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Monday, December 22, 2008

New Paltz New Year

Maybe if I make a list of hopes and dreams for New Paltz in 2009 early enough it won't get lost in the thousands of New Year's posts that will hit the blogosphere next week. This past year I moved back into the village and became part of its non-renting minority, and I'm excited about what the next twelve months will bring to our village and town. Here's an impromptu to-do list for 2009:
  1. Shop local more. This could be broadened to do more business locally. We should have told our house painter where to get his paint - he didn't travel far, but even if we had paid just a few more bucks to keep that purchase in town we should have insisted. Two high school kids did an awesome job shoveling out our cars and walk yesterday, and I know that cash will be spent nearby. My brilliant wife suggested tipping the mailman with Chamber of Commerce CertifiChecks.
  2. Recycle more. Businesses aren't required to recycle and there's no good reason why not. I applaud Craig Shankles at PDQ Printing for having a strong environmental commitment, but recycling is one of those things that needs a governmental nudge before it makes economic sense.
    1. Did the EnCC get the Post Office fully on board yet?
    2. I want to visit Laura Petit at the recycling center and talk to her about what can and can't be recycled. I bring my stuff there myself, and it's stunning when you compare the list of appropriate items to the stuff that shows up in those dumpsters. Does separating at home work? I'm watching Springfield's pilot recycling program closely.
  3. Talk more about unification or whatever you want to call it. Consolidating governments may save money and may make government more efficient and may put the independence and character of the village at risk (which the Town Planning Board can do in all the ways that count under the present system). No one has any really good evidence on either side of the debate because people are stubborn and unwilling to let grant money be spent on finding out. Is Terry Dungan thumbing his nose at us to protect his fiefdom, or is Toni Hokanson rubbing her hands together gleefully at the idea of gaining more land for hers? Can we please find out?
  4. Overthrow partisan politics. The idea of even considering a person's political party in a local election is just absurd. Does it really affect how streets are plowed or parking regulated? Far too many people in New Paltz make voting decisions with political party forefront in their mind; both educated and uninformed voters do it. There shouldn't be a fully Democratic town council, and it also should matter that there is! And it's not just the Democrats doing it, either - I've taken several Greens to task for their tunnel-vision mission to avoid voting for a Democrat.
  5. Improve this blog. I may not be interested in politics but others are, so I'd like to include at least a Republican or a Libertarian in the gadfly mix. No elected official has asked yet, but if they do, should they be allowed to post? I'd also like to make a cool new banner, but first I need to find a nice picture of the ridge to use. Please comment if you own one that you're willing to donate.
Five small goals for me in my community. But hey, I have all year.

6 comments:

Brittany Turner said...

There's actually a lot of good research on the unification issue; Pete has a lot of it and I have some. We'd both be happy to talk with you about this.

Unfortunately, it isn't New Paltz specific because the has Village refused to even explore the possibility thus far. Supposedly a grant proposal is under way; we'll see. Regardless, we can look at the outcome and case studies from other municipalities. As far as I'm concerned, all signs point to this being the most reasonable and responsible option. No one is suggesting that unification needs to move full steam ahead. There are so many opportunities to merge specific functions that this could serve as a good pilot to evaluate the benefits of shared services as a step towards possible full unification in the future.

lagusta said...

I am one of the many people who worked on the surprisingly difficult PO recycling issue, and I am proud to say that there are now two blue recycling bins at the Post Office! Why it took two years to get them is a story filled with red tape and headaches, but they are there.

kt said...

Anyone interested in consolidated government of shared services should check out;
1- this article in Governing magazine which shows how ahead of the curve NYS is on shared services initiatives:
http://www.governing.com/articles/0811consol.htm
2- Atty Gen Coumo's initiative to Reduce Government and Save Taxpayer Money
http://www.oag.state.ny.us/media_center/2008/dec/dec11b_08.html


ps. Lagusta - now we have to get people to put the sy. It never ends!

kt said...

last part was supposed to say ps. Lagusta - now we have to get people to put the recycling in the recycling bin and trash in the trash. Me thinks they could use a larger recycling bin and smaller trash cans... It never ends!

Terence said...

Kt,

(Actually, is it properly KT, Kt, kt, or the eclectic kT?)

My next post addresses the recycling question to some extent - whether it's a stupendous success or miserable failure, we've got similar questions. Stay tuned.

lagusta said...

I know! There need to be bigger bins and people who know and care about the difference between trash and recycling, absolutely. Sigh. It does never end.