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A Wish Granted

It’s impossible not to realize that many things need to be done in our towns and villages in order for us citizens to lead healthy and fulfilling lives. There are needs, and our town leaders do their best to meet those needs. Just think of the road work, sidewalk repairs, winter maintenance, water supplies, wastewater solutions, recreation programs, affordable housing, Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) compliance and everything else that needs to be addressed in our hometowns. Now, think of where the money comes from to pay for that work. 

Taxes. That’s right, taxpayers are on the hook for millions upon millions of dollars locally and county wide to pay for goods and services. That’s how it goes. But, sometimes, when fortunate, there are ways to help alleviate that pressure.

Grants. Grants are a beautiful thing. Yes, they are still based on tax dollars and the reality is that ultimately future taxpayers will have to pay for the deficit created by awarding those federal monies — but grants help municipalities afford projects that would otherwise be dead in the water.

According to www.taxpolicycenter.org, “the federal government distributes about $700 billion [17 % of its budget] to states and localities each year [in grants], providing about one-quarter of these governments’ total revenues.”

That money trickles down from Washington all the way to small villages like Millerton — and we’re thankful it does.

Again, grants help fund projects many localities couldn’t otherwise afford. Case in point, the newly announced $327,000 Municipal Innovation Grant (MIG) from Dutchess County to help the town of North East and the village of Millerton pay for phase two of its yet-to-be-built shared highway garage facility on Route 22.

The funding, according to North East town Supervisor George Kaye, is critical.

“I don’t know that we would be able to complete these projects without their help,” he said. 

He was speaking of the Dutchess County Legislature, which gave Dutchess County Executive Marcus Molinaro an extra $400,000-plus on top of an existing $1.1 million pool of funding for the MIG Program.

Thanks to the shared services initiative, North East and Millerton are well on their way to enjoying a newly constructed highway garage and all the accouterments. Last year the project received another $240,000 for phase one, to build a much needed salt and sand storage shed.

We are so appreciative of those who make such grants possible. The county executive, for one, has been a great advocate and has championed shared services for many years. The MIG Program is a big part of that initiative. 

We are equally glad that so many municipalities are able to join forces in the pursuit of shared goals. Like the highway garage in North East and Millerton, the town and village are similarly pursuing the idea of sharing emergency medical services (EMS) coverage with the towns of Dover and Amenia to help allay high costs. Though that idea is still in the works, it’s a good approach, and we encourage our local leaders to continue considering shared services as a solution to their budget woes.

Certainly the MIG Program has proven itself more than worthy to us — and we’re keeping our fingers crossed that it will help North East and Millerton fund phase three of the highway garage project next year. The hope is, of course, that wishes asked for are wishes granted.