Villages should each receive about $150K
Philipstown Supervisor Richard Shea said on June 3 that the town expects to receive about $700,000 under a federal pandemic relief program, with another $300,000 split between Cold Spring and Nelsonville.
“We really need that money,” Shea said at the Town Board’s formal monthly meeting. “Our revenue is down about 80 percent this year.”
The money is part of $350 billion being distributed to municipalities, counties and state governments through the American Rescue Plan. Local governments will receive 50 percent of the money this year and the remainder in 2022.
According to the U.S. Treasury, the funds can be used to support public health; address “economic harms” to workers, households, small businesses, industries and the public sector; provide government services that were curtailed during the shutdown; provide premium pay for essential workers; and invest in water, sewer and broadband infrastructure.
In other business…
- The board agreed on June 3 to establish a task force of residents to collaborate with the state Department of Environmental Conservation, Cornell University and the Hudson Highlands Land Trust on safeguarding habitats, water, trails, scenery and other natural resources. There will be no cost to Philipstown, Shea said. “It’s important to preserve what we have here. As time goes on, you see more and more what’s happening on the outskirts of Philipstown and realize how special this place is.”
- Shea said he thought it was “a shame” that the Desmond-Fish Public Library abandoned plans, at least temporarily, to install solar panels on its lawn. Some neighbors objected, and the library said it was focused on hiring a new director. It sounds “like a classic case of ‘not in my backyard,’” Shea said. “We’re very environmentally conscious in this town — it feels like — until it suddenly has an impact, or a perceived impact, on somebody’s property values.” Yet, he cautioned, “if we don’t start putting in more of these arrays and having local solar, we are going to continue to rely on fossil fuels. And so far that hasn’t worked out.”
- Using authority granted by state law to local governments for projects that “serve the public interest,” the board removed the construction of a new town highway garage in Nelsonville from review by the village. “We will be working with Nelsonville,” regardless, Shea said. The town hopes to receive $2 million in federal funds for the project, and Shea said he recently got about 10 questions from a House committee, suggesting “somebody really looked” at the application. Covering 50 square miles, Philipstown has 60 miles of roads, half of them dirt, he added. “We’re also under incredible pressure from tourism. A town of 10,000, we’ll probably see 250,000 visitors this year. That’s a lot of wear and tear on our infrastructure” and federal dollars would help.