The Village Board approved its 2014-2015 budget with a total appropriation of $2,055,220 Tuesday, April 22. The budget represents a 1.65 percent tax levy increase and a Sewer Benefit Assessment (SBA) rate of .13 percent. Village expenses are down $3,000 said village mayor Laura Hurley. 

“Revenues are down a little bit as well and we are not applying any fund balance and we are well below the tax cap,” said Hurley.

Village expenditures were reduced .1 percent. There were no need staff cuts. 

The largest reduction was in the health care costs for village employees, a saving of $10,000 a year achieved by switching to another health plan.  The village has five employees costing $45,000 a year in health insurance premiums.

Mayor Hurley said the village code, as reported on the villager website, is obsolete.  It is too challenging to have the clerk and deputy clerk keep the code updated, so an outside company will be retained to maintain the code. It will cost the village $5,700 to bring the code up to date to 2012.  Further changes in the code will be addressed later this year. 

The proposed school budget expects to spend $27,756,134 in the 2014-15 school year, an increase of $566,999 over this year’s budget.   The proposed budget will be explained at a hearing scheduled for May 12 at 7:30 p.m. at the Middle School Library.   Questions from the audience will be entertained.  The vote on the budget and on two open board positions will be held on May 20.  The proposed budget calls for a tax levy increase of 1.83 percent. 

The positions now held by Thomas Lehmkuhl and Thomas Hurley are open for reelection this year. Lehmkuhl and Hurley are the only two candidates on the ballot. There are two seats open on the BOCES board, three candidates are on the ballot including incumbents Hurley and Robert Rubin, new comer from Wappinger’s Michael Riehl.  

Superintendent Phillip D’Angelo will also give a presentation on the budget at the Parent Teacher Organization Wednesday, April 30 at 7 p.m. in the Alden Place Elementary School Library. 

FCCLA Awards 

The Tribute Garden’s Scholarship is one of the most prized awards available to students at Millbrook High School.  The scholarship is administered by the Millbrook Tribute Gardens established in 1943 to maintain the vision of the historic Thorne Family.  The Tribute Gardens annually awards two MCSD seniors a merit scholarship of $5,000 each over a four- year period.  This year’s scholarship recipients are Marissa Williams 18 and Evelyn Grainger 18 both in the top ten percent of their class. TMI caught up with them at Millbrook High School on Friday, April 25th. 

TMI: When did you enter into the MCSD? 

Evelyn: I started in Kindergarten. 

Marissa: I moved to Millbrook in fourth grade. Coming from Arlington I was used to a bigger school with a lot more people. It was nice going to a smaller school, knowing everybody.

TMI: What extra curricular activities and sports are you involved in?

Since last week’s article on the Homeland Foundation, we learned that all the directors who served with the Wyckoff’s are no longer directors.   We have been unable to learn the circumstances of their resignation nor how the new directors were chosen, but it seems the effective date of the changeover was April17. 

The new chairman is, as reported last week, Fr. Joseph Koterski, a Jesuit priest who teaches philosophy at Fordham University.  From an email from Fr. Koterski we learned that the other directors are Mark C. Henrie and Thomas Vitiello.  He also said that Thomas Donahoe is the Acting Executive Director. 

Mark Henrie has considerable exposure on conservative websites.  He held the position of Vice President and Chief Academic Officer at the Intercollegiate Studies Institute  founded in 1953 to advance conservative causes at American colleges. Bill Buckley was one of its founders.  While at that institute, Henrie edited, and the institute published, Rick Santorum’s first book “It Takes a Family.” 

Scientists have been sounding the alarm for our planet for at least several decades, but perhaps no voice has been as consistent as that of Dr. William Schlesinger of the Cary Institute. On April 25, to a packed audience, Schlesinger gave his last Friday night talk before he retires in June.

“This is my last significant public appearance. I am proud of our Friday night presentations at the Cary Institute, as well as our author and artist residencies and the WAMC Earth Minutes. I wanted to translate the complicated issues of our times so they could be better understood by the public.”

On Thursday, April 17 Barbara Pierce gave a talk describing Museum in the Streets, its historical roots and how it is coming to Millbrook.   She spoke to a crowd at the Historical Society about how Millbrook and the town of Fondi in Italy have much in common, as many of the families that constitute Millbrook came from Fondi where many still maintain close ties.

The Museum in the Streets is an International Heritage Study and bilingual program invented by Pierce’s friend Patrick Cardon. Pierce described the project as a story of international friendship and philanthropy.

The program being developed on the model of Museum in the Streets will consist of a system of self-guided tours that will explain the historical significance of sites and buildings.  Historical panels will be installed around the village that will give the historical details in both English and Italian.  They are expected to go up in October.  

Last week we reported on the Dutchess County’s plan to demolish nine buildings at the Eastern Dutchess Government Center (EDGC) in Millbrook, a facility formerly known as the Dutchess County Infirmary.  The North Wing is the only building on the site that is still occupied by county government.  Four departments use the building - the departments of probation, health, social services and mental hygiene. We here give an overview of what functions those departments perform. 

The Department of Probation has four full time staff members and eight part timers, supervised by Jane Walker.  The office helps adults and juveniles requiring probation supervision. There is an average of 60 clients per for full time officers and 25 clients per part time officers. 

The Department of Health has a staff of six at the EDGC.  They each assist two to six clients per week.  Kathy Schinella is the supervisor.  The Department of Health handles environmental matters pertaining to inspections, complaints and housing issues. 

The town board took the first look at the Town of Washington’s 2014 Comprehensive Plan Update on Monday, April 21. Councilwoman Karen Mosca made a few minor word changes and grammar corrections before town Attorney John Gifford read through the update and made comments. Gifford said that overall this is a discussion on the relationship between the comprehensive plan and the town’s zoning. Once a plan is adopted, the zoning must then be made consistent with the plan. 

Over 500 students in Dover Plains participated in its annual Earth Day celebration on Friday, April 11.  The Sharon Audubon brought an owl.  Friends of the Great Swamp (FrOGS) displayed salamanders and wood frogs.  The Wassaic Project had an art table where students could use real vegetables to make prints.  Eileen Gunning from Blue Bird Brae Farm was dressed in a beekeeping outfit with a beehive in hand.  Over 20 different local organizations participated in getting students engaged in some aspect of the environment. 

What might make Dover’s Earth Day Celebration special is that they have one at all. 

Earth Day was founded by United States Senator Gaylord Nelson and has been held every year since April 22, 1970 as an environmental and educational forum. There was this slow realization that we only have one earth said Jill Eisentein of FrOGS. In the early years Earth Day was a way to make people more aware of their environment. Littering was a big deal and many earth day activities included a neighborhood clean up. 

On Friday, April 25 at 7 p.m. William Schlesinger, President of the Cary Institute, will discuss society's most pressing environmental problems, and what needs to be done to ensure a habitable planet, now and for future generations.  His lecture, titled “If I Had a Hammer,” will cover population growth, biodiversity loss, resource depletion, climate change, and finite supplies of fossil energy.

At the heart of Schlesinger’s talk is the importance of communicating science, to both citizens and decision makers. Many of today’s environmental policies and practices could be greatly improved if they were informed by the best available science. The health of our planet – and, indeed, humanity – is at stake. As stewards of the Earth, informed citizens are essential to demanding that science underpins environmental solutions.

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