Woodstock offices to get overhaul in 2020

Sworn in: Laura Ricci, Mike Reynolds, Jackie Earley, Lynn Sehwerert, Bill McKenna, Reggie Earls and Maria-Elena Conte. (Photo by Hilary Sanders-McKenna)

New, accessible town offices are on the immediate horizon as Supervisor Bill McKenna looks ahead at 2020.

Now that most major projects — Town Hall, the Community Center, Mill Hill Road — are out of the way, the Comeau Drive offices are touted as the last one to be tackled for quite some time. A $2.3 million renovation of the town offices and supervisor’s cottage on Comeau Drive will bring departments to the first floor, where they are accessible to the handicapped, freeing up the second floor for meeting and conference space.

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The town plans to bond $2 million to cover the major costs. Engineering, furniture, construction management and other incidental expenses total about $300,000. McKenna said the town will hold a public vote on the bond in February at the main meeting room where a model and project description will be available for public viewing.

McKenna said although the public will vote whether to allow up to $2 million in bonding, there’s a possibility it will be less thanks to savings from the prior year.

Designed by Walker Architecture of Woodstock, renovations to the main building will include a 2,500-square-foot addition in the rear to house the department offices, including Planning, Building and the Assessor’s office and an employee lunchroom. Computer equipment will be moved to the basement to make it more secure. The existing structures will be retrofitted with modern, energy-efficient windows, better insulation and an improved HVAC system.

Construction is planned to begin in May or June.

Reed beds, grantsm STR regs

The only other project that should come to fruition, finally, is the reed beds at the wastewater treatment plant.

Planned for several years, the reed beds should eliminate the need to transport sludge to the Albany area for further treatment and save significant money. “They found reeds in Nebraska. Then they had to do DNA testing,” McKenna said. “It’s been a very extensive process.”

Reed beds are used to de-water and further filter sludge from treatment plants. The project hit delays because the Department of Environmental Conservation requires the phragmites, a species of tall grass used in the beds, to be native and tests to be done to be sure no invasive species are introduced.

“We’re also going to be spending more money on grants,” McKenna said. His confidential secretary, Ashley Slovensky, and Heather Eighmey, secretary to Highway Superintendent Mike Reynolds, have taken classes on grant writing so the town can take advantage of state and federal funding available.

“I’m eager to get the recommendations from the committees borne out of the Comprehensive Plan,” McKenna said. The Communications Infrastructure committee will issue its report soon and the Housing Committee recently made recommendations to the Town Board.

“I continue to work with our employees and boards to maintain our smart, tight fiscal oversight,” McKenna said. “We had a decent savings this year on the budget.”

This year, the town will realize full implementation of the short-term rental regulations to foster safety and put a cap on such spaces to strike a balance with year-round housing.

McKenna said he also recommendations from the Zoning Revision Committee, another panel spawned from the Comprehensive Plan, by year’s end or early next year.

Organizational meeting

As part of its yearly business, the Town Board made the following appointments to boards, commissions and departments:

Alex Bolotow and Julia Blelock, Woodstock Environmental Commission through December 2022;

Erin Moran, Climate Smart Task Force coordinator;

Mike Castiglione to Zoning Board of Appeals through December 2024 and Jeff Collins as alternate through December 2020;

Maria Mendoza, ZBA chair for 2020;

Judith Kerman, Planning Board through December 2026;

Peter Cross, Planning Board Chair for 2020;

Joan Elliot, Commission for Civic Design through December 2021;

Richard Heppner, Town Historian for 2020;

Jeff Viglielmo, Kathy Longyear and Lisa Bonk, Comeau Stewardship Advisory Committee through December 2021;

Jeff Viglielmo, CSAC chair;

Iris York, Ethics Board through December 2022;

Salvador Altamirano-Segura, Terry Lover, Anula Courtis to Human Rights Commission through 2021;

Anula Courtis, HRC chair;

Scott Boneseel, Heather Eighmey; Deputy Highway Superintendents;

Ralph Van Kleeck, Highway Shop Supervisor;

Lynn Sehwerert, Michelle Sehwerert, Deputy Town Clerks;

HIPPA Officer, Pamela Boyle;

Emergency Disaster Relief Coordinator, Fire Chief Kevin Peters.

The following were appointed liaisons to various departments, organizations and committees:

Ken Panza, Ulster County Climate Smart Communities and supervisor’s technology advisor;

Lorin Rose, Woodstock Land Conservancy, tv studio and Woodstock Fire Department;

Reggie Earls, Comeau Stewardship Advisory Committee, Senior Recreation Committee and Farmer’s Market;

Laura Ricci, Woodstock Library, Environmental Commission, Tree Committee, Complete Streets Committee and Zoning Revision Commitee;

Richard Heppner, Woodstock Chamber of Arts and Commerce, Housing Committee, Commission for Civic Design, Cemetery Committee, Volunteer of the Year Committee

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