Posted by: Dawn Powell | December 12, 2012

Putnam Valley Town Board – November regular

Louie was sworn in first, before the meeting, even though the election is not yet certified. I am hopeful that he will be able to work on coordination of emergency response for the town since he has so much experience.

November 2012 Public Hearings
Public hearing on the much discussed dumpster law. Marie Z. was there. She is amazing.
She and the librarian talked about dumping which leads us to a real problem in the town. How about we start talking about garbage in the town and the county? People won’t dump if they can throw out their garbage.

Enclosing dumpsters is standard.
Public hearing on the budget/town/highway/districts. Well, first, there was the snow storm when the public hearing was scheduled. Then there was the cancellation and moving it to the next night, when, of course, no one was there. Then there was doing the same with the fire department budget, even though the timetable allowed rescheduling. Then there was doing that with the tax cap override public hearing, even though there really is no allowance for that in the law. Then there was this bizarre adjournment on a daily basis.
Questionable at best. Needless to say, none of them responded to my concerns about it all.

Overriding the tax cap. They think it is insignificant. Bob-O and Steve wanted to take $25k from fund balance. Jackie and Wendy wanted to take $50K, taking the override down by a quarter percent. They are doing it Bob-O’s way.

I don’t think it’s insignificant. It is death by a thousand cuts. The funny thing is that I didn’t support the tax cap. I don’t like arbitrary caps or mandatory percentage cuts. Some departments are easier to cut than others and elected officials should be responsible. Bob-O, who supports tea party candidates regularly, spends money like, well, a Republican. The amount that they needed to cut to avoid taking any more from fund balance was $100k. Not so much. To be responsible, to stay within the cap, only $100K. They could start with the demolition line of $50K, maybe a bit more now. Perhaps that is balanced in revenue since Bob-O likes to pass
these projects on to other taxpayers who have no say in the matter.

He has his favorite targets for these projects, in this current case, two old people he has put out of their house. When you hear his excuses, understand that they have an architect, and are ready to do the work, but Bob-O won’t let them. Even if it would save the taxpayers $50K, more actually.

That’s how he spends your money.

Louie recused himself from the discussion even though they finished the fire department public hearing on the night after the storm when no one would be there.

I had hoped the fiscal crisis would make town officials more accountable but it hasn’t, so I have come to appreciate the tax cap that at least pushes them to stay in that general area.

The county will be doing better at a 1.7% increase.

During the public hearing, they decided to go with Bob-O’s plan, even though BZ tried to say that it was not the time for a decision.

Then Roaring Brook residents talked about their district budget, and how their money is spent, and how decisions are made. Someone asked outright if the community would be involved in the decision making. The answer is no. If the Board believes that you are a significant political voice in the community, they will listen to you. Otherwise, the decision is up to the Town Board. The way things happen in districts is pitiful. No long range planning, and most people are ignored. Generally residents learn not to bother. Districts need more direct representation. For Lake Peekskill, the current method isn’t working. No one even bothers to answer the questions anymore. I applaud Roaring Brook residents for trying to get answers, and accountability. While this administration is impenetrable, the fact is that it is residents who can change that. Power to the people!

Oh yeah, Bob-O improperly announced and executive session.

Hurricane Sandy-
Then there was endless discussion of the hurricane. I admit I was irritated. I was directly affected by the hurricane, as were friends of mine. The pols were back slapping, and slamming NYSEG, wondering why there was no mutual aid for 48 hours. Excuse me! There were people with flooded homes, homes burned down, hospitals evacuated, entire communities that were uninhabitable, and the PV-PC pols were unhappy because no one helped get their electric back on? I think that emergency response is important, and post mortems matter, and NYSEG needs much better coordination with the towns, and there are many too many blackouts in PV, and PV-PC communication with the public really stinks. But in this storm, PV was really lucky. I was extraordinarily grateful when Larry interjected that he had been in Far Rockaway and it was really bad, and PV really hadn’t done so badly in the hurricane. I really appreciated it.

Now, on to Bob-O’s solution to the outages, true to form. He wants to cut down all the trees within 20 feet of the road. Someone might want to explain to him about storm management, water runoff and trees, but I wouldn’t count on it getting through. Someone else might also want to remind him that for at least a decade, everyone has been talking about arborists on the highway department, the county highway department and NYSEG, and in Westchester. At least a decade. Candidates for highway superintendent, elected officials, highway employees, and even environmentalists. Imagine listening to a solution. You can have your trees and your electricity too. But improper trimming almost ensures that the trees will go down. Arborists cost money, and so no one bothers. Hiring them should be required. They would save us all a lot of grief and money.

Sandy Galef, a real class act. She came to the meeting. She has continued to represent our town even after redistricting…. unlike the Senator who shall not be named. I’m glad that Terry Gipson is out new State Senator.

A Putnam Valley resident who grew up in Rockaway Beach talked about some of the local efforts to help. A lot of people lost a lot, and it is inspiring to see others helping.

Adopt cats. Buy bagels. Save sea turtles.
DP


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