Dear Pine Plains,
The week after a Town Board Meeting is always made up of carrying out the instructions of the Board on various decisions we have made at the meeting. I thought I might depict a typical Monday after Board Meeting to give you an idea of what the job of Town Supervisor entails.
First, keep in mind that a Town Supervisor is a government position that is not like a mayor. Mayors are installed in Villages and Cities. Supervisors are installed in Towns. They have different jobs. My job is essentially to create the agenda for each meeting, to run the meetings via Roberts Rule of Order, to write and mind the Budget, to write grants for additions to the Town for which taxes cannot pay, and to be at Town Hall to answer citizens’ questions and help them with their problems. A Town Supervisor in Dutchess County has the ability to declare a State of Emergency, but that is the only power a Supervisor has. My vote is 1 of 5.
6am: Read and answer email
11am: Host meeting with County Office of Emergency Response Commissioner Dana Smith and Eoin Wrafter, Head of County Planning. They brought a team of consultants up to Pine Plains to meet with our Broadband Committee on the work we’ve done to map and identify where the holes are in our service. We also invited the Towns of Milan, Stanford, and Northeast/Millerton to the meeting, and all attended. Bottom line: they want to survey people all over again on the subject and this will take more time. We pushed back on this, asking them to seriously read our Report as published on our website, and to use our data to make recommendations as to building out the service in northeast Dutchess County. We hope they listen to us. All seemed to be good people trying to do their jobs well. They all know that internet should be considered a utility by now.
12:30pm: Spoke with the father of a veteran whose Hometown Heroes flag is in; flags hopefully going up this week.
1pm on: Re-read contents of last week’s Board Meeting, sent new laws to State divisions, corrected copy as passed, placed all the materials from the meeting in binder.
Answered more email:
Referred displaced tenants at Town Center to help from Hudson River Housing
Connected property owner to lawyer/engineer on easement situation
Received request from State granting authority to make a video about Pine Plains and why we need downtown revitalization; began reaching out to people who know how to make videos for help. Began formulating ideas.
Spoke with 2 citizens about the Bicentennial project to film and interview our elders on their own history in Pine Plains. Got some great stories. They promised to help me get the farmer they had in mind together with his mentee for the interview. John Boadle has consented to be interviewed by Ben Prentice. I hope more people will step up and agree to do this for the archives of our Town historical society.
Spoke with County regarding procurement requirements for the new playground. We need to bid this out. They have recommendations for help on this and companies to ask, as well as opportunity for piggybacking on a New York State bid. Many opportunities here to save money and get what we need.
Contacted Rec Dept to ask for help doing this. Met with Rec Director by phone.
Spoke with Town Clerk, Building Inspector, police department regarding various issues.
Spoke with County on grants received, how to process and administer.
Worked further on the 2022 Budget and Salaries.
Answered more email.
Signed checks, signed vouchers, contacted bank about SWEEP account. “Swept” money into General Fund.
Answered more email. Tracked down and sent town attorney account documents for new building.
A typical Monday.
This weekend is the Roast Beef Dinner at the Presbyterian Church 3039 Church Street. Please call ahead to order your dinners. They are $17 each and pickup time is from 4:30 to 5:30. Call Carol Hart at 518-398-7056 for yours. All proceeds go to purchasing wreaths for veterans at the Evergreen Cemetery as a part of National Wreaths Across America Day, which will occur December 18th at 12pm.
There is a blues concert Saturday night the 25th at 8pm at The Stissing Center.
Make plans to attend the Ag Fair which is going ahead on Columbus Weekend. You cannot miss Crazy Creatures.
This week I was invited to Bard College to take part in a class on Democracy and how to preserve it. The Town Supervisor of Red Hook was also invited, and we spoke with students about how we work, and what challenges we are facing. In return, we got to sit through the lecture on “citizen assemblies”, which was extraordinary. Basically it is a way to tackle an issue via a series of meetings of randomly selected townspeople from all walks of life. Many such assemblies can take place over a period of many months. In a way, we do this already with our Standing Committees. Our police Stakeholders Committee was highly representative of the town. But seeing the way this is set up was enormously eye-opening. The students may come to Pine Plains to help with our community meeting on the wastewater system. I have been invited to be a speaker at the Hannah Arendt Conference in October as part of this.
Supervisor McKeon commented that most of the celebratory events held in towns are not for the citizens themselves but for attracting visitors and money. I was reminded of our Ag Fair, our Town Decoration Day, and our Memorial Day, events designed FOR our own citizens, with the idea that you do not have to have money in order to participate. I know that is the mission of these traditions, and frankly, find it a huge relief. Visitors are always welcome, but these things are designed by and for the betterment of the town. And primarily for our children.
Which is not to say that any of it can be done without businesses here stepping up and sponsoring things.
So buy local, Pine Plains!