Jump to content
From the Burt's letter, we see the strong disconnect between the party selected town board and town board selected planning board. Both groups are driven by tax base expansion and the development expansion model of doing things. Neither sets have a true interest in the sense of community so important to most of us.
We need to change the way we choose and then elect our politicians. If you think this important please consider voting for me, Richard Reeves-Ellington for Bethlehem Town Supervisor. For more go to my website: bethlehemsupervisor.com
AS the planning board and subsequently, the town board look at expanding apartment development, there are three considerations for citizens to ponder: are there going to be tax breaks and if so how much and for how long? What are the infrastructure costs that the town might incur, including water and sewer, road construction and later costs, police costs: Finally, what do all these apartments mean for Bethlehem sense of community?
Mr Clarkson tells us they are good for the tax base, but are they? He says that they will keep seniors who want to downsize in Bethlehem. But will they? Most are not handicap friendly. He finally says that young people will move here and then buy. After visiting three of these developments, I find most younger people are not interested in home ownership. Many have been burnt and only want to "own nothing". We need some major citizen inputs into this issue.
For more please seen my website bethlehemsupervisor.com. If you want to have active citizen participation, vote for Richard Reeves-Ellington for Bethlehem Town Supervisor.
A very strong endorsement. What is not mentioned and needs highlighting is the substrate of Albany politics as usual. First, Mr. Clarkson had many appropriate words about Mr. Kotary being cross endorsed by the GOP party in Bethlehem. Rightly so. But he had attempted cross endorsement with the conservatives, which was challenged. He is still cross endorsed by the Conservative leadership. Now an ex Supervisor, a Republican is endorsing him. Sounds like traditional Albany politics; insider government politics.
I am running as a WFP candidate, because that is where my core values are. I don't believe that a single candidate can represent two or three party core values. That is not to say that some values do cross party lines but the core philosophies are different. When there is only one candidate for several lines these differences are not explored and synthesized in ways that provide a government responsive to more citizens.
I believe in all parties have clear and open representation as determined by the citizens of the Town - not the political hierarchy.
For more about me, visit: bethlehemsupervisor.com for my political views and rreevesellington.com for more personal information.
And additional comment on personnel costs. John Clarkson rightly wants a long term capital plan, Kyle Kotary wants that and a long term budgeting process. Neither have brought up the need for a long term personnel plan. This should be be foundation of the other two, given the amount of cost associated with current employees and retirees. Such a plan, needs to set personnel numbers goals in ways that reduce the rapid growth of these expenses. Layoffs are not necessarily the best solution as there are others: attrition, early retirements, and contractual negotiations. In my experience, a mix best serves all.
The starting point is for our citizens to better understand where the costs are today, where they are growing fastest, and what elements are causing fast growth. Then we all can move forward in a more informed way.
While the Board is to be commended for a careful budget. Most changes are to services to the community or material purchases. As I understand the budget breakdown, these areas account for about 18% of the total budget. The largest item, personnel costs are approximately 80%. I see no discussion on managing this fast growth area. It appears that the entire budget could be personnel costs within the decade.
During the recent debate, additional focus was on services consolidation, long range plans, and other areas that are at the margins of the costs. The next Supervisor and Board will have to actively engage in the personnel issue and the Supervisor should be a person with experience in personnel matters in both good and adverse times. I have 34 years of such experience, while the other candidates do not. This should be a strong consideration when you cast your vote. For more, please go to rreevesellington.com for my personal data and bethlehemsupervisor.com for my political profile and platform.
I want to thank the League of Women Voters and Charles Wiff of the Spotlight for sponsoring the debate.
There was one major item not discussed and one that is very important to the community: the budget. As I understand its composition, about 80% is township employee costs. This number is raising quickly and it is not being addressed in any meaningful way. When there was an opportunity to shed jobs through early retirement, it was not done. A mistake. A quick caluculation makes the total budget personnel costs, both current and retired.
Addressing this issue rquires someone experienced in negotiating with unions, working in large organizations in adverse times, and presenting stark realities to all constituents. I have that experience in 35 years of line management and at senior levels. The other two candidates do not.
For more about me please see www.bethlehem supervisor.com and rreevesellington.com
An interesting conversation between the Board members with the citizens of Bethlehem outside of the loop, at a time they should have a voice. The Board discussion sounded like an internal board argument, based on hard political positions.
For example, no matter what type of budget that emerges, services will have to be reduced. The question is what should they be and here is where the citizens should have an active voice. Certainly, reduced services need to cover all of the Town's constituencies: youth services, family services, and services for the older segment of the population. Each of these should have some say in what they are willing to give up. This can be done in town meetings, town board meetings, and on line questionnaires.
Such an approach would require a published list of current services and costs, stated in actual dollars and percent of the budget.
If elected supervisor, This is where I would start. Collect data from Bethlehem citizens, and then base the budget development on these learnings;
For more,l please see my website: www.bethlehemsupervisor.com
This article brings up an point that has an important undercurrent. It begs the question as to what type of community, Bethlehem citizens want. One side would have "development" as a priority in order to continually increase the tax base.The development has taken three primary forms: industrial, retail, and apartments. A secondary is private home building on once wooded sites. On the other side are people who place the traditional sense on community, people services and support, and support of existing businesses.
As I have walked Bethlehem, I find a majority putting the traditional community to the fore. When they do support "development" they want it at costs which benefits the Town: living wages for those employed, minimal pollution, and all the infrastructure costs covered by the new businesses and not primarily at the tax payer expense. The net effect of development should be measurable improvement to our community and these improvements explained to citizens before proceeding.
The problem is that all the current data is anecdotal and needs better quantification. This can be collected in town meetings, monthly board meetings, and on line questionnaires. If elected supervisor, I would put this basic question to Bethlehem citizens before proceeding on piece meal approaches.
For more about me please go to bethlehemsupervisor.com
I want to comment on another letter from Philip Carter located in the hard copy of the Spotlight. I don't quarrel with his opinions but do take umbrage with his selective listing of my vita. He is right that I was a visiting professor at the University of Sofia for two years, a part of a Fulbright Research Grant that included teaching and research at the American University in Bulgaria. That was While on leave as a Professor in the School of Managment at Binghamton University where I was later an Associate Dean and Dean. He also omits that I was in the international pharmaceutical industry for 33 years, many of which were with the Procter and Gamble Company as a Vice President.
For those interested in more about me, please visit bethlehemsupervisor.com or rreevesellington.com They will provide a more balanced story, I believe.
Mr. Mendick is absolutely correct in stating a no vote on the increased budget. I would disagree with him that there is a difference between living within the county budget as being separate from the citizenry. We are the county wallet.
Mr. Breslin once again shows why it is not necessary to look for candidates that are not in the thrall of political politics. They fail to accept that times and conditions have changed and that "business as usual" is not warranted. The right choice of elected officials is to start making the budget more transparent, showing what must be done, what should be done, and what is nice to do. Then open the forum to all citizens of the country. Let us rank order what we want and provide some real data to the politicians. If elected Bethlehem Town Supervisor, that is how I would run the budget. Discussion prior to putting it together in ways that provide wide and meaningful citizen input.
If you want to know more, please visit my website: bethlehemsupervisor.com.
WFP Candidate for Bethlehem Town Supervisor.
Last login: Wednesday, November 2, 2011
Contents of this site are © Copyright 2015 Community Media Group, LLC. All rights reserved. ph: 518.439.4949
Views expressed in letters, guest editorials, user blogs, and user comments are not necessarily the views of the paper, its staff or the company.
For the best browsing experience, we recommend the latest versions of Microsoft Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Apple Safari, or Google Chrome.