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2014 Schoharie Leader Runner Up: Matthew Avitabile

Written By Editor on 12/28/14 | 12/28/14

With almost twice as many votes as the next nominee, Schoharie News readers chose Middleburgh Mayor Matthew Avitabile as the 2014 Schoharie Leader Runner Up. He was nominated several times for the recovery Middleburgh has undertaken during his administration.

Avitabile cut his teeth taking on the mayor's responsibilities before he was elected in 2012. In 2011 he set up and ran the first volunteer efforts in the village, including setting up a relief fund that was able to send every flood victim a check from the village government.

After being elected in 2012, he started an ambitious program to rebuild flood damaged buildings, shore up existing businesses, and attract new ones. He utilized grants, low interest loans, and flood relief funds to get almost $200,000 to businesses that went through the flood. He assisted with organizing more volunteers and filling out NY Rising flood grant applications for businesses that suffered from Irene.

His work with the Middleburgh Village Board in saving almost $1 million in grant programs also helped establish two new parks in town, including two new pavilions. This funding and the ideas of Trustee Bill Morton created the wildflower project that has brought in visitors over the last two years.

Middleburgh's budgets are also helpful to taxpayers. For two consecutive years, the Village budget actually went down and for three straight years there have been no tax increases-- the only municipality in the County able to do so.

This year was a year of major expansion for the community, with the opening of a pet store, pharmacy, grocery, and brewery. Altogether, over a dozen new businesses have opened in the last three years and almost all flood damage is now repaired.

"I'm honored by this award," Mayor Avitabile told the Schoharie News, "Thank you very much and I hope for another solid year in 2015."
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