Orange County News Roundup, October 21

By Yvonne Marcotte
Yvonne Marcotte
Yvonne Marcotte
October 21, 2015 Updated: October 21, 2015

A Very Brisk Hambletonian Marathon

The third running of the Hambletonian Marathon & Good Time Trotters Relay was held in Goshen on a brisk but brilliantly sunny Oct. 18. The finish line was set at the Goshen Historic Horse Track. Jim Gardner of Goshen participated as part of a relay with his wife and a friend. He ran for Team Eva Fini to find a cure for Rhett Syndrome, a severe form of autism that affects only girls.This is the third year we’ve done it for them,” he said. Kyle Lewis coaches track at Goshen High School and volunteered with some Goshen High School students on the children’s race in the morning and later handed out water and blankets. “As a coach I feel it’s good to help out in some way.”

Winning Way Ribbon Cutting

The new tunnel under Route 17 connecting the Orange Plaza and Galleria at Crystal Run was formally dedicated on Oct. 17, reported the MidHudsonNews. The tunnel and upgraded road has been open for over a week. The opening ceremony was attended by a host of past and current local and state officials. Town Supervisor Daniel Depew said the project came in on time to accommodate the holiday season. “Our goal has been to make Wallkill the cleanest, safest most convenient retail location in the Hudson Valley and this tunnel helps us move in that direction,” Depew said.

State Approves County’s Efficiency Plan

Orange County Executive Steven M. Neuhaus on Oct. 17 announced that the New York State Division of Budget has approved the county’s Government Efficiency Plan (GEP), securing property tax rebates for residents in 2016 as part of the state’s Property Tax Freeze Credit program. “The State has enacted a tax rebate plan for those communities that follow the tax cap law,” Neuhaus said. “The tax rebate helps recognize governments who have followed the tax cap. My administration is looking for efficiency in government in every way possible.”

The Property Tax Freeze Credit Program is a three-year, $1.5 billion program which provides rebate checks to homeowners for growth in property taxes. It was established in 2014 and encourages local governments and school districts to generate long-term tax relief for taxpayers by sharing services, consolidating or merging services, and demonstrating and implementing operational efficiency. Homeowners can receive refunds for both municipal government property and school taxes in 2015 if each was under the tax cap.

With the state’s approval of the county’s GEP, the county has met the first of the two requirements. The ’16 proposed budget has stayed under the property tax cap, meeting the second requirement.

PSC Approves New O&R Electric, Gas Rates

The state Public Service Committee has approved new electric and gas rates for Orange and Rockland Utilities. O&R says the new rates, approved on Oct. 16, are necessary to provide for continued safety, reliability and security of O&R’s electric and gas delivery systems. Electric rates will take effect in November and continue through October 31, 2017, reported the MidHudsonNews. Natural gas rates will take effect November 1 and continue through October 31, 2018. Under the new natural gas rates, O&R’s delivery revenues will increase $16.4 million in each year of the plan. The overall natural gas bill for a typical residential customer will increase an average of $9.67 per month.

Maloney Co-Sponsors Federal Hazmat Spill Bill

Congressman Sean Patrick Maloney (D, NY18) says a new bill he is cosponsoring, the Response Act of 2015, will help provide funds for first responders, specifically fire and hazmat teams, allowing them to acquire equipment necessary in dealing with hazmat spills, reported the MidHudsonNews on Oct. 15. The hazmat funding is focused on potential oil train car combustion or spills. “We want to do the steps necessary now to be ready if there is an accident,” Maloney said.  “I want to look at why we have so much oil moving down the Hudson Valley in the first place and what the alternatives are, but if there is no substitute, when the worst case scenario arrives, for preparation, for training, for having the right equipment.”

Maloney made his announcement at a Newburgh Fire Department training exercise on the Hudson Riverfront. Newburgh was one of 19 cities along the Hudson to receive foam cannons for combating hazmat spills and the exercise trained their first responders in the use of their new foam cannon trailer that they received Oct. 9.

Canadian Firm Buys Kolmar Labs

Kolmar Labs in Port Jervis is being acquired by KDC, The Knowlton Development Corporation headquartered in Quebec, Canada, reported the MidHudsonNews on Oct. 16. Kolmar formulates and manufactures cosmetics and skincare products. KDC President Nicholas Whitley said the Kolmar acquisition “has strong business fundamentals and significant growth prospects.” Port Jervis Mayor Kelly Decker said the purchase should bode well for the company, its employees, and the city. Kolmar is the city’s largest employee with some 500 full-time workers,

Newburgh Police to Wear Body Cams on Nov. 1

Newburgh police officers are being trained on the use of body cameras and will begin to wear them on Nov. 1, reported the MidHudsonNews. The city received 20 devices, said Chief Daniel Cameron. “In the initial 90-day pilot, we had four cameras,” Cameron said.  “One was for training and three were assigned for patrol, one per shift. We’ve gone to the next step which is 20 total cameras, which will outfit our patrol officers on each shift. So right now, the cameras have arrived; our IT department has set them up here at the police station.”

EPA Awards $91K to Warwick School District

The Warwick school district has been awarded a $91,000 grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to expand its environmental education program, one of 30 to receive the grant nationwide. Superintendent David Leach says the district hopes to raise awareness of environmental stewardship, civic responsibility and STEM education. STEM is an acronym for science, technology, engineering and math. The school district currently features two educators who teach agriculture science and the district’s schools offer a green architecture course for eighth-graders. The district hopes to address environmental concerns by improving recycling, starting a composting program and organizing trips and other environmental-based activities for students.

From The Associated Press


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