Town Board – irregular and budget public hearing, November 9, 2011
In an election where we have known most of the winners for months, it is odd not to know some of the winners for an extra week. There were no competitors in the Town Justice race and the Town Clerk race. None for District Attorney – A surprise, considering the Ray Maquire stuff. Even though Bob’s negatives were higher than usual, Wendy was never competitive. That had already been proven. We don’t know why it had to be proven yet again. So we already knew what that outcome would be. And we knew what the outcome would be for the highway department. It was pretty obvious. And Mary Ellen was known. Alan Schneider was not.
But we are waiting for the absentee ballot count on Tuesday to find out who is on our Town Board, and it is odd not to know either seat. And waiting to know who our County Legislator will be. On that one we probably do know. The lead would have to be overcome and maintained in a small number of votes. I’m impressed that Allen came close. A few more campaign actions on his part and he would have made it. Sam has lived in this town for years. His father was a councilmember. He works in the schools, gets to know the kids and their parents in a setting very unlike politics. It is very hard to overcome that. None of that makes you a better candidate or representative, but it makes you better known, and more popular for things that have nothing to do with the office you are seeking. So Allen did something that was a big deal. He came very close, close enough that we won’t know for sure until Tuesday.
Anything can happen in the 3 way Steve MacKay, Bob Cinque, and Gene Yetter. Steve will probably stay out in front. One can’t assume that for 2 who are separated by only 3 votes. I would have like to see Jay on the Board. He would have brought intelligence and experience that the Board needs, but I recognize that even with two solid debate performances, voters didn’t know him well enough.
A real life nail biter.
They held their budget public hearing and work session on Wed. after their unclear election night. Bob-O wasn’t there, so Gene announced the executive session properly. They were talking about highway employee work records. He runs a cleaner meeting.
The building fund of 180K was cut from the fd budget. It is the line for repair, not the new building. They have budgeted $736,475. I don’t have last year’s budget amount in front of me. I know the request last year was much higher.
Jackie said something about not knowing what they have in their general fund. But the PFVFD is a non-profit corporation that contracts with the town, considered a public authority. They are audited, and their finances are public record and FOIL’able. I have to find the letter from Robert Freeman. It is all knowable. All who want to know it should know that.
Gene talked about the tax cap. There was almost a special meeting to set the public hearing to override the tax cap. But that was cancelled. Did they decide somewhere out in the ether to not override? They reappear having already decided, but that public discussion should have occurred.
But magicallly, out of public view, they are not overriding. The 2% tax cap stands, though called ridiculous, and arbitrary and capricious.
They cut 2 town planner and engineer “things” – would be nice to know what “things” they were. And the highway fund balance will still be over 10% after they take $25K from it.
On to the work session,
There was a discussion of hiring “the best qualified” for the job. Gene described himself as a “hiring manager.” The issue raised was of hiring from the community. The last employee hired for LP was from out of Putnam Valley. I’m all for hiring from Putnam Valley first if that works, but I am all for posting all jobs on the internet, gathering resumes, interviewing, and hiring legitimately. How was the new part time hire last week hired? At least that job was announced at a public meeting. But jobs should be posted on the website. Most people look for jobs there these days, and every effort should be made to recruit beyond a circle of friends. There is nothing on the website. There is no way to hire the “best qualified” when you have not invited a pool of applicants and interviewed.
We are hiring the tax cert attorney to go to the hearings with Sheryl. Her husband brought up the fact that she had been threatened by a PV attorney. I am under some threat myself, so it was of concern to me.
Long discussion of Mill Ponds. What a mess. What happens if we drill wells? Can you shop around for water suppliers?
Bob-O won’t stay for the whole meeting on Wednesday.
The Town Board will waive a civil fee for someone who built without a permit. 350 Church Street.
And they will authorize the Supervisor to sign the contract for the photovoltaics that we could have had years ago.
You can comment on the budget on Wednesday night. They won’t listen to you, but you can comment.
And we will know who the Board will be.
Adopt cats. Buy bagels. Save the sea turtles.
And pardon the turkeys.