Police reimagining update
Esi Lewis, member of the New Paltz’s town police reform and reinvention steering committee, provided an update at the September 9 joint board meeting about that group’s work thus far. The committee must report back on whether changes are needed to policing in New Paltz in time for the town board formally to accept that report by next April.
Lewis reported that an overview of the town police and research on other po9lice departments for comparison was under way. Reaching out to local community groups will be the next step. Lewis also advised that a budget request from the steering committee will be forthcoming, but did not suggest how much money would be needed to complete this work.
More climate points
New Paltz officials have received an assessment of their progress in the state climate-smart initiative from staffers at Cornell Cooperative Extension. Certification can put municipal grant applications in a more favorable position when being reviewed by state regulators. Undertaking the assessment itself earned each municipality six points toward silver certification on that scale.
Brent Gotsch praised local elected officials for how well they are working together on this. Gotsch focused on building resilience against natural disasters, which in New Paltz largely means flooding. Specifically flood-mitigation training was suggested, along with the creation of a risk analysis based on the potential buildout of the community under current zoning regulations.
Community emergency response team training available through the Federal Emergency Management Agency. Gotsch also suggested other ways to improve public outreach. The area of the Wallkill River may be eligible for waterfront revitalization funding, too, which could be important if sustainability is given higher priority in future comprehensive plans. Those updates might include finding ways to acquire land most susceptible to dangerous flooding and retaining it as open space or for lower-impact forms of recreation. Other plans might include those for evacuation, heat emergencies, and green economic development.
This assessment was paid for as part of a $150,000 program funded through the Hudson River Estuary Program and New York State Water Resources Institute. “This money supports 18 actions, five certifications and/or assessments for a dozen municipalities,” according to Melinda Herzog of Cornell Cooperative Extension.
Honoring three villagers
New Paltz’s village board passed a resolution September 9 to acknowledge the passing of Carol Roper, Sally Rhoads and Mary Strothenke, three village residents who made considerable contributions to community improvement and public service. The resolution describes the three as persons who endlessly gave their time, energy, intelligence and deeply-rooted goodness to New Paltz for many years.
“They each set an example for embodying what it means to be an active member of a community, sacrificing time spent with family and friends, and a commitment to making New Paltz a better place to live,” the resolution said. “Their leadership and contributions will forever be remembered and appreciated.”
The board officially resolved “to express condolences to the many family members, loved ones and friends on their loss of these truly remarkable women who so graced our lives in New Paltz.”