Political newcomer Bill Kras was sworn in to replace the late Larry Farrelly on the Plattekill Town Board at the board’s June 15 meeting at the Town Hall.
Farrelly passed away on April 14 and the board left the seat vacant until Kras was sworn in by Town Clerk Donna Hedrick after the board unanimously approved Kras’ selection.
Town of Plattekill Supervisor Jennifer Salemo told the Southern Ulster Times after the meeting that Kras would serve through the end of 2022. He would need to run for the position in November to remain on the board in 2023, she said.
Salemo said the board was pleased to have Kras on the board after reviewing a dozen applicants for the vacancy.
“I was pleasantly surprised we had so many people who wanted to apply,” Salemo said. “I think people really want to get involved with the government these days with what’s going on at the federal level. Bill has a very well-rounded family with good roots in the town. It’s very exciting that someone with that kind of background wants to get involved in town government.”
Kras, whose sons William III and Maxwell attended the swearing in ceremony, said this will be his initial foray into town government.
“This is my first opportunity on a town board,” Kras said. “I grew up in Plattekill. I was out of the area for a while when I was in college and the military (U.S. Marine Corps). I had a chance to come back and it was a great area for me and my kids to grow up. I’m hoping to make a contribution to make the town a nice place for other people to raise their families.”
The 58-year-old Kras, who is a Republican, is working in pharmaceutical sales. He and his wife Heidi also have a third son Peter.
Board member Darryl Matthews said the board interviewed six of the 12 applicants for the vacancy. Matthews said the board whittled the list down to three after the interviews.
“It was a hard couple days of picking one because honestly all three were about the same on how professional they were and how they handled themselves through the interview process,” Matthews said. “It was nice that we had so many people willing to put themselves out there. He (Kras) was very professional, had a military background and a solid family life. He knows the town and has lived here most of his life. It’s not like he was walking in and had to understand what the town is. I think he’ll hit the ground running.”
In other news, Councilman Dean DePew Sr. unveiled the slate of concerts for the popular “Music in the Park” series to be held Tuesday nights at Thomas Felten Park.
Sass & Brass will kick off the musical series on July 5. The rest of the concerts are scheduled to feature the Jim Becker Band on July 12, Cuboricua on July 19, Hillbilly Parade on July 26, Touch of Rhythm on Aug. 2 and Angela Bruno on Aug. 9.
The annual Red, White and Blue Celebration with fireworks will be held July 9 at the town park with The Mustangs providing the entertainment.
Recreation director Kim Way announced that the Plattekill Summer Camp now has 41 campers signed up and she expects another seven to enroll before the camp starts on June 27.
The camp had been in jeopardy of not opening for the third year in a row this year, but the Town Board decided to allow it even if attendance didn’t meet the usual minimum of 75 campers.
Way requested and got approval from the board to have the town purchase a large fan to have under the pavilion for the campers to have cool air circulating on hot days during the camp.
Way also said campers would not be able to use the Ulster County Pool Complex in New Paltz due to staffing shortages. She said she was looking to see if the KOA campground in Plattekill or Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park Camp-Resort in Gardiner would be available to use.
It was also announced in an Internal Revenue Service press release that the standard mileage rate for business travel for taxpayers will increase from 58.5 cents per mile to 62.5 cents per mile for the final six months of 2022.
Matthews said after the meeting that the increase would apply to town officials and town employees who conducted town business in their own automobiles. He said, for instance, it would apply to those attending approved conferences.