Letters to the Editor (12/1-12/8)

Giving away the store

Thank you Saugerties voters for electing me. The amount of support I received was overwhelming. I will do my best to serve and represent you.

As the year draws to a close and the sitting Town Board ends its reign with Helsmoortel as supervisor, it’s important to notice what’s happening. This week prior to the public hearing on the town budget the Town Board held another illegal town board meeting. Closed session, no public notice, no reason specified for the meeting, press not notified. I am fed up with this pattern of failure to adhere to New York State Law and am filing a formal complaint with the New York State Committee on Open Government.

The 2012 Town Budget is stuffed with additional salary enhancements for the police department. Police overtime utilized in 2010 was $31,100. In 2011 Police overtime was budgeted at $175,000. This year they’re asking for $250,000 in overtime. This is OUTRAGEOUS!

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Police salary budget line is also padded with a raise for lieutenant and an additional $125,000 that has not been specified.

Quite by accident I discovered, that the Town Board held an illegal meeting where all members were present to interview a candidate for a new position they are creating: assistant police chief. This position has not been advertised, specific budget provisions have not been made, a vote was not taken to create this position. Only one candidate is being considered. Once again it’s all done in secret.

Hidden in the back pages of the budget is a provision for a bond anticipation note of $512,000. What’s this for? I asked. Apparently the town needs to borrow a half million to quietly pay off a lawsuit against them. If you look up Bonded Concrete, you will discover a 13-year history of lawsuits. Wow.

This is not how government should function.

I’ve been criticized for asking that the supervisor’s position be designated full-time and compensated fairly. The current town supervisor makes four-grand less than the dog catcher. I don’t need the $18,000 family health insurance package. A full-time position with fair salary could be accomplished by a health insurance buy out – at no additional cost to taxpayers.

This week a public meeting was held on the town’s proposal to involuntarily designate Opus 40 as an historical site. This designation is against the property owners wishes and also against the wishes of the new not-for-profit that is responsible to protect, preserve and market the site. This designation will place an undue hardship on the owners, significantly restrict site use, and may set the town up for a future lawsuit for interfering with property owners rights.

With the elections over and holidays coming most of us turn our thoughts to good cheer, friends, faith and family. This time of year the public is distracted and less likely to pay attention to what local government is doing. Well, they’re giving away the store… please pay attention and watch carefully.

Kelly Myers

Saugerties

 

Improper request

Supervisor-elect Kelly Myers’s tone-deaf remarks at last week’s Town Board meeting, as reported in the Times’s November 24th edition, do not augur well for her forthcoming term. If Ms. Myers truly believes that circumstances warrant an increase in the supervisor’s compensation, then to show a decent respect for propriety and to demonstrate a clear absence of self-interest, she should stipulate that such an increase, should it be approved, take effect after her term expires.

John Bassler

Saugerties

 

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