Letters to the Editor May 19
The tax reval mess
Some people are saying that the Town Board is responsible for the mess that has arisen from the 2011 tax revaluation. Ironically, some are even particularly blaming the very board members who have been the most steadfast in standing up for the interests of this community. This is not right.
I believe most of our board members hoped, as many members of the public did, that this revaluation would correct real inequities that existed. Somehow this has morphed into a crusade against landowners and farmers, some of whose families have worked this land for generations.
How did this happen? We are still trying to get to the bottom of this, but perhaps the following facts will help to shed some light on the matter. Town Supervisor David Sherman’s name is on the 2002 Route 22 Corridor Management Plan, which targets Millerton for priority growth with open space preservation around it. The plan states this will be accomplished through the acquisition of land and land rights. This is one-half of the smart growth equation laid out in the Route 22 plan he helped produce almost 10 years ago.
He has also championed affordable housing that this community neither needed nor wanted. The housing would have been an example of infill development in the priority growth area. That would be the other half of smart growth.
In 2007 Mr. Sherman initiated and was quite insistent about serving on the Assessor’s Office Study Group. That same year, the group issued a report recommending that agricultural exemptions be tightened. Now, in 2011, assessments on land and farms outside the village priority growth area are going through the roof. In a recent Millerton News editorial, Assessor Katherine Johnson is quoted as citing the Assessor’s Office Study Group as a reason for the change in agricultural assessments.
Did you know that Dutchess County Planning Federation is currently working on a GIS map of targeted green spaces for every town? I was told the map for North East is not available yet.
It is logical to assume if the lands mapped are targeted for green spaces and are not currently green spaces, that land now owned by individuals is being targeted by the county for eventual takeover as shown on this map. Wouldn’t you like to know if your property is slated to be part of the green space?
The written descriptions of green spaces in the Greenway Plans I have read allow for no residences. They do allow for working farms. How many farms? What size farms? Whose farms? And even more to the point, how many of these farms will be left standing after the tax increases? I’m sure you’ve heard the terms distressed seller and willing seller.
The Route 22 Corridor Management Plan that Mr. Sherman helped to create establishes a one-half-mile radius development growth boundary for the village of Millerton. This is the division between the village priority growth area and the projected primarily open or green spaces outside the boundary.
How it is that when I asked town officials about this boundary, they were unaware of it? Shouldn’t Mr. Sherman have informed them of such an important fact?
I will let the reader draw his or her own conclusions from the information I have presented. At the very least it raises some disturbing questions.
Millerton Grange 796 is no more
In compliance with the revocation of the charter of the Millerton Grange 796 by New York State Grange Master Oliver Orton, the Millerton Grange 796 no longer exists.
We regret this action by the state Grange but would like to give thanks to all those who have been members as well as the community it has served for over 115 years. Special thanks to Simmons’ Way Village Inn, Salisbury Bank and Trust, The Berkshire Taconic Foundation and all others who have helped their community Grange in so many ways.
Our deepest regrets to the local charities and causes we have helped support for so long, and the consequences of this action by New York State Grange.
Past treasurer, on behalf of the now defunct
Millerton Grange 796
May is Military Appreciation Month
Congress designated May as National Military Appreciation Month (NMAM). For more than 230 years men and women have taken an oath to defend the Constitution and guarantee our freedom. When they take that oath, not only are they making a commitment and perhaps the ultimate sacrifice, but their families are making a commitment and sacrifice.
The very special days of appreciation and thanks in the month of May are: Loyalty Day, May 1; Military Spouse Appreciation Day, May 6; VE Day, May 8; Armed Forces Day, May 21; and Memorial Day, May 30. Although some of these have passed, we can still take a moment and say thanks or show our gratitude.
The American Legion Auxiliary Post 178 encourages you to fly the flag; send care packages to a soldier through USOCARES or through your local VFW post or American Legion post; shake the hand of someone in uniform; hire a veteran; visit a veteran; ask your elected officials at all levels to recognize the military; correspond with the troops.