1. Welcome back, everyone. I hope your holidays were delightful. Our reconstituted committees have been busy over the last month, and I hope you’ve had a chance to read their activity reports.
2. Tonight we will reconstitute and elect the Chair of the Public Purpose Fund Committee, charged with the responsibility of allocating $100,000 from the RIOC Operating budget to various Island organizations. This has been one of the more interesting jobs that RIRA has taken on over the last four years, and I hope you will consider volunteering to take part. I’ve learned that eight Island organizations have applied for grants this year, asking for a total of $164,373.00. The Committee will be given the applications in about a week’s time, after RIOC has vetted them for completeness. There will be more than enough time available for the Committee members to read the applications, interview the applicants and come to their conclusions for approval by the Common Council at our March 2nd meeting. RIOC CFO, Steve Chironis, has told me that the RIOC Board of Directors will likely meet to consider our recommendations when they next meet on April 6, having declined to schedule a March meeting.
3. Following up on some material I mentioned last time, our Governor emeritus, David Paterson, vetoed the hydrofracking moratorium bill passed by both houses of the State Legislature that would have stopped the practice at least until this May. He put in place a somewhat watered- down version, and it remains to be seen how this will affect the industry’s efforts to extract gas from shale in New York State and ultimately, how this process will impact the aquifer that supplies all of New York City’s water. I hope Ellen Polivy will continue to keep us informed.
4. I have received a completed permit authorizing our use of the Good Shepherd Community Center through the end of the year. It has been my practice to reserve this facility on a calendar-year basis. Our next meeting will return to Good Shepherd, and I hope all the work on the new HVAC systems will be complete and our community room warm and cozy.
5. At the Orientations I held in November, I loaned two of my copies of Robert’s Rules of Order to new members, but I don’t remember who. I recommend that everyone keep a copy of Robert’s Revised edition as a reference, but regardless, it’s January and I would like my copies back.
By Matthew Katz