Letters (April 3-10)

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I just attended a town hall meeting on the state budget hosted by State Sen. Cecilia Tkaczyk at the Frank D. Greco Senior Citizens Center. The senator made a very informative presentation on the intricacies of the budget negotiations, took questions from the audience, and then spoke to audience members on a one-to-one basis.

I greatly appreciate Senator Tkaczyk coming to Saugerties to explain this very complicated budget in plain English. Thank you senator!

Mary Anne Wrolsen
Saugerties

 

A voice for upstate concerns

Last week State Sen. Cecilia Tkaczyk came to the Senior Center to talk about the state budget being hammered out in Albany. I’d like to thank the senator for spending time explaining some of the difficult issues involved in this budget, answering questions and explaining her positions. Sen. Tkaczyk has stood strongly in support of public education, she spoke clearly of the need for more equitable funding, She understands the need to fundamentally change the flawed system of funding education which in large part comes from property taxes. This puts the burden on individuals and communities are often unable to support the good educational systems they need and deserve. She knows that school districts have lost state funding over the last few years and that school programs are being crippled and that current proposals were not sufficient. We have seen this in our own school district. She has joined the voices of many throughout the state demanding an increase in funding for education in this budget.

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She has also consistently supported small farmers, has stood strongly for the environment, against hydrofracking and recognizes the very serious dangers posed by the wastewater from fracking imported from out of state which can threaten our drinking water, our landfills and our roads.

Thank you Sen. Tkaczyk.

Sue Rosenberg
Saugerties

 

School funding must change

The one thing we can all agree on is that upstate property owners are being hammered by school taxes. Rural districts are paying proportionately more in taxes than urban areas where schools are funded through a progressive income tax coming from a large tax base. In Saugerties, many residential and commercial properties are assessed at values way above their owner’s ability to pay their school taxes. While this hurts all of us, it is especially difficult for those on fixed incomes.

NYS Sen. Cecilia Tkaczyk conducted an apolitical budget hearing open to the public and all of her constituents on March 23 at the Senior Center. The hearing focused on the inequities in school funding and what we need to do to get our fair share. The Senator presented an overview of the problems facing the funding of our schools which was followed by a question and answer session. If you missed the hearing you can view it on Lighthouse TV 23 or online by going to https://vp.telvue.com/player?s=lighthousetv. Simply click on Special Events and then on Budget Hearing.

We all need to make our voices heard in Albany because the current system for funding our schools must change.

Mike Harkavy
Saugerties

 

Bridge update: Safety issues

The intent of this letter is to inform the residents of Mt. Marion and Saugerties about recent developments in the reconstruction of the Sauer Bridge on Glasco Turnpike. As one of the three legislators representing Saugerties, I have initiated direct communication with the CSX Railroad Company to inform them of the potential safety hazard that a stalled out or derailed train could present to the Saugerties residents who live on Glenerie Ln. and Glasco Turnpike east of the railroad crossing on the Turnpike. Because the Sauer Bridge is out of commission until late November or late December, I felt that it was imperative to directly make contact with the CSX Corporate Offices in Florida to discuss the circumstances surrounding the closure of the bridge. During my conversation with a CSX employee, I was informed that (on average) 31 trains per day travel through the railroad crossing that is west of the bridge on Glasco Turnpike. If one of these trains were to stall out due to a mechanical failure or derailment, the residents who live to the west of the bridge and to the east of the railroad crossing would be cut off from emergency services and general access outside of their residences. At a recent Village of Saugerties Board meeting in which I was in attendance, Police Chief Joseph Sinagra expressed his concerns about such a mishap which would block off the ability of the Saugerties Police Department to gain access to the aforementioned residents. In addition, other emergency services like medical transportation services and fire personal would also be unable to gain access to these residents in the event of a stalled out train across this intersection. In response to my communication with CSX, I was informed that they would pass the information on to the Community Affairs Office in Kingston and to their Public Safety Department which I was told has all of the requisite contact information that is needed in order to contact officials within the governmental structure of Saugerties and Ulster County.

In order to inform the public on these issues related to the closure of the Sauer Bridge, an informational meeting is being planned for the middle of April to be held at the Mt. Marion Firehouse. At this public meeting, legislators Fabiano, Warwo and I will be in attendance in addition to other public officials from Saugerties and Ulster County so that we can address your concerns and answer your questions regarding these issues.

On April 15, the Ulster County Legislature will be voting on the requisite funding needed to reconstruct the bridge, and the demolition project is slated to begin in early May. Please pass on any concerns that you have to the three of us (legislators), and we will forward them to the appropriate people and agencies.

Chris Allen
Ulster County legislator, District 2

 

Tag the transgressors

I applaud the idea of extra police efforts to apprehend those drivers that pass school busses loading and un-loading students. There are too many problems in making positive IDs on those drivers from inside a bus and overtaking vehicles in the crowded traffic situations.

A simple solution: Mount a paint spray gun on the side of the bus below the bus driver’s window. This gun will operate ONLY if the red lights are flashing on the bus and the driver would deposit a bright line of school bus yellow, on the side of the passing car. No excuse available when the driver is pulled over!

Positive identification! The car’s owner is responsible for that vehicle so even if he/she was not driving at the time, the car was used in a crime.

Anyone want to bet on the chances of any school board adopting this?

Walt Hackett
Saugerties