Letter to the Editor from Brenda Klaproth

As spring is almost here, Rhinebeck Village political signs are up and candidates are hoofing it door to door. Some candidates are focusing on local concerns, such as improving the village infrastructure, while others appear to be looking to Albany and national party platforms for issues.

Trial balloons such as climate change, sanctuary cities, and municipal consolidation are being bandied about by those taking guidance from Governor Cuomo and their party platform.

Consolidation of Rhinebeck Town and Village often has been suggested, but no formal proposal has ever been submitted for a vote. Proponents believe substantial tax savings could be realized while others doubt that the loss of village identity is worth the loss of sovereignty.

Population density differences result in town and village governments having different concerns. Such concerns include: water supply, sanitary and storm water sewers, sidewalks, trees, lighting, policing, EMS, fire protection, planning, zoning, telecommunications, traffic, tourists, events, lodging laws, keeping of animals, leaf and yard waste removal. Any consolidation plan must address these items.

Since town councilmen are elected “at large”, if the village were simply dissolved, there would be no guarantee of village representation on the resulting town board just as the hamlet of Rhinecliff has no guaranteed representation on the town board today.

The best government is the government closest to the people. Being one of 2,500 is preferable to being one of 8,000. It might cost a bit more but I’m very willing to pay that price.

Brenda Klaproth