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Ancram parties first, then gets to work


ANCRAM—The Town Board started the New Year off by sitting down with about 30 townspeople for a heart- and belly-warming community potluck supper, January 5.

Bundled-up Ancramites hurried out of the cold and into the Town Hall with their steaming casseroles and crock pots, pie plates and cookie tins, which they placed for all to share on a table in a corner of the main meeting room.

Pasta was the comfort food of choice this winter night with a least a couple of versions of macaroni and cheese, macaroni with meat sauce, Monica Cleveland’s baked ziti and Adrienne Citrin’s sesame noodles.

There were baked beans, beets, Jean Brant’s Swedish meatballs and of course, Supervisor Art Bassin’s signature venison chili.

For those with room for dessert, Leah Wilcox’s plum cake hit the spot along with Sheila Clark’s cranberry pie with walnuts, an all-purpose pastry suitable for breakfast, afternoon tea or dessert; zucchini bread, fruit salad with yogurt sauce and cookies of all description.

The Town Board’s year-end meeting got underway at 7 p.m. with the most pressing business of the evening—announcing the winners of the town’s first-ever Holiday Light Extravaganza.

Highway Superintendent Jim “Sparkles” MacArthur, who headed a team of experts (him and his wife) for the judging, did the honors.

Seven light displays were entered. The top three finishers received gift baskets and the remaining four earned honorable mention certificates. Tom Miller received the top award, Christopher Waite second prize and Mary Faith Boice third place. Jack Seiber, Les McCarthy, Terry Bryant and the Ancramdale Presbyterian Church rounded out the illuminated field.

Two “special” honors were awarded. One went to Avery “Prope” Dietter, the “Mayor” of Ancramdale, for having the most ideas about Christmas decorating “which aren’t very good,” Mr. MacArthur quipped. The other, “The Bah Humbug Award,” went to Jean Brant for an apparent lack of lighting enthusiasm this year as compared to prior years.

“That place was so depressing I hated to drive by it,” joked Mr. MacArthur.

On to more mundane matters, Supervisor Bassin announced that the Town received $154,000 in CHIPs (state Consolidated Highway Improvement Program) money and ended the year with a reserve cash balance of about $630,000 after prepaying the full $288,000 outstanding principal and interest on the highway garage loan.

The Town’s Financial Advisory Council recommended and the Town Board agreed to hire RG Preusser to audit the town’s 2014 books and records for $6,000. The board approved updated purchasing and financial control policies and processes, but tabled approval of an employee handbook until the town attorney can comment on it.

At its organization meeting, the board adopted a long list of resolutions, appointments and designations, among them:

  • The Columbia Paper as the Town’s Official Newspaper along with the Register-Star.
  • Other designations included: Official Town Bank/Depository Bank of Greene County; Town Justices Depository Key Bank; Town Clerk Depository Bank of Greene County; Town Tax Collector Depository Bank of Greene County; Official Dog Kennels Columbia Greene Humane Society, Pondviews Country Kennels; Temporary local dog shelters to be determined.
  • Appointments: Budget Officer Art Bassin; Deputy Town Supervisor Jim Miller; Town Attorneys John Lyons, Jason Shaw, Elena Defio-Kane; Town Engineers Morris Associates, CT Male; Town Historian Clara Van Tassel; Deputy Town Historian Robin Massa; Town Hall Building Manager George Wittlinger; Deputy Town Hall Building Manager Ruth Wittlinger; Town Assessor Ken Leggett (appointed through September 2019); Assessor’s clerk Mary Boice; Building Inspector, Zoning Enforcement and Code Enforcement officer Ed Ferratto; Deputy Building Inspector/ZEO/CEO to be determined; Clerks for Building Inspector/ZEO/CEO Marie McDermott, Colleen Lutz; Animal Control Officer Wes Powell; Emergency Preparedness Plan Coordinator to be determined; Registrar of Vital Statistics Monica Cleveland; Records Management Officer Monica Cleveland; Clerk of the Town Court Ruth Wittlinger; Deputy Clerk of the Town Court Colleen Lutz; Planning Board Secretary Colleen Lutz; Zoning Board of Appeals Clerk Colleen Lutz; Deputy Town Clerk Ruth Wittlinger; Assistant Deputy Town Clerk Colleen Lutz; Deputy Tax Collector Ruth Wittlinger; Kids’ Summer Camp Director Ruth Thomas; Head lifeguard Johanna Boice and Town Accountant Brian Fitzgerald.

For a complete list of 2015 designations, resolutions, appointments, boards and committees visit the Town’s website at:

The Town Board meets next Thursday, January 15 starting at 6.45 p.m. with a public hearing on a proposed revised subdivision law.


To contact Diane Valden email


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