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Dear Pine Plains 9.3.21

9.3.2021

Dear Pine Plains,

THE FOLLOWING NEWS JUST CAME IN!!!!!

Pine Plains has just won 3 grants from the Municipal Investment Grant Program of Dutchess County:

Wastewater District Formation
Project Award: $32,600
Awarded Municipality: Town of Pine Plains
Project Description: Following the completion of a sewer feasibility study, the town will hire a consultant to assist with the preparatory requirements needed to form a wastewater district. The district would provide town residents and businesses with critical infrastructure for long-term sustainability.

All-Terrain Wheelchairs for Town Parks and Trails
Project Award: $7,530
Awarded Municipality: Town of Pine Plains
Project Description: Purchase two all-terrain wheelchairs for use by children and adults at town parks, trails, and the town’s public beach at Stissing Lake, giving residents and visitors of all abilities the opportunity to enjoy the town’s recreational offerings.

Stissing Lake Beach Park Wheelchair Accessible Playground
Project Award: $70,000
Awarded Municipality: Town of Pine Plains
Project Description: Purchase and install a Bridging Pathways Playground at the beach park at Stissing Lake. The playground will be fully inclusive and wheelchair accessible, while providing multiple and varied play components for all children to enjoy.

I am grateful and excited! On with other news:

On September 4th from 9-9:30pm, over 22 fire towers around the state will be illuminated to commemorate the service of the many volunteers who served as our fire observers in the past, who protected our communities from the ravages of forest fires. FOSL, the Friends of Stissing Landmarks, will light up our Stissing Mountain Fire Tower during that time, joining others across the Adirondacks and the Catskills. You will be able to see it from routes 199, 82, 83 and numerous side roads. Take a pause, find a spot, and look up at some history.

We are still accepting—and will until 10 days after the public hearing on September 16—comments on opting out of the opportunity for a marijuana dispensary or lounge here in Pine Plains. Please check out the Law as written, which is up on our website, as well as the numerous explanations I have sent the past month. We would love to have your feedback if you have not sent it in. Ideas for how to regulate any of these businesses would be welcome as well.

Be sure to mark your calendars for 9/11, a Saturday, and visit the memorial on the grounds of the Stanfordville Town Hall, where the names of those lost will be read on a recording made by many citizens of our towns.

And don’t forget Town Clean-up Day on the 18th! 8-2pm at the highway garage recycling area. Once again, Lenny Liberta is donating the dumpsters for the event. We do have to pay the dump fee at the landfill, hence we charge for certain items. Posters are all over town listing them. Anything with freon is about $20 as are mattresses and sleeper sofas. But furniture and junk is mostly free.

I am currently working on a huge grant for Downtown Revitalization via the State. This will be my third try. These grants are given out almost every year and are aimed at helping Cities, Villages and Towns renew their centers. We all write 15 pages of history and need and all the work we have done for the future and are judged on that. I have said many times here in the newsletter that I think prior Supervisors and I have all done great work studying our needs over the last 2 decades, working with County Planning on sidewalks and a design for the hamlet and a simple wastewater system, and we have a lovely stack of plans—but no way to implement them without a lot of help from the County, State and Federal Governments. They have never awarded a DRI Grant to a small rural town, but there is always a first time!

I am also working on the 2022 Budget for the Town. Health insurance has gone up a whopping 7%, unallocated insurance (buildings and equipment) has gone up about 5%, and salaries need to be brought up into the competitive realm. Our employees deserve that, and it is the best way to retain good people. Those are the biggest challenges I see right now to the budget. We will discuss the Tentative Budget at the next Board Meeting, and I will attempt (drum roll please) to put the budget document up on the screen during our meeting so people can see what it looks like. As always, the Budget will be put up on our website when it is more fully fleshed out and is always available for perusal at Town Hall. The hardest thing about writing a Town Budget is seeing clearly into the future and planning for it.

Madelin Dafoe has settled nicely into the Town Clerk chair at Town Hall. Please come meet her if you don’t know her, and get your licenses and records work here, 10-1pm every weekday. She has a wonderful smile.

The first official Narcotics Anonymous Meeting in Pine Plains will be held next Tuesday the 7th at the rectory of the Episcopal Church, 18 Pine Street at 6pm. If you know anyone interested in being a part of this group, please pass along this information.

AND our dynamic Recreation Committee is now raising money for a new all-abilities playground to be installed at the beach and ball fields area. You can write a check to the Town of Pine Plains but in the MEMO please put “Playground”. As you know, many attempts to get a new playground have failed over the years–but now we have a great shot at it. No amount is too small, no effort at fundraising wasted! Bring your check to Town Hall or find someone you know on the Committee. We need your help! It’s a really neat playground with wheelchair accessibility and lots of immersive things for kids of many ages to do. And no splinters!

As we go into the High Holidays in September, I am reminded of a blessing I heard as a child whenever terrible things were happening in the world: “May you live in interesting times.”

Stay blessed, Pine Plains!
Darrah Cloud