A VILLAGE VOICE
Working at the polls as an intake person and greeter during the presidential election afforded me the opportunity to see an engaged cross-section of our community. Although the results weren’t what I would have chosen I respect and admire everyone who made the effort to vote and have their voices heard. Especially gratifying was watching everyone voting for the first time, more than a few also celebrating their new citizenship. Rhinebeck can be proud of the level of engagement we have. The bad part of working from 5:00 AM until 10:00 PM was missing the monthly village board meeting which apparently couldn’t be rescheduled.
Although it was short, a few things occurred you should be aware of.
-Highway is asking for approval for a new plow because inspection has shown the one we have will probably not withstand the first bad snowfall. Also, the department is struggling with one worker out due to an on-the-job injury and the board has yet to approve a replacement. As a consequence, leaves are backing up. Please call the mayor at Village Hall (845-876-7015) or myself (914-475-2890) if you have concerns about leaves or snow sure to come.
-There is a free conference in Albany Friday, November 18. The Local Government Innovation Conference is sponsored by NY Dept. of State. I’m am very excited to meet with Chad Goerner, the keynote speaker from Princeton, an expert in shared services, although this entailed going up the night before and necessitated one night’s hotel. Covering some cost myself the village will pay only $175. Goerner is going to help advise me on our Intermunicipal Agreement with the town and application for a grant to fund a study about sharing services in highway, cemetery and, possibly, judicial departments. Note, this is only a grant to study the feasibility. Tivoli, Red Hook village and town recently did the same successfully. I am also in discussion with their municipal leaders and reviewing their paperwork to see how they did it. The majority of the board approved the conference with only Trustee Traudt opposing it.
-The board passed a resolution authorizing, subject to permissive referendum, the purchase of a fire-fighting vehicle for the village of Rhinebeck at a maximum estimated cost of $465,000. They also authorized the issuance of $465,000 serial bonds. This means you, village tax payers, will have a chance to vote on this before it is purchased.
-It was also announced that village elections will be held Wednesday, March 18, 2017. Positions open will be Mayor and two Trustee seats, all two year terms beginning first Monday in April. In addition, there will be an election for Village Justice for a four year term. I’m happy to explain the positions if you are interested in serving.
-The first weekend in November was full of tree planting. On Saturday, the tree commission planted 16 beautiful specimens, many beyond the right of way. You will see crab apples, lilacs, oaks, hedge maples, tulip trees, sycamores and more. Highway pitched in with mulch and equipment. Meg Crawford, Walter Cotter, Tom Johnson, Nick Monaco and I represented the tree commission. Invaluable and enthusiastic volunteers comprised Village Trustee Gary Bassett, Jill Welch, Paul Higgins, Natalka Chas, Connie Lown, our favorite high schooler Adelina Malone and her friend Hannah Peterson, Benito Lopez and his cousin Nicolas. Sheri Monaco not only shoveled and mulched she also provided great sustenance and good cheer with Charlotte and Drew Monaco. Thanks are also due to Rhinebeck Bagels.
The next day was just as beautiful and the turnout even larger to plant another dozen trees in Rhinebeck cemetery. Sore muscles didn’t prevent Meg, Connie Lown and myself from returning but thankfully we were joined by Mickey Haggerty, Suzanne Kelly, Garry Slater, Kathy Beiser, Evelyn Gartner, Bonni Fulmer and Carol Livellar. The Rhinebeck Grange and Rhinebeck Interact were well represented by Joe and Cynthia Baer, Laurie Bathrick, David and Suellen Albahary, plus students Serena Albahary, Elaine Albahary, Grace Steele, Emily Entner, Stella Funkhooser, Lyla Andrick, Derek Livesey and Dylan Chu.
Rhinebeck can be proud and grateful for our giving community. The Church of the Messiah will be distributing coats during regular Friday food pantry November 11, 10-1 pm. Remember that no person in need will ever be turned away. They will also be hosting the Third Thursday benefit lunch November 17. It’s the best and most delicious deal in town.
Holidays and elections can be emotionally difficult for people. Volunteering with these and other activities can help keep feelings of despair at bay. Don’t be afraid to reach out for help if you need it.