By George McHugh
Coeymans Town Supervisor
As the shorter days of autumn remind us that winter is coming, this is a good time to reflect on our town and ourselves.
In 1999, I campaigned for the Coeymans Town Supervisor position on the platform of bringing needed “Change” to Coeymans, and my strong belief that Coeymans was and could continue to be “a great place to live, work and raise a family.”
In 2019 and again in 2021, I ran for the same position and on the same platform. Today, I stand firm in my belief that the Town of Coeymans remains a great place to live, work and raise a family and I am grateful to the residents of this town that they have entrusted me with the honor of leading Coeymans for nearly six years as Town Supervisor, and for the privilege of sitting on a Town Board that is not afraid to roll up their sleeves and take on the challenges and make the tough decisions that are needed to effectuate the seismic changes that our town is undergoing today.
Admittedly, it takes good leadership to lead and manage a town, but equally important is the fact that without good teamwork, without a strong Town Board, and without dedicated and hardworking elected and appointed officials, none of these changes and improvements could happen.
As I write this message, I am happy to report that Joralemon Park improvements such as a new basketball court, new tennis and pickle ball courts, and new playground equipment are complete and installed. Likewise, the construction at the Coeymans Landing Park is nearing completion with nearly $1,500,000 in capital project improvements having been made to the park, which will aid the hamlet with storm water mitigation, improved drainage, and a more functional park.
The Town Board and town engineers are working on modifying the construction plans for permanent bathroom facilities for both the Coeymans Landing Park as well as Joralemon Park, so that construction may commence in the spring of 2023. The town’s expansion of broadband internet infrastructure in Coeymans Hollow and our more rural areas of Coeymans remains on schedule as State Telephone reports that they have finished installing new broadband fiber along Starr Road and Bushendorf Road, and they continue to install service to the residents on these roads. Mid-Hudson Cablevision is continuing its work to install fiber along Lindskoog Road and the surrounding area, to ensure that the homes in this part of Coeymans enjoy high-speed internet. The goal of providing reliable, high-speed internet to all properties within the town shall remain a top priority of this administration until 100% broadband coverage throughout Coeymans is achieved.
As the Town Board looks towards 2023 and beyond, we will continue our work with Albany County and local investors to expedite the foreclosure process on some of our abandoned and rundown “zombie properties,” so that they may be restored or replaced, and brought back on the tax rolls.
The Town Board continues to work on plans to replace its aged, outdated, and inadequate Town Hall building with a new state of the art Town Hall, which will be legally compliant in all respects, and will satisfy the needs of our residents today and for decades to come. Coeymans residents enjoy a healthy fund balance, which will serve us well as we can anticipate paying over 50% of the construction costs with savings rather than borrowing. It is anticipated that there will be no effect on the current town tax rate as a result of the construction. The Town of Coeymans tax rate is 8% lower today than it was on Jan. 1, 2020, when I took office, and it continues to be the lowest municipal tax currently paid by Coeymans residents and property owners, while vital services such as the Coeymans Police, ambulance, paramedics, code enforcement, a justice court, and a sheriff’s substation continue to protect and serve our community.
Again, none of this could happen without a strong and effective Town Board, and dedicated leadership from our elected and appointed officials. I want to take this opportunity to personally thank Town Board members Linda Bruno, Brandon LeFevre, Marisa Tutay and Stephen Schmitt for their strength, determination and commitment to our town and for having the courage to make the difficult decisions that are not always popular, but necessary. I also want to thank our dedicated and hardworking Highway Superintendent Dan Baker for taking on the job this spring with very little notice, and for bringing a sense of pride back to our Highway Department. And last but certainly not least, thank you to Town Clerk Candace McHugh, for her professionalism and tireless dedication to ensuring the needs of our residents are always met.
Coeymans has a great team working every day to make sure that our town continues to be the great place to live, work and raise a family that I remember 57 years ago when I was growing up in Coeymans. It is truly a team effort, and I for one am grateful for the team that Coeymans has in place.
Thank you for the honor and privilege of being able to continue to serve as your town supervisor, God bless all of you, and God bless the Town of Coeymans.