Your Job is Served

Cartoon by Derek Zimmermann
Cartoon by Derek Zimmermann

Welcome back, Jason West. You have a lot of work ahead of you.

In the past, you brought the nation’s focus to New Paltz. You delivered big things to this small community. But times have changed, and now you’re working under new constraints. While we hope you remain idealistic, it is important that the decisions you make in the next four years are focused and responsible.

Young or old, the very livelihood of each member of this community is at stake. We need fiscal responsibility. This economy has caused families to work too hard for too little and we are losing sight of what living in a thriving and intelligent place like New Paltz really means.

Spend our tax dollars wisely and make the most of every dollar spent. Use your time in office to find ways to keep this community prosperous and stable so it can remain a viable place to live for generations to come. Whether that means developing a smart growth plan that promotes new housing and spaces for local businesses or investing in a sustainable future – do what needs to be done and do it the right way.

We need to exhaust every option to obtain grant money for our aging infrastructure. There are potholes and portions of pavement that require immediate updates and there is no reason we should be navigating Main Street without decent sidewalks. Sure, this isn’t a new issue, and this definitely isn’t a problem unique to New Paltz. But cost-friendly solutions are possible if funds are allocated effectively and efficiently.

This same idea relates to the raw sewage that floods our streets during storms. You made some headway on this during your first term as mayor. Terry Dungan has also continued to work on finding ways to improve our sewer system. Like all infrastructure issues, the sewage problem is a constant struggle that every mayor must face and pass on to the next. But it is time for someone to pave the way toward making the completion of this project a reality.

You’ve got 100 ideas to change New Paltz. Take a stab at some of them. It takes courage to make positive change, so show us what you’ve got.

We also need to restructure the way village government and citizens communicate. The fire department morale is at an all-time low. Residents are frustrated and feeling shut out by the leaders of their community. Answer the concerns of citizens promptly and keep transparency high. Nothing should be secret. If we can all come together and work in unison, anything is possible.

The noise ordinance issue is also something that needs to be addressed promptly.  Continue working with the police department to develop a fair and balanced rule so we can move on to more pressing matters. We live in a culturally rich community, populated by all age groups. We should be so lucky to have this much diversity spoon-fed to us on a daily basis. Part of that culture exists in the rich sounds you hear when traversing through the village. Find a way to maintain this strong identity.

The animosity between the village and town boards needs to be extinguished. We’re better than this, and time is being wasted. There are seats on committees that remain empty. Through positive attitudes, we can recharge the flatlining motivation of our citizens. We understand that a lack of volunteerism is a national issue, but cultivating a board of bitterness won’t help.

Come June, the Village Board of Trustees will consist of a motley crew of positive thinkers, each with their own views and opinions. While some have been residents of New Paltz for over 40 years, others are relatively recent graduates hoping to bring valuable change to a community that enlightened their college experience. Help them work together to see eye-to-eye. There is no room for disdain and disrespect. We are capable of so much and if we let personal differences fester, the fruitful minds that have been elected to lead our citizens will be wasted.

With great power comes great responsibility. Make us proud.