Letters to the Editor - The Millerton News - 11-19-20
Attention town of Amenia taxpayers
This letter is to correct the misinformation that was presented in the “2021 Preliminary budget hearing held” article in the Nov. 12 edition of The Millerton News. First of all, the 2021 Town of Amenia budget is not going up 22.49%. Secondly, the tax rate per thousand in 2019 was 2.46551 and in 2020 the tax rate per thousand was 1.974126, which clearly shows that taxes went DOWN. Thirdly, the tax cap law states that the tax cap rate is 2% or the rate of inflation, whichever less is.
Per information received from the New York State comptroller’s office, the tax cap rate for 2021 is 1.56%. Furthermore, there was no Summer Camp this year and it was cut from the 2021 budget because there was no one who responded to ads in The Millerton News, notices on the website and Channel 22 this year or last year for Summer Camp director. In addition, the open position was announced at Town Board meetings.
There will be further reductions in budget lines that will be reflected in the proposed Adopted Budget, which will be voted on at the Nov. 19 Town Board meeting. It will be the result of the Amenia Town Board knowing that there will be a major reduction in revenue due to the COVID pandemic’s effect on sales tax revenue and other factors and doing the best job that we can to keep taxes down and still cover the costs and expenses that we are required to pay.
Editor’s note: Please read this week’s article on Page A3, “A closer look at the town’s 2021 Preliminary Budget,” by reporter Kaitlin Lyle, which clarifies any errors from last week’s article and provides the proper budget figures. We regret the errors.
Florida didn’t get it so right
I take exception to several items Mr. Conklin mentioned in last week’s column, Veteran’s Corner.
First, in talking about election rules, you stated that, “Florida should serve as a role model. They did it right.”
Right, if you are an advocate of voter suppression. In Florida’s previous election, 60% of the voters voted for Amendment 4, which in essence gave felons, other than murderers and sex offenders, the right to vote after serving their time in jail. The Republican controlled Legislature, with the encouragement of Governor DeSantis, ruled that the offender had to pay legal financial obligations. It was ruled by District Judge Hinkle in a 125-page document, which stated that Florida’s “pay-to-vote” system was unconstitutional. Not satisfied, they took it to the U.S. Court of Appeals, which overturned Judge Hinkle’s ruling.
So now Florida has a poll tax and as the state has no obligation to tell the offenders how much is owed, they are left in limbo.
I just don’t see how Florida is the state that got it right.
You also stated “a uniform set of national election rules must be established to achieve election results in a timely manner.”
I believe the Constitution gives the right to each state to make their own election laws.
Roger Noel Price
Thanks from Pine Plains town supervisor
I’d like to give thanks each week to some of the volunteers and employees who make Pine Plains what it is — look for more thanks in my weekly newsletters.
The Broadband Committee: Thank you for meeting every Thursday since we began, mapping the holes in high-speed internet service, collating survey results, staying on top of all developments in broadband service and connecting to others doing the same work in other counties. If anyone can figure this out, I am positive it is our committee members: Chair Paul Marcom, Jim Petrie, John Forelle, Martin Handler, Matt Brimer, Matt Finley, Jesse Brukman, Michael Stabile and Steven Neil. It is an honor to work with you.
Recycling: It is also an honor to work with Vinnie Parliman, who, whenever he is asked to do something for the town, always says yes. Always. Vinnie has been instrumental in so many projects around town, from manning the recycling center to cleaning up zombie houses and letting in workpersons to fix things in our buildings. Vinnie, we could not run things without you.
Masks: The greatest gratitude to all who wear masks in town. Not only are you keeping yourself healthy, you are keeping our COVID-19 rate the lowest in the county. It is a small gesture but a mighty one. And I know it challenges the rugged individualism that defines so many here in our town. But those with the greatest courage are those who think about others first. Bravo.
Whenever I sit with other supervisors and mayors and hear their war stories, I am ever more grateful that we have the Highway and Police Departments that we do. This is to the credit of their leaders, Heather Emerich and John Hughes. If you could hear the problems other towns have, I think you would be as proud as I am to know that these people guard the town.
Last week, I began work as a Pattern for Progress Fellow in a yearlong study of Institutional Racism. I believe this work will have a profound effect on leadership in Pine Plains — there is much to learn and it serves to bolster the decisions we have already made here. Sgt. Hughes already had the idea that the Police Department is a service to the community, not a force, per se. There is a huge difference in these concepts.
Our study will include this and other topics, like classism and misogyny. The great divide we experience in Pine Plains revolves around many issues these concepts address. It’s not just political parties; the political divide might just be the result.
I leave you with this quotation from Abraham Maslow, whose Law of Instruments demonstrates the cognitive bias that involves an over-reliance on a familiar tool.
“I suppose it is tempting, if the only tool you have is a hammer, to treat everything as if it were a nail.”