A VILLAGE VOICE

Gina Walker Fox 
Rhinebeck Village Trustee
After the spring village elections we have been a very busy board. Here are some of things we’ve been working on. More to come.
An important piece of my platform was increasing communication and cooperation between the town and village governments. We have made great strides in that area.

-A technology grant was passed that Village Trustee Gary Bassett and Town Board Member Allan Scheer worked on tirelessly and relentlessly. Long overdue, the village finally approved our end of an Inter-municipal Agreement (IMA) for a county municipal grant. Both municipalities now share the use and cost of a common server. 

-Trustee Bassett and I are working with Supervisor Spinzia attempting to salvage another IMA with the village as lead agency for a $45,000 county grant to study the feasibility and ramifications of increasing shared services between the two highway departments. Due to problems with delay in signing the above IT grant, the town has currently withdrawn cooperation. It’s a lot of money that we should not lose due to personality conflict. 
-As Highway Liaison, I am actively working with both town and village highway departments on paving Astor Drive as well as Montgomery Street. Finding money in the budget was a concern and now it may have to wait for spring. Barry Sherrod of the town highway department has been very helpful as has Karen McLaughlin, our village treasurer. 
-Bassett, as Water Liaison and I worked to train highway personnel to read water meters and assist with the clean-up at the Hilee reservoir. In addition, the water personnel are now available to assist our highway department on flagging when needed. A creative way to save money. 
-After researching various bids, the village board recently passed approval for STAT construction to rebuild the sidewalks and crosswalks on Montgomery. The hospital was helpful making that happen. John Fenton and I are meeting with the contractors next week. Weather dependent we could start as soon as first week in November but due to cement curing process it may be advisable to wait for spring to minimize salt damage. 
 
Speaking of highways, here are the Highway Department people you’ve seen around the village. Stop, wave and say hello. They are a tremendous asset in keeping our village beautiful.  Michael Wolff, department head is joined by Tom Johnson, Scott Minn and Carl Delfino, Jr. That is not a very big team but their dedication picking up brush, leaves, patching potholes and all during sweltering temperatures this summer was impressive.  If you are a village resident they have beautiful mulch for only $20/truckload and they will deliver for free. Call them at 845-876-4284
I am also liaison to the tree commission. The fall community tree planting is set for Saturday, November 5 from 9-1pm. Meet in front of the Lutheran Church on Livingston Street. Bring labeled shovels, rakes and gloves. Volunteers are crucial for success so please join us. It’s fun and rewarding to watch our plantings grow. Adelina Romero is one of our most enthusiastic high school students. We would love more. Our tree commission is a hardworking and knowledgable group led by Meg Crawford and rounded out by James Marshall, Nick Monaco and Walter Cotter. They are the reason we have gotten the Tree City, USA recognition for multiple years. We worked hard to pass a BROW ordinance. The right of way (ROW) is the strip between the sidewalk and the curb. Trees planted here are safety hazards for both sidewalk disruption and electrical wires during storms. We are now able to plant Beyond the Right of Way (BROW), meaning the village can plant a tree in your yard if deemed appropriate for free and the tree commission will prune and monitor it for five years. The only thing you have to do is water it. You do need to sign a permission sheet and you can often choose from their list of tree options. Reach out to them if you desire a tree or have concerns about mature ones. If power lines are not an issue you can still request a tree in the right of way. Although sidewalk maintenance has always be responsibility of the homeowner we recently made removal and maintenance of trees the responsibility of the homeowner also, after the first five years if planted by the commission. This goes for trees on either side of sidewalks. We hope to have both Permission and Request for Tree Assessment documents available on the village website shortly.
 
Cemetery news for will have to wait until next column but do note Cemetery Fall Tour and Reception is Sunday, October 16 from 2-4. Free and open to the public. Call Suzanne Kelley for questions 845-876-6436
 
In Memorium. Rhinebeck has lost a great citizen. Alan Coon, beloved husband of Pat Coon, our village clerk and father to Allyson. I learned a great deal from Alan working together on the cemetery committee. I’ll never walk by the doughboy statue without thinking of him. 
 
In other sad news, my eldest son Jack’s godfather, Stanley Dural, Jr. (Buckwheat Zydeco) also passed away. He was a great musician and a great man. 
 
As always, feel free to contact me for questions, concerns or concerns 914-475-2890 or at trusteefox@villageofrhinebeckny.gov