Town Supervisor Updates

Supervisor’s Statement 1.16.2020

Supervisor’s Statement 1.16.2020 Town Board Meeting

Besides Grant paperwork, contracts and budgets, I’ve been finalizing the Sewer feasibility Study RFP, the commensurate Survey , and the shared service for fuel purchase.

Wednesday Alice and I attended the Cybersecurity Summit at Marist College at the behest of County Executive Molinaro, in order to learn how vulnerable we are at the local government level. Key points which I want to emphasize to everyone who works here, and to the public at large who run businesses:

Cyber attack is the new larceny. The most common attacks are ransomeware sent as a virus to computers through the opening of innocent-looking emails, seemingly sent by someone you know, and game-playing on the web. Any computer that goes onto the web is vulnerable.

Just because a computer is not networked into the main workplace server does not mean it is safe: it is networked into the wifi system, which is vulnerable, and also the wiring contains what is known as SWITCHES which are vulnerable connections. Switches can be hacked. WIFI can be hacked. Emails that have been hacked can convey viruses to your computer. This is called spearfishing.

Your computer then becomes a conveyor of viruses itself. Yahoo, Hotmail and AOL are particularly vulnerable to hacking. State-connected systems—our tax collector, Town Clerk and Justice system—are not safe from this.

All employees of the Town of Pine Plains MUST be on our official DOT-GOV email account. This is for insurance purposes, and protects you, the employee, from having to pay for any hack that occurs on your computer. Please stop using your personal accounts, or email addresses not on our system. And remember, any account you do use for work purposes can be FOILED.

The new criminals have software that enables them to imitate people you know—your grandson, your best friend–with very precise and familiar language as well as the same email addresses you think only belong to the person. Vendors in particular are being hacked. It has become very sophisticated.

Even worse, an industry has risen around both ransomware—which is the seizing of information like bank accounts, with a ransom set by the criminal to the owner—and the insurance companies trying to protect us from it. The FBI Agent who spoke to us stressed that we not allow our insurance companies to pay the ransom, as that has created a steady income stream for the criminals. Hacking has increased because of this.

If a municipality or a business gets hacked, the destruction is at the infrastructure level. Our police/justice system/bookkeeping would go out until it is rebuilt. In addition, money could be pulled out of our accounts without us being aware of it.

As an example of what we are up against, Dana Smith, head of Emergency Management for the County, cited the fact that the County is what they call “poked” over 100,000 times per DAY by hackers. Per day.

Size does not matter: towns such as Colliersville, NY and Rockville Center have been hacked with money taken from their accounts, personal information taken and software kidnapped. Many small towns do not have access to their records 24/7, because Town Clerks don’t work at that level, so there is no way for us to monitor what is going on.

In addition, if we are hacked, by law we have to report the situation to everyone who is affected by it. This means all consumers, tax payers, etc.

How to prevent it:

  • Do NOT open Word document attachments or videos unless you are certain they are from someone you know.
  • Get on the town email system.
  • Strengthen passwords—use 2-part authentication if possible
  • Backup files offline
  • Shut off blue tooth on phones and laptops when moving them—hackers can get through via blue tooth

What to do if it happens:

  • Dial 844-OCT-CIRT and report it immediately; they will then report to the FBI, the State Troopers.
  • Call the FBI and State Troopers anyway
  • Report attack to ww.ip3.gov

Final word on this: There are no international borders in cyberspace. Numerous countries are hacking into the United States every second. Much of the information stolen is information you may not be aware is being taken. The most targeted technologies are:

  • Agriculture
  • Business
  • Personal Information
  • Health Insurance
  • Government
  • Electrical grid

Hackers have what is called “machine learning”. This means that they will attempt many times to hack into your system, not just once and give up. Their software is sophisticated and hits anyone. It learns on its own and comes back in different ways to hit a system. No one who uses a computer and the web for work is safe.

 

State of the Town 1.2.2020

Just a few things since January 2018, which this Town Board has accomplished with the aid of numerous valuable members of the staff and committees:

Grant for EV Charging Station to bring Eco-Tourism into town

Grant for Comprehensive Plan Update hiring of Planners

2 Grants for a Sewer Feasibility Study which will cover all expenses

Sale of Old Library

Purchase of Ruth Pulver house for site for Town Hall or Municipal Parking expansion

Recovery Coach brought to town to help those struggling with addiction; continued work on this as funding was cut

Active Membership in Dutchess County Mayors and Supervisors Association,                  elected to the Board as Secretary

Co-creation and Membership in Tri-Town Affordable Housing Coalition with Amenia and Millerton and Membership and Founding Member in Quad-Town  Smart Housing Coalition (with Millerton, Copake and Ancram)

Re-vamp of Investment Policy for town’s General Fund, and reconfiguration of funds into interest-bearing accounts (annual revenue in 2019 approx. $20,000)

Held numerous town meetings at the Community Center to host the Durst Organization on the Carvel Property Development and to get public input, which resulted in their renewed interest in the project and re-design, soon to be revealed

Active support of new projects proposed for open land in the hamlet

Completed numerous climate-smart actions to achieve Clean Energy Community status at state level, including Unified Solar Permit Law and complete conversion to LED for Town Lighting, savings of $5-6000/year

Created a weekly newsletter for anyone with email or access to our website

Continued support for new website design, handled the implementation

Purchase and installation of an ice rink for Town Recreation

Extensive tree cleanup for Town Beach

Passed the use of Family ID for signing up kids to Recreational Activities

Active support of the Library and Community Center as well as our Seniors and our business community

Passing of a two-year-long Update of the Comprehensive Plan

Launch of Fund Balance Policy and Salary Raise Policy

Launched the writing of a Solar Law, still in progress

Launched Annual Town Clean-Up Day

Launched Playground Committee to build new all-accessible playground

Launch of Beautification Committee to re-build Town Park

Maintenance of a tight and necessarily small Municipal Budget so that people on limited incomes can continue to live in Pine Plains

We lost so many wonderful community members this year: we lost them to war, to cancer, to old age, to overdose. Each loss was deeply felt by the community and will serve as a reminder of how much one person can mean to a small town, and how important it is for us to not only maintain and endure but to do more in their honor. In 2 years of service here as Town Supervisor, I have seen what makes this place and its people so great, and what still holds it back.

In the Comprehensive Plan work we did this year, we were all surprised to find buried in the old Plan the notion that there was a rift between the townsfolk and the weekenders cited as needing to be repaired—and that was mentioned in 2004! We were looking for a place to put that in our new Date, but there it was! So I thought I would address that for a moment.

 

Here is what I hear on a daily basis in my office:

 

Weekenders! What is it with their attitude? They drive too fast. They think everyone born here is stupid. They drive “in” the “exit” at Peck’s. They don’t pay the plumber/electrician/housecleaner/contractor on time, or without complaining about the price. They ask for something to be done then change their minds once it’s done and tell you that you did it the wrong way. They question the integrity of the people they hire. They don’t want to meet anybody in town or get to know them, or participate in things here, they just want to hide in their houses. They don’t go anywhere but the Stissing House and the Platter. They only donate to causes their rich friends support, but never give to the Recreation Department or the Theatre Guild. They wander the aisles of Pecks Grocery in their pajamas. They like to say, Don’t tell anyone about Pine Plains we like it the way it is. What’s wrong with them?

 

Townspeople! What is it with their attitude? Don’t they realize how much weekenders and the people who moved up here have done to bring this place back from the brink? No one appreciates Peck’s Grocery more than weekenders! Weekenders donate to everything! Why is there this sense that people here resent those who have more, resent those who seem to get more when others have done the work, or worked just as hard, resent those who reap the benefits of this beneficent place, just because they didn’t grow up here? All they do is hang on Facebook and complain all the time instead of volunteering to make things better! They don’t come to town meetings. They don’t watch the meetings on the internet or read the website or the newspaper or come to community meetings or go to the Library more often… They don’t seem to care about Pine Plains anymore.

 

If any of this is familiar to you, then you know we have a problem. What about this: if we provide for not only a balanced budget, but a thriving, beautiful, healthy place to live, is not that an accomplishment of every tax payer and every committee member, every renter and every stay-at-home mom and every volunteer here? Rather than resenting each other, why not come together in the one thing we agree on: that Pine Plains is extraordinary. Let’s come together with pride, not resentment, and say, yes, yes this place is extraordinary, and I, with a lot or perhaps little to my name, was integral in helping to make it that way! I am proud of what we do for the people who live here and for those who want to visit and climb our mountain, and play sports with our kids under lights at night, I am proud to live in a place about which people say: I’ve never been anywhere as welcoming and kind as this!

 

Supervisor Statement 11.21.2019

Supervisor’s Statement 11.21.2019

This has been a month of finalizing projects. The 2020 Budget, the Comprehensive Plan Update 2019. We are near the end of our work on the Solar Law and I completed my training on affordable housing with Pace University Law Center two weeks ago. Sarah and I have continued meeting with the Tri-town Affordable Housing Coalition in an effort to figure out what kind of affordable housing project might work best for Pine Plains and we are also working in conjunction with Copake, Ancram, and Millerton on some kind of partnership perhaps between the 4 towns for infill housing.
Other than that, Thanksgiving approaches and I’d like to thank all our wonderful volunteers for their work on behalf of the town this past year. This month, that includes in particular, everyone on the Recreation Committee, all those working on the Beautification Committee headed by Vicki Sorocco, which is making great progress on a design for the corner park; Sandy Towers, Lenora Champagne, Suzanne Ouellette for their work on the Community Garden which has really taken off, and supplies food to both the Food Locker and Willow Roots, a not-for-profit formed by Nelson and Lisa Zayas to help feed people on a weekly basis. Dyan Wapnick and Lenora Champagne were largely responsible for putting together this year’s Cemetery Tours in late October and I’d like to thank them for a fabulous experience getting to know more about the history of the town, which a lot of people came to and really enjoyed. Finally, I want to thank Matt Finley for his work on the Board of Assessment Review. Matt has been a part of this committee for 15 years and has done an outstanding job for the town. He’s been on many other committees as well, and his commitment to Pine Plains has been beyond the call of duty and is much appreciated.

If you haven’t signed up for my weekly newsletter, you can do that at supervisor@pineplains-ny.gov

Dear Pine Plains 11.15.2019

Dear Pine Plains,

 

Thank you for coming out to vote and congratulations to everyone elected. Now we can move on!

This week, Sandy Towers and the Community Garden crew put the vegetable beds to bed. They have ideas for sharing garden space next summer which they will articulate at the next Town Board meeting. But I want to make sure I thank them in every location possible for their hard work and for getting their food into the hands of people who really needed it. Between these volunteers, and Nelson and Lisa Zayas, who founded Willow Roots in order to use all the food they produce and feed people in Pine Plains, pounds of fresh produce were distributed to people who needed it, and loved “shopping” the Zayas’ porch. Other farms got into the act and a movement was born in Pine Plains to help end food insecurity here.

We have now received the completed Comprehensive Plan Update and it’s a beautiful document. It will be up for approval of the Board at the next Board Meeting along with our Final Budget for 2020. So much hard work took place over the last year on both the endeavors and again, thanks to all who volunteered their time and intelligence. It’s a big accomplishment.

This weekend we put up the trees in town for Decoration Day and help is always needed. If you see a crew of teenagers and Carl Baden and Ibis, just join in. The Big Day is on the 30th, the Saturday after Thanksgiving. Tree decoration begins at 3pm and all families are invited to pick up the decorations in front of the bank and then find a tree that needs you. The Fire Department is having a pre-holiday craft sale this weekend as well. Our 1897 LaFrance Fire Truck is back from its stay at the Dutchess County Fairgrounds and will be installed at the fire museum there when that building is completed.

I finished my last class of Affordable Housing Training last week at Pace Law School. For that last day, we were treated to tours of a project in Peekskill and Chappaqua Crossing, on the grounds of the old Readers Digest offices. That huge building was re-furbished as mixed-income housing, with common rooms and outdoor spaces, a workout center and office center. A trolley takes residents over to an outdoor shopping center or doctors’ offices. It was really impressive, yet blended into the landscape in a really tasteful way. Everyone I spoke to at this training told me that no one can develop affordable housing in Pine Plains until we get a sewer system.

Which brings me to the Sewer Feasibility Study which is about to launch: we will be sending out a survey with only 3 questions on it and only to business and homeowners in the residential/business district and perhaps adjacent to it. This survey will be essential to our study, so please, when you receive it, get it back to us in a timely manner. Your voice is important in this. As in all things. Drop by Town Hall and tell me your ideas, or write me at supervisor@pineplains-ny.gov And if you have a friend who isn’t on the email list yet, tell them to sign up.

Sing out, Pine Plains!

Darrah Cloud

 

Dear Pine Plains 11.8.2019

Dear Pine Plains,

 

Communication is so difficult in our current world: people don’t trust the newspapers—and don’t read them anymore, social media is full of misinterpretations, rumors and bullies, very few people attend town board meetings or community meetings, and ignorance abounds about how town government works, what can be legislated, and what is actually going on. So I would like to ask you each for a favor now: would you please forward this letter to someone you think has not signed up for it, who would benefit from knowing what’s happening in Pine Plains? This comes from an examination of the vote count this past Tuesday. I ran unopposed, but there were a number of people who did not vote that line at all, or wrote in a name of someone who was not running. So, in my mind, that means we have disenfranchised folks who don’t care for “what’s going on” here, but may not actually know what’s going on. I imagine they might have valuable things to add to our conversation. I’d like to hear what they have to say. supervisor@pineplains-ny.gov

The re-design of the Durst Project is moving along, and I spent 2 hours with their Project Manager Lisa Baker this morning, going over the timeline and their perspective on all the changes going on around town. When we do our Sewer Feasibility Study, we will also look into ways for the town to hook into the sewer treatment plant they intend to build. There are so many ideas on the table about how we might get the infrastructure to welcome new affordable housing, new businesses, and therefore lower taxes here. The Study commences soon.

I am now a graduate of the Land Use Law Center Affordable Housing Training. And I have a plaque that contains a quotation from Marcus Molinaro, who attended way back when he was a young mayor of Tivoli: “Building communities one conversation at a time.”

Monday is Veterans Day. If you’ve heard me speak on Memorial Day, you know that my dad served in the OSS during WWII, the precursor to the CIA. His job was to go under the lines, fake being a German soldier, and smuggle out people important to the Allies. He was 21 at the time. He never spoke about the work he did for our country, but he wore it every day. Sometimes deeply sad for no apparent reason, he was always kind, welcoming to strangers, and committed to his family, the company he started, and all the people who worked for him. He brought in profit-sharing at a time when nobody else was doing that. He was a classic Eisenhower Republican. Which is why I fervently believe in working “across the aisle” in everything I do for the Town. Labels don’t make the person; the lives we lead say everything.

Let us all remember what men and women in the service fought for every day, and ask ourselves this: is the life I am leading worth what they sacrificed? If you want to do more, come serve your town. Volunteer for a committee. Volunteer to coach. Become a part of Pine Plains.

Come to Town Hall for a cup of coffee and a conversation, Pine Plains!

Darrah Cloud

 

Dear Pine Plains 10.26.2019

Dear Pine Plains,

The word of the week this week is “networking”. In building affordable housing, to be exact. I have been attending the Land Use Law Center’s Affordable Housing Training, and last Friday we separated into tables of 6 and worked on developing a plot of open land in a particular community. I got to be at the rural table. We had a lot of fun mandating that the developer build sidewalks and improve a road, put in extra parking and use an existent old building to create new affordable housing at an old school grounds. It gave me entry into planner thinking, but also into how to create affordable housing someone might actually want to live in.

This Friday, I attended an Affordable Housing Summit led by Didi Barrett which involved a possible network of 4 towns, Pine Plains, Ancram, Copake and Northeast, in a discussion with the State Finance Department and 4 builders. The Durst Organization was there. We talked about the zoning required, and in-fill housing, which would put to use small open tracts of land in the hamlet. I know I have spoken about this before, but this forum put us all in a room for the first time in a way that made it clear that we might form a coalition to build more cheaply. The design for the homes is flexible, but the idea is to build passive energy homes which cost $125/month in utilities—that’s right, $125/month. This makes home ownership possible for people with good incomes, but who don’t have enough left over for the utilities after the mortgage payment. These are 2-family homes, and 2 of them would bring 4 families into Pine Plains to help lower taxes. In addition, it would help the surrounding farmland from being cut-up and be better for the environment, because Pine Plains is walkable and people wouldn’t have to get into their cars to come shop.

Our assignment: for this to work, each town needs to update their zoning and find 2 lots. If you have land you could donate (in town) please let me know; if you have a lot that might go for relatively little, let me know. If you like/hate this idea, let me know. These homes are called “zero-lot-line” homes, meaning they have a shared wall, but the homeowner would own his/her own land around it. You can go see a prototype in Ancramdale across from the Post Office, and ask for a tour. Theirs is being built by Habitat for Humanity. (Numerous restrictions for income level.) Ours would not have to be if we can make this coalition work.

I am working on new rental housing as well, and will update you on that when more information is at hand.

Tonight, the Library is hosting its Silent Auction at the Stissing House. If you have never been to one of these, here’s the scoop: you get a glass of wine and walk around tables and look at what’s being offered, then bid on something. You bid ridiculous amounts of money for simple things. You meet new people and you help the Library enormously because all the money you pay for things goes right to them, mainly for new programming and a new helper. Our library has become the center of culture here in town for all things educational, and it is constantly hopping with activities for children and adults alike. In this age when lots of people love to say that libraries are dead because everyone is on the internet, our library keeps community alive by inviting everyone to gather and pursue new interests. It will also be a center for the 2020 Census, with computers available for people who don’t have them to fill out their Census forms.

BRAVO to all who created and participated and attended the Cemetery Tours. They were even better than last year! When Mark Jackson came out of Potter’s Field with his guitar, I cried. And for those who wanted to know what that hymn was sung in the show, it is How Can I Keep from Singing

Pine Plains has such a beautiful history. Even if you did not grow up here, it connects us all in the legacy of our land, our businesses, and our homes.

Stay connected, Pine Plains!

Darrah Cloud

Dear Pine Plains 8.16.19

Dear Pine Plains,

It has been a week of “soul searching,” the soul being that of this Town. The Comprehensive Plan Update Committee met with our planner to discuss the survey results and where they point, and what recommendations we might make regarding actions to take once the Plan is revised to ensure that the goals of the town are met. We looked at all the different areas of the town and talked about locating various dreams there—a senior housing complex, a revitalized recreation area, affordable housing, commerce and light industry—and began what I hope is the creation of a viable plan for the town which we can put into code so that people who want to build something here know that they will have the approvals if their project conforms to it. Rather than planning being a scary process, it would be an exciting one, which would open up possibility for the kind of small, locally-owned growth people mentioned over and over again in their surveys. We will be having a Public Meeting on August 26th at 7pm at the Community Center to talk informally about the results.

Tonight, ChaNorth is hosting their monthly presentations at the Community Center at 7pm. If you haven’t been to one of these, go. They are a wonderful way to spend an hour looking at art and hearing some great stories. ChaNorth is the artists retreat at the old Spruce Farmstead at 2600 Route 199. They also do a studio tour near the end of each month, so that we can visit the art we heard about.

Summer is coming to a close and the kids are getting ready to go back to school. Please remember that we have a wonderful store run by wonderful people right in town which stocks almost everything they will need for their classes. Buying local is what keeps Pine Plains going, and the reward is new relationships with business owners who support all kinds of things in town themselves. For instance, The Stissing Theatre Guild! Many businesses buy ads in their program each year, helping to fund the plays. The Stissing Center opens officially on the 31st, (make reservations, even though it’s free!) and whereas they must fundraise all the time to build the Center they are also big contributors to what goes on in town.

And don’t forget our second annual Town Clean-Up Day, September 7th, 8am-3pm at the Highway Department. More on this soon…

Planning is this week’s operative word! Planning the future of the town, planning the next few weeks…

So plan ahead, Pine Plains!

Darrah Cloud

 

Dear Pine Plains 8.3.19

Dear Pine Plains,

On Wednesday of this week, the County announced that Pine Plains had received 2 grants from their Municipal Innovation Grant Program: one for training for our police department in dealing with people with drug problems and mental illness, so the situation does not escalate; and the second for a central sewer/septic system feasibility study. The study award comes with a promise for future funding for the building of a system in our downtown, should we develop a viable plan for it.

The team of advisors for the grant was comprised of Dutchess County Planning and a few mayors and supervisors who are contractors and understand building. It is a bi-partisan committee. Which brings me to my next topic here this week, which is how well we work together now in Dutchess County. I know that it wasn’t always so, but I believe it is now. Here is another example of something which has become very important to our survival as a town: the sales tax. Most people don’t know that in DC, all sales taxes are put into a pool from which each town gets a percentage according to size. This ingenious plan has, in the past 8 or so years, saved numerous small towns in the County from dissolution. The only way the town of Pine Plains has been able to save money for projects has been through this funding, which allowed us to buy our own LED street lighting this year, and to balance our ambitions for the town with our low taxes. The larger cities and thriving towns have, of course, lost revenue because of this idea of sharing the sales tax. Shared revenues like this, and shared services, in which we as a town participate often with other towns in DC, means the difference between progress and standing still. I am all for progress, if it also means preservation of what we all hold most dear about Pine Plains.

Lately, the Recreation Department has been down at the beach on weekend nights making S’mores for all who come to join them. It’s a lovely thing to bring the kids to. Get on Facebook and watch for their announcements on the Pine Plains Recreation Department page. Coach Cooper has spent the past 2 weeks helping a blind camper attend camp upstate, then coaching with Sacramento King and Pine Plains son Tyler Lydon at the first of his basketball camps, the next of which will take place in Pine Plains August 5th through the 8th at Stissing Mountain High School. Justin Cooper and Zach Lydon will also be coaching.

We now have a YouTube channel! Town of Pine Plains will feature our meeting videos. We got off to a wonky start on these, but look for improvement as we all learn the new system.

So much of town government now includes understanding new technologies as they arise in order to run the town, as well as connect to State Government and other towns. The learning curve is steep and endless. The training is ongoing. If you think these skills don’t pertain to the future, you will not get there. This is a PSA for encouraging your children to take those technology courses seriously! It’s not too late for us old folks either. The Library is a good place to learn them too.

And there is an antidote for being on screens all day, and under stress in general: poetry! Theatre! Music! As we are about to open the Stissing Center for concerts and theatre events all Fall, make sure you pay attention to what cures all ails—art. Donate, attend and/or volunteer there, and we will all be rewarded.

Get your poetry on, Pine Plains!

Darrah Cloud

Dear Pine Plains 7.26.19

Dear Pine Plains,

It’s been a quiet week in the shadow of the mountain. Much of it was spent catching up on the history of lake stewardship in the town, and the Comprehensive Plan Survey comments results. You can view the graph results on the website if you’d like, and the comments will be available as soon as they are collated by the Committee. When you look at things like this, patterns begin to emerge which point to all sorts of things: time periods of missing records, for instance, or actions not taken. So much of what I see in our history has to do with maintenance. I am obsessed with maintenance as the key to so many aspects of life and governing.

“The satisfactions of manifesting oneself concretely in the world through manual competence have been known to make a man quiet and easy. They seem to relieve him of the felt need to offer chattering interpretations of himself to vindicate his worth. He can simply point: the building stands, the car now runs, the lights are on. Boasting is what a boy does, because he has no real effect in the world. But the tradesman must reckon with the infallible judgment of reality, where one’s failures or shortcomings cannot be interpreted away. His well-founded pride is far from the gratuitous “self-esteem” that educators would impart to students, as though by magic.”
Matthew B. Crawford, Shop Class as Soulcraft: An Inquiry Into the Value of Work

I think this paragraph describes why Pine Plains is such a fine place to live. There are so many people here who can do so many things well, and can point to them as accomplishments, with no disputing it. People take great propriety over the town, moving branches out of the road when they come upon them, cleaning up at the beach, checking on neighbors… This is a form of maintenance too. It’s how you participate in the place where you live that makes the place worth living in. Thank you all who take responsibility for Pine Plains.

So look for the compilation of comments from the Comp Plan Survey on our website www.pineplains-ny.gov, think about something you might want to volunteer to do, and come out to Town Hall to get involved.

And this weekend, you can attend the ChaNorth Artists Retreat Studio Visit Day on July 28th starting at noon to see the art our visiting artists have made while they’ve been here. (2600 Route 199, the old Spruce Farm house!) There is a wonderful Spoken Word Poet there who will perform on the hour starting at 1pm.

And make plans to attend the Lions Club BBQ on August 10th or the pop-up West African Vegan Dinner at The Platter that same night.

“We’re not as free and independent as we thought. Street-level work that disrupts the infrastructure (the sewer system below or the electrical grid above) brings our shared dependence into view. People may inhabit very different worlds even in the same city, according to their wealth or poverty. Yet we all live in the same physical reality, ultimately, and owe a common debt to the world.”
Matthew B. Crawford, Shop Class as Soulcraft: An Inquiry Into the Value of Work

Become a part of it, Pine Plains!

Darrah Cloud

Supervisor’s Statement 6.20.19

There are a lot of people to thank for their hard work this month, but I don’t have enough time to list everybody, so I am choosing a few: our Assessors, and the BAR, who have been handling the grievances like the pros they are; Boy Scouts Jacob Henderson and Michael Hage, their parents and leaders, for their work building raised beds for our Community Garden; Lisa and Nelson Zayas, who have been distributing food to those in need during times when the Food Pantry is not open; and Bobby Lee Couse, who has gotten our ball fields just right for the baseball, T-ball, and soccer players swarm it nearly every night.

This week we held our first Public Meeting for the Comprehensive Plan Review, and I want to also cite the hard work of our Comp Plan Committee for writing the Survey which is available online and at the Library and various spots all over town and for hosting BFJ Planning, our consultants on the project. Their commitment has been inspiring already and we have a summer of work still ahead of us. The survey period ends July 10th and in the first 10 days we received over 150 responses. One of the fun facts that came up during the meeting was that Pine Plains has about 31 more people than it did in 2010! A growth spurt! I want to remind people that we are NOT rewriting an already beautiful timely Plan; we are tweaking it to bring it up to date and deal with the challenges that have come up since it was written. If you will remember, this comes via a grant from the Greenway Grants people.

This month the Town received a legacy from someone who loved it here, Edward Kinzer. He left us $25,710.60. We can discuss what to do with it later in the meeting, but I would also love to hear from people as to what they would like to see it applied to.

The Solar Committee is almost done with their recommendations to hand to Warren, and they too have done committed excellent work on this. It’s been a real joy to be a part of this. Once we have our Law in place, we can start working on trying to attract solar power to our own landfill. If we had community solar out there, people would not have to spend money putting panels on their roofs.

The last person I want to thank this week is Eileen Ciaburri. She has achieved 95% collected taxes for the town. That is unheard-of in most towns in Dutchess County. Thank you Eileen. Bravo!

This was the last meeting Stan Hirson filmed for us as he is retiring. We are so grateful to him for all the years he dedicated himself to the Town of Pine Plains.