generator from [the State Emergency Management Organization], and worked closely with the Albany County Sheriff’s Department.”
The volunteers were really put to the test, Crosier said, when on Saturday there was a fire at the home of Bonnie Krasher and Jim Loso on Long Road. The home was completely destroyed.
“We’re going to have a meeting, though I haven’t gotten the final date yet, to talk about how we did with it what we did right and what we did wrong,” Crosier said.
The town’s procurement policy is being reviewed, and was discussed at last week’s meeting.
“One change we recommended making was that any department, excluding the highway department, wanting to make a purchase of more than $350, requires town board approval,” said Crosier. “Our department heads have always come to the board to ask, but we never had it in writing, so we just wanted to firm that up.”
According Town Clerk Pat Favreau, “It will be presented when all the other parts of the policy are updated.”
The town’s officials, appointments, and boards for 2008 include:
Town Board: Kevin Crosier (Supervisor), Joseph Golden, Peter Vance, Wayne Emory, and James Hamilton;
Deputy Supervisor: Joseph Golden;
Director of Emergency Management: Kevin Crosier;
Town Clerk, Marriage Officer, Registrar, and Deputy Tax Collector: Patricia Favreau;
Town Attorney: William J. Conboy II;
Receiver of Taxes: Gerald O’Malley;
Town Justices: Kenneth Bunzey and Albert E. Raymond III;
Building Administrator and Code Enforcement Officer: Peter Schaming;
Zoning Administrator and Code Enforcement Officer: Joseph Whipple;
Dog Control Officer: Cheryl Tefts-Baitsholts;
Chairman of Assessors: Brian Crawford;
Deputy Town Clerk and Deputy Registrar: Anita Clayton;
Deputy Highway Superintendent: Kenneth Weaver;
Bookkeeper: Andrea Cornwell;
Court Clerk and Highway Department Clerk: Patricia Boice;
Town Historian: Ralph Miller;
Assistant Historian: Erin Bradt;
Youth Recreation Director: Pam Porter;
Planning Board: Gerard Chartier (chair), Alan Rockmore, Tim Lippert, Katherine Hill-Brown, and Michael Vincent;
Zoning Board of Appeals: James Fallon (chair), John Carsten, Terry Adams, Werner Knopp, and George Gebe;
Assessment Review Board: Charles Turner (chair), George Christian, Marie Flagler, David Smith, and Emily Wright;
Conservation Board: Terry Schwendeman (chair), Randy Grippin, Kathy Moore, Patricia Rexinger, and Thomas Conklin;
Youth Council: Amy Tubbs (chair), Susan Larrabe, Jennifer Fuller, Alan Zuk, and Philip Place;
Library Trustees: Joan Mullen, Helen Lounsbury, Marsha Descartes, Carolyn Anderson, Marion Burkhardt, Mary Kinnard, and Alberta Wright (emeritus), Joel Willsey;
Official Bank: Citizens Bank; and
Official Newspaper: The Altamont Enterprise.
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