Dear Pine Plains,
This week I went to our monthly meeting of the Dutchess County Mayors and Supervisors, where we all trade information and ideas, complaints and successes, and learn from each other and advocate for change. It is a vital connection for this smallest of towns. All along, we have kept each other informed—with the help of the County—on how we can handle the American Rescue Plan Funds, and how to apply for them in the first place. Pine Plains will receive $245,000+ in two installments, and we are restricted to spending it on infrastructure: wastewater system, water system, broadband. Those who do not have these kinds of projects actually lose the funding. The exchange of all this information prepared all of us well for applying for the funds without having to spend significant money hiring an accountant to fill out the application.
Recreation Director Michael Cooper, Matt Zick and I met on Tuesday with the Dutchess County Assistant Executive Ron Hicks and the Department of Health down at the beach to assess the problems there so that they don’t close the beach this summer due to bacteria. We included Ken Preusser, a lake expert from the USDA in the discussion. I will admit, getting through to the DOH on proper lake testing and what that really entails has been exceedingly difficult, but at least we got the discussion rolling and observed some improvements we can make to ensure the beach stays open. One thing I want to ask of everyone is that should you see geese down there or droppings, you immediately become a volunteer to help clean it up rather than just complain. If we all pitch in I know that we can make a difference for our kids there. We do not have the employees to handle all that entails and when you take on responsibility for keeping Pine Plains clean and operating everywhere, you claim it as your own.
This brings me to the CAC: the CAC is our Conservation Advisory Council, our action committee for everything environmental. We are currently seeking a co-chair with a background in science for help in vitalizing this committee and making them a central point of energy for preserving our environment here. If you are obsessed with clean water and air, preserving our lakes and animal life and farmland, please volunteer for this very important position and help take the town forward in this regard. As you know, this Town Board worked hard to achieve status as a Climate Smart/Clean Energy Community (NYSERDA certified) and now we have a chance to create programs and actions that result in the award of numerous denominations of grant funds via a point system for our achievements. If you don’t know this, the Town achieved our CEC status by committing itself to 4 big actions: we converted all our street lighting to LED, saving both light glare from the town into the sky, electricity and its requisite cost, saving us approximately $6000 a year. That, a unified solar permit, environmental building code training for our Building Inspector, and our EV Charging Station (AKA Rosie, in back of the bank), and earned us $5000 in grant money for other things. Please consider becoming a part of this truly vital committee.
Senator Sue Serino paid a visit to town on Wednesday after the Senior Drive-by Picnic at the high school, attended also by Assemblywoman Didi Barrett, Congressman Antonio DelGado, Comptroller Robin Lois, Legislative Chair Gregg Pulver and numerous volunteers and patrons from the area numbering over 200. We walked the length of our business district going into stores and talking to the owners. We spoke at length about all the things the town needs to survive into the future, and all the exciting things going on. It was fortuitous that the town park was getting its face-lift at the same time the roof of the Stissing House was being replaced. The sounds of hammering and plowing and stone-wall building could be heard all over. And Justin finally got me with his spray bottle when we went into the barber shop. We are inviting the Senator to return to tour a few more businesses and The Stissing Center as well. In a meeting on Thursday with board members of BOCES, I learned that the Center now employs 5 local people, full and part-time, and has just made a very exciting hire which I can’t disclose. Their mission is forming around them as they take in all the potential a center like that can have for a town that loves theatre and dance and art and music, as we do.
Please do not forget to attend the Scoping Meetings being set up by the Durst Organization (see last week’s newsletter) on the 21st at 7:30 or the 31st at 10am at the high school. And please consider the difference you make as a citizen when you do something small and simple like picking up after the geese. Or going to an important meeting in order to stay informed.
And way to go, Girls’ 10U Softball team! AND their volunteer coach, Rich Tamburrino! Region 17 winners! Good luck going forward!
This town is yours, Pine Plains!