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Dear Pine Plains 4.30.21


Dear Pine Plains,

The State is beginning to open up as Covid numbers slowly ebb. Once again, enormous thanks go out to our own small-town pharmacist, Nasir Mahmood, who took it upon himself to negotiate with the County so that we could vaccinate people in Pine Plains. He single-handedly—with the help of numerous volunteer nurses—is responsible for vaccinating a majority of citizens in our town. Adding to his efforts, the school district is holding a vaccination clinic as follows:
“The Stissing Mountain Jr. Sr. High School is hosting a Pfizer vaccination clinic this Sunday, May 2nd from 10:00 am until 12:00 pm. The clinic for the second round of shots is scheduled for Sunday, May 23rd, also at the Stissing Mountain Jr. Sr. High School. We are excited to host this clinic as our 16 and 17 year-old students are now eligible to receive the vaccination, if accompanied by a parent or guardian. The clinic is open to all NY State residents. Being vaccinated is especially important, as NY State and the Center for Disease Control have relaxed some requirements for wearing masks outdoor.”
The link to make an appointment is below:

Also in the works: a partnership between the Pine Plains and Stanford Fire Departments as regards the 20th anniversary of 9/11. Ed Zick is chairing this Tribute Committee and has asked us to relay this information: They are asking Law Enforcement Officers, Fire Department Officers, students and staff of the PPSCD, and any other citizens interested to each read a name for a recording of the names of those lost. If you want to participate, forms can be completed and dropped off at McCarthy’s and Pine Plains Pharmacies, both libraries, Stissing Bank and Roosters Hardware. You can also access a form at: and mail it to the Stanford Fire Company, PO Box 437, Stanfordville, NY 12581.

I thought it might be helpful to remind people how assessments work, since many of us received our new assessments this week. My 1950s ranch house increased more than $18,000 in value. When we bought it in 2012, it decreased $4,000 about a year later. What causes these fluctuations? Trends, definitely. Comparables. But just because your assessment goes up—meaning your house is worth more—does NOT mean your taxes go up. That is key to remember. Your taxes might actually go down, because there is more building going on in town that adds taxpayers to the pool. Last year, my assessment was up and my taxes went down about $70.

And another thing to remember here is this: Pine Plains has no revenues except sales tax, mortgage tax, and court fees. Our court fees are nothing compared to other towns in the County who have sections of the Taconic Parkway and Route 9 and Route 22 going through them. Speeding tickets earn them quite a lot. We exist via good money management, good maintenance of valuable assets, and sensible budgeting that enhances life in Pine Plains and serves to reflect our values. I love this notion of budgets reflecting values. I got it from a man named Jeremy Travis, who spoke at my most recent session of Pattern for Progress’ institutional racism symposium. This is why grant writing is such an important skill to have in small towns. Almost everything nice that we’ve gotten—the bathhouse at the beach, the lovely sidewalks between buildings downtown, our EV charging station, and now our Town Park renovation—have been the result of gifts and winning grants.

May 22nd, at the American Legion/VFW building on North Main Street, the Garden Club will host their annual plant sale. It usually starts early and it’s worth getting there for that, as all the hosta will be gone by 9am. Trust me on this! This is how they raise money to plant the barrels along the street, among other things. The members are master gardeners and wonderful to talk to about all things gardens.

Our Seniors Program was on hiatus throughout the pandemic, as many of you know. We have been in touch with lots of folks about what they are ready to do, and how safe they feel.  We think it prudent to not book any trips by bus (Casino, museums, the theatre) until it’s safer to travel, but we do think there is interest in some kinds of gatherings after this very long year. So, starting Tuesday May 11th, Alice will lead a Seniors’ walk around town once a week (twice?). Join her at the Municipal Parking Lot at 10am and get outside with friends for conversation and exercise. The Office for the Aging has promised to bring an exercise class as well to town as soon as they can start up their program. Stay tuned on that. Lectures, programs, and potlucks will resume when we feel everyone is ready to gather again.

Finally, due to a water main break, repairs will begin Monday May 3rd in the hamlet at the crosswalk on 199, affecting the area from the light down East Church Street to Academy Street. Water will be turned off for approximately 2.5 hours starting at 8am for that area. Traffic will have to be diverted too. Please try to plan accordingly. A One Call Now alert is being sent out, our very first! You can still call Alice to be on this emergency alert system.

As Ray, head of our Water Department said to me, well, you wanted a fountain at the town park and you got one!

Here’s to infrastructure, Pine Plains!
Darrah Cloud