Blooming Grove Board Seeks Input for CDBG Applications, Wards Discussion
By Edie Johnson
Blooming Grove has an opportunity, if residents participate, to apply for a Community Development Block Grant that could bring significant funding to a project of their choice.
The town scheduled a Public Hearing that will be held on March 19, 2019 at 7:30 pm at the town hall to hear any recommendations the public has for grants that Orange County will consider for community projects Guidelines are that the projects should relate to:
- Acquisition and Disposition of Real Property
- Public Works, Public Facilities and Site Improvements
- Code Enforcement (Housing and Health Codes)
- Clearance, Demolition and Rehabilitation for Public Use or Economic Development
- Housing Rehabilitation Loans and Grants
- Special Projects for Elderly and Handicapped
- Provisions of Public Service (Shelters, Clinics, Senior Nutrition, etc.)
- Payment of Non-Federal Shares of Other Grant Programs
- Relocation Payments and Assistance
The deadline for submittal by the town to Orange County is April 5, 2019.
May’s Field Concession/House Renovation – a bid was accepted from Yankee Contracting for roof removal of the 3rd floor which never had proper permitting and has been deemed structurally unsafe. The bid was $54,550 and includes Warranty on parts and Guarantee on workmanship, and a ‘hook’ that if it fails because of their work, insurance will cover the cost of repair. Supervisor Rob Jeroloman said he believes the bid is not only the lowest, but also the most responsible. The contract includes a stipulation of “Local Labor”, or if not possible a “sign-off” by the town engineer. The new roof will be rated for 35 lbs. per sq. in. of snow load.
Washingtonville has decided that from now on it will perform its own building and code inspections. This will result in a reduction in time spent by town officers to cover the village’s needs and loss of some income for the town. Most of the lost income will be made up by reduction in hours and pay for the Building Inspector who has been covering both town and village issues. The remaining difference will be looked at by board members who will decide whether there will be an adjustment in the hours worked by the department’s part-time staff, who are paid hourly, or what other options might be.
A question raised by resident John Salka, about how well wards are working, and is the town making good use of them for information flow as well as simple election divisions, resulted in an ensuing discussion about how they can be more effective. The Supervisor said he has been working to get interactive ward maps from the county so that interested residents can quickly determine what ward they are in and possibly even link to that ward representative’s page with a list of issues being addressed and contact information. John Chase, newly appointed to the Conservation Advisory Committee said he felt that at present it was confusing to some, and it would help if each councilperson had their ward number by their name, and gave a report at each meeting. Councilmen Jason Kramer and Steven Amante agreed that identification of each member’s ward would be helpful, and that perhaps there is not as much discussion by all members as there could be, because they are in such regular contact with each other during the week and have largely worked out most details by the time of meetings so there is no unnecessary ‘bickering’. Deputy Supervisor George Doering said that in general there is good communication with residents, communication is a 2-way street and we need to keep the dialogue going. Councilman Tom DeVinko said he has held several town hall meetings with village constituents and emphasized that to date his experience on this town board “With regard to openness and tending to your (residents’) business, it is far beyond anything I have ever seen .”, and added that he is honored to be a part of it.
Each ward member followed up with a status report about what is going on in their ward. Sonia Ayala, who is one of the board’s liaisons to the Village of South Blooming Grove updated the status of the “Blooming Grove Shuttle” which brings residents wanting transportation to Kiryas Joel. Because the bus is not properly permitted because the village said it engaged in code violations, residents wanted to know why the police don’t ticket the driver and impound the bus. Town attorney replied that it is technically not a traffic violation and is a code consideration, which changes from municipality to municipality. The issue is being decided at the Orange County Supreme Court level and village residents will have the opportunity to discuss it again at Monday’s Village Board Meeting , along with the new water filtration system being sought .
A “Woman of Distinction”, CAC and Planning Board Assignments
Johanna Kiernan was unanimously chosen as the Town of Blooming Grove’s choice for an event at the county level that is going to be held in April for ” Women of Distinction”. Board members pointed to her former work as Deputy Supervisor and her tireless work on behalf of the environment and seeking grants that benefit the Town.
Kiernan and John Chase were appointed to the Conservation Advisory Commission.
Ron Jurain was appointed from an alternate to a permanent member of the town’s planning board.