New minority leader

Tistrya Houghtling was elected minority leader on the Columbia County Board of Supervisors. File photo

HUDSON — The Columbia County Board of Supervisors elected a new minority leader at the Monday organizational meeting.

New Lebanon Town Supervisor Tistrya Houghtling will replace former minority leader, Hudson 1st Ward Supervisor Sarah Sterling.

“The nation and the county struggles with four crucial priorities: COVID-19, economic recovery, racial justice and climate change,” Houghtling said in a statement. “County government has an important role in creating solutions that benefit Columbia County residents. I want to thank Supervisor Sterling for her leadership role and her commitment to both county government and the Democratic Party. She has been a generous, kind, and hard-working leader.”

Sterling served as minority leader for three years and was the first woman elected to the position, according to a statement from Democratic members of the Columbia County Board of Supervisors.

“I am so pleased to have Tistrya assuming the leadership of our caucus,” Sterling said in a statement. “She will bring fresh eyes and enthusiasm as she promotes Democratic objectives. She has my full support.”

Houghtling previously served as the New Lebanon town clerk for four years as well as the New Lebanon court clerk and deputy court clerk for five years.

The board of supervisors also re-elected Michael Benvenuto, R-Ghent, majority leader for a second year.

Matt Murell, R-Stockport, was re-elected chairman of the board.

“I would like to thank you all for your confidence in re-electing me as chairman of the board of supervisors,” Murell said. “I am honored to work with you and to serve the residents of Columbia County.”

Murell explained some of the county’s upcoming projects for 2021, including completion of the county’s emergency response training center and work on the sewer line from Commerce Park to the Greenport Wastewater Treatment Plant.

The board will also continue to work on an occupancy tax for Airbnbs and other short-term rental properties and on police reform. The county will meet the state’s April deadline for a new police reform plan, Murell said.

Murell announced the county’s resolution committee. Committee members include Murell, Benvenuto and Houghtling.

“I would like to give thanks to you and our departments for your hard work during these very tough times,” Murell told the board.

Board members took their oath of office during a brief recess, the first time the process has been completed virtually, Murell said.

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