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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