Updates on the October 18, 2018 TB Meeting!

The fire at Millerhurst was devastating to the Miller family, who have been on that land for close to 300 years. But it was also devastating to the many, many kids the Millers have mentored as junior farmers. As Emily Miller wrote, the cows all had names and lots of them grew up alongside our children here as friends and show animals. The Town has set up a memorial at the Gazebo for any and all to bring memories, flowers, drawings or photos to share with others. There’s a large pot of chrysanthemums on the top step waiting for more things. If your child feels sad, let him or her make something as a tribute and leave it there for all of us to ponder. What this fire did though to our thinking at this moment is bring home the power of community in tragic times. People have raised over $100,000 at this moment in the 4 days since the fire to give to the family. A mealtrain was set up. There are fundraisers to attend. There are jars at every restaurant collecting money to contribute. This is an homage to the Miller Family and all that they’ve done for our kids over the years, keeping our agricultural roots alive in our schools and the community. They are exemplary of what makes Pine Plains Pine Plains.

We gave a very heartfelt thanks to a citizen who took it upon himself to re-paint the historic landmark signs all around the area, George McGhee. We are the town and what we do matters here. Again, that’s what makes Pine Plains Pine Plains!

We thanked Kevin Walsh and John Hoffman for their vigilance in looking out for our environment here, and helping out with both lake preservation and our new impending solar law.

We hired Tricia Devine for the position of Planning and Zoning Board Secretary and who comes to us from a plethora of jobs overqualifying her for the position. Tricia and her family just moved here a year ago. She also helps run Farview Tree Service with her husband, arborist Sean.

Since our last meeting, I went down to New York to get a tour of the Dursts’ One Bryant Place to see how they build. The place is awesome. Beehives on the roof, rooftop farming, composting of household waste which gets sent to McEnroe’s and ice-making to keep the building cool in summer and get off the grid a bit more, which helps the whole city deal with surges in hot weather. This is what they do best, and they are beginning to realize that they can apply this to the development they want to build.

Budget Workshops/policy for budgeting: inflation is at 2.3%, cost of living is up 2.7%, cost of insurance of all kinds is up 20%, and oil and gas are up as well. We balanced wages with rises in costs, and did our best to give those who had not gotten raises in awhile at least something, while those who recently got raises will have to wait another year. Union contracts are usually set at a 2-3% raise every 3 years, and we will now try to give raises on a basis like that. The people we were able to give raises to hold positions which would become expensive for a variety of reasons were there turnover. Re-training is expensive as is overtime when someone has 2 jobs and chooses to work the one that pays the most and others have to cover for him; our town accountant stressed this as we poured over the budget. At this point, any change will cause a raise in taxes that would be a hardship to many people. That said, we will need to raise taxes a bit in order to stop pulling money from the Fund Balance to balance our budget. That money ought to be going for town improvements. The Proposed Preliminary Budget is available for perusal at Town Hall in the Town Clerk’s office, open 10-1:15 M-F.

We set up Saturday hours for the Town Clerk’s office, beginning in November. More details soon to come.

We are asking for bids for testing Stissing Lake’s vegetation.

We presented an updated Harassment Policy to the Town Board for consideration.

 And today, Friday the 19th, we officially commissioned our new ERV Charging Station behind the Bank of Millbrook!