Moriah supervisor looks back, ahead

PORT HENRY Moriah town officials are pleased with 2007, but they arent about to rest. 2008 promises to be a busy year. I think we made some major improvements in the town last year, Supervisor Tom Scozzafava said. It was a lot of hard work by the town board and town employees, but thats our job. I think our community is a better place today than it was a year ago; thats our goal. A highlight of 2007 may well be a highlight of 2008. Moriah officials secured more than $1 million in grant funding to construct a new health center at the industrial park in Mineville. That health center, which will be operated by Hudson Headwaters Health Network, is scheduled to open in February. Without the IDA (Essex County Industrial Development Agency) and Hudson Headwaters, Sen. (Betty) Little, (Assemblywoman) Teresa Sayward and Congressman (John) McHugh this project would not have been possible, Scozzafava said. This community will have a new health facility that will serve them for many years to come. The past year also marked the opening of Macs Market in Port Henry. Moriah had been without a grocery store for several years since Tops closed. Working with the village of Port Henry board, the Essex County IDA and Barb Brassard from the Empire Zone we were able to fill the empty Tops store, Scozzafava said. Macs Market from Vermont purchased the store and we once again have a grocery store in our community. There were many days that I recall thinking that we would never have a (grocery) store again, as the Wal-Mart 18 miles away scared every supermarket we contacted, he added. I hope this community supports not only Macs, but all our local businesses. Scozzafava also noted the 2007 completion of a new joint village-town waste water treatment plant, replacement of Crowfoot bridge, improvements to the senior citizen center, highway work on Edgemont and Harry Allen roads and securing grants for water line replacement on Wasson Street and replacement of the mine yard sewer pump station. 2007 was a very busy year at both the town and county, Scozzafava said. The one thing about this job, you can be as busy as you make it. If you go after grants and are successful, you have just piled a lot of additional work on both yourself and the office staff. I know that some feel that grant dollars are still tax dollars, and this is true, but if we do not go after these dollars they will go somewhere else and we would have to do these needed projects through local property tax dollars, he continued. If I did not try to secure this money, I feel that I would not be doing my best for the people that elected me. In 2008 Moriah will celebrate its bicentennial. Itll be a great celebration, Scozzafava said. We have a committee working very hard to plan events. Im looking forward to it. Moriah officials will also be forced to deal with its court house and highway garage in 2008 and have plans to complete an erosion project at Bulwagga Bay campsite. The Moriah court house, located adjacent to the town hall at Park Place in Port Henry, does not meet state codes for handicap accessibility, safety or security, Scozzafava said. It needs to be replaced. The town highway garage is 40 years old fails to meet all the needs of the highway department. Its also very energy inefficient, Scozzafava noted. In 2006 it cost $6,515 to heat the highway garage; in 2007 the bill was $15,524. Scozzafava would like to place wood furnace in the building. These are issues that arent going to go away, the supervisor said. We have to face them and normally the longer you put things off the more they end up costing. Weve got some hard choices to make. But while financial pressures are expected to grow, Scozzafava said the town board is committed to keeping taxes in check. The most difficult part of our job is property tax, he said. There are a lot of wonderful programs and services, but they cost money. Its always a question of doing the best we can with what we can afford.

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