2017-10-04 / Mailbag

Not here. Not now. Not ever.

To The Editor:

The Republican Committee and the Democratic Committee of Middletown believe in the Constitution and our freedom as Americans to express our opinion which is our treasured First Amendment right.

However, one does not have the right to destroy property in order to exercise free speech.

In addition, the flyers posted over the campaign signs of Julia Reischel and Miguel Martinez are deeply disturbing. It wasn’t just that their signs were defaced, it was the message that was offensive.

We denounce the method and statement posted on these campaign signs. It is not who we are in Middletown.

It is important for all Middletown residents to take a stand as a community and have mutual respect for all candidates regardless of their race, ethnicity, sex or their differing opinions.

Respectfully submitted,
Kurt Holcherr, Republican
Chair Middletown.
Lisa Tait, Democratic Chair

Something is rotten in Delhi

To The Editor:

A lot comes to light while I’m away, namely continuing questions about the purchase of 97 Main Street, Delhi approved by the Delaware County Board of Supervisors. How can anyone reading the articles in the last two weeks of the Catskill Mountain News think that the Board made a legitimate purchase for the people of Delaware County rather than a cozy deal for the Shepards at county taxpayers’ expense?

The bottom line is that they agreed to buy the building for $675,000 which is more than twice its assessed value ($314,140) and also agreed to a five year lease at $5,160 per month ($309,600 total) none of which is to be applied to the purchase price.

The reason given is that there was only three months to find new space (although it was known unofficially that there was a potential buyer for the old space two months prior.) Supposedly that is not enough time in which to get an appraisal.

I have two suggestions. If it is not possible to reverse either of these actions, I recommend that there be an appraisal of the property, a reasonable purchase price based upon the appraisal be made with tax payers paying the reasonable tax rate and the excess be paid by the board members that voted for the exorbitant difference.

If it is possible to void the sale, I recommend voiding it. There is now no rush with the five year lease in place and I recommend that the Board of Supervisors find another location at a price that is not usurious to the county’s taxpayers.

Ellen Fauerbach,

We cannot tolerate bigotry

To The Editor:

Re: “Hate Message Targets Middletown Candidates” by Joan Lawrence-Bauer [Catskill Mountain News 9/27-10/3/17].

The above page one story notes the presence of hate messages found on campaign material for Ms. Julia Reischel and Mr. Miguel Martinez. It also noted that opposing candidates did not issue a public statement in response to this act. Pat Davis, our Town Supervisor, did respond with condemnation.

We wish we could say that we were surprised or shocked at this act and the silence of Middletown’s elected officials; unfortunately we believe that some of these officials maintain an unspoken bias against “outsiders.” We were targets of anti- Semitic slurs made by one particular Middletown elected official behind closed doors and believe these attitudes reflect the reality of a “good old boys’ network” that feels threatened by others and wishes to maintain the status quo.

However, if this small minority continues to express bigotry, ignorance and close -mindedness and our elected officials are silent, the community will suffer the consequences. Middletown residents need to speak out in support of diversity and how diversity strengthens a community. New ideas bring fresh perspectives; change is a healthy response to stagnation. New faces contribute fresh ideas.

If the economy is the driving engine to keep a community thriving, we should be welcoming newcomers into the area as they purchase second homes or become permanent residents and contribute to a dwindling tax base. We are in the NYC Watershed; for all practical purposes this eliminates most forms of industry.

Families choose to move here to raise their children in a healthy environment. However, the social environment needs to be as healthy as the natural environment. Middletown has much to offer its residents in the beauty of the area. The very vast majority of our residents are friendly and always helpful and welcoming; this reflects well on small-town rural America. We can grow the economy by encouraging downstaters and people who are outwardly different whether in color or ethnicity or educational level to purchase homes prior to and/or upon retirement. Such individuals have disposable income, buy locally, pay taxes, and provide economic growth. Such individuals should be welcomed rather than being made to feel outsiders.

However, if this small minority continues to express bigotry and ignorance and local officials and the press do not take a stand [verbal and legal] to “call out” these individuals we can expect further economic deterioration, decreasing population, etc. Middletown can and should compete as a welcoming community which will expand its demographics and provide economic growth and employment opportunities.

We need our children to understand there are different types of people in the world and that different viewpoints are valuable. Bigotry cannot be tolerated if we wish Middletown to prosper and its children to be prepared for the changing world which they will enter.

Dr. Marc Kantrowitz
& Ms. Sandra Yark,

Village of Margaretville faces dilemma

To The Editor:

The Margaretville Community and the Village Board are faced with a dilemma. A public hearing will be held in November to make a decision on the NYRCR Bridge St. Gateway Project. Unfortunately, the choices are limited with little information for making any decision.

Understanding a problem is the first step in solving it. A place to start is the NYCRC process and the current status of the Margaretville projects. The NYRCR program has been plagued by many procedural and requirement changes, a significant one as recently as the last month. The final steps in the program for each project: the Village Board selects a proposal; NYRCR again reviews for approval; NYRCR authorizes a detail design which NYRCR and the Village must approve before funding construction.

Only one of the five projects approved in the initial NYRCR review (2014-15) has been approved for funding; the emergency electric generator that supplies the senior meals kitchen in the Methodist Church, the emergency shelter kitchen at the Fire Department, and the Fire Department communication center.

According to Mayor Cope, The emergency generator for MCS, which was in the final stage of design, has been cancelled based on a recently defined new criteria that no construction will be funded in the floodplain. The Bull Run Project construction had been previously postponed for the second time, to 2019. That work is also in a floodplain. The Scott Brook Project design has been received for Village approval, but the new edict rules out the majority of that project, the drainage culvert that serves the school.

The remaining project on the list and the subject of the public hearing, the Bridge St. Gateway project, was presented to the community and board on July 10 and consisted of four proposals. The ‘proposal of choice’ at that time has been nullified by the new edict. The remaining three were acknowledged then as risky choices due to high cost and low benefit/cost analysis rating.

The Village has now received notice that no new projects will be accepted for consideration after November. Obviously, the NYRCR Program is winnowing projects and winding down. Having started out with a $6 million dollar grant and now with less than 15% committed, Margaretville is left in a difficult position.

If you do not get involved in community issues, do not learn the facts, express no informed opinions, then the community loses. This is Margaretville’s last chance to get any flood relief through the NYRCR program. The community must get involved to support the Board in what is going to be a difficult decision. Talk to your Board members.

Next week: Some possible options.

Lauren Davis,

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