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Tonight: Rensselaer 'State Of The County' Address

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Rensselaer County Executive Kathy Jimino is addressing several issues of concern tonight.

Jimino is concentrating in her speech on what she's hearing day in and day out as the "most pressing issues" in the county of about 160,000 residents. Number one on the list: property taxes.    "So we're again focusing there on a three-part approach. One is to continue to seek mandate relief from state government, though acknowledging that they have done some. There is a lot more that needs to happen, as reflected by the fact that 90 cents of every dollar that we raise locally pays for those mandates first, leaving us 10 cents to address local issues."

Jimino, a Republican in office since 2001, is highlighting a number of cost-saving initiatives and a focus on continued economic growth to spread those costs of government over a wider base. Then there's the thorny issue of water quality and the suspected carcinogen PFOA, which has been detected in Hoosick Falls and Petersburgh.    "I review what it is that we have done to date in terms of providing assistance initially to the village in determining what they might do to get that out of the water supply, connecting them with guidance from the state and federal governments that they could share with the residents."

Jimino says along with public water supplies, private wells are being tested in the two communities as federal and state initiatives continue in Hoosick Falls to ensure people have safe drinking water.    "We're also going to highlight the efforts that we've taken with regard to the Northeast Energy Direct Pipeline proposal in the southern portion of the county. And our work with our towns, with the Berkshire Planning Commission to highlight for FERC the substantial environmental, economic, health and safety concerns of that pipeline. And we're also going to be talking about a community conversation that we are going to start regarding heroin and opiate abuse so that we can engage the entire community to address issues in the area of education, prevention, treatment and law enforcement."

Of all the issues on the table, Jimino says the public has been most vocal about clean water and the pipeline.  "It's the PFOA and the contamination in the water that is a concern in Hoosick and Petersburgh, the NED pipeline in the southern end of the county; that's Nassau-Schodack-Stephentown. Those are very hot issues in those particular regions, understandably so.”

Dave Lucas is WAMC’s Capital Region Bureau Chief. Born and raised in Albany, he’s been involved in nearly every aspect of local radio since 1981. Before joining WAMC, Dave was a reporter and anchor at WGY in Schenectady. Prior to that he hosted talk shows on WYJB and WROW, including the 1999 series of overnight radio broadcasts tracking the JonBenet Ramsey murder case with a cast of callers and characters from all over the world via the internet. In 2012, Dave received a Communicator Award of Distinction for his WAMC news story "Fail: The NYS Flood Panel," which explores whether the damage from Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee could have been prevented or at least curbed. Dave began his radio career as a “morning personality” at WABY in Albany.
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