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Cochecton adopts 2017 budget; Memorial tribute for Ethel Hulse

November 16, 2016

LAKE HUNTINGTON, NY — At a public hearing prior to its November 9 monthly meeting, the Cochecton Town Board presented its 2017 budget, adopting it later at the meeting. A .47% overall increase reflected higher workmen’s compensation premiums, infrastructure upgrade, maintenance and security costs, and 2% salary increases for all town employees, plus a retroactive 2% salary increase for all elected town officials, who did not receive an annual increase last year.

Supervisor Gary Maas paid formal and informal tributes to two recently-deceased town residents: Ethel Rohrmann Hulse of Lake Huntington and John W. Bernas, Jr. of Cochecton. Before presenting a framed memorial tribute to Hulse’s three daughters, Nancy Powell, Karen Rohrmann and Gloria Garn, Maas noted Hulse’s outstanding lifelong community activism, including her 20-year service on the town board and her roles as founding member and past president of both the Cochecton Ambulance Corps and the Women’s Club of Cochecton.

Born on September 19, 1930, Hulse died on October 9, 2016. Maas said that, even more than her many documented official and unofficial accomplishments, Hulse’s 86 years were defined by good humor and unfailing kindness to all she met.

Recognizing those same qualities in local contractor Bernas, 66, who died on November 2, 2016, Maas said Bernas not only built the new town hall, but also regularly performed innumerable unpaid and unsung services for the town. Former board member Larry Richardson said, “I think few people have any idea just how much John did for friends and neighbors.”

Dispensing with various other business items, the board voted unanimously to prepay the town’s 2017 New York State Retirement System bill, netting the town a $634 savings. It also passed a resolution to re-levy taxes on two unsafe properties requiring demolition and cleanup, at an aggregated cost of $11,350. And it announced the award of a bid to P&N Security for purchase and installation of interior/exterior security systems in the town hall building ($4,979) and highway department building ($4,681). Recent burglary and vandalism incidents highlighted a need for increased security.

Sewer officer Michael Walters said the sewer plant’s ultraviolet (UV) light purification system has been turned off for the winter, prompting Maas to observe that UV lights use a lot of electricity and a spectator to question why the lights are turned off in winter. Walters said bacteria aren’t a problem in colder temperatures.