INFRASTRUCTURE – ROADS
The NYS Consolidated Local Street and Highway Improvement Program (“CHIPS”) provides funds for the Village to make capital improvements to our roads and the equipment used for road maintenance. All improvements and equipment must have a useful life of at least 10 years to qualify.
We started this season with $166K available from NYS. Since then, we’ve spent $33K to repave Cullen Lane and $66K to repave Bennett Commons Way and Exmore Lane. We plan to use an additional $20K to replace the tractor used to clear snow from village sidewalks and $5500 to replace one of the snow plows that go onto our dump trucks. That leaves a little over $40K remaining which we intend to keep until it’s supplemented by our next allocation (any unspent funds roll over and are not “lost”). Highway Superintendent Bob Collocola is working with Peckham Industries to prioritize and dollarize future road repaving plans.
INFRASTRUCTURE – WALLS, SIDEWALKS, SEWER TREATMENT
We have initiated 3 significant capital improvement projects which all told will require many years to complete.
1) The retaining wall that holds up Harts Village Road is in need of repair. We’ve already had the wall concrete tested and it was found to be solid but a study by Delaware Engineering concluded that the parging material and the expansion joints need to be replaced to prevent a “cosmetic” issue from becoming a “structural” one. We have asked Delaware to go out to bid so we can determine how much this project will cost and if there are any available grants to assist with funding.
2) We just approved $10,500 for Rennia Engineering Design, PLLC to develop a prioritized work scope and cost estimate to redo village sidewalks. In most cases this will include the removal and replacement of trees which are the primary cause of the damaged sidewalks. Once we have Rennia’s report, we will be able to seek grants to address this pedestrian safety issue.
3) Now that we have completed the $2.5M upgrade to our water treatment and delivery system, we must address deficiencies in our aging waste water treatment plant. Because Delaware Engineering did such an excellent job overseeing the water upgrades, we have asked them to kickoff the sewer project, starting with a proposal to NYS for a grant to cover 90% of the cost of the engineering report which will identify necessary renovations and the expected cost of each. The grant request will be submitted this month.
AMERICAN RESCUE FUNDS
Earlier this year Congress passed the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021. The Village of Millbrook’s portion of this $1.9T economic stimulus bill is $144K, to be paid out by NYS in 2 installments – this Fall and then a year later. We have not factored this money, or any possible funding from the Infrastructure bill which is now being debated by Congress, into our funding plans of the above 3 projects, but all of them would be eligible to use such funds.
THORNE BUILDING & BENNETT COLLEGE
Hopefully, you’ve seen the announcement about the Millbrook Community Partnership which is a newly formed 501c (3) that encompasses both the renovation of the Thorne Building into a community center and the replacement of Bennett College with a park. The group's goal is to raise $20M ($15M for the Thorne building & $5M for the park, including college demolition), but they wish to start the work next month. The transfer of the Thorne building and bandshell property should be completed this month and Chief Enforcement Officer Ken McLaughlin is working with the Partnership’s engineering firm to get the proper NYS approvals in place to allow demolition of the college, possibly starting this year. The Partnership is scheduling a meeting this month to share the project plans with the community. Details will be sent out via GovDelivery (the same way in which you receive this newsletter).
TENNIS COURTS & GAZEBO
Donations-to-date now exceed $23K and we have solicited quotes to fix the cracks, resurface the courts and repair the surrounding fence from 4 contractors, all of whom said that they won’t be able to do the work until next season. If you would like to donate, please visit villageofmillbrook.com/tennis for more information.
A survey by Bly & Houston LLP showed that the Gazebo which is adjacent to the tennis courts is solely owned by MCSD. Because of safety concerns with the structure, the school district has encased the Gazebo with mesh fencing until they decide what to do about it.
HBO FILMING IN MILLBROOK
You may have read about the filming of the movie, “The White House Plumbers”, in the cities of Beacon and Poughkeepsie. The production also plans to come to Millbrook from 8/23 to 8/25 for a day of filming in the Millbrook Diner and vicinity. On the 24th there will be no parking along Franklin between Church & Front Streets, and 5 large production trucks will occupy spaces nearby. Set up and take down will occur on the 23rd and 25th, respectively. Millbrook High School will be used for parking of the production team as well as make up and costuming. I consider the 24th to be a tentative date since it just moved from July to August due to various delays in production.
NYS STATE OF EMERGENCY – CANCELED
Effective 6/24/2021, NYS has ended the state of emergency due to COVID-19. This means that Open Meeting Law requirements are now back in effect which is why last Wednesday’s Board of Trustee meeting was held in-person for the first time in over a year. While masks were recommended for those who have not been vaccinated, there is no mandate requiring such. However, in order to allow social distancing, we will be holding all future meetings at the Millbrook Firehouse on the 2nd Wednesday of the month at 6PM. All residents are welcome to attend. The meetings are being recorded and put on our website within the same week but we have yet to discover how to broadcast live on Ch 22 from the firehouse.
Although the state of emergency has ended, NYS continues to allow sidewalk dining through next year if approved by local municipalities. The Village board supports such requests from local restaurants and provides individual guidelines to ensure the safety of both diners and pedestrians.
MEET THE STAFF
Now that all trustees and full-time employees have been introduced in the Newsletter, I wish to showcase our part-time police officers, starting next month.