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What's New in New Castle in 2012

NEW CASTLE, N.Y. - Along with bringing symbolic change for many, 2012 will also bring about new laws, new restaurants and new elected officials. Here is what will be new in New Castle in 2012:

King Street Gets a New Restaurant

When Owner Tom Cuomo shut down his Grappolo Locanda restaurant in June, it left a noticeable vacancy along King Street. The vacancy did not last long. The property was quickly sold to Roy Reeves, owner of Deer Park Tavern in Katonah.

Since then, brown paper lining the windows of the property has kept details of Reeves’ new Chappaqua restaurant a mystery. It was not until Dec. 22 that the restaurant’s name was revealed to be “King Street Restaurant and Bar.” Originally scheduled to be completed by November, New Castle Town Board member Jason Chapin said the restaurant could be opening as soon as January.

Susan Carpenter Takes Over as Town Supervisor

After 12 years, Barbara Gerrard’s stay on the New Castle Town Board will officially come to a end when the clock strikes midnight on Sunday. Gerrard is stepping down from her position of town supervisor, which she has held for four years, out of respect for a New Castle tradition.

“You have to go back to 1972 to find a supervisor that stayed in office more than four years,” said Gerrard. “It’s been a 40 year tradition here that supervisors don’t serve longer than four years.”

In retirement, Gerrard hopes to travel more with her husband, who is the director of the Climate Change Law Center for Columbia Law School. Gerrard will be replaced as town supervisor by former planning board chair, Susan Carpenter.

Carpenter defeated opponent Bob Kirkwood in a contested election on Nov. 8, which she won by 141 votes. In Gerrard’s final report as Town Supervisor on Dec. 13, she spoke about her replacement.

“She is very smart, very caring, is a very fast learner, and the Town is most fortunate to have her become its new Supervisor,” said Gerrard. “I have known Susan for almost 20 years. She has served on numerous committees and boards, and given Continuing Legal Education courses on conservation easements – her specialty at the Westchester Land Trust.”

Jason Chapin will also be making a return to the town board after an eight year absence. When Chapin is sworn in on Jan. 4 alongside Carpenter, it will mark the beginning of his second term on the board, having originally served from 2000 to 2003. Chapin will be replacing Michael Wolfensohn on the board, who chose not to run for re-election.

2-Percent Tax Cap Causes Budget Cuts

While no local laws will be changing in New Castle, the town has already felt the impact Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s property tax cap that he signed into law in June. The cap limits the growth in the amount of total taxes raised to 2 percent or the rate of inflation, whichever is less. 

In order to comply with the cap, many town departments were forced to make cuts to a number of positions. Overall, the town will lose seven-and-a-half employees. There will be one less job position in the town clerk’s office, two less in the recreation department, two non-officers in the police department, two in the department of public works, and a part-time position in the courts.

Snow and other storm clean-up will now fall on the shoulders of nine people in the department of public works.  New Castle Police were also forced to make cutbacks in overtime. The loss of overtime affects coverage for sporting events, storm emergencies, parades, recreation activities, court attendance, mandatory training and casework.

Other New York State laws taking effect include: A ban on the sale of hookahs, water pipes, and shisha to minors; an authorization for the removal of fire commissioners for dereliction of duties including having an excessive number of  unexcused absences from regularly scheduled meetings; a ban on the possession and sale of bear gallbladder and bile; and a law that requires drivers to take extra precaution when approaching or passing emergency or hazard vehicles on the side of the road. 

Read the full list of new state laws on the Senate's website.

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