Letters to the Editor - The Millerton News - 6-17-21

Keep Victoria Perotti as Amenia’s town supervisor

I moved to Amenia a few years ago after looking at the Hudson Valley/Harlem Valley area for nearly three years. I was drawn to Amenia for its beauty, sense of calm and low taxes. After living in Nassau County with every penny going to property tax, this was a much needed respite.

The taxes I pay are low and kept low due mostly to the hardworking town supervisor, Victoria Perotti. 

 After I settled in I wanted to know more about Amenia. I watched way too many recordings of the Town Board meetings on YouTube. It soon became apparent that Supervisor Perotti worked hard to find funding and grants in order to pay for various things such as sidewalk repair that would normally come out of tax reserves. I appreciated someone that cared enough about how my taxpayer money was spent. 

This is why I was very disappointed to learn that the town of Amenia has suffered multiple lawsuits regarding the assessed value of properties associated with the Silo Ridge development. Beginning in 2019, the town reduced Silo Ridge Ventures Property LLC’s assessed values for the 2019 tax roll by $49,774,217 on over 50 single family homes and 20 condos, (per the town’s resolution dated July 18, 2019 “authorizing settlement of the tax certiorari proceeding regarding Silo Ridge Ventures Property A LLC”).  Silo Ridge Ventures agreed to the settlement, yet still took the town to court. Since 2019, the town has spent approximately $100,000 defending itself against additional challenges to the assessed values of properties associated with Silo Ridge. 

The town reduced 16 different Silo Ridge property owners’ assessed values for the 2019 tax roll by over $90 million, through a series of Town Board resolutions dated July 18, 2019. See www.ameniany.gov, Resolutions #44 to #59 (click Government, Town Board, Town Board Minutes, 2019 folder). And yet, the town is led though an expensive and complex labyrinth of lawsuits.

How many more years will our taxpayer money be spent defending these lawsuits? What does Silo Ridge want? Will their taxes go down and ours go up in light of all this? Obviously money spent on lawsuits cannot go elsewhere no matter how many grants exist. How many programs and services will suffer?

A petitioner on one of these lawsuits is now challenging the supervisor in an upcoming primary.

If you live and pay taxes in Amenia, please join me in supporting Victoria Perotti for town supervisor. She has been a loyal advocate for Amenia since 2006 when first elected council member and has continued throughout her supervisor role since 2014. 

She’s an expert in finding grant money to pay for things that keep the town running. She is tireless on this. This keeps our taxes low. But all these lawsuits cost us, the taxpayer, in the long run. 

Stacy Mantel

Amenia

 

Local HV News slant doesn’t give current Amenia board a fair shake

I would like to address some inaccuracies that were published in a letter to the editor last week in the Hudson Valley News Amenia/Wassaic edition written by Wayne Euvrard, former Amenia town supervisor. The letter was extremely critical of the current Amenia Town Board.  The tone was vituperative and vitriolic, which I found personally offensive. 

As the former chairperson of the Trail to the Train Committee, I need to let your readers know that it was actually Mr. Euvrard’s decision not to hire the contractor recommended by our committee that cost the taxpayers $600,000 more than the bid by the contractor our committee recommended to design the trail, Mark K. Morrison Associates. Morrison’s group was subsequently hired to design most of the rest of the trail going north from Millerton. The large engineering group hired by Mr. Euvrard came up with a much more expensive design, which required a loan and multiple other grants to pay for and took 10 years to build.

Our current Town Board in Amenia has actually done a valiant and responsible job of continuing to handle town business during a difficult pandemic year. Property taxes in Amenia were reassessed and lowered in 2019.

I am concerned about the political future of Amenia being challenged by a group of people whose hidden agenda is mainly to lower taxes even further than they already have been for Silo Ridge, a gated community which represents only a minority of Amenia residents.

“Amenia Strong” also has found a dedicated mouthpiece in the new Harlem Valley News Amenia/Wassaic edition. The paper has only promoted the candidates that reflect the political views of its editor without granting equal time for opposing views. Equal time is required by news entities, a requirement which I am sure The Millerton News observes, and yet many residents who have written to the editor have not managed to get their letters published in that paper. A newspaper that publishes only one political viewpoint is not a real newspaper, it is a partisan propaganda platform.

Tonia Shoumatoff

Wassaic

 

Prevention key for healthy teens

Earlier this year, findings were released from the National Institutes of Health’s (NIH) 2020 Monitoring the Future survey, which examined drug use and attitudes of eighth-, 10th- and 12th-grade students. One noteworthy takeaway was the increased prevalence of marijuana use among adolescents; it’s the most commonly used illicit drug.

Marijuana made headlines again this March, when singer Demi Lovato proclaimed she’s “California sober,” a term used to describe people who abstain from all substances except marijuana.

The substance stayed in the news in late March when Governor Cuomo signed a law legalizing recreational marijuana use for adults 21 or older.

Looking at all of this, I’m concerned. In the NIH survey, many 12th-graders indicated they would use marijuana more if it were legal and, if they hadn’t tried it yet, they absolutely would. For teens, perception is reality and young people are hearing this: Marijuana isn’t so bad.

As project coordinator for the Northern Dutchess Community Coalition (NDCC), a local volunteer-led organization dedicated to preventing addiction, fostering recovery and promoting positive choices, I know firsthand the seriousness of making marijuana use a not-so-serious issue. While the state isn’t condoning underage use, marijuana use is still a gateway for other risky behaviors and consequences, including lung injuries from black market formulations.

It’s up to us, as a caring community, to have critical conversations with teens and young adults.

Not sure where to start? Visit www.ndutchesscc.org or head to the NDCC’s Facebook page.

Crissy Groenewegen

Project Coordinator,
 Northern Dutchess
Community Coalition

Fishkill

Editor’s note: Northern Dutchess Community Coalition has an office in Red Hook and serves all 12 Northern Dutchess communities — Rhinebeck, Red Hook, Millbrook, Pine Plains, Webutuck, Amenia, North East, Millerton, Tivoli, Milan, Clinton and Hyde Park.

 

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