BY MARIA MIRAKAJ BROWNSELL
Clarkstown had its annual reorganization meeting last Thursday, January 3. This is the meeting where elected government officials are sworn into office and the town supervisor offers a state of the town address.
Town Justice Rolf M. Thorsen was sworn into office by Family Court Jude William Warren. Thorsen was accompanied by his wife, Lisa, holding the bible, and their children Natalie, Owen, and Nolan.
“The people in the Town of Clarkstown are very fortunate because Judge Thorsen is one of the best and finest judges I’ve come to know in all my years on the bench,” said Warren. “So I think you should consider yourself very very fortunate to have elected him for another term.”
In his state of the town address Supervisor Alexander J. Gromack spoke about the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut and about avoiding such an occurrence in his town.
“And while we can never guarantee our absolute safety again these potential acts of violence, we can make sure we are doing everything possible for our safety. In Clarkstown, we are truly blessed to have one of the finest and most professional police departments in the country. Not because I say so but because national studies confirm it,” said Gromack.
The town is working on getting funding for safety preparations in their schools. They want to obtain keyless entry systems, new cameras with interconnectivity to the Clarkstown Police, terrorism training, autism and sensitivity training and remote lockdown capabilities.
Gromack highlighted projects the town has undertaken during his eight year tenure. Projects include flood prevention, traffic problems, sidewalk repairs, and parking issues. “All of these projects have been designed and constructed with the input, the involvement, and participation of community groups, area residents and, through our efforts, many of these projects have been supported in part with local, state, and federal grants,” said Gromack.
The town has received over $3 million in federal, state and local grants in the past eight years, he noted.
Besides these projects, Gromack claimed the town also created many jobs, both for contractors and retail positions, as small businesses flourish in Clarkstown. He said larger commercial businesses are also attracted to the town, such as the new Shops at Nanuet.
“According to the Rockland IDA, the Shops at Nanuet alone will create over 1,100 permanent facility and retail jobs and approximately 1,600 construction jobs…Clarkstown’s economic future remains strong, vibrant and growing is good news for the state of our town and residents,” said Gromack.
The town has also decreased their workforce by 15 percent in the past eight years, he said, and has plans to consolidate more departments. Gromack said these changes save the town $2 million a year.
After the speech ended, Rabbi Paul Kurland of the Nanuet Hebrew Center in New City blessed the town.