I am opposed to the town hiring a special prosecutor.The role of any government is to provide those services that cannot or will not be fairly made available through other means, including security, planning, and education. Governments tax their constituents in order to have the necessary resources to perform these functions.When I asked the Supervisor about the special prosecutor, she told me that many other area municipalities have them, and that it's been generating a lot of revenue for them. This is the wrong answer.If a government wishes to tax its citizens, it must do so in a transparent and equitable fashion that allows for full participation by the citizenry. The Supervisor's response makes it clear that she wishes to sidestep traditional revenue channels in an election year. It was not her stated intention to reduce crime or increase the responsiveness of the justice system; she wishes to raise money for the Town.I submit that the only moral way to raise money is through the transparent budgeting process. This would include, for example, posting the full proposed budget on the town web site, which should be easy enough to do given that the site was designed specifically to make it possible to update content quickly.If the Town wishes to become more just, may I suggest that in addition to hiring a special prosecutor, that it hire a special public defender? The one assigned by the County is overworked, unfamiliar with cases, and simply unable to adequately represent his clients due to the workload placed upon him. Such a new position would show that the Town Council is interested in justice, not secret revenue-generating schemes.As you interview candidates for the special prosecutor position today, consider why you were elected. If you believe that New Paltz desires a straightforward government that does not seek to modify behavior or balance budgets through financial tricks, then please think twice about hiring a special prosecutor.
I tire of governments finding sneaky ways to balance budgets, be it like this or with parking meters, fees, or anything else that really amounts to modifying behavior via money. Taxes in New Paltz are high, but my problem is more that the true tax rate is well obfuscated by tactics such as these.