Letters: Nelsonville Redux

Tom Campanile’s March 6 letter addresses the Nelsonville referendum on March 21 to add two trustees to the three-member board. Initially I was not a booster for expansion, although now I support it. With only two trustees, the board is sometimes challenged to have a quorum. As head of the village Planning Board, I can attest that having a quorum even with five members was often a challenge. As a result, the review of applications stretched on and on, frustrating both the board and applicants.

Further, Highlands communities such as Nelsonville are facing ever-increasing pressures from tourism, demographic trends (population growth and aging) and the need to attract businesses to expand the revenue base. Even seemingly mundane issues such as street and sidewalk maintenance, parking, snow removal and safety and quality-of-life issues require greater focus. To meet these rising currents, we need more hands on the oars.

Bill O’Neill, Nelsonville

In his letter to the editor in the March 10 issue, Bill O’Neill discusses his belief that Nelsonville should remain independent of Philipstown, including its building department. Nelsonville, for whatever reason, has decided not to take us up on our offer to combine the two departments. As confusing as this is to me, I have no interest in pursuing that line of inquiry. Why you would not want to provide the residents of Nelsonville with a fully staffed, fully qualified and full-time building department at no additional cost to taxpayers will have to remain a mystery.

The Village of Cold Spring, led by Mayor Dave Merandy, has worked diligently with the Town of Philipstown to bring about this change as a benefit to the residents. We both feel it will offer improved service with regular business hours. Merandy and I will be finalizing the terms of this cooperative agreement in the coming weeks. Residents of Cold Spring will then have full access to building department services Monday to Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. There will be no loss of autonomy by the Village of Cold Spring and all village codes will still apply.

O’Neill also was critical of the Town Board for “flirting with national political issues.” Anyone who doesn’t think that national issues have an effect on individual residents of all small towns is ill-informed. As a leader in this community, I feel not only a responsibility to do those things that would protect the health and rights of all people in Philipstown but a sworn duty.

Richard Shea, Philipstown

Shea is the Philipstown supervisor.

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