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Andy Stewart, Orangetown Supervisor

Happy New Year! My first two-year term as Town Supervisor is half over, so let’s take a look at a few big issues for 2012 and 2013. I’ve organized around the basic themes of Your Money, Your Voice and Your Town.

• YOUR MONEY
We beat the NYS 2% tax cap in both 2012 and 2013 budgets, with a plan to actually reduce spending in 2013 below that of 2012 —an extremely rare thing in government! Kudos to our department heads, concerned citizens and my fellow members of the Town council for supporting this process.

• YOUR VOICE
The Orangetown Open House expanded to include all Town departments as well as citizen committees, and featured a presentation and discussion of the Town budget. Well-informed public participation is absolutely critical to good government. Thank you to all who took part—and remember—you can read The Nyack Villager, Patch.com, and Our Town for free—among other local news outlets that cover Orangetown.

• YOUR TOWN
The redevelopment of Orangeown’s 350 acres of former NYS land will create new tax ratables, public parks, jobs and services. Important steps in 2012 have included, first, a vigorous debate about the costs and viability of Broadacres Golf Course, 65 acres of the RPC site that I believe ought to be considered for redevelopment. Second, NYS committed to partnering with the Town to jointly promote our lands for redevelopment. Third, the updated 30 page RPC Redevelopment Plan will serve as a tool for public participation, planning and marketing efforts.

Find it at www.orangetown.com and please let me know your thoughts.

Here are a few of my plans for 2013:

• YOUR MONEY
1) Every ton of recyclables Orangetown collects brings a $32 rebate from the Solid Waste Authority, totaling about $80k/year, but this revenue has been flat in recent years. In 2013, we’ll pursue increasing revenues from recycling and further reduce the cost of garbage disposal, helping the environment and putting money in your pocket.

2) The escalating cost of municipal labor poses a terrible dilemma for strapped taxpayers and conscientious elected officials. We recognize the absolute necessity of public safety, sanitation, recreation and other Town services. Yet we must ask our Town workers—who are our neighbors—to pay a greater portion of the costs of health insurance and other benefits. Otherwise, local government will simply become unsupportable and all will suffer.

• YOUR VOICE
With a $300,000 grant from Verizon and Cablevision we are finally buying and installing the computers and cameras needed to broadcast pre-taped content 24/7 in addition to the live broadcast of Town meetings. Let’s load up the Town public access TV channels with great locally-generated programs featuring your neighbors, your leaders and your issues. Call me if you would like to help with this exciting project.

• YOUR TOWN
The promotion of sustainable economic development is a major focus of the Supervisor’s office. Pfizer recently leased two large laboratory buildings, Fedex built a distribution center on Rte 303 and the Orangeburg Commons supermarket/hotel site is under construction after long delay in 2011. We’ll also see major safety improvements on Rte. 303 by Erie St. in Blauvelt, a new bridge over the Sparkill Creek in Tappan, and new sidewalks in Palisades. Underground, the Town will continue to find and plug leaks in the sewer system in order to protect against overflows into the Hudson River and into peoples’ basements.

Please send your comments to supervisor@orangetown.com and sign up for the Town e-mail alert at
www.orangetown.com.
Have a joyous New Year!

Andrew Y. Stewart, PhD, Town Supervisor,Town of Orangetown, 26 Orangeburg Rd Orangeburg, NY 10962
845.359.5100 ext 2261 845.359.2623 FAX E-mail astewart@orangetown.com