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Germantown determined to pursue dog poop perps


GERMANTOWN—When it comes to cleaning up after their pooches, dog walkers here do two-thirds of the job.

They take one of the bags provided by the town.

They use the bag to clean up after their dog.

But then, instead of throwing the bag into the trash can provided by the town, they toss it along the tree line of the town campus on Palatine Park Road.

Anthony Cidras, maintenance director and dog control officer, reported this offense—to the health, ambience and law of the town—at Monday’s Town Board meeting. The result was that in the last month, in addition to overseeing a National Grid lighting audit of town buildings, finishing an overhaul of the kitchen in the Kellner Community Activities Center, regularly checking the pond’s new aeration system and filling the soda machine at the town highway garage, Mr. Cidras picked up other people’s bags of dog poop.

Mr. Cidras was not happy about this. “They are breaking the law, and as dog control officer, I will issue them an appearance ticket,” he said firmly.

When Councilman Don Westmore suggested a new sign on the bag dispenser that would direct disposal into the trash can, Mr. Cidras objected. “There are already so many signs” on town property, he said. “We have to tell people not to walk on thin ice [on the pond] and now we have to tell them what to do with the dog bags?”

The problem was not solved at the meeting and, speaking for the Parks & Recreation Commission, Andrea Dunn reported that inside the town’s dog run the situation is even worse. There, dog owners ignore both the bag dispenser and the trash can, and leave their dogs’ droppings on the ground inside the run.

In other business, the board:

—Gave Supervisor Roy Brown unanimous approval to sign a contract with National Grid to replace town lighting for brighter lights at lower wattage and lower cost. The contract, the result of the lighting audit, was due before the March board meeting with a 10-day decision deadline

The contract arrived Tuesday and Mr. Brown signed it. The town opted for 24-month interest-free payment plan, so there is no upfront cost. The estimated annual savings are 67,000 kilowatt hours per year and $7,400 per year, with a payback period of four years, Mr. Brown said Tuesday

—Learned from Mr. Brown that on Thursday, March 7, at 7 p.m. a public presentation on New York State’s new SAFE Act takes place in the Kellner Center. An outside group, Hudson Valley Americans for Freedom ( is holding the meeting and requested use of the activities building, which is available for public meetings

—Held a 30-minute executive session “for matters leading to the appointment, employment, discipline, suspension, dismissal or removal of a particular person for the Town of Germantown.” Mr. Brown said Tuesday that there was nothing to report from the session and probably would not be for another couple of months

—Approved unanimously the appointment of Ellen Jouret-Epstein, community projects manager at the Columbia Land Conservancy, as town representative on the Columbia County Environmental Management Council. Ms. Jouret-Epstein replaces Frances Szasz, who retired after “decades” in the post

—Learned from Bruce Bohnsack that the Economic Development Committee meets next on March 9 at 9 a.m. in the GTel conference room, and will at that time set its goals for the year. The town’s two new information kiosks are being built, on schedule for spring installation

—Learned from Mr. Brown that he and Dean Knox, director of the county Engineering Department, was scheduled to meet with state Department of Transportation officials in Albany February 27 to discuss where the town stands on rights-of-way for new sidewalks. The town received a reimbursement check for $131,000 for sidewalk preparation work done to date and will roll that over into the matching funds it needs for the sidewalk project

—Heard from Ms. Dunn that the Parks Commission meets next on March 4 at 3:30 p.m. in the GTel conference room and plans a fund-raising sub sale in the Kellner Center on April 5, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 4 to 6 p.m.

—Learned that Little League sign-ups are March 16, from 9 a.m. to noon in the Kellner Center, Palatine Park Road

—Learned that the town still has the following needs: members for the Zoning Board of Appeals (two) and the Planning Board (one, for either call 518 537-6687 x 310), and drivers for Meals on Wheels (call 518 673-5323)

—Learned that the town’s new website is up, and Mr. Westmore is in charge of the calendar; meeting and event dates should be sent to

All board members except Michael Mortenson and an audience of about a dozen attended the meeting. The next meeting is Monday, March 18, at 7 p.m.


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