Saugerties Times letters to the editor (12/15-22)

Holiday Thanks

On Sunday December 4th the Village of Saugerties experienced one of the loveliest days of the year — the annual Holiday in the Village.

The Saugerties Chamber of Commerce thanks the following for making the day the success it was: Participating merchants who distributed snacks, goodies, discounts, and provided craft activities. Village Mayor Bill Murphy, Town Supervisor Greg Helsmoortel, the Village and Town Boards, the Village and Town Fire Departments, Chief Sinagra and the Police Department, TV23, Kiwanis Club of Saugerties, the Blue Kats, the Saugerties High School Key Club, Marge and Harry Block (the Kiersted House), Carol Ann and Ray Mayone, Sue and Victor Sachar, Jeannine Mayer, Mike Harkavy, Gus Pedersen, Brendan Amodio (Mirabella’s), Marc Propper(Miss Lucy’s & Cue), Michael’s Farm Petting Zoo, DJ Joe Peone, Barbara Bravo, Bill Kimble, Michael Nelson, Sawyer Motors and Sawyer Chevrolet for their amazing toy giveaway. Congratulations to the winners of the window decorating contest: Saugerties Antique Center, Emerge Gallery, Dancing Tulip Floral Boutique. Congratulations to the winners of the parade of fire trucks; Saxton Fire Department, R.A. Snyder Hose Company, C.A. Lynch Fire Company.

See you next year.

Mark Smith
Saugerties Chamber of Commerce Chair

Peggy Schwartz
Saugerties Chamber of Commerce Vice-Chair


Village kindness

On Monday my husband and I drove to have lunch at the Hudson Valley Dessert Co. in the village and I managed to get stuck in the snow on the street in front of the bakery. I would like to thank the staff at the bakery who lent us a shovel to dig out including the young man at the bakery who tried to offer his services to shovel us out. Also a thanks goes to the two women eating at the bakery who kindly offered to push the car and then took the shovel and started to help dig us out. Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all who showed us their kindness.


Diane Winslow


Economic development needed

Recently in the Ulster County Legislature, a budget was passed that reduced the County Tax Assessment by a small amount. Within the budgetary process, there were numerous budget amendments, and the budget amendment that failed by the closest vote, (an 11-11 vote tie) was on an amendment that targeted funding for a housing study. Recently, a financial study by the United Way found that over 60 percent of Ulster County residents who rent, pay over 30 percent of their total income towards housing expenditures. This is the highest in all of Upstate New York. With data from such a study not forthcoming, one could extrapolate on what the findings would have found, and with somewhat of a background in Statistics/Research Methods, I will explain the causational factors behind  the rates of rental properties around Ulster County.

With the closure of IBM in 1994 and other manufacturing-based employers across Ulster County, local municipalities and Ulster County Government have lost out on those  sources of commercial-based tax revenues. With this being true, local municipalities and Ulster County Government have to rely on other sources of revenues to off-set these losses in commercial-based tax revenues. And while the Town of Ulster has taken an aggressive approach towards commercial development within its boundaries, the ever-changing/cyclical nature of our economy causes some retail shopping venues to close. When this occurs, municipalities have to make up for these losses in commercial-based taxes by raising residential tax rates and/or cutting services and reducing the size of government. When this happens, residential rents go up in order for landlords to meet their added expenditures.

Recent Census data has concluded that the frequency of Ulster County residents who commute outside of Ulster has greatly increased over the last 12+ years. This socio-economical phenomenon is emblematic of several tenants of the U.S. Economy: (1) Since the 1990s and the proliferation of the global economy, more U.S. jobs have moved to other parts of the World, and U.S. based jobs are more prone to be strategically located near large metropolitan areas, within State Capitol cities and around the Washington DC hub. (2) This trend in higher-end jobs being exclusively shifted to select parts of the U.S. creates a disparity between the wages being earned and the taxes being collected between these different regions. This makes the value of residential real estate around such select job-hubs increase which forces more workers to commute and thus this phenomenon affects workers on both ends of the spectrum as to why they commute to work. Meanwhile, many locally-based workers who earn lower wages are forced to pay a higher percentage of their income towards rent. Ideally, more economic development will come into Ulster County and bring well paying jobs which will help alleviate these issues.

Chris Allen,
Ulster County Legislature


Standing Together

One truth covers another, new ones are born. Old realities crumble, new ones arise. Old relationships are lost, then rediscovered. Snow covers everything, then it melts. I didn’t mean to be poetic this morning, writing about something so serious, but now that I think of it, poetry — poetic thought -— poetic action — is the most serious distillation of truth that can be. Here we are, Americans, who thought we had —or at least many of us did think that — we had a good country despite…and now, we are taken aback, I am taken aback at the surreality that confronts us, hideous truths that are revealed.
So we mourn and we go on. We organize. One particular group I am working with is our newly-formed local JVP, Jewish Voice for Peace. Our first, this very first action of our JVP-HV (Hudson Valley) group is our Hanukkah action, taking place 4 p.m.-5:30 p.m., Wednesday, December 21, corner of Wall Street and North Front Street, Kingston.  We will be displaying Menorah candles with strong writing against Islamophobia and racism. We will be part of JVP groups across the country, standing in this same way. So we invite all members of our Hudson Valley community to stand in support of our Muslim brothers and sisters, immigrants — all of us, white and black and yellow, refugees, Native Americans…A voice of each of us for the eight candles, shining in the dark and illuminating these darkening times. As dark and heavy as it seems, I am uplifted by the many groups forming now, coming together, out in the open, unafraid, standing with each other, against the heaviness descending. Let us lift up our voices in community.

Jane Toby