Letters to the Editor - The Millerton News - 6-15-23

Reelect Jenn Najdek

The job of the mayor of Millerton is a more time-consuming role than I think many residents realize, and having a mayor that can dedicate the time—at all hours of the day, is an important factor in having someone who can be responsive and effective in the role.

Mayor Najdek told me that most weeks she spends 25-30 hours working on the village business and that she even quit her second job to handle the workload. That average goes up when overseeing projects like last year’s sidewalk replacement or unforeseen problems like water main breaks occur. Because of the time spent on village business, she spends most Saturdays at her “Monday thru Friday” job, catching up on work she didn’t get done during the week.  She spends a lot of those 20-30 hours on the day-to-day tasks of running the village. But there are also countless hours traveling the region to meet with county, state, and federal officials. Relationships built from that dedication have paid off with significant funding for projects like the park and the wastewater treatment system.

Someone with a less flexible full-time job might find it impossible to dedicate the time and attention the role of mayor demands. Surely most bosses wouldn’t approve of them taking calls at any time, running out for short, impromptu meetings, or easily taking whole days off for other meetings. We are fortunate to have had mayors who work in the village and have employment situations with a high level of flexibility. It’s a challenging thing to ask for or expect, especially given the nominal stipend we pay our mayor. Perhaps having a full-time mayor would be a more fair solution, but it would be an expensive one, so that’s not happening any time soon.

It’s important that voters weigh the candidates’ ability to be so flexibly dedicated to the role. For that, there’s only one clear winner, and that’s just part of why I’ll be voting to reelect Jenn Nadjek as our mayor on June 20th.

Ed Stillman



In support of Carson Solar Farm

Dear Members of the Pine Plains Planning Board and Pine Plains Town Board,

I believe the Town should approve the Carson Solar Farm for the following reasons:

1.  The world is facing an existential threat from continued reliance on fossil fuels.  We may even now be too late but we need to do what we can immediately for the sake of our children and grandchildren. This should be completely obvious when last week we were forced to realize that climate change induced forest fires don’t just affect California they affect NYS as well.

2.  The Carson project is proportional to our Town doing our “fair share” when you look at overall State renewable power goals. This project is not overly large for our small town. If the Town of Pine Plains takes the attitude of “not in my Town” and tries to use zoning or moratoriums to block this project, we may find a larger project in a less desirable location forced upon us as New York State already has passed new legislation that gives the State the ability to override local zoning without even a SEQRA review.

3.  This is an excellent location from a visual standpoint in that only one or two properties will be able to view the arrays only from vantage points that are quite a distance. No property is having their view “destroyed”.

4.  It is my understanding that the Town’s electric substation capacity review, which was conducted as part of the Town Solar Law Zoning Review, revealed that there is almost no chance of further large scale solar arrays in Pine Plains as the electric lines and substations serving Pine Plains have very little additional capacity.

5.  Some of the complaints have been about removing trees yet the property owner does have the absolute right to remove trees and to log the property with a permit. For years, the Town has been looking to work with the Dursts on a huge development that would remove hundreds of acres of trees and cause significantly more habitat loss. In contrast, this project will result in the land being put into permanent conservation easement and be permanently protected.

It is disturbing to hear so many say they support renewable energy and then hire highly paid consultants and attorneys who look for administrative errors and the smallest of reasons to say “not in my backyard”.

As a healthcare provider and Nurse Practitioner for 45 years, I can easily equate this issue to our recent Covid-19 pandemic which required all of us to put the needs of others above our individual concerns and opt to mask and vax to protect our fellow humans.  We should do the same with this solar project.

I hope you will balance community interests and the need for all of us to do our share to try to mitigate climate change with a few individuals - who are concerned only with their own interests - in your decision making.

Thank you for your consideration of my thoughts and concerns on this important issue.

Jeanne Valentine-Chase

Pine Plains

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