The year just past was a roller coaster of challenges for everyone, not just the town’s top elected official.
Looking back over 2012 and ahead to 2013, Town Supervisor Peter Parsons said he believed he and his board had made significant progress for Lewisboro and were set to build on those initiatives in the coming year.
Past makes the future
Mr. Parsons identified several areas of concentration for this year.
“Following recent weather-related disasters, number one on the list is better emergency preparedness for the town,” he said. “I also want to see us go after government funding from FEMA and find a way to qualify for grants to reduce flooding in certain areas of town. This would be a big help.”
Mr. Parsons said he realizes the town needs more “boots on the ground” during emergencies. “With that in mind I have charged our police chief with recruiting and training a volunteer corps to help during these events,” he said.
Mr. Parsons pointed to upgrading the town’s notoriously patchy cell coverage as a major move forward.
“We have a new cell tower now up and running in the Town Park,” he said. “This, together with the approved cell tower off of Route 138 in Goldens Bridge, will do much to improve service in town. Hopefully, the Goldens Bridge tower will be up before the end of 2013.”
Roads were a subject of much discussion in 2012. “Achievement was limited to finishing work on Chapel and repaving Wakeman,” Mr. Parsons said. “In 2013 the board needs to come together to find a way to make more substantial progress.”
Achieving ADA compliance after almost two decades without it is another major step forward.
“By the end of January town buildings should meet fully with the Americans with Disabilities Act,” Mr. Parsons said.
“What we now need to do is come up with a plan to house our town facilities in the most economical and practical way possible. I plan to work with a group of our town managers to discover the best way to make this work and avoid renting space on a long-term basis. We can also take some simple and practical steps, like putting the tax assessor’s and receiver’s offices together in a single location.”
Mr. Parsons said the fact that the town police station and the town court are now in the same location is another step forward for the town. “I would love to see this arrangement become permanent,” he said.
Focus on preserves
Taking better care of the town’s preserves was a campaign pledge made by Mr. Parsons, and he said he was pleased with the progress that had been made.
“In 2012 we did a lot of work at Leon Levy,” he said. “We removed significant pieces of large debris and got going on cleaning up and shoring up the old Black Mansion. In 2013 I would like to improve access and make the entire preserve more appealing and friendly to visitors, including installing a parking lot with access off of [Route] 123 that can handle cars, buses and horse trailers.”
The Old Field Preserve in Waccabuc has been another area of concentration.
“This week we began work there to restore the preserve to its original purpose — maintaining its meadows as a habitat for birds and other small animals,” Mr. Parsons said. “Unfortunately, the meadows had been left untended for a number of years, with brush and small trees growing up. We are now using a brush hog to clear things out and will continue work over the winter months. This will not only benefit birds and animals but make it a more inviting place to take a stroll.”
Achieving mandated storm water compliance was another positive step forward.
“During 2012 we did a lot in this area,” he said. “It was needed to make the town legally compliant by the end of the year. This has now been accomplished.”
The town’s lakes will also be getting some additional attention in 2013. “We have received an extension on our deadlines to complete work on several projects,” he said. “We will be working on doing what is needed to finish things up.”
When asked by The Ledger if he was planning on running for a second term as town supervisor, Mr. Parsons said the answer was a definite yes.
“I believe this town would benefit from some continuity in the supervisor’s job,” he said. “The idea we can move things forward with a supervisor who must spend the first year of his term learning the ropes and the second year running for re-election is absurd. Yet this is what Lewisboro has been doing for many years with a succession of one-term officeholders.”
Mr. Parsons said surrounding towns had benefited from continuity in the supervisor’s office. “You need experience to make things happen,” he said. “The revolving door approach simply doesn’t work.”