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Bethlehem town board to make appointments in new year

As 2008 draws to close and another town organization meeting is set for January, there will be some significant changes to the town's planning division.

After the passing of former Planning Board Chairman Parker Mathusa, board member Howard Engel took over as chair. Now with Engel's seven-year term set to expire, he is stepping down, leaving two Planning Board seats open, as well as a new chairmanship appointment.

Appointments are made by the supervisor and voted on by the Town Board, according to Supervisor Jack Cunningham.

In addition to the planning seats, Bethlehem's director of economic development, George Leveille, is retiring from his position. The terms of Zoning Board member Leonard Micelli and Zoning Board Chairman Michael C. Hodom had expired.

Cunningham said Micelli and Hodom are expected to be re-appointed to their positions and that the town's assistant director of economic development and planning, Michael Morelli, was be considered for Leveille's job.

In all, the town's Planning Board will have a new director of economic developer, a new chairman and two newly appointment members.

The chairman of the Planning Board will be selected from one of the members currently on the board by the Town Board, Cunningham said.

Engel said he has valued his time on the planning board.

"I finished my seven years," Engel said. "It's been very interesting and I've learned a lot. I was retired at the time when I was appointed, so it worked for me."

Engel said he enjoyed working with Leveille and wished him well.

"George is very knowledgeable and was very good to work with," he said.

The Tuesday, Dec. 16, Planning Board meeting was Engel's last.

"I want to thank everyone for the past four or five weeks in getting through a difficult time," Engel said, referring to Mathusa's death. "This is my final meeting and my last official business."

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