Thanks but no thanks

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To The Editor:
I am compelled to write this letter because of the movement afoot to try to force the un-incorporation of the Village of Fleischmanns.

I believe that throwing in the towel now and giving up local control of our village would indeed be a colossal mistake. I know this is true because of my experience over the past four years as deputy mayor and mayor of the village.

Contrary to things you may hear, a lot would be lost if the village ceased to exist.  Our library, pool, and park are all sustained largely by the work of village board members. No village board, no amenities. Over the past four years, persistent effort has resulted in over $650,000 in grant money being awarded in the village. How much grant money would we receive as an unincorporated hamlet?  Would Middletown continue to pay the MARK Project to actively search for grants specifically for us?

In fact, we would not have vigorous representation on the town level if we dissolved and would essentially have to go to the end of the line and wait. In the aftermath of the flood, we had a direct channel to plead for emergency resources both at the county level and from Belleayre because we had representatives constantly communicating with both. Ask me how I know? I was the one on the other end of the phone with them, and the tree crews and excavators we needed arrived.

We have over a million dollars due to us from FEMA for work we are still waiting for the green light from them to start. The wheels of government grind slowly, but we can thank our current deputy mayor and planning board chair for the thousand plus hours they have put in patiently advocating to the state and federal governments, as well as working directly with State Assemblyman Pete Lopez, Special Assistant to the Governor Ron Rausch, Congressman Chris Gibson and Senator Kirsten Gillibrand on behalf of Fleischmanns and for keeping Fleischmanns at the top of a difficult heap of projects on their desks. If you want to dissolve anything, dissolve FEMA and give us back our tax money to rebuild already!

By now I am as well acquainted as anyone could be with the many challenges and problems we face in Fleischmanns. I am not interested whatsoever in playing the blame-game about our past and who caused what problem. All that concerns me, and frankly the entire village board, is how we solve the problems at hand moving forward. In fact, many of the problems we face are no one’s fault at all. The national economy has tanked for four years and we had a 500-year flood two years ago.

We have our work cut out for us, no question, but now is when we have to pull together more than ever. Our problems will not magically disappear if the village does, in fact they will get much worse. The Town of Middletown has plenty of its own issues to worry about and they are not looking for a new set of problems to take on. Fleischmanns will be all but completely forgotten about.  

I truly believe opportunity lies ahead for us, if we chose to seize it. A $400 million investment is about to be made on the mountain a stone’s throw from the village. That means the pace of development inside of the village will hasten tremendously as workers and visitors spill over into Fleischmanns. Do we want to have a say in how that development takes place or do we want to take a back seat in our own future? I think the choice is obvious that we want to be in charge of our destiny as the economy comes back and prosperity is at hand. Now is not the time to think short term, too much is at stake.

The dissolution idea was fully investigated less than 10 years ago in Fleischmanns, and the voters turned it down because it was not right for the village and this is also the case for the vast majority of villages that bring this up because it is permanent and irreversible. Now there are some looking to take us on this detour all over again and it seems a lot like a knee-jerk solution looking for a problem, again.

Not only is dissolution a bad idea for the future of Fleischmanns, but the process itself is divisive to say the least, and is a huge distraction which is unfortunate at a time when there is so much more work to do, and no time to waste. A wise man once told me “you have to plan for success, it doesn’t happen accidentally.” Let’s continue planning for success in the village and build towards the future we want to see, and not hope someone else will remember us while they plan for theirs.

Todd Pascarella, Mayor
Village of Fleischmanns