Republican candidate for supervisor
This letter is to announce my intent to run for Supervisor of the Town of Saugerties at the Republican Caucus on Wednesday evening June 19 at the Frank Greco Senior Center.
Our town has serious financial problems which require bold and insightful leadership. Regulations and laws need revisions in order to create a favorable business environment in Saugerties.
I am an active member of our community. My involvement ranges from president of Operation SOS (Support of Service People, Inc.) to spearheading citizen action, serving as town Republican committeeman and as a NYS Republican delegate.
Growing up in a family of business entrepreneurs including Ciarlante Ice Coal and Oil Companies and the Pesce Bakery I have experienced the sacrifices and hard work that is necessary for the success of a small business. At age 11 I held my first job cleaning my church. After completing college and attaining a master’s degree I worked for 28 years for the Ulster County Mental Health Department. I have successfully managed a professional staff and functioned effectively within a given budget.
I will work to create an economic environment which will encourage our young people to stay in our community and work to prevent the rapid exodus of our older residents because of high taxes.
I owe no political favors to outside interests — the people of Saugerties are my sole concern. Many politicians have begun their careers as open and friendly only to become disinterested, unreachable and arrogant after being elected. Serving as a government official is not a job; it needs to be felt in one’s heart as a passion to serve.
If you have any questions, comments, or would like to help please call me at 246-3390. I would appreciate your vote at the Republican Caucus on June 19 and again at the general election in November.
editor’s note—The sitting supervisor, Kelly Myers, is a Republican. She has not yet announced whether she will run for re-election.
Bill Schirmer for GOP caucus nod
I have known Bill Schirmer for several years and can attest that he is a level-headed, honest and fair person of good moral character. He has demonstrated his leadership as the president and one of the directors of the Saugerties Fish & Game Club as well as the organizer of the two Youth Fishing Tournaments in 2012 and 2013.
Bill means what he says and says what he means. He will put his personal agenda aside to do what is right for the community. He will have a common sense approach to politics without the back alley deals, secret meetings and surprises we have seen in the past. He is willing to work with his constituents, listen to their ideas and find solutions to our community’s issues. Please support Bill Schirmer for a seat on the Saugerties Town Council at the June 19 Republican Caucus at the Saugerties Senior Center.
Build a trade school in Saugerties
A new two-year trade-based SUNY campus would reduce Ulster County’s debt and bring educational opportunities, economic development, jobs training and jobs to the area.
As we celebrate the news that highlights the accomplishments of recent college graduates, it is important for us to discuss how newly announced strategies for the funding and administration of New York State’s SUNY college system will coincide with Ulster County’s needs from its relationship with SUNY. SUNY’s 64 campuses serve the needs of over 468,000 students while the four Flagship University Centers: Albany, Binghamton, Buffalo and Stony Brook collectively have an enrollment of 86,000 undergraduate and graduate students. Recently, Gov. Cuomo announced what he described as a “bold” plan to initiate the development and growth of tax-free economic zones to be primarily based around the expansion of research-based centers at each of the four university centers (like the new nanotech center that is currently under construction as an addition to the SUNY-Albany campus). Under the proposal that Cuomo presents, participating business would be eligible for tax credits which Gov. Cuomo said would absolve such businesses from paying state property or income taxes for 10 years.
Gov. Cuomo’s plan for economic development around these newly constructed research centers follows the main theme that is echoed throughout the provisions that are put forth in the NY SUNY 2020 Challenge Grant Program that Cuomo and SUNY Chancellor Nancy L. Zimpher presented earlier this year. Under the NY SUNY 2020 Challenge Grant Program, an additional $35 million in capital funding will be administered to each of the four University Center campuses with $20 million of this coming from the Empire State Development Corporation and $15 Million to come from SUNY’s Construction Fund. While the four University Center campuses do generate over $600 million in annual revenues from research-based grants and funding, the NY SUNY 2020 plan only focuses on the needs of the four University Centers while neglecting the needs of the other 60 campuses at SUNY and ignoring the fact that another two-year trade-based SUNY campus needs to be built in Northern Ulster County to accommodate the needs of Ulster County Residents. More specifically, a two-year SUNY campus that is similar to the SUNY campuses at SUNY-Cobleskill and SUNY-Delhi needs to be built in Northern Saugerties in order to partially reduce the $2.8 million in community college chargeback reimbursement fees that Ulster County currently pays out to neighboring counties to partially cover the tuition expenditures for the 1,814 residents of Ulster County who attended out-of-county community colleges in 2012. In the 2011-2012 school year, Ulster County paid out $3.28 million for these 1,814 students while only taking in $424,000 from out-of-county students attending SUNY-Ulster. And although the enrollment at SUNY-Ulster declined from 2,180 students in 2010-2011 to 2,110 students in 2011-2012, the Ulster County budget for community college related expenditures did not, as the Ulster County Legislature allocated $6.28 million for such expenditures in 2012.
The number of Ulster County residents attending out-county community colleges continues to rise as there were 836 Ulster County residents attending other community colleges throughout the state in 2009-2010 with that number rising to 1,360 in 2010-2011 and then 1,814 in 2011-2012. Currently, there is nearly a 1:1 ratio between Ulster County residents attending SUNY-Ulster and Ulster County residents who are attending out-of-county community colleges. Because of this, over 43 percent of the total expenditures allocated in the Ulster County Budget for community college-related expenses are specifically earmarked to subsidize the enrollment of Ulster County residents attending out-of-county community colleges. This trend cannot continue, as the fiscal data from this problem highlights the need for a two-year trade-based SUNY campus to be built in Northern Ulster County. Many of the majors offered at such two-year trade-based campuses are not offered at local colleges like SUNY-Ulster or SUNY-New Paltz, and many of these programs are oriented towards immediate assimilation into the workforce upon graduation. In this recessionary-based economy, more educational opportunities need to be provided for all students and not just those attending SUNY’s four University Centers. The construction of a two-year trade-based SUNY campus in Saugerties would stimulate the economy through the construction process and the creation of new jobs while facilitating economic growth with the proliferation of new businesses throughout Northern Ulster County. Getting such a proposal into the government structure within Albany will require newly elected Legislators to directly lobby for the assistance of State Assemblymen and Senators to add addendums to the SUNY 2020 Plan which would allocate for the funding of expansions within the SUNY System to include the construction of a new two-year trade-based SUNY campus in Saugerties.
editor’s note—The writer is a candidate for the Democratic and Working Families party nomination for county Legislature District II, which includes the village and Barclay Heights
Water chestnut removal
I want to thank the hardy souls who came out in canoes, kayaks and rowboats to pull the tops off emerging water chestnut plants in the Saugerties Cove this past Sunday. Participants were few but fearless, braving some fairly strong winds to paddle into the cove and cut plants. The motivation for diving in despite the weather was to pluck the tops of these plants before they grow rapidly and exponentially creating a much more difficult task in the future. They collected one very large wheel barrow full of water chestnut flowerets, and while this may not seem consequential, with a few weeks growth these same plants would have filled the back of a pick-up truck.
So thank you to these stalwart souls, Larry Ulfik, Gail Porter, Steven Shafer and Ellerbe Cole for a great job well done. And thanks also to Eileen Cunningham and Bob Fox who came out to pull a good number of plants on Monday and further defined a path through the plants. This will allow boating access for fishing in the cove and observing wildlife on the shores of Esopus Bend Nature Preserve. You have all proved that community collaboration on a worthwhile endeavor can be fun as well as rewarding. Good ideas about controlling the water chestnuts happily are emerging as prolifically as the plants, so stay tuned.
The environment can’t defend itself
Last Sunday we had a overflowing crowd at Upstate Films on Tinker St. for the screening of Bidder 70, the film about Tim DeChristopher who, in 2008, disrupted a highly disputed Utah Bureau of Land Management Oil and Gas lease auction, effectively safeguarding thousands of acres of pristine Utah land that were slated for oil and gas leases. The theater was packed as was the reception for Tim and the filmmakers at New World Home Cooking after the film.
We want to thank Upstate Films and The Woodstock Film Festival for helping make this a successful event. We also want to thank New World Home Cooking for allowing us to extend the Q&A and get to know Tim at the reception. New World Home Cooking is such a wonderful restaurant and asset to our community and is always a generous support to community groups.
Tim spoke eloquently about the issue of climate justice and the moral responsibility to step up to take a stand when the survival of the one’s community and the planet is at stake. He is a real inspiration.
Here in New York, we continue to work to keep hydrofracking out of our state. We sign petitions, we march, we lobby, we educate our neighbors and ourselves, we push our towns to pass bans on fracking and we pledge to do more if necessary. On June 17 there will be a major march and rally in Albany to say no to fracking and yes to renewable energy. Please join us. There will be a bus stopping in Saugerties going to Albany.
For more information you can go to www.nyagainstfracking.org or call me. Frack Free Catskill’s next meeting will be Thursday June 6 at the Inquiring Mind Book Store in Saugerties at 7 p.m.