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Goodspeed addresses North Creek Rotary Club

NORTH CREEK Supervisor Sterling Goodspeed gave a promised 6-month Report card to the North Creek Rotary Club on Thursday, July 31. This followed up a presentation he made to the club in November 2007, after his election but before assuming the office of Town Supervisor. His remarks centered on four major topics: the Town Budget, The Impact of the Current Economy, the Gore/Little Gore Interconnection, and Hudson River Riverfront Developments. The Johnsburg Town Budget has tended to double about every seven years. Mr. Goodspeed pointed out that the approximately $940,000 per year raised by local taxes, needs to be trimmed severely, but without eliminating vital town services. As a first step, the health Insurance program for retired town employees has been renegotiated to provide better coverage, lower co-pays, and at a savings to the town of approximately $30,000 per year. By adopting better scheduling of matters to be treated at town board meetings, legal fees to the Town Attorney have been reduced from the historic $35,000 per year to an estimated level of $12,000 to $15,000 in 2008. Meetings are now planned as either hot, requiring the presence of the attorney, or cold, where on the spot legal advice is not required. In an effort to reduce energy expenditures, NYSERDA is conducting studies of town buildings. Immediate savings have been secured by changing the wintertime heating pattern for the town garage. Equipment storage bays are now held at approximately 50 degrees, and only the bays used for active maintenance work are warmed to the 70-degree level. Tannery Pond Community Center is a unique and treasured town resource. Its operating costs are approximately $55,000 per year. In an effort to meet a significant portion of these costs a new billing schedule has been established, with no differentiation between fees to in-town and out of town users. For occasional users a set fee schedule has been established for the use of each room in the facility. Regular users, such as the Cheerful Crickets, the Our Town Theatre Group, Teens Only, the Gore Mountain Region Chamber of Commerce and Upper Hudson Musical Arts will pay negotiated fees reflecting their usage patterns and contributions to the community. Goodspeed expects to raise $35,000 to $40,000 per year in user fees, with a minimum target of $18,000 per year. The resignation of Town Judge Ralph Dubay has left an open position. Goodspeed hopes to eliminate the position and increase the pay for the remaining judge. This move would occur during the fall. The Johnsburg Water District is budgeted separately from the Town of Johnsburg, but receives significant clerical and accounting services from the town office staff. There is a plan to back-charge the Water District for a portion of the services provided by town personnel. The North Creek Railroad Depot Museum has consistently run at a $10,000 to $12,000 deficit. A tri-partite agreement is being worked out between the Museum, the Town, and the Johnsburg Central School District under which the Depot Museum will provide state-mandated local history education for Johnsburg students, taking full advantage of this local treasure. The program will provide unique, hands-on understanding of regional history. The increased funding will be an important aid in meeting Museum operating costs. Mr. Goodspeed repeated his concerns regarding the current national economic slowdown. He has appointed a committee to plan and coordinate efforts by local not-for-profit organizations to meet economic needs in the community. He is actively working on a Warren County committee to make public transportation available in the northern portion of the county, and is in the process of negotiating outpost social services at the North Country Outreach Center on a regular basis. While not covered in his presentation, at least two other items on his November list of challenges have been achieved. The Johnsburg Town hall has updated its telephone system to minimize lines busy and on hold problems. It has also obtained more current computer equipment and is in the process of updating town bookkeeping procedures available with up to date computer software. As final Rotary Happy Dollar items Mr. Goodspeed reported progress on the Burnt Ridge Ski Trails and lift system, and the interconnect between the Gore Mountain base Lodge and Little Gore ski facilities. At the August 5 Town Board meeting the _an Group will report their recommendations for use of the a portion of the $505,000 grant for North Creek riverfront improvements. This is in preparation for the transfer of the Waddell Property from the Open Space Institute to Warren County, and its ultimate management by the Town of Johnsburg.

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