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Incoming Ancram super asks public to get involved

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ANCRAM–Once we’ve won, what do we do?

That’s the question town Supervisor-elect Art Bassin, his running mates and campaign advisors asked themselves when they realized they might actually have a chance of winning the election.

The upshot of their strategy sessions was the scheduling of Transition Planning Meetings set for three Mondays, December 14, 21 and 28, all at 7 p.m., leading up to the January 4 Town Board organization meeting.

In a phone interview Tuesday, Mr. Bassin noted the surprise of many town residents when at the last organization meeting, the Town Board suddenly and inexplicably removed and replaced the people who chaired the Planning and Zoning boards.

It is Mr. Bassin’s intention and that of incoming and current Town Board members to conduct town business in a more open manner and to let the public contribute to the discussion, so there’s “no mystery, no suspicion.” The officials hope that by the time the organization meeting rolls around everybody knows what’s going on.

The sessions will solicit the concerns, thoughts and suggestions of townspeople about the issues facing the town, the composition of boards and committees, the need for new committees and the operation of the various town departments and services.

Each meeting will focus on a particular aspect of town government:

*December 14; boards and committees

*December 21, town departments and offices, such as highway, assessment, building and code enforcement, town clerk, town court and services like the rescue squad

December 28, procedures, appointments and proposed resolutions on which the Town Board will vote at the organization meeting.

Mr. Bassin said he hopes to institute a number of new committees, including a Finance Committee, suggested in the town’s proposed Comprehensive Plan. Made up of people with financial expertise, the Town Board would be able to turn over ideas for analysis, comparison and study to the Finance Committee and get recommendations.

A Highway Garage Construction Committee would be asked to figure out how to put up a new Highway Department garage and possibly a salt shed somewhere else. The garage committee would function in much the same way the committee responsible for building the Town Hall did several years ago.

A Revaluation Committee would be asked to figure out whether the revaluation done two years ago was done correctly. The incoming supervisor says the committee’s work would be done at open public meetings, and experts from the state or county would be asked to speak on the subject. Town Assessor Ken Leggett would be a part of the process.

Issuing an open invitation to town residents to participate in the transition meetings, Mr. Bassin said he is looking forward to getting to work. “To those who supported me, thanks for your confidence. To those of you who didn’t, I hope to earn your confidence as we tackle the challenges facing Ancram together,” he said.

Mr. Bassin said he welcomes volunteers to all committees and boards.

To contact Diane Valden email dvalden@columbiapaper.com.

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