Tomorrow's Meeting                                                        3-12-2018

                     Tomorrow night's Town Board Meeting is an important one to attend if you are concerned about your tax rates.

                      Some of you are familiar with the former George Miller property behind the old train station on Tilden Road. The actual address of the property is Lover's Lane, but it's easier to access from Tilden Road. The house is a burned-out shell now, following the tragic fire that occurred there several years ago. 

                       Apparently, the property is "supposed" to be going up for auction at the County for unpaid taxes, and was actually ON the auction list, that is, until there was some interference. As you may or may not know, the Rail Trail project that begins in Stephentown and runs into New Lebanon, is planned to continue through town and there is a Committee, (Of COURSE there is!), working on the project. I believe Joe Ogilvie, the husband of Fiona Lally, is spearheading the effort. 

                       Now this next piece of the story may not be 100% accurate, as I got this 2nd hand, albeit from a reliable source. Only some wording may be incorrect as I was not present to hear them, but the issue is indeed real and something we should pay attention to. Allegedly, our new Councilman Norm Rasmussen, influenced our Supervisor to "Donate" the Miller property to the Rail Trail Project rather than let it go for auction. So the property was removed from the County Auction List by executive action with no input from the Town Board. This has not exactly met with the approval of the majority of Councilmen and will be a major topic at tomorrow's meeting.

                       Mr. Ogilvie has stated that he plans to round-up the Rail Trail supporters to fight to get this property for FREE, for their use. He was given an alternative option of accepting a portion of the property for the trail, approximately ten feet  which is all that is necessary for hikers to pass through, but stated that they want the entire 3 acres. So here is the problem;  New Lebanon has just so many acres and properties that are subject to taxation. Since the influx of city folks, we have seen many hundreds of acres pledged to Conservancies in perpetuity. Those taxes have to be made up by the residents. Some Conservancies DO pay a small amount, but it's nothing compared to what the town was receiving prior to the massive conservation movement we have seen in recent years. 

                        Consider also, how many acres of open land have been reserved as Forever Farmland, which is a GOOD thing, within reason. Same with the Conservancies. We SHOULD protect some of our wooded and open lands, but in New Lebanon, it is becoming far too extreme and a burden to the rest of us. It is time to put a CAP on the number of acres that can be put into conservancies before it goes any further. It is also time to be satisfied with the extensive work done by the CAC, gratefully use their maps and advice in Zoning and Planning issues, but now that the work is done, we should be dissolving the Committee and not allowing them to have so much influence over zoning decisions.

                         These Liberal Conservation and Sustainability initiatives are okay to a point, but with these folks, enough is NEVER enough. New Lebanon is now subject to more zoning and planning restrictions that ever before in the history of this town, and it is all due to Greenies and Government Grants that require regulations and oversight that rob us of our freedom to use our properties as we see fit. It discourages the so-called "Growth" that the Council, the Supervisor, and the Transplants seem to hold so dear. It makes it far more complicated and expensive for young families to build homes or for existing property owners to expand or renovate. It severely limits the TYPE of businesses that can operate here and exactly WHERE they can operate and how many costly requirements they will have to meet.

                          One needs only to look at the Mike Darcy issue on Lover's Lane to see exactly what I mean. The guy owns a dump truck and a flatbed truck and parks them at his residence, in the rear, out of view of neighbors. Yet he has spent many months under the gun of neighbors who are complaining about the noise of the trucks leaving in the mornings and coming home in the evenings. They are whining about exhaust fumes and the time the trucks need to run to warm up, etc. Um, this is the COUNTRY, and we have people who do blue-collar jobs that are necessary to our everyday lives.  Get used to it, or move somewhere less rural and less blue-collar. Easy. (Public Hearing on THAT matter is March 20th at 6:30 at the Town Hall).

                          The Darcy Family has done a lot for this town and they have been here for generations. They are an asset, and they employ a LOT of local folks. Much like Howard Commander and the Larabee family that have also been screwed by over-regulation and ridiculous "Rules". Our town council should be concentrating on being a more INDEPENDENT town, not inviting government regulations and Green Initiatives that make our lives miserable. Nor should they allow the Wish List of city Liberals to burden the taxpayers, things like the Rail Trail and Conservancies. I am not suggesting that we ban these things, all I am saying is let's stop getting carried-away and going full Left while ignoring the REST of the residents who have needs and wishes,too. Enough is damn well ENOUGH! 

                          So if any of this concerns you, or your property tax bill gave you a mini-stroke, you should come to tomorrow's meeting. 

                          One more thing. Do you know that our Supervisor is planning to move her office to the second floor of the Town Hall? How is that going to work for the elderly and handicapped? Why does the Tax Assessor who is rarely here, need to have the office right inside the entrance where the Supervisor now IS and SHOULD be? It makes Zero sense. So much for meeting privately with Colleen if you need to but can't climb those steep stairs. For that matter, why does the Assessor have a cell phone paid for by US? This woman works for numerous towns as assessor, let some other town pay for her phone.

                          Colleen has done a wonderful job as Supervisor and I hope she will continue to BE our Supervisor for years to come. I honestly believe that she is the best Supervisor that New Lebanon has EVER had! Those of us who have lived here all our lives or for 30 years or more, can SEE the damage being done by City transplants, and WE are the ONLY ones who can put a cap on it before it goes any farther. Get involved, because change happens from the bottom-up, in little towns like ours. NO MORE Conservancies, NO MORE Green Projects, no more Freebies for Liberal wish-lists, and NO MORE government Grants!  They have gotten more than they should have, and it's time to consider the REST of us for a change! YOU, have to demand it.