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County board turns attention to safety and health


HUDSON—The Columbia County Board of Supervisors, at its monthly meeting February 8, authorized the appointment of the following people to the following positions:

•Elijah L. Faulkner and David Hilbert to the Fire Coordinator’s Cause and Origin Team, which helps local fire departments determine what caused specific fires. The two appointees are members of the Canaan and Niverville fire departments, respectively

•Terry B. Porter to the County Planning Board, for a three-year term ending December 31, 2025, to represent Region #7, Gallatin and Taghkanic. Those towns nominated him

•David Newman chairman of the Columbia County Climate Smart Communities (CSC) Task Force until December 31, 2023; and Donald Meltz, Jr., as Climate Smart Communities coordinator.

Mr. Meltz is a senior planner in the County Planning Department. The CSC Task Force “serves as a central body that promotes and supports climate mitigation, adaptation, and education ….” The coordinator also advises the county government as a liaison between the CSC Task Force and “officials,” according to the resolutions.

Also at the meeting the supervisors authorized the purchase of a new Records Management System for the Sheriff’s Office; two vehicles for the Solid Waste Department; 50 air purifiers for the Health Department to give to schools and daycare centers; and a new LP (liquefied gas) fired unit heater to replace an inoperable kerosene heater unit at the Department of Public Works outpost in Kinderhook. The board also authorized the Sheriff’s Office to declare three vehicles as surplus and sent to auction.

The supervisors also issued a resolution recommending that the State Legislature support four proposals intended to help municipalities address the need of all county residents to have access to Emergency Medical Services (EMS) at all times. These measures would create special taxing districts, improve EMS funding, get a property tax cap exemption for EMS, and get State Health and Retirement Benefits for EMS provider staff.

At the February 14 meeting of the County Public Safety Committee, County EMS Coordinator PJ Keeler reported that as of that week, Columbia Memorial Hospital (CMH) will take patients out of ambulances immediately when they arrive.

Last summer he reported that every day some ambulances would wait in the parking lot with patients in them for over an hour. Keeler attributes the change to a new hospital policy and praised the CMH staff for implementing it.

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