Rhinebeck employees step up to help the community

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TOWN OF RHINEBECK – Town Supervisor Elizabeth Spinzia has been touting the efforts of the Town of Rhinebeck employees since the COVID-19 pandemic hit the region.  According to Spinzia, town staffers have taken on additional duties while still addressing town business.

The town employees and Supervisor Spinzia have started the program Support Our Seniors and Residents in Need during the pandemic.  The town has contacted all residents who were previously dependent on the town’s Senior Van Service for weekly shopping as well as all addresses in town with a Senior Star Exemption to let them know of the new program.

Spinzia says that the new program, working with Graham Hanson and David Ping, Rhinebeck’s Resident Volunteer Coordinators, is designed to help those who do not have an alternative support system for non-emergency needs to provide small shopping and prescription delivery services.  The deliveries are performed by a group of vetted community volunteers. 

“We are very concerned about the health and well-being of all of our community members and are dedicated to assisting all that are in need,” said she said.  Rhinebeck seniors who are in need of assistance are urged to call 845-876-3409, extension 3, and leave a message.  Town staffers will return the call and assign a volunteer to assist with the task.  

Additionally, Spinzia said that other community members that know of a neighbor in need can call the number and explain the situation.  Currently, volunteers and town hall staff have been averaging a dozen trips per week for grocery shopping and medication delivery.  “I cannot stress how amazing our Town of Rhinebeck staff is,” added the supervisor.

Town Supervisor Elizabeth Spinzia

Departments such as the Town Clerk’s office are closed to the public except by appointment only.  Birth and death certificates, dog licenses, and dump stickers are available by mail and property taxes can still be sent to the office.  The Assessor’s office is working with state officials in the event that Grievance Day, May 27, is held before town hall is reopened.  The assessor is working to establish a format to hold the Board of Assessment Review meetings using online conferencing.  The office can be reached at assessor@rhinebeckny.gov.

According to Spinzia, the Building Department is in the process of reviewing building permit applications and is still accepting new ones, with the understanding that non-essential construction is suspended due to Governor Cuomo’s executive order.

The town’s cemetery is open to the public daily from sunrise to sunset and is being maintained.  Burials and funerals are limited to attendance by no more than 10 people.

The Highway Department, under Highway Superintendent Bob Wyant, is closed to the public.  Wyant is in the office daily, while the department secretary is working from home.  The highway department’s seven crew members have been divided into two groups which work alternating schedules.  Each group works three days on followed by three days off, to maintain the town’s infrastructure.

The Recreation Department is still accepting applications for summer pool and camp employees, in the event that the pandemic subsides by that time.  Applications and questions can be directed to Recreation Director Elaine Fernandez at efernandez@rhinebeckny.gov.

Michelle Turck, the Zoning Administrator and Zoning Enforcement Officer is available during normal business hours by phone or email and is continuing to respond to complaints of zoning violations.  The office can be reached electronically at zoningadministrator@rhinebeckny.gov

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