The positivity rate in Dutchess County has now increased from a low of .2% in June to over 4% so far in August (not good, but still below January’s high of 9%). While the development and deployment of the various COVID vaccines are an amazing success story, only 55% of Dutchess County residents are fully vaccinated to-date even though NYS reports that vaccinated people are 75% less likely to become infected and 90% less likely to require hospitalization, if infected.
Despite these latest trends, last month NYS cancelled the COVID-19 state of emergency which is why we returned to in-person board meetings (as required by the NYS Open Meeting Law). However, we moved the meetings from the Village Hall to the Firehouse so that we can spread out more ("socially distance") in a room which has much better circulation. But we’ve found that the acoustics are not good with our current microphone system (especially with the AC running) and so we’ve used $5K from a Tribute Gardens donation to purchase a new setup with an intelligent mic system that will also allow us to Zoom the meeting live to those who prefer not to attend in-person. We expect this new system to be ready for our September board meeting on Tuesday, 9/14 at 6 PM (please note the date change due to a conflict).
Although the state-of-emergency has been cancelled, NYS passed a law that continues to allow restaurants to use sidewalks and streets for outside dining. The Village will continue to support our local businesses who wish to take advantage of this law while ensuring the safety of pedestrians and diners.
Millbrook Community Day is still scheduled for September 18th but, because of the recent increase in COVID cases, the board decided to meet at the end of this month in a public meeting with the Millbrook Business Association to look at the latest COVID trends and safety recommendations. Meeting details will be announced next week.
The First Harvest Pantry
Lyall Church announced that every Tuesday through October from 8 AM to 10 AM, they are setting up tables in their parking lot with fresh, donated produce for local residents who may be in need of such. Donations are welcome as well, and produce is given out by Volunteer Debby on a "first-come, first-serve" basis.
Millbrook Community Partnership
On 7/29, the leadership of the Millbrook Community Partnership presented their plans to transform Bennett College and the Thorne Building into Bennett Park and the Thorne Building Community Center in the coming years. The presentation was well-received by a full house of interested residents and, for those who could not attend, is also posted on our youtube channel. Demolition of Bennett College could start as early as this month now that permits have been approved by NYS.
On August 17, 2021 the title of the Thorne Building was transferred from the Village of Millbrook to the Thorne Memorial Building, LLC.
HBO Filming in Millbrook
On 8/5, an HBO production company was in Millbrook filming scenes for their upcoming movie, "The Whitehouse Plumbers", using both the Millbrook Diner and Reardon Briggs Hardware stores. Note that this was a change from their originally-scheduled 8/24 filming date and we worked with HBO to notify the businesses of the change ASAP. However, on the 5th they were only able to get 1 of the 3 scenes shot, so they are planning to return to Millbrook this Friday, 8/20 to finish the shooting. Once again Franklin Avenue will be closed periodically between Church and Front Streets from about 7 AM to 9 PM and Millbrook Police will be at both ends of the shutdown to direct pedestrian and vehicle traffic. While this has been very good PR for the Village, some business owners were not happy with the impacts on their customers, workers and deliveries during the 5th. HBO is responding to each issue so that there should be minimal impact on the affected businesses this week.
|There will be NO PARKING on FRANKLIN AVE
starting 8:00 PM THURSDAY 8/19 until 9:00 PM FRIDAY 8/20
FRANKLIN AVE will be CLOSED PERIODICALLY to traffic on
FRIDAY 8/20 from 7:00 AM to 9:00 PM
NYS Marijuana Law
Effective earlier this year, NYS has legalized adult-use of cannabis, and provided for the licensure of producers, distributors and retailers of marijuana throughout the state. Municipalities have until the end of this year to decide if they wish to "opt-out" of allowing cannabis dispensaries or lounges within their boundaries. If a municipality "opts-out" in time, it can "opt-in" at a later date. However, if a municipality does not "opt-out" by 12/31/2021, then it cannot "opt-out" in the future. Therefore, the Village Board will review a resolution at the September board meeting which will propose a Local Law to "opt-out". This will be followed by a public hearing at the October meeting. However, please don’t wait for the public hearing to let us know your thoughts on this topic.
Millbrook Police Update
The Millbrook Police are investigating a recent series of break ins within the village, so they ask that everyone stay vigilant in locking vehicles and homes. As always, if you see something suspicious, please call the police ASAP at 845-677-8200.
The new police vehicle is now fully equipped and on the road, allowing us to retire the 10-year-old car. We continue monthly monitoring of our progress against the Police Reform and Modernization Plan which we instituted earlier this year. Using money from our consolidated trust fund account (outside of our budget), we plan to spend $5K to purchase 2 mobile speed signs that can be mounted on telephone poles, flash actual vehicle speeds and keep a log of speed data for later review.
In order to give the board insight into future capital requirements, we’ve asked every department head to compile a list of all assets of value over $5K and forecast whether it will need to be replaced within the next 5 years. We’ll update this every year henceforth as part of our budget process so that we can (a) use our budget process to look out past the next fiscal year, and (b) seek opportunities to combine asset expenditures into consolidated grant requests.
Ten years ago, the buried oil tanks outside the Village Hall were found to be leaking and one of the tools used to clean up the contaminated soil was an oil/water separator that’s since been sitting idle in the Hall basement. We contacted AAR Auctions in Pleasant Valley who was able to sell it on-line in a matter of weeks for a $900 profit. We’re now looking for other unusable/0-value assets to sell.
The Village of Millbrook Code contains all of the local laws that govern the residents, employees, officers and businesses of the village. About 18 months ago, the Board of Trustees started a detailed review of the Code and identified a plethora of outdated and incorrect laws on our books and we have been proceeding through a page-by-page review of the 45 chapters in our current code. At last week’s board meeting, we completed the public hearing and passed 4 resolutions which covered updates to 7 chapters in the code. Details are posted under our website’s Zoom link of the 8/11 meeting. We now have 2 teams of trustees who will work with the relevant department heads to review and update the chapters on Water & Sewer and Vehicles & Traffic. Status will be provided at our monthly board meetings and, once ready, each will go through the months’-long, multistep process (resolution-to-proceed, public hearing, SEQR, resolution-to-adopt) to revise the local law.