Letters (10/3-10/10)

mailBlock: Tourism, development, support for seniors

As a way of introduction, I’m Marjorie Block and I’m a candidate running for Saugerties Town Board.

I have shown a deep commitment to the community working for a decade serving the people of Saugerties. One of my main interests in running for office is to stimulate a broad range of economic development that can serve to control property and business taxes. The Hudson Valley Garlic Festival just concluded with record crowds streaming into Saugerties. I thought this would be an appropriate time to look at how important tourism is to our community.

This wonderful event was sponsored by the Saugerties Kiwanis organization whose main objective is to give back to the community– a goal and event that they do with great success. I spent two days in a tent shared by the Saugerties Historical Society and the Saugerties Chamber of Commerce and handed out 10 cases of Discover Saugerties guides to visitors who traveled hours to get here from many different states and who spent valuable, much needed revenue here. How important was this event? You be the judge.

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Last year Ulster County had $454 million dollars in revenue from tourism. The local tax revenue was $28.3 million. Clearly, one of the fastest growing and one of the largest industries in Ulster County, with Saugerties having a large share of this revenue. Remember walking down Partition St. after IBM pulled out? I was here and it was dismal and I never want to return to those days.

Saugerties and its citizens deserve better .We need industry and we need it badly but I believe giving huge tax breaks to new businesses is not the way to go. That can lead to increased property taxes for homeowners. We do want to make it easier for businesses to come here. Development of more shovel ready sites is key, along with the streamlining process and development of Rte. 32.Tremendous work was done in preparation of a generic environmental impact statement for the Winston Farm. We must re-focus our attention on the potential for clean industry on this 800-acre site. We also need to provide support to the businesses already here, who have made investments in our community. If tax breaks are to be given to businesses, those already established in Saugerties should be the first in line. Unfortunately, this year the Town of Saugerties Economic Development Committee went from January to June with very little to almost no communications with the Saugerties Chamber of Commerce.

This has to change. I also believe that more time and energy has to be given looking after our senior citizens. There should be a notification of all owners of properties and also notification given to a family member if there is a problem with tax bills and other issues so that families are kept informed about the well-being of our parents/grandparents. We, as a community should be a safety net to our seniors, looking out for them. Enough has not been done to protect them. Certainly cutting their funding from the town 50 percent was not something I agreed with. Because of my role as president of the Historical Society I have worked with seniors for years, sometimes assisting them but often learning from them. I know how valuable they are.

In closing, I hope that you will consider my ideas and honor me with your vote on Nov. 5.

Marjorie Block
Saugerties

 

Republicans better on economic issues

Old supervisor Greg Helsmoortel and Saugerties Councilman Bruce Leighton say economic development is their top priority. However, their records in this area are poor– nearly as bad as their financial records.

In Dec. 2011, Vertis Communications left Saugerties, taking 150 jobs with them. Helsmoortel and Leighton did absolutely nothing to prevent this from happening. This is yet another example the sloppiness and negligence that’s defined both men’s political careers.

Supervisor Kelly Myers understands the importance of keeping in touch with local businesses. She’s made over 90 visits to Saugerties businesses during her first term. Kelly worked with the Thruway Authority to install water lines on Malden Turnpike at no cost to taxpayers.

Kelly and Town Council candidates Jimmy Bruno and Bill Schirmer understand that Saugerties cannot remain a bedroom community. Jimmy and Bill are small business owners who understand the importance of expanding our tax base to ease the burden on homeowners. Kelly, Jimmy and Bill will work together to create new incentives to bring new businesses to Saugerties.

Now Helsmoortel and Leighton want Saugerties residents to trust them with our economic future. We cannot afford to trust the failed leaders of the past with something so important. Kelly Myers, Jimmy Bruno and Bill Schirmer have the energy, drive and commitment to lead us to a prosperous future.

Joe Roberti Jr.
Chair, Saugerties Republican Committee

 

Support for Kelly Myers

I am writing this letter in support of Kelly Myers for town of Saugerties supervisor. Kelly is an honest, hardworking, caring lady who has worked very hard in her first term. She has always put the interest of all Saugerties taxpayers first. She was the only board member who stood up to a developer who didn’t feel the need to pay his fair share of taxes even when he agreed to do so. This cost taxpayers about $60,000. She then attempted to cut $400,000 out of the budget and got outvoted 3-2. She is always looking for ways to reduce taxes for the taxpayers.

She has been a champion for Saugerties in the battle regarding the turbid water from the Ashokan Reservoir which has damaged the Esopus Creek. She is an advocate for the dredging of the Lower Esopus Creek to revitalize our waterfront, retain the Coast Guard cutter in Saugerties, reduce flooding and improve marina business and recreation. Kelly was a member of the Esopus Creek Conservancy executive board and served as the vice president.

She has written two drug laws prohibiting the sale and possession of synthetic drugs and paraphernalia. EMS workers say this has helped to significantly reduce hospitalizations from drug overdoses. She has attended meetings with the Ulster County Legislature Ways & Means Committee in attempts to have the county keep its commitment to take over the costs for the Safety Net/Social Services.

She brought to the board a revised procurement policy that required all major expenses go out to competitive bid. The town has been cited in the past by the state Comptroller’s Office for awarding contracts that were not bid out. She has instituted a system of weekly bill-paying that made it easier for vendors to do business with the town. She ended the previous practice of allowing clerks and secretaries to approve vouchers and rubberstamp the checks. She has bid out high-interest bonds as they came up for renewal to reduce interest on money the town had previously borrowed. All contracts for town services were bid out to assure the best pricing for things like phone service, town insurance, employee health and dental coverage and trash removal from the transfer station. She will continue to seek out and support new businesses willing to relocate to the area or start fresh in Saugerties and will continue to support the businesses we already have.

Kelly has a very strong love for our children. She is a Girl Scout leader for Troop 60197, Rip Van Winkle Council Boy Scout of America as a Merit Badge Counselor, volunteers to the Saugerties Council of Churches Vacation Bible School and the list just goes on and on.

Kelly has worked very hard over her first term in office and has accomplished much. There is much work which still needs to be done and Kelly is the person to get it done. Kelly is a true example of a Blue Collar Worker, she see the problem then digs in and fixes it. She has done things the Old Fashion Way; she has earned your respect and your vote this November. It is my honor to support Kelly. I encourage and urge everyone to join me in supporting Kelly this November. You will be glad you did.

John Winters
Saugerties

 

Ciarlante brings new insight to old problems

I am writing this letter to show my strong support and recommendation of Gaetana Ciarlante for Saugerties town supervisor. I have known Gaetana most of my life and know her to be a dedicated and trustworthy individual of good moral character.

A few years ago, Gaetana and I worked together on a project of great importance to the town of Saugerties— stopping Dickinson’s Keep, an “affordable/low income” housing project that was being pushed on the citizens with no regard to the effect it would have on our community. Gaetana stepped into this project full-force and worked tirelessly to accomplish the goals set forth; she fought for what she and the people of Saugerties believed was right!

I respect the manner in which she listens to and addresses problems people bring to her; she truly is a community-minded person. Gaetana has and continues to organize programs which brings new insight to old problems facing the citizens of Saugerties. Her concern for the well being of Saugerties and its› residents will make her an excellent town supervisor.

I believe that Gaetana Ciarlante, town supervisor, will lead Saugerties back to an affordable town that families, young and old, will be proud to call home. Please join me in voting for Gaetana Ciarlante on Row C on Election Day.

Pete Petramale
Saugerties

 

Marjorie Block is dedicated to Saugerties

Marjorie Block was one of the first people I met when I moved to Saugerties nine years ago. Whenever there was a local function there she was, friendly and cheerful, working or helping or offering support. I got to know her when I helped to hang the Artists’ Tour pieces at the Kiersted House. I have been extremely impressed by her devotion to the Historical Society and her knowledge of everything that was going on in my adopted hometown as well as details of its history. She can’t have enough fingers to have one in every pie, but somehow she does. I am behind her 100 percent in her campaign for the Town Board. If anyone can help Saugerties to thrive, it’s Marjorie Block.

Loel Barr
Saugerties

 

Doug Myer’s Highway Department: Just the facts

In the past weeks in the local papers there have been many uncomplimentary, derisive letters about Doug Myer, a straight forward man who seems to be doing a very good job as our Highway Department supervisor. Since negative claims were being made by those who were once Mr. Myer’s champions, I thought looking into the issues would be interesting.

They seem to have a problem with his deputy supervisor, complaining that he is a friend and is being paid at level they find excessive, leading them to feel there is probably some sort of nefarious collusion. The two men have known each other for years, but Steve Gakenheimer, the deputy, worked for the Highway Dept. for 16 years before Doug was elected. His wages are determined by Union contract based on his seniority, position, responsibility and past department precedent, just as the wages of the two former deputies were. His performance has been exemplary and he has been given extra duties as a result, These facts fly in the face of rumors being spread by his detractors (who now support Ray Mayone).

The other payroll issue they have imagined is that of Doug’s secretary. They claim that all her 1,930 hours for the year were billed to fema, indicating she did no work for the town and that this is illegal. Now if they are speaking of the Federal Emergency Management Authority when they say fema, this is surely true, but that is not how her hours were billed. Monies paid to her came from a sub-account, of town funds, annotated by how many hours she had worked on fema-related issues and how much was town-related. The town account is then funded by fema in proportion to how much it is obligated to the town. The accusers were probably not able to understand the information they had foiled and they became confused…or something. But the true facts are all there, and all hours were correctly billed, in spite of all phony rumors on the subject.

Now let’s consider some other facts. In addition to successfully completing all their regular tasks, under Doug Myer the Highway Department has:

Completed 21 minor and six of seven major fema projects (the seventh to be completed by year’s end). These were all brought in at $1.4 million less than engineer’s estimated budget!

At the close of 2012, with all bills paid, $622,229, was added to the Highway Department fund balance.

New or updated revenue added to the Highway Department budget from non-taxpayer sources is $129,085.76 to date … This is money brought in to run the department gleaned from sources other than tax-payer dollars!

The working budget of the Highway Department has not needed an increase in two years!

I call this an extremely good record. He’s got my vote!

Marcus Arthur
Saugerties

 

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