Tuesday, December 30, 2008

The Tale of Two Grants – Part Duex

From my understanding...

As far as the "Wright-Dungan" grant is concerned, the goals and objectives are much more narrowly defined than as described in the previous Gadfly post. This proposed study aims to synthesize the work of previous studies that are mostly just sitting on shelves. This includes the Transportation/Land Use Study (formerly the Sustainable Development Study... who knew? only those who ACTUALLY read it or even better SERVED on the committee ...and which somehow in the public discourse turned into the "Transportation Study" but I digress…); the Build-Out Study completed by Behan Associates in 2007; and the New Paltz Open Space Plan adopted in 2006. These already conducted studies (and others, please chime in) are meant to provide a roadmap for collaboration between the Town and Village, primarily focused on the Rt 32/Main Street "T" corridor/growth zone as identified in the "Transportation Study" with particular attention on planning, zoning, buildings, and something else I can not recall at the moment. In actuality it may be called the “Wright-Dungan-Osborn” grant with a little bit of Kitty Brown thrown in for good measure as all four of these people have played a significant role in moving the application forward.

As per the requirements of the grant application, both the Town and the Village have passed resolutions in support of the endeavor, including a commitment from both municipalities to contribute to the grant writing costs. I did hear the Town resolution needed some tweaking, but that it would be passed in time for the grant deadline which is January 14th. Given the history of acrimony between the Town and Village, I find it quite nice that they were able to broker an agreement and move forward with this application for funding.

Turning to the "Healey-Hokanson" application, I have less particular knowledge of the actual application. However, I can say this... It appears they are looking at a High Priority Planning Grant, which is a rolling deadline, not hard-and-fast like the above Jan 14th deadline:

"High Priority Planning Grants are for a city or a county charter revision that includes functional consolidations or increased shared services; municipal mergers; consolidations or dissolutions, countywide shared services or the transfer of local functions to the county, and multi county or regional services. For village dissolutions or charter revisions a single applicant may apply.”

Hmmm… this grant does not require a resolution from the Village? So, perhaps "Healey-Hokanson" can move forward without a resolution from the Village as long as the Town is on board? Seems sketchy for "Healey-Hokanson" to move in that direction. Regardless of the requirements, my recommendation would be to get the votes from the Village board. No rose-colored glasses here, I know it will not be easy. Nonetheless, it may be the more thoughtful and advantageous route to take.
My second reaction to this approach is somewhat academic, but what the heck, that is who/what I am. My feeling is that to enter a study with a preconceived notion of the result is problematic. Why propose a study of Town-wide Village? Purport to study the situation and all it entails with all the many particularities, please, propose to study empirically evaluate all the possibilities and make a recommendation/action plan that best benefits the populace based on the evidence compiled by the study… Who knows what the answer may be, but don’t put the horse before the cart. This is especially pertinent when statewide officials are recommending a dismantling of the differences in the regulations that apply to differing local municipalities. Why fight to be a Village when the definition may be on its way out?

All said, I applaud both initiatives because they display the energy of our local paid and unpaid leaders/volunteers to move to find a better way for our community, however you chose to define it.


Brittany Turner said...

F*** the votes from the VB. It may not be playing nice to move forward with "Healey-Hokanson," but it's necessary.

The VB certainly wasn't being thoughtful and playing nice when they refused to take action on a similar grant proposal last year.

There is absolutely no harm in studying something with free money. Shared services is not particularly controversial and is not as costly as unification; get the resources to study unification, obtain some facts and hard numbers and put the issue to bed once and for all.

Unification has been characterized by two concerns -- first, will this actually save money and increase efficiency? Second, will unification somehow hurt the special nature of the village? I won't deign to evaluate what the nature of the village people are talking about, but the cost and efficiency issue is a legitimate concern. Let's get the answers and finally begin moving forward, whatever direction "forward" may ultimately be.

kt said...

Oh boy, silly me.. "Given the history of acrimony between the Town and Village, I find it quite nice that they were able to broker an agreement and move forward with this application for funding." Ha! Read this week's paper and see how silly I am!

Brittany you are right, it is not just about playing nice. But, as I said "thoughtful and advantageous route" - remember, this is a grant from the Dept of State, not having both entities on board looks sketchy on the application. The app will definitely be stronger if both Town and Village are on board.

And I could not agree more, we need a real study with real numbers... provide the empirical evidence, deal with the cultural aspects, arrive at and agree on the best scenario. Oh, if it were only that simple. (Wait, it is that simple! It is the political will that is lacking!)