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Mayor Hurley Absent, A gag order in effect

Thu Aug 18th, 2016

Deputy Mayor Joe Spagnola, presiding in the absence of Mayor Laura Hurley, when asked to comment on Mayor Hurley’s ability to perform her duties said, “No, we’re not going to do that and we’ve made the comment that we’re going to make.  That will be the last comment we will make until further notice.”

Mayor Hurley is being investigated for misappropriation of funds from the Town of Washington account in 2015 when she was the town’s bookkeeper.  Though she has called to order village meetings until quite recently, the mayor was not present the evening of August 11.  

In early August, the Board of Trustees notified the Poughkeepsie Journal, which broke the story of the investigation, saying that it is aware of the complaint filed by the Town of Washington against Hurley.  Spagnola could not say whether the mayor is considering an official leave of absence. He later confirmed that the decision to say nothing was made by village’s attorney who imposed what might be called a “gag order”.  

The village’s bookkeeping is stalled due to her unofficial absence.  While Treasurer Rodney Brown has the bill paying and finances in hand, he is having trouble squaring the general ledger in order to close the 2016 fiscal report.  This needs to be accomplished before a previously planned migration to a new financial management system.  When asked what was the hold up, after much circumlocution, Brown finally said, “We’re missing the mayor.  Her help is instrumental in shutting the year down.”  

In other news from the meeting, the village is going ahead with its plan to drill a new well to alleviate the problem of ground water affecting the public water supply.  A permit has recently been awarded to drill a test well and a bid has been accepted.   The village expects to begin drilling by the second week of September.  

Flow testing for fire hydrants to rate and label them according to how many gallons per minutes they produce has been temporarily stalled due to objections by homeowners over the copious amounts of water released.  “[Testing] has been put on hold for right now with all of the complaints…until we figure out a better way to do it and a better time,” said the village water manager, Scott Osborne.  

Stan Morse, Chair of the Planning Board, reported that permits have been given for two new restaurants.  The board gave approval for Canoe Hill restaurant to open after dealing with easements belonging to the neighboring Millbrook Diner.  It also gave approval to open Maura’s Kitchen, which will be owned and operated by the local Mackey family. The restaurant plans to be open five days a week from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.  On Friday and Saturday they will stay open until midnight.  Resident Andy Ciferri expressed his concern over late hours and noise of a bar in a residential area.  He asked the board to re-open the public hearing for the restaurant.  His request was denied. 

The village has been under the impression for years that they owned the lower dam on the millpond.  A recent DEC letter states that the Village of Millbrook owns only a small portion of the dam and that a neighbor owns the rest. A title search, however, says that Millbrook owns the dam.  The structure shows up on neither deed.  Both the village and the neighbor have received an engineer’s assessment violation from the DEC.  The village accepted a bid for survey to investigate who actually owns it.  This will determine who bears the financial responsibility of repair and upkeep. 

The public works department will oil and stone Elm Drive after school begins on Friday, September 9th, weather permitting.  The school will be notified.  Due to fast drying times that allow vehicles to drive on the road surface within half an hour of paving, there should be little interruption to traffic. 

The Millbrook Police Department reported that it issued four parking tickets and two traffic tickets, assisted State Police three times, assisted the Fire Department and EMS nine times, and made seven arrests, including disorderly conduct, drug possession, and domestic disturbances.