By Lourice Angie
The Warwick Town Board assembled for its annual reorganization meeting on Fri., Jan 1. Warwick Town Supervisor Michael Sweeton delivered the State of the Town address and made several appointments for the new year.
2021 State of the Town Address
Warwick Town Supervisor Michael Sweeton opened the reorganization meeting by delivering his annual State of the Town message. Sweeton recognized some of the hardships and challenges brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic that the community has endured: shutdowns, job furloughs, economic dismantling and the loss of life to many of our most vulnerable. He also highlighted the quick mobilization of the community and the efforts made to support those on the front lines including healthcare workers, first responders, delivery people and grocery workers.
Sweeton reported that, through volunteer efforts, over 200 Warwick residents were organized to provide services to the Town’s senior population. In addition, many residents supported local restaurants and shops and found creative ways to help them through these difficult times.
“Together we showed why our Town is a very special place,” Sweeton stated.
Sweeton outlined the many positive achievements of the Town’s government including renovation of the original Wisner farmhouse, located at the former Mid-Orange Correctional facility, that will help create jobs; the purchase of the 85-acre former Kutz Camp for the future recreational enjoyment of the community; the acquisition of the Town’s municipal LED streetlights from Orange & Rockland Utilities for more efficient servicing and promoting renewable energy.
“We look forward to 2021 with hope and optimism and the can-do spirit that has always been a hallmark of Warwick residents. Together we will put the dark days of 2020 behind us and continue to make this Town the best in New York State,” concluded Supervisor Sweeton.
Town Clerk Eileen Astorino appointed Carolyn Purta and Melissa as Deputy Clerks at no additional compensation to act for her during the year with powers of the Town Clerk.
The Warwick Valley Dispatch, was once again named the Official Newspaper for the Town of Warwick.
Benjamin Astorino will continue as Chairman of the Planning Board with Theodore Fink, AICP, as the Planning Consultant. The ZBA Recording Secretary is Mary Hebel and the Planning Board Engineer is HDR Engineering P.C.
The Town of Warwick Auditor is Stephen M. Brown, CPA and the Town Attorney is John D. Bollenbach, Special Counsel for the Town of Warwick include the following firms: Jacobowitz and Gubits LLP; Bluestein, Shapiro, Rich & Barone LLP; and Jaspan/Schlesinger LLP and Labor Counsel Donaghue, Thomas, Auslander & Drohan, LLP.
The Town of Warwick Marriage Officers are John Johansen, Michael J. Newhard, and Jesse Dwyer.
Animal Control Officers for the Town include Suzyn Barron, Nicole Moellman, Francesca Scala, Joan Schmick and Chad Cancel.
Town Council Liaisons
The Town Supervisor and Town Council members serve as Liaisons to each of the various Town Departments and several community organizations.
Supervisor Michael Sweeton serves as the liaison to the Planning and Zoning. Deputy Supervisor and Councilman James Gerstner is Technology Coordinator for the Town of Warwick and serves a liaison for Cable Television Regulation, Recreation Department as well as the Town Board Liaison to the Village of Warwick.
Councilman Floyd DeAngelo is the liaison for the Animal Control, Police, Airport, Friendly Visitor Program and Town Board Liaison to the Village of Greenwood Lake.
Councilman Mickey Shuback serves as liaison to the Water and Sewer Department, Recycling, Public Works, and is the Town Board Liaison to the Village of Florida.
Councilman Russel Kowal is the Town Liaison for Parks as well as Labor Management.
Town Clerk Eileen Astorino is the Claims Coordinator for the Town of Warwick.
2021 Town Budget
The 2021 Town budget was approved by the Board back in November and remained under the New York State 2% tax cap. According to Sweeton, this was achieved through the cooperation of the Town employees and with the hard work of the Town Board to continue to provide essential services in the most cost effective manner possible.
Executive Order 203
The murder of George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer resulted in an Executive Order from Governor Andrew Cuomo. Executive Order 203 (EO203) requires all municipalities to review their police policies and devise a plan to ensure that these policies treat everyone in the community with dignity, justice and fairness. The Town has convened a panel of citizens to discuss these issues and, as per the Governor’s order, a plan will be created based on those discussions. That plan will be presented to the public at a hearing early this year and submitted to the State as required.
Friendly Visitor Program Training Schedule
Throughout the Town, many older adults and those who struggle with disabilities live alone and maintain their independence. Unfortunately, some are isolated, separated from their families, or are in need of a caring friend. The Friendly Visitor Program is committed to supporting senior residents by not only helping them remain in their homes, but by matching local volunteers with residents who need support.
Training sessions will be held by reservation only, via Zoom, on Tues., Jan 12, at 3 p.m., Thurs., Jan 21, at 10 a.m., and on Tues., Jan 26, at 5:30 p.m.
For additional information or to make a reservation call 341-1173 ext. 305 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Covid- 19 Update
During the Town Board meeting on Wed., Dec 30, Supervisor Sweeton reported that after seeing a spike in positive Covid-19 cases throughout the Town during the last few weeks, those numbers have dropped by nearly half. Sweeton says that everyone seems to be doing what needs to be done to help mitigate the spread.
Orange County Executive Steve Neuhaus has been updating the Town regularly and expects that vaccines will become available to healthcare and essential workers. In communication with St. Anthony Community Hospital, the Town learned that the hospital will be dispensing the Covid-19 vaccine as it becomes readily available.
Next Town Board Meeting
The next meeting of the Warwick Town Board will be held on Thurs., Jan. 14 at 7:30 p.m. at the Town Hall, located at 132 Kings Highway, in Warwick.
A Joint Public Hearing will be held with the Village of Warwick regarding the annexation of a portion of the Village View Subdivision on Thurs., Jan. 14 at 7 p.m.
A link to join the meeting via Zoom will be posted on the Town website at www.townofwarwick.org.
The Town of Warwick is looking forward to the new year with hope and optimism. A mountain-top view of the Warwick valley as seen from Bellvale Creamery on Rt. 17A in the Town of Warwick.