Delaware County offices are expected to fully open to the public Monday, June 8, according to Tina Molé, Bovina town supervisor and chair of the Delaware County Board of Supervisors.
As part of the Southern Tier, Delaware County is awaiting confirmation from the state to proceed with the second phase of reopening Friday, May 29, Molé said. Phase Two allows for professional services, retail, administrative support, and real estate, rental and leasing companies to reopen.
Phase One of reopening, which began May 15 and included construction, agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting, limited retail services, manufacturing and wholesale trade, “has been going really well overall,” Molé said.
“There are not any signs as of yet” of an uptick in COVID-19 cases in the wake of the first phase of reopening, according to Heather Warner, programs manager for the Delaware County Health Department.
“Even though things are opening up slowly, we’re still supposed to maintain our responsibility to keep other people safe,” she said, including washing hands, social distancing and wearing masks. “The important thing is that COVID is here. It’s not being brought in from other places anymore. It’s here.”
The coronavirus has an incubation period of two to 14 days, meaning that an infected individual could be asymptomatic for up to two weeks after exposure, Warner said.
As of Wednesday, the county reported a total of 73 confirmed positive cases, including eight hospitalizations, 56 recoveries and four deaths.
The board unanimously passed a resolution calling on the governor and the New York State Legislature to fully support the 2020 legislative priorities of the National Association of County Veterans Service Officers.
Priorities include supporting the Commitment to Veteran Support and Outreach Act, which was introduced in the Senate in December and would provide $50 million a year for five years to supplement state and local funding to promote health and wellness, strengthen the coordination, implementation and evaluation of comprehensive veteran suicide prevention programs and expand existing outreach programs and services, according to the resolution.
The resolution also called for the extension of the authority of the Secretary of Veteran Affairs to authorize grants for the medical transportation of “highly rural” veterans.
County veterans offices already provide existing transportation services for many rural veterans, according to Charlie Piper, Delaware County director of veteran services. Costs associated with these services include purchasing vehicles, maintenance, providing drivers and scheduling, Piper said, and designating counties as eligible grant recipients in rural areas would provide security for those services.
“A lot of our money goes to transportation to Albany,” he said.
Delaware County Public Works Commissioner Sue McIntyre updated the board on the progress of the new public works facilities, which will house the highway garages and administrative offices.
The department is in the final stages of contract negotiations with Delaware Engineering, Keystone Associates and Hesnor Engineering, which are expected to wrap up by the end of the year, McIntyre said.
“We’re challenged with a six-month design schedule, which is very ambitious,” she said.
The board authorized a $137,400 budget transfer to the public defender’s office for the purchase of equipment, law books, a cell phone, software licenses, office supplies and to account for state reimbursement of an elevator installed at the 97 Main St. office in Delhi, according to public defender Joseph Ermeti.
“All the requirements of the office were not known at budget time,” the resolution read.
The board passed a resolution in memory of former Hancock Town Supervisor Gerald Mackin, who passed away May 1. Mackin served as Hancock town supervisor from 1990 to 2001 and then as social services attorney until 2007.
“Gerry was highly dedicated to the town of Hancock and he was a very, very smart guy,” said Hamden Town Supervisor Wayne Marshfield, who was seated next to Mackin for the seven years of their overlapping tenure on the board.
The board will hold an in-person public hearing before its next meeting Wednesday, June 24 to solicit comments on the proposed development of a microenterprise program using up to $300,000 of Community Development Block Grant funding.
The program would provide financial assistance in the form of small matching grants to local agricultural and main street entrepreneurs and businesses, according to the resolution.
The Community Development Block Grant program is funded by the U.S Department of Housing and Urban Development and administered in New York by the Office of Community Renewal.
Sarah Eames, staff writer, can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 607-441-7213. Follow her @DS_SarahE on Twitter.