In trying times people look for steady leadership to guide them through uncertain times and this is especially needed at the local level. The Southern Ulster Times spoke with the Supervisors of Plattekill, Lloyd and Marlborough to find out what steps they are taking to keep their local government running and the public safe during this national health emergency.
Plattekill Supervisor Joe Croce said he has seen the executive order from the Governor about manpower on essential and non-essential employees.
Croce said they stopped public access to Town Hall on March 16 and have posted signs on the message board out front and on the door, “that if someone does come here the door is locked there is information there on calling the Town Hall and we will accommodate them as much as we can.”
Croce that the town website has forms the public may need, such as a building permit and the accompanying fee schedule that can all be mailed to Town Hall, “and we will get back to them as soon as we receive it.”
Croce said all Planning and Zoning Board meetings have been canceled until further notice. Town Board meetings may be structured like a teleconference call, with the public being able to follow along and ask questions using their phone during the designated comment period of the meeting.
Croce said the Town Court has also been closed since March 16 by order of the Office of Court Administration. He was particularly concerned about this because court nights typically bring the largest number of people into Town Hall.
Croce said they have also closed Thomas Felton Park because the town does not have the ability to sanitize the playground and pavilion areas on a daily basis. He said the Easter Egg Hunt and a Senior Luncheon have been postponed out of concern for the welfare of the public.
Croce said this time in our history is “unprecedented.” He added that moving forward, “we have to have a certain amount of trust in business owners and people in general that you’re trying to abide by all the recommendations that everybody has got to be aware of at this point in time. We reduced our work staff and are in compliance with the 50% recommendation – the Highway Department is bringing guys in on alternate days, four one day and four the next of his 8 man crew.”
Croce said the town does not have the capability to have town employees work at home during this crisis, “but we’re working that out so it isn’t a necessity. I’m just concerned with trying to still serve the residents of the town, not have contact with them and provide services to the people.”
Lloyd Supervisor Fred Pizzuto said after meeting with other Supervisors, mayors, the Highland School Superintendent and the Ulster County Executive and the County Health Department, along with daily conference calls, procedures are now in place if someone in the public believes they may have contracted the virus.
“The county is handling the calls, there is an 800 number and a website and a mechanism on who to talk to and now there is information going out on steps to take,” Pizzuto said.
Last Friday Pizzuto said County Executive Pat Ryan has confirmed that there are three cases of the Covid-19 virus in the Town of Lloyd. The Supervisor noted that the Governor has implemented a 100% non essential work force to stay home and work from there if possible.
“I will repeat, if you feel sick self quarantine, maintain social distancing, wash your hands, cough into your arm and do not touch your face,” Pizzuto said.
In response to the Covid-19 outbreak Marlborough Supervisor Al Lanzetta closed Town Hall until further notice.
In addition Lanzetta stated that the Town staff will continue to assist the Community via the internet and messages left on the Town phone line at 845-795-5100 He can be reached by phone at 845-616-4799 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
“We will try to serve the Community in a way that is safe for all concerned. We appreciate your patience during this difficult time,” he said. “We will all get through this by doing what Marlborough always does – watching out for our neighbors. Please be especially considerate of the needs of the elderly.”
Lanzetta has asked the seniors to postpone their weekly Thursday meetings, their group trips and a planned corn beef dinner.
“I was proactive with that and I brought it up at a meeting and they absolutely agreed. They took my guidance and they did do what I suggested,” he said. “I noticed that a lot of towns are starting to do that now.”
Lanzetta said he and fellow board member Scott Corcoran are considering canceling the Easter Egg Hunt scheduled at the SportsDome in April.
Residents who may be having symptoms can call the Ulster County hotline at 845-443-8888 for more information.
Lanzetta credits County Executive Pat Ryan and his administration for their leadership and daily communication with town and school leaders and the Ulster County community on this ongoing crisis.
“They are doing a lot there to ensure that all of the precautionary things that need to be in place are going to be in place as far as testing,” he said.
Lanzetta said Marlborough is on the right path.
“Right now we take it day by day and have a common sense approach to this whole virus. We’re not getting too hysterical about it but really paying attention to it. The county’s being prepared and all the towns in the county are being prepared about this virus. It’s nothing to joke about, people are losing their lives. Governor Cuomo is doing a great job by closing the CUNY and SUNY schools and opening different areas where people can be tested for the virus. I think all in all we’re in pretty good shape. I feel confident that we can address anything that’s going to happen in the Town of Marlborough.”