Tuesday, March 15, village residents will go to the polls to elect three trustees to the Village Board and a mayor.
How can we make the village a better place? We asked dozens of residents and all the candidates for village office this question last week, and received some interesting answers. Nobody seemed to interpret our asking it to mean there’s necessarily anything wrong with the village. Which was good. We weren’t trying to say that.
So why pose the question? Because for the village to thrive, we need to keep looking for ways to make it better. In a time when government consolidation is all the rage, the village needs to embrace what makes it special. And that has to go beyond the concrete – beyond the streets, buildings and storefronts and their inherent charm. Because if the village were to cease to exist as an autonomous level of government, those features would remain.
What we talk about when we talk about the village is the idea of the village as a distinct community – not just in the minds of residents, but politically. The village’s institutions provide a framework for getting things done – for putting ideas into action. Active residents can imagine the village they want to live in, and with some free time and can-do spirit, they can make it happen. Higher levels of government don’t offer that kind of responsiveness.
With the village election taking place just before the first day of spring, it’s natural to feel energized about these questions. (Compare that with most other elections, which were probably scheduled for deep fall to dampen potentially explosive passions.) Village residents should go with it. As the snow melts, take a look around. What do you want to see? If there’s anywhere your voice will be heard, it’s here.
—- Will Dendis
“I think it comes down to pride. We need to keep it clean, keep it looking great. We have a really great village and we just don’t always seem to take care of it very well. I’m going to go a step farther and say we need more garbage cans.”
“The best way is to support the local businesses and groups that exist there. They need our support In this economy especially, and we are supposed to be a community, and we need to support one another.”
“Buy local first. I’ve noticed a few stores have closed up, perhaps due to poor management, or maybe failure of us to buy local first.”
“We need more parking, and to get rid of those quarter meters. Those meters frustrate me because they only take quarters. They should also make Partition Street one-side parking. It’s so narrow and clustered. Opening it up would help.”
“We need to reduce taxes, and I particularly address school taxes. We also need to concentrate on bringing big business in. That’s the basic bottom line, if you grow industrial-wise, then the whole community grows proportionately.”
“I think that the village has an inferiority complex, in that they want Saugerties to be something much bigger than what it actually is. We should make it family friendly, by maintaining the cost of living and making this an affordable place to live.”
“I’d like to see more community events. Christmas in the Village was spectacular, but it’s only once a year. I’d like to see more events like that.”
“We need more stores, but not antiques stores. We also need more things for kids to do, so they don’t get into trouble. More big events would be great.”
Ken Swart Sr.
“I think the Village Board should be disbanded, and a business manager should be brought in to run the village. A professional should run the village.”
“They should open more restaurants. I would love a Burger King. We have three McDonalds, and I like McDonalds, but I would like other things, too.”
“I think the village is pretty darn good as it is. I would have liked it to have its own police protection, but the village is a pretty nice place already. “
“People should attend Village Board meetings and volunteer to serve on committees – get involved in your community.”