Jeanne Walsh began her fifth consecutive term as Town of Rosendale supervisor on January 1 — this time for four years instead of the previous two, local voters having handily approved a ballot referendum this past November to increase the length of the terms of both the supervisor and the highway superintendent. As in years past, major infrastructure overhauls will continue to occupy the bulk of Walsh’s attention in 2020. Several of these, including water and sewer system upgrades, represent the final steps in multiyear projects addressing flood damage from Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee way back in 2011. A streetlight replacement initiative that was a pet project of former Rosendale councilwoman Jen Metzger, now serving in the State Senate, is expected to see completion this year as well.
As town supervisor, what are your immediate priorities that you want to see addressed early in 2020?
I hope to see the water meter installation project completed early in 2020. We still have some meters left to install of the 550 meters that were purchased to help make the Rosendale water system more efficient. These meters will help residents to identify leaks early and will mean less time involved in the reading of meters.
What else is on your wish list to complete or initiate by the end of the year?
I still have a few more infrastructure projects on my list of things I want to see completed in Rosendale. We plan to get our new water tower under construction this year, and hope to complete this project by early 2021. The renovation and upgrading of our sewer plant are to begin this year. This is a much-needed project to make our sewer plant a more resilient plant during storms, and to upgrade equipment that has long needed replacing.
We are expecting to purchase all of our streetlights from Central Hudson and sign a contract early in 2020 with the New York Power Authority to replace all of our streetlights with LED lighting. This is expected to save our taxpayers more than $40,000 per year in rentals and energy costs for street lighting.
We will finish making our Recreation Center a better shelter by installing a permanent generator for the bathhouse, which was renovated to be able to be year-round when needed to provide a place for showers and bathrooms when power outages are not resolved quickly. A generator will be installed at the lower James Street sewer lift station to ensure the lift station continues to run during power outages.
What should Rosendale residents be aware of that’s likely to become an issue for them in 2020, or where their input to town leaders would be especially valuable?
I cannot say any one thing is more of a concern, but I welcome input from our residents and encourage them to attend Town Board meetings to see what we are working on and to give their input to the Town Board.
Everyone in public office occasionally faces unanticipated challenges and has to get creative. Has there been any takeaway lesson from such a situation in the past that you feel will be helpful to you in coping with future challenges?
It has been my experience that we must always be creative to solve the challenges we face in running town government. It is my promise that I will do my best to serve the Rosendale residents and to meet these challenges to the best of my ability.