Update on Library Service from May 21 Town Board Meeting

Peter Krulewitch presented the plans of a committee which has been formed to raise funds to create a Town of Union Vale library. Some of the highlights of his presentation include:

  • They would form a 501c3, allowing them as a non-profit to be a tax-exempt, charitable organization.
  • He mentioned disagreements with Beekman Library, along with wanting more control over library services and finances, as the reason why the town is pursuing building their own library.
  • He mentioned that an architect has looked at the town buildings and gave a broad estimate of $250,000 to convert a space into a library. It is not clear which building would be converted nor whether this architect is familiar with the space requirements of a library.
  • He mentioned it would be a good employment opportunity for Union Vale residents. It is not clear if there are qualified residents who would be interested in a position in the library.

Many of us were left with more questions than answers, such as:

  • What resources, including print materials, media and computers would be included?
  • What would the qualifications of hired staff be and how many staff would be hired?
  • What programs would be offered?
  • Would the library be part of MHLS?
  • When would a business plan be available so residents can compare the services already provided by having a contract with MHLS with what would be provided by a new town library?
  • How will ongoing costs, such as staff, resources, utilities, maintenance, etc. be funded? How much will that cost per year?

Here is a link to guidance provided by the NYS Education Department:

No information was provided about interim replacement services that would be provided to Union Vale residents until the new library is created.

Four Union Vale residents wrote letters to the board about their concerns and attended the meeting via Zoom, but they were not allowed to read their comments.

If you are concerned about losing the library services you currently enjoy, and if you are concerned about the cost that the town will incur by forming their own library please contact the Union Vale Town Board members. Visit the Town of Union Vale website to find out how to attend upcoming meetings (June 4th- working meeting and June 18th- Town Board Meeting).

Here is the link 

 

Important: Upcoming Union Vale Town Board Meeting- Library Services

The next Union Vale Town Board Meeting is scheduled for Thursday, May 21 at 7:30 p.m. The meeting will be held via Zoom.  If you would like to attend the meeting on Zoom you must submit a request via email to the town clerk by 5:15 on Wednesday, May 20. townclerk@unionvaleny.us

It is expected that the future of library services in Union Vale will be discussed and a resident of Union Vale will address the board with a plan to raise money to form a town library. In the meantime, $15,000- $20,000 will be spent on library services, such as streaming contracts. The remainder of the $80,000 originally targeted to contract with  Mid Hudson Library Services will be used to offset revenue lost due to the pandemic. Town of Union Vale residents are expected to have restricted services at local libraries.

There are many unanswered questions which should be a concern to all, such as:

  • What happens to library services in the interim while money is being raised and a library is being formed?
  • Where will the money come from for staff salaries and continued library updates? How much will this cost?
  • Will there be library programs available? Will they be free?
  • Will this library be part of MHLS?
  • How difficult will it be to raise money in this time of uncertainty and many of us are targeting contributions in other ways?

If this matter is of interest to you, please consider attending the meeting via Zoom. If this is not possible, please reach out to town board members and let them know your concerns and/or questions.

 

 

News from Union Vale Town Board; March- May 7, 2020

News from Town of Union Vale Town Board; March- May 7, 2020

The most recent meetings have been held via Zoom and sometimes the audio was difficult to understand because of echoes and other problems. Every attempt has been made to make this summary accurate.

  • The highway department and parks department have worked throughout the New York Pause as essential workers. Roads are being paved, potholes filled, picnic tables repainted, floors in the Senior Citizen room and the big area room have been refinished, trails have been cleared, etc.
  • Other town employees and the Town Board are working from home successfully. They will continue to do this, possibly starting to come in on a rotating business as the restrictions are lifted. They urge all residents to continue to stay home and wear masks when they have to go out.
  • 2 Tymor Park – quotes for electrical and fire detection work have been received.  Agreement to give electrical work to RSH Electric for approximately $3K.  Agreement to give fire detection work to Vector with an understanding that they must pay “prevailing wage” (Steve F would not agree without understanding that “prevailing wage” would be paid). This work needs to be completed to obtain a Certificate of Occupancy.
  • A 26 month lease has been agreed upon for Pathfinder Academy to rent 2 Tymor Park. It will house 2 RA’s and 8-10 student athletes. They will attend school at a location in Salt Point.
  • Library Services- It is anticipated that MHLS will implement restrictions once re-opening takes place.   Betsy stated that she will ear-mark $15 to $20K of the funding that was approved for MHLS Library payment for what was referred to as temporary Union Vale library services and the remaining portion of the roughly $80K that was approved for library payment will be used to off-set pandemic-related revenue losses.  A group of residents (a “committee”) who are developing a plan to seek donations for a UV Town Library will present at the 5/21 Board meeting.
  • Betsy explained the loss of projected revenue for the town due to a drop in sales tax they normally receive from the county, as well as a drop in mortgage tax revenue. They have also lost revenue from programs normally held in the park and summer camp is uncertain at this time. They are looking for ways to close this gap, such as putting off adding money to a reserve fund for the barn roof and taking $60,000 from the money budgeted for library services.
  • Summer camp- there was much discussion about the obstacles and challenges. Everyone will need appropriate PPE, handwashing stations need to be adequate and accessible, the playground and restrooms need to be disinfected throughout the day, the density of all activities needs to be monitored, social distancing in the pool area needs to be maintained, staff needs additional training, etc. Betsy is in constant communication with the county. Once clear guidelines are set, the town board will need to decide whether it makes sense to hold the camp.

 

 

March 5, 2020 Town Board Working Meeting

March 5, 2020  Town Board Working Meeting

  1. There will be information on the Union Vale Town website about signing up to benefit from the solar project. There was some discussion about making sure local workers would be hired as the project is built. In the end it was decided that the Town Board would post available jobs on the website, but East Light would be responsible for hiring.
  2. They are still waiting on a decision about the cell tower.
  3. 11 Tymor Park Road: There was some disagreement about how much renovation needs to be done on the building to make it available for rent. There seem to be two sets of opinions. Two of the Councilmen (Steve and Kevin M.) commented about how the house could be renovated quickly and relatively cheaply to make it ready to rent to a family. Supervisor Maas seems more inclined to conduct a more expensive renovation to make the building available as a party/wedding venue in addition to short term rentals. There are concerns about either choice. Renting to a family requires working out security issues as they need access to the home after park hours. Opening it up as a short term rental would require a business plan to make sure it is a viable option. They seem ready to spend $5,600 for an architect to measure and determine the cost for renovations.
  4. 2 Tymor Park Road: There is interest from a soccer school. They have offered to pay half rent ($1,000) per month until August when they will pay full rent and start using the building. They would like a 24 month lease. There would be eight young men, ages 15-19, along with two RA’s living in the house. They would play soccer and go to school elsewhere. They will only be there for part of the year, spending the rest of the year in Spain. There was a lot of discussion and hopefully more answers will be forthcoming.
  5. Supervisor Maas reported about three quotes they received to repair the tennis courts. The highest quote was $88,300 which would be a total revamp. The lowest was around $16,000, which would repair the surface and reline it. Jake would work with this company to learn how to upkeep the courts so that the town can maintain the courts in the future. The Town Board was leaning towards the lower bid, making sure the contract contained some missing items- such as including the lines for pickle ball.
  6. Just as we were leaving, Councilman McGivney asked Supervisor Maas if it was possible to get agendas for Town Board Meetings ahead of time. Councilman Frazier requested them the Friday before so that he had the weekend to review them and then some time to reach out to people for more information. They cited other Town Boards that did this. A concerned resident asked for them to be posted on the Town website ahead of time. These requests were not received well by Supervisor Maas and no decision was made.

February 29, 2020 Update on local issues-

The Union Vale Town Board met on Thursday, February 20th. Many residents spoke on behalf of signing the contract with the Mid-Hudson Library System to continue unrestricted services. No one spoke opposing the contract. Supervisor Moss said that, following the meeting she and Councilman Welch had with representatives of the four libraries and Rebekkah Smith Aldrich, and an exchange of a few e-mails, it was now up to the libraries. She expressed the hope that the libraries would understand and act on the Town of Union Vale’s “philosophical difference.” Supervisor Moss neglected to point out that the libraries have been responsive to some of Union Vale’s request-most significantly being the offer of a six-year contract, with an initial contribution of $77,935 (which has already been allocated in the town’s budget), and an increase every two years based on COLA. This cost is more than fair, based on what our neighbors pay for library services. We have the ability to have unrestricted use of four wonderful libraries within easy driving distance of our homes, along with all the services of the Mid-Hudson Library System. The libraries have not imposed any restrictions while they have patiently waited to settle the contract with the Town of Union Vale. In their letter to the Town Board, the libraries requested a response by February 21st, however Supervisor Moss did not acknowledge this request. The Town Councilmen offered no input to the discussion, nor did they vote on it.

If restrictions are placed on Town of Union Vale residents, Supervisor Moss proposed the following solution: Place a couple of computers in the Senior Citizen building, lease new books to loan to the residents and make video streaming services available. There was no mention of offering assistance on those computers or how often they would be available. There was also no mention of who would be in charge of the loaning services, nor the cost of these services. No mention was made of how they would replicate any programs that the Town of Union Vale residents may be shut out of if restrictions are imposed.

Please continue to speak up on this issue that is so important to Union Vale residents. It appears clear that Supervisor Moss is headed in the direction of building a Town of Union Vale Library, which will be very costly and completely unnecessary.

The Town Board and town employees are working on different ideas to bring more people to Tymor Park, which is a positive move. They have offered earlier registrations to the camp programs and the results have been good. They are also going to try different types of pool passes with some reduced fees to bring more families into the park.

The Town Board continues to discuss the use of the two houses on the property of Tymor Park. It will take money to investigate what improvements need to be done to both buildings, as well as the money to make the renovations. It is something to keep an eye on since it involves tax payer money and could result in anything from a soccer school, to a wedding venue, to an Air bnb.

Another proposal, was to set up a glamping experience in Tymor Park. They are currently investigating this with one company and the cost given was $6,500 for the initial set-up. Concerns about safety, vandalism and responsibility were aired.

 

Library Update- February, 2020

It is expected that the Union Vale Town Board will vote on Thursday, February 20th on the most recent proposal from the Mid-Hudson Library System. The four libraries involved have spent much time trying to address the concerns of the Town Board. Although this information has not been posted on the Town of Union Vale web site, it appears that the offer on the table includes a six year contract, with an initial contribution of $77,935 and a cost of living adjustment every two years. The money is available in the current budget and if the Town Board approves this proposal, Union Vale residents will continue to have unrestricted services at the four libraries.

 

What can you do to show your support of this contract?

  • Attend the Town Board meeting on Thursday, February 20th at 7:30 in the town hall.
  • Consider speaking at the meeting in support of the library- there is a 3 minute limit.
  • Send or deliver a letter to the Town Clerk to be read into the record of the meeting
  • Send an e-mail to the members of the Town Board.

Union Vale Town Board Members

 

 

 

 

Great News: True Democracy Thrives in the 2019 Albany Legislature

This news just in from Albany ( 8:33 Monday, January 14, 2019) where several Union Vale citizens today attended meetings with hundreds of other concerned citizens of the NYS Assembly and NYS Senate to show support for Letting New York vote!
8:33 PM (11 minutes ago)

to LetNYvote, LetNYVote-Organizations

I wanted you to be the FIRST to know → we just passed all 6 voting reforms in both houses!!!

✔️Early Voting
✔️Consolidated Primaries
✔️ Same Day Registration
✔️Pre-Registration for 16 & 17 Year olds
✔️Portable Registration
✔️ Mail In Voting
✔️ And closing the LLC Loophole

THANK YOU FOR EVERYTHING YOU DO!
You made this happen! 🎉

Election 2018

Thanks be, Congress Member Elect Antonio Delgado has replaced John Faso as our Congressional REPRESENTATIVE. Antonio has already held more town meetings  and  listened to more actual voters (as opposed to corporate lobbyists) than Faso did in his one term in Congress and, I suspect, in his stint in the New York State Assembly.

This election was not the result of one man or one woman’s work. This election energized in part because we were “foolish” enough as Democrats to allow 7 contenders to vie for the nod of nominee. Every one of those contenders would have been an improvement on Faso, and every one of them should be thanked and praised to the degree that he/she ran a campaign which did not divide the Democrats but rather pulled in more and more citizens who for the first time got involved in politics. We had our differences, but ultimately saw that we had much more in common than that which divided us.

This election resulted In part because some very visionary members of the Dutchess County Democratic Committee permitted a selection of the committee’s choice for nominee by introducing ranked choice balloting, thus ensuring that whoever won reflected the choice of over 50% of the weighted votes. This use of ranked choice could solve a lot of problems for many primaries and was so efficient that it made believers out of most on the Dutchess Democratic Committee.

I hope this long march to success will inspire more people of good will to run for office, knock on doors, make phone calls, stuff envelopes, talk to their neighbors (and even their relatives), donate to campaigns, thank the people who staff the voting site, thank people who run, attend town board meetings  (bring a pencil, notebook  a comfy pillow, and your own stop watch to time your allotted speaking — somehow theirs are very fast!), write letters to the editor, get out to the Democratic fund raisers, join the County Democratic Committee, and pray, pray always for the courage to continue when you experience defeat and especially when you win.

Winning and losing are the the first steps towards the next election. We are still up against international corporate donors, and we are the party of the average citizen, so it will always be an uphill battle. The NYC  hedge fund managers dropped hundreds of thousands through their PACS into the coffers of Republicans running right in this county. Some very fine people suffered loses as a result.

We are the hope we have been waiting for. So sleep, party, cry, and get out there ( in January to start all over again.) —I revised this timeline in light of Trump’s attempt to stop the investigation into Russian interference in the national interests of the U.S. I think we need to get out there, write letters, and make calls NOW.

Peace, joy, and hope to everyone.

 

 

Union Vale Ballot for Election Day 2018: Proposition One

All Democrats, Independents, No Party Affilitation Voters, Green Party, and Working Families Party Voters should have received a large postcard with this information on it. If not, let us know.

Please Vote No on the proposition to create a new office of Town Tax Collector.
Here is the actual wording as it appears on the ballot:
“Shall the Tax Collector in the Town of Union Vale be restored as a public office selected by citizens voting in the General Election every two years effective 2019”

• Elected Tax Collector ended when the last Town Tax Collector voluntarily retired in June 2017 (The tax season is January to end of May. In June Dutchess County receives the taxes directly). On Jan. 18, 2018, when Ms. Maas suggested hiring a part time tax collector for whom the Town Hall would be open on Saturday, Councilman John Welsh said, “I think going through May would be more than enough”…(after May the County collects the towns’ taxes). Mr. Welsh further said, “I also think a lot of this could be done by mail.” Ms. Maas prevailed.
• The retiring elected Tax Collector was paid about $7,000 for this seasonal job. This year, thanks to Ms. Maas’ request for a motion, to suspend the Town Code in the cases of 5 ELECTED town officials and pay 100% of their supplemental health insurance premiums instead of the Town Code stipulated 50%, the retired Tax Collector will cost the Town $6,000. (As you know, Democrats are supportive of single payer health care for all—our problem here is that these recipients all were elected to office and were Town officials who had an ethical obligation to know Town Code, that some of them wrote, and to abide by it.)
• In the “whereas” section of this proposition the wording says that “it has been confirmed that” having the duties of tax collector transferred to the Town Clerk’s office does not negatively affect either service or performance. At the 9.20.18 TB Meeting a taxpayer asked how Councilmembers Frasier, McMorris, Welsh, and Supervisor Maas who voted for this resolution could confirm any comparison since there had been no opportunity for comparison. At the end of January 2018,Supervisor Maas hired a clerk to handle the collection of taxes and to work on Saturdays (Ms. Maas later said this was an extra $1,500 paid out). Since the season for tax collecting runs from Jan to May, and the last elected collector retired in May 2017, there was no comparison done.
Combining the duties of seasonal tax collector and full time Town Clerk is a practice now in place in Amenia, Milan, Northeast, Pleasant Valley, Red Hook, Rhinebeck, Stanford, and Washington. Using the Town Clerk’s office to collect taxes works and saves taxpayer money. Vote NO on this Proposition.

Rather spontaneous burst of meetings replaces 2nd Official Meeting

In the last two weeks there have been two special Town Board Meetings. Theses have dealt with important issues, so that is good, but the need for these meetings does seem to call into question how efficient it is to have dropped the second monthly meeting that citizens could expect on a regular basis as a way to ask questions and get clarification from the Board. Ms. Maas  has invited me to come sit with her in the Town Hall and discuss matters, but my belief is that Town business is best discussed in the presence of those constituents who need to see how business is conducted and what business is done.

For example, having attended the 10.11. 18 meeting I found out from Ms.Maas  there had been a meeting with residents who live near the Gay holiday lights. This was news to me ( I live near them).  Such a meeting should have been promulgated through a town posting and held at a regularly scheduled Town Meeting, so that all interested parties could have attended. Of course, in doing that everyone would know what was said, and that would make it difficult for anyone on the Board to use that limited meeting as a source of what all the residents near the lights really think. The meeting at which the final discussion of the Library issue by the Town Board took place was posted on a Saturday for two days later, and no one who did go was allowed to speak.  This is not good management practice.

At these last two add- on, non- agenda meetings, one held on 10.11. 18 and one held on 9.26.18, issues about the resignation of the Town Recreation manager, the paving of the parking lot, and decision whether to start on the handicapped parking project were discussed ( 9.26.18 ) as well as pay raises for staff, need to hire more staff, and need to increase hours for Constables at the site of the Gay lights, which run for five weeks (10.11.18) .  These topics might have been of interest to a wider audience, one which could not make a meeting on a week’s notice.

The Town Board has been eminently negligent in its transparency as conducted through television and YouTube. If the taxpayers are comfortable with this, nothing will change. If constituents demand a return to two televised and YouTube taped meetings a month at which constituents can clarify and question, then such a change will happen. This Board will be up for change next year. What do you think?