The following letter was submitted to this newspaper by Saugerties resident and town supervisor candidate Kelly Myers:
Thank you to the Saugerties League of Women Voters for hosting the candidates debate forum this past Monday at the Sr. Center. Thanks also to the people who came to listen and learn about the candidates. I think the debate clearly highlighted the differences between candidates. The points that I felt were most important to discuss were:
Setting up a system of zero-based budgeting, by starting from scratch at zero, and building our budget line by line to work from the ground up. I will justify every nickel that’s in our budget, and come back to taxpayers with a new plan; with the goal of reducing property taxes so that Saugerties is an affordable place to live.
The town needs to insure that property tax assessments are fairly administered, and those who file grievances are given fair review and equitable treatment.
Making sure contracts / agreements that the town makes provide a direct benefit to our residents. We will work closely with the IDA, and state elected officials to assure all PILOT (payment in lieu of taxes) agreements are mutually beneficial both to the town and to the business owner. The process for developing PILOTs should be open to the public, and public hearings should be held on all PILOT agreements. We will work to streamline the approval process for new businesses and assign a “point person” from the town to guide them through the process.
Contractors and consultants should be held to high standards of ethical conduct. Anyone who works for us should be held accountable for breaches of ethics. Consultants and contractors should be properly vetted and interviewed prior to doing work for the town. Conflicts of interest should be openly disclosed.
The way the town functions on a day-to-day basis will have increased transparency, openness, oversight and accountability. Town departments will have enhanced day-to-day supervision. Each department will develop a set of short and long term goals as well as five and 10 year plans. We will look closely at consolidation of functions within town departments.
We will work closely with the village on the joint Town/Village Comprehensive Plan. As the process of the plan proceeds there will be public meetings for all residents to give input into the vision of our community.
Department heads will give monthly reports at Town Board meetings. Open discussions will be encouraged at meetings. The public and press will have adequate public notice prior to town meetings. Meeting minutes will be available within 2 weeks after each meeting. The town budget will be published on the website.
We will achieve a high level of mutual collaboration, support and reciprocity with other municipalities and our local school system in order to maintain and improve services to residents while reducing costs.
We will reach out to other municipalities, elected officials, and business organizations to collaboratively find ways to bring more jobs to our area.We will work together to assure Saugerties remains a wonderful, safe affordable place to live and raise a family.
Thank you for the opportunity to share my vision of what Saugerties could become. I am deeply grateful for all the support I have received during this campaign. We really do have a wonderful community and I look forward to working for you to make it even better.
Peace and blessings to you and your families.
Saugerties village trustee
Candidate for town supervisor
This is just one of the dozens of letters we received this week. To find out what Saugertiesians are thinking and saying each and every week, subscribe today. For just 57 cents per week, you’ll get home delivery of the paper that covers all the news you need about your community (taxes, schools, local government, local developments) as well as in-depth features on the people that make Saugerties tick. E-mail SaugertiesTimes@gmail.com, call 845-334-8200 or subscribe online.