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Town Clerk Saves Money, Seeks Cable Dept Upgrades

GREENBURGH, N.Y. – As the town clerk's department sails into another year with less funding in the proposed budget, it still anticipates an upgrade to their cable access department.

The clerk's office is the town's main record keeper and registrar of vital statistics. It is the section of government that oversees elections, makes tentative board agendas, researches public hearings, coordinates map printing, and updates computerized street listings.

"We were asked to make a 10 percent reduction in spending and we've exceeded that goal with an 11.29 percent decrease," said Town Clerk Judith Beville who, along with other cuts, reduced a records clerk position from full-time to part-time and decreased the deputy clerk's salary over the course of the year.

Nevertheless, the decrease in the town clerk's budget does not mean that upgrades cannot be done in certain areas. The town's cable department, which is overseen by the town clerk's office, has received $296,000 in PEG (Public Education Government) funds to use solely for upgrading the town's cable equipment. Greenburgh has been receiving PED funds since 2008 as part of a contract agreement between the town and companies Verizon and Cablevision.

The cable access department proposed an update of its physical studio, the studio's computers and the conversion of table microphones to ceiling microphones. It also wants to soundproof the studio, install better lighting and purchase furniture items for a set.

"These are some of the things that just should be in a public access studio," said George Malone, the town's cable access coordinator. "Those are the major expenses."

Malone has toyed with the idea of soundproofing the studio for nearly 12 years. A few years ago, he contacted a vendor to look at the space, who said that it would cost approximately $80,000 to turn into a professional studio. Malone estimated that the cost would be closer to $90,000 now.

In addition, Malone asked for new studio computers. Currently, the department has the needed software but their computers are old and cannot support the software. The endeavor is expected to cost between $15,000 and $20,000.

"It was kind of embarrassing this summer to have two interns come in whose equipment was faster, better and more updated than the town's equipment," said Malone.

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