Monday, August 24, 2009

Special Village Board Meeting - EMS Budget 8/24/09



The privatizers are back.

The Village Board met tonight to discuss the "crisis" with the EMS budget. Chris Thomas explained that because of decreasing volunteerism, the EMS budget would have to see an increase of 25% next year. The likely figure for next year will be $425,000. I'm guessing there are about 8000 people served by the ambulance. (Ulysses, Trumansburg, and parts of Hector and Covert) $425,000 / 8000 = $53/person/year. Please, let me pay it. Don't start billing. Don't get into bed with the damn private for profit insurance companies. I've been telling them for a year, and they still don't get it. If we cost shift part of our $53 tax burden, onto the insurance companies, they will shift it back onto us in the form of higher premiums. The cost to the average family of four for health insurance is currently $13000. It is estimated to double in the next 7 to 8 years. $26,000 is nearly half of the average income of a Ulysses worker. That's a real crisis. 18,ooo people a year die, in the US, because they didn't have health insurance. That's a real crisis. Some of those 18,000 died because they didn't call an ambulance because they couldn't afford it. That's a shame.

There is no crisis in paying for our wonderful single payer ambulance. It's the best value I get for my tax dollar. $53 and we get quick response from trained emt's and nobody gets a bill. My neighbor that doesn't have health insurance doesn't need to fear a big bill when her kid has an asthma attack. If we go to billing, the insurance companies will raise premiums to cover the cost - plus profit! Then not only will the uninsured not call when they need an ambulance, but those of us that do have insurance will become part of the system that allows the insurance industry to make obscene profits.

The Village held a public forum last year to get feedback from the community on wether or not to go to billing. The overwhelming majority said NO! What part of "no" don't they understand?

We have to tell them again and again.



Ulysses Democratic Committee Meeting 8/20/09

The Ulysses Democratic Committee met on Thursday 8/20. As I have reported here before, the committee unanimously opposes my recording these events. I understand some of the reasons, such as it allows a more frank and open discussion, and if anything untoward is said about someone in the community, it need not become public. But, I can't think of anything that was said on Thursday, that would hurt anyone's feelings if it were made available. And I don't understand why we shouldn't take our cue from the Democratic National Committee, who's meetings are often covered on Cspan.

The committee heard from Kevin Romer and Roxanne Marino who are both interested in a spot on the Town Board. That makes three Democratic candidates (including incumbent Lucia Tyler) vying for 2 Town Board spots, at the Democratic Caucus, on August 31st at 7pm at the Fire Hall. (please come)

The presentations by the candidates at the last two UDC meetings, if they were made available to the public, would be the only time before the caucus, that the public would hear from the folks that might make important decisions for the town for the next 4 years. Since this is not allowed, the public won't know that real differences exist, and are therefore less likely to attend the caucus, and without them, democracy suffers.

Allen Carstensen (that's me) and Chris Thomas, will both ask for the Democratic nomination for Ulysses Town Supervisor, at the Caucus. Lucia Tyler and I had already addressed the committee and explained why we wanted to serve, so we didn't speak on Thursday. Roxanne Marino spoke for a few minutes and it's a shame I wasn't allowed to record it. Her knowledge of all the issues in front of the Town Board is voluminous, and she talks so fast, I'd have to listen to it 3 times for it to sink in. Her energy and knowledge would be a real asset on the Board.

Chris Thomas spoke, and took questions. He was asked if billing for ambulance services was still an issue. He said yes, that it was. He pointed out that the budget for the EMS for next year would have to be increased by 25% because of falling volunteerism, and the resultant increase in paid staff hours. I remain completely opposed to billing. There will be a meeting about the EMS budget at the Village Hall at 7pm tomorrow, Monday 8/24 (I think that's what he said - it's not on the online calendar, and I'm not allowed to record these meetings) I'll be there, and I'll be writing more about this soon.

Chris was asked if he was in favor of efforts to bring broadband internet service to more of rural Ulysses. He said that he didn't feel that highspeed internet was really necessary for most people. I disagree. I believe that access to information is critical if we are to have a well informed electorate. If everyone streamed Youtube clips of Jon Stewart every night.....

Chris was asked what he felt should be done regarding water infrastructure. He said that he favors laying pipe into the rural areas of Ulysses in a manner similar to WD5. He said that there was a palpable lack of cooperation during the WD5 years, and that, had there been better cooperation, that a project could have been completed. Some would call it palpable lack of cooperation. I would call it Don Ellis, Roxanne Marrino, and Lucia Tyler, standing on principle, and not allowing Doug Austic and Rod Ferintino to push through a project that was unfair to many, and would have enriched some while putting the Town at risk of unwanted development (possibly including concentrated animal feeding operations) A committee recently completed a survey of the water needs of the town. I look forward to working with members of that committee and the board, to determine the best way to improve access to clean safe water, to as many people as possible, with as few unwanted consequences as possible.

Chris was asked for his thoughts on gas drilling. He said "I'm not inherently opposed to energy exploration but what I am absolutely opposed to, is the use of undisclosed chemicals in the hydrofracturing solutions" Well, it seems that the exploration phase has been completed. The next step is to extract the gas, and I am inherently opposed to the hydrofracturing and horizontal drilling process if it involves large quantities of poisons and carcinogens wether they are disclosed or not. I have brought two resolutions to the Board, which, if passed into law, would deter these corporations from harming the health of our residents and decimating our environment. I believe we have to use every tool available to protect our Town, and if elected that is what I will urge the Board to do.

I have been nominated by the Tompkins County Green Party as their candidate for Ulysses Town Supervisor. I have collected signatures that the Board of Elections requires, so I will be on the ballot on the Green Party line, on Nov. 3rd. I registered as a Democrat in 1970 when I turned 18. I voted for George McGovern in 1972. What a different world it would be! I have always been a Democrat, because I believe that within our current electoral system, the Democratic Party is our best hope, for progressive reform. I have been a registered Democrat for 39 years. Chris Thomas has been a registered Democrat for 3 years ( He was a registered Libertarian prior to running on the Democratic Party line for Village Trustee) The Caucus on 8/31 will be important in determining the future of the Democratic Party in Ulysses. Please come.




Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Town Board Meeting 8/11/09

You will see a link to an mp3 file of the meeting below. If you click on the link, you can listen from within your browser, but there is usually a way to move this mp3 file to your desktop. In Firefox, you wait for the whole file to move to the browser, (a minute or two) then you go - File - Save Page As..... and you can put it anywhere you want. The advantage is that you can then listen with other programs (Real Player, Itunes etc.) which allow you to adjust equalizer settings and they give you a time counter. With the time counter and my notes below, you can jump to the part that interests you.


Here's the link to the mp3 file

0 hrs - 0 minutes - 0 seconds - I arrived and started my recorder a few minutes late while they were going over the budget.

0-4-33 Planning Board Report - Ken Zeserson, and Dick Coogan talk about Grass Roots parking

0-14-00 Ken brings an Ithaca Journal article to our attention. Governor Patterson has apparently been bought by the oil and gas industry. He thinks that hydrofacking the Marcellus Shale is a great idea, and will solve all of our problems.


Check out the comments by "thruthsquadtwo"

0-16-45 Leslie Spurgin reports on the results of an audit recently performed. She reports on some minor problems, but closes by complementing Doug and Dick and Marsha and Jim on a fairly good job of keeping the books.

0-52-20 Chris Thomas reports on Village goings on. They are considering several different options for a second source of water.
Also, there will be a meeting on 8/24 at 7pm to go over the Fire Dept./EMS budget. He said the budget is in two parts - Fire and EMS. Fire budget has remained flat for several years. EMS will go up 25% from 09 to 2010 due primarily to declining volunteerism and having to hire more paid staff. They will discuss how to pay for it at this meeting.

''The question is going to be how do we move forward in terms of paying for it"

This, of course, worries me. I know how Chris would like to pay for it and I remain opposed. See my blog at http://trumansburgambulance.blogspot.com/

We should continue paying for it with our taxes, as we always have. I have some ideas about increasing volunteerism, which I will be speaking about soon.

I think I'll go to that meeting.

0-56-00 I get a chance to talk about hydrofracking. I wrote a new short and sweet ordinance, hoping to entice the board into taking action. Here it is,

The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Conservation recently published a "Summary of Hydraulic Fracture Solutions" used by vendors that provide the chemical solutions that are added to the water used in Hydraulic Fracturing.



Some of these ingredients are very dangerous, and very likely to enter the ground water around drilling sites, and inevitably will be in the large quantities of waste water that is a byproduct of the drilling and fracking process.

Ethylene glycol, and Methanol are common ingredients in these solutions.


Ethylene glycol is toxic and due to its sweet taste, children and animals will sometimes consume large quantities of ethylene glycol if given access to it. It and its toxic byproducts first affect the central nervous system, then the heart, and finally the kidneys.

Methanol is toxic. If ingested, as little as 10ml can cause permanent blindness by destruction of the optic nerve.

Whereas, we the Ulysses Town Board, object to the use of large quantities of these poisons in our town, we do hereby prohibit their use within the Town of Ulysses, in quantities greater than one gallon per year per natural person, or per corporation doing business within Ulysses.

Enforcement: any natural person or corporation found to be in violation of this ordinance shall be fined $750 for the first offense, and $1500 for second offense, and the fine shall continue to double with every subsequent offense. The Ulysses code enforcement officer shall be responsible for enforcing this ordinance, and issuing these fines, which shall be payable to the Town of Ulysses.




If you listen to the audio, you'll here me say that Alex Rachun, our code enforcement officer, is supportive of this kind of ordinance. Then you'll hear Dave Kerness, (board member) say that he spoke with Alex, and I am wrong about Alex's support. So.......... I checked again with Alex the next morning, and indeed, he is in support.


Doug Austic pointed out that every big truck that goes through Ulysses would be in violation, because they would have more than one gallon of ethylene glycol in their radiators. Good point. I will be happy to increase the allowable limit. I have written to the Environmental Management Council, and I hope to get some expert help in setting the limit low enough to catch hydrofrackers and high enough to allow continued normal use.

Doug says that Chris Thomas might have had greater than my allowable limits in his drums full of materials for his insulation business. Chris agrees and says that he didn't have sheets describing the contents of those drums.

this is interesting - from wikipedia,

In the U.S., the Occupational Safety and Health Administration requires that MSDS be available to employees for potentially harmful substances handled in the workplace under the Hazard Communication regulation. The MSDS is also required to be made available to local fire departments and local and state emergency planning officials under Section 311 of the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act. The American Chemical Society defines Chemical Abstracts Service Registry Numbers (CAS numbers) which provide a unique number for each chemical and are also used internationally in MSDSs.

1-2-10 Dave Kerness says if my ordinance could actually be effective, someone would have already done it. hmm..... not the greatest philosophy for inovating solutions to our problems. I point out that perhaps the reason it isn't being done is because it would violate Article 23 of NYS Conservation Law. This section preempts municipalities from attempting to protect the health of their residents and their environments from giant, hugely profitable, oil and gas corporations. How could such a gross violation of our constitutional right to self government be passed into law? Simple. Corporations own our government in Albany and Washington, but they do not yet own Ulysses, so, we need to stand up on our hind legs and do something.

1-05-42 Karen Brower, from Jacksonville, talks about her difficulties caused by the burning of garbage by a neighbor. She has sought relief from the Sheriff, and the Troopers, and the Tompkins County Health Department, but the burning continues. The board offered no help. I think if I were the Ulysses Supervisor I would have asked for her address and phone number, and arranged a visit to see if I could negotiate a solution.

1-15-40 Jim Meeker- highway report

1-19-00 Marsha Georgia Clerk report

1-22-40 Liz reports from TCOG - Tompkins County Council of Governments

1-26-35 Dick Coogan and Town Attorney discuss the best ways to handle future Grassroots parking (zoning changes, permits, development zone, whatever)

Dick also says that Ulysses has been left holding the bag for a water improvement flyover. The town has paid and the state was supposed to reimburse us and hasn't

This flyover was supposed to identify faulty septic systems. The results were inconclusive. I think we should have a watershed inspector who's job it is to check the systems every two or three years. This is what they have on the southern end of Kueka Lake where I built a house on the lake.

1-44-00 Town Barn Project. Doug discusses the various bids from 3 contractors. Finger Lakes Construction won the bid and the Town resolved to accept their bid of 396,000

2-01-00 Some discussion of progress on the Comp Plan.

2-04-30 Lucia Tyler has written a letter for the Board to Michael Arcuri etc about our concerns re: hydrofracking urging them to support legislation which might disallow the exemptions from the Safe Drinking Water Act. All of the members sign.

2-15-00 Adjourn



I'll post more notes later.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Bernie Sanders lectures McCain on Health Care




After listening to Bernie here, I realized that our Ambulance Service is actually socialized medicine, not just single payer. It's like our socialized Fire Department, and Socialized Police Department. All good. All as they should be now and forever.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Sixth Annual Women Swimmin' for Hospicare

I don't know why I've never been to one of these before, but this morning I went to the sixth annual Women Swimmin' for Hospicare. Awesome. 300 women swam across Cayuga Lake and back from the Ithaca Yacht Club, to raise money for Hospicare. Beautiful morning, hundreds of people, great music, great food, and all for a good cause. http://www.hospicare.org/



video

The saxophone solo is by Ken Zeserson, Chair of the Ulysses Planning Board.




video

If you're reading this on Saturday morning, there is still time to go on down. http://www.womenswimmin.org/

If not, don't miss it next year.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Green Party Nomination

I received the Tompkins County Green Party nomination for Ulysses Town Supervisor on July 21st. My friend Jonathan Cook is the new chairman of TCGP Committee. That helped. Thank you Jon, and that you TCGP.

Frankly, the Green Party Platform is more inspiring than the Democratic Party platform. http://www.gp.org/platform/2004/2004platform.pdf but I remain a Democrat, as I have been since 1970, because within our current election system, the Democratic Party remains our best hope for progressive reform. I will seek the Democratic nomination on August 31st because I have to try to work from within the party to slow it's drift to the right.

The Board of Elections requires that I collect 117 signatures of registered voters of any stripe on a petition, in order to prove that I am a viable candidate worthy of appearing on the ballot on November 3rd. on the Green Party line. I started that process this weekend. It went well. I took my petition by Chris Thomas's house. (Chris is the Trumansburg Village Board member that is my only declared opposition for the Democratic nomination) I thought if he was extremely magnanimous, he might sign as an indication that he believes in basic democratic principles, and the rights of the voters to have a choice in November even if he wins the Democratic nomination at the caucus August 31st. He wasn't quite that magnanimous, but he was quite pleasant considering some of the rather harsh things I have written and said about him. He thinks I have said things about him that are untrue, and I disagree, and we are both entitled to our opinions. I have written that he is really still a Libertarian, despite having switched his registration at the BOE. He says he is a moderate Democrat. But regardless of labels, and official BOE registrations, we are both citizens, and we are both doing what we feel is right. That said, there is a big difference between what I feel is right and what Chris feels is right, and I hope that the average voter is more closely aligned with my beliefs, and acts upon that knowledge.

As I have written in previous posts, I am very concerned about the threat from the gas drilling corporations that want to use hydrofracking in our fair town. Since I was going door to door with my petition, I thought I would do a little poll to see what people thought about this issue. Here's my poll question,

Gas drilling corporations are leasing a large percentage of land within Tompkins County in hopes of profiting from the extraction of natural gas from the Marcellus shale deposits below us. They intend to use a technology which threatens environmental damage. Would you say,

A.) The environmental risks are offset by our need for gas, and the rights of landowners to profit from gas leasing.

or

B.) The environmental risks are unacceptable, and your Town officials should try to stop these corporations from operating within Ulysses

or

C.) You have no opinion.

The results were overwhelmingly against the corporations, and in favor of our Town officials trying to stop them. I stopped polling to save time, and because the results were so clear.

A.) 1
B.) 15
C.) 2


Saturday, July 25, 2009

Ulysses Democratic Committee Meeting 7/23/09

The Ulysses Democratic Committee met Thursday evening at the Ulysses Town Hall. I am a member. I often record public events such as Town and Village Board meetings and post them here. I recorded the first half of this meeting, in this public building, and then was told that I must turn off my recorder, and delete the file. I did. When I got home, I looked on the web and found that the Democratic National Committee meetings are covered on CSPAN. It seems to me that we should take our cue from the DNC, and not the Chicago political machine that selected candidates in smoke filled rooms (at least they had the decency not to hold secret meetings in public buildings) I have been advocating for increased public access to our local government for several years. I do not consider the UDC meetings to be private. They are part of the political process and should be open.

It seems to me that there is a general feeling within the committee, that congeniality is more important than political idealogy. I disagree. Political differences are too important to be ignored, for fear of seeming intemperate. The future of our town is at stake. Where hydrofracking is concerned, the stakes are very high. Where our ambulance service is concerned, lives are at stake. This desire for congeniality is, I suppose, the reason that they asked me to delete the file. Some present, expressed the sentiment that our present Town Clerk has not always done the best possible job. (We have a terrific Democratic Candidate for Town Clerk this year - Erika Naylor.) I guess no one wanted to be on record speaking against Marsha Georgia, which is understandable, but politics is hardball, and elected positions periodically come up for reelection, at which time it is every citizens responsibility to consider the qualifications and past record of those seeking office. A hard nosed objective examination of candidates is necessary, even if it hurts someone's feelings. The UDC is not a social club.

We have some terrific progressive Democratic candidates. Lucia Tyler is an incumbent running for reelection. Roxanne Marino is hopefully going to run for an open seat on the Town Board. And Erika Naylor will most likely run to unseat Marsha Georgia for Town Clerk. Chris Thomas (currently on the Village Board, and seeking the Democratic nomination for Town Supervisor) is not a progressive Democrat. It is my contention that he is not a real Democrat at all. I felt it was my responsibility as a real Democrat to speak up. The party faithful at the last UDC meeting did not want to hear it. I have tried over the last month, to convince some real Democrats, to oppose Chris Thomas for the supervisor spot, but none of them have them have been willing to do so. So I have decided to do it myself. I am going to ask for the Democratic nomination at the caucus on August 31st. This is a long shot. Chris has the advantage of having been on the Village Board. So, I approached the Tompkins County Green Party and asked for their endorsement, so that I could be on the ballot in November, regardless of the result of the caucus. They have now endorsed me, and I will now begin collecting the signatures that the Board of Elections requires, in order to appear on the ballot.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Town Board Meeting 7/14/09

It's been awhile sense I've posted here. I became very preoccupied with the presidential campaign and the excitement and frequent disappointment with the new administration. I decided to go to a meeting of the Ulysses Democratic Committee, because it was that time of year when they were to begin considering candidates for spots on the Town Board this November. I wanted to urge them not to make the same mistake they made a couple of years ago when they nominated a Libertarian (Chris Thomas) to run as a Democrat for a spot on the Village Board. I was surprised to see Chris Thomas's truck in the parking lot before I went into the meeting. He doesn't usually bother coming to these meetings. It turned out he had an agenda. He wants the Democratic Party nomination for the Town of Ulysses Supervisor spot! I've tried to talk Roxanne Marino, Elizabeth Thomas, and Alan Vogel into seeking the nomination, but they don't want the job. I might just have to do it myself.

More on that later. The purpose of this post is to give you a link to the audio of the latest Town of Ulysses Board meeting.

You will see a link to an mp3 file of the meeting below. If you click on the link, you can listen from within your browser, but there is usually a way to move this mp3 file to your desktop. In Firefox, you wait for the whole file to move to the browser, (a minute or two) then you go - File - Save Page As..... and you can put it anywhere you want. The advantage is that you can then listen with other programs (Real Player, Itunes etc.) which allow you to adjust equalizer settings and they give you a time counter. With the time counter and my notes below, you can jump to the part that interests you.



Here's the link to the mp3 file


The threat to our health, our environment, and our community from corporations wanting to come to Ulysses and extract gas from the Marcellus shale by pumping millions of gallons of water and deadly chemicals into wells drilled sideways underneath us, has recently come on my radar. In the past few months I've read a lot, and been to several meetings, and worked with Attorney Charles Wolff on the Ulysses Sustainable Energy Ordinance, in an attempt to prevent these corporations from exploiting our town.


That's why I came to this meeting and the one last month. Last month I presented a simplified version of what we want this ordinance to accomplish.


Rough Draft

Town of Ulysses Sustainable Energy Ordinance -


AN ORDINANCE OF THE TOWN OF ULYSSES,TOMPKINS COUNTY, NEW YORK,

ESTABLISHING A LOCAL SUSTAINABLE ENERGY POLICY by MAKING LAW That:


1. Declares that the energy policies of New York and the United States, controlled by large corporations profiting from carbon-based and nuclear power generation, is destructive of human and natural communities;


2. Asserts that the People of the Town of Ulysses reject the unsustainable energy policies of the State and Federal governments and that they have adopted a locally-defined, sane and logical energy policy based on a process of transitioning from unsustainable to renewable energy sources;


3. Prohibits people and corporations from energy production for sale when that energy is produced from unsustainable fuels;


4. Prohibits people and corporations from extracting unsustainable energy fuels in the Town of Ulysses, since they are used in the production for sale of unsustainable energy;


5. Commits the Township to a goal of assisting in the reduction of community residents’ and local

business’s use of unsustainable energy by 20% in each three year period;


6. Requires the Township adopt and publish an annual Sustainable Energy Plan that identifies specific measures to which the Township is committed during each fiscal year to achieve the targeted reduction in unsustainable energy consumption;


7. Makes government agencies and individuals liable for assisting corporations to violate the Ulysses Sustainable Energy Policy by issuing corporate charters, licenses and permits;


8. Provides for enforcement, both by the Town Board and by individual residents, of the

prohibitions in this Ordinance and protection of the rights of residents and ecosystems


9. Removes claims to legal privileges and protections from corporations that might be used to nullify the provisions of this ordinance.


10. Recognizes and enforces the rights of residents to defend their rights and the right of natural communities and ecosystems to exist and flourish


11. Subordinates corporations to the people of Ulysses


Dave Kerness requested to see the actual ordinance, so Attorney Charles Wolff and I have adapted an ordinance written by The Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund. I emailed it to the board, and brought printed copies to the meeting Tuesday 7/14. I didn't get a chance to speak until the end of the meeting.


here's a link to the ordinance as a Word document


0hrs-0min-0sec starts off as usual with the Pledge of Allegiance, then discussion of the minutes of the last meeting.


I'm going to skip big chunks of this meeting and only comment on the portions that I found particularly interesting, but you, of course, should listen to every word.


0-6-22 Ken Zesserson gives the planning board report. This is interesting, listen to Ken explain how passing the Comprehensive Plan could help us limit the damage that exploitative gas drilling corporations could do.


Apparently, there will likely be a Comprehensive Plan meeting at the Fire Hall on August 25th. If there is anything that we can do to hurry this along we ought to do it.


0-10-55 Sue Ritter gives a report on the completed water survey. Dave Kerness gives the committee members a hard time for not including recommendations with their report. Odd. The committee apparently has done a very good job of accessing the current state of affairs, and they felt that it was the job of the town board members to interpret the results and discuss what if any action is required.


0-24-40 Chris Thomas gives us the Trumansburg Village Board report. He says that there will soon be a new tenant in the Movie Gallery building - a 24 hr gym. And possibly a new tenant in part of the Save A Lot building - bakery related. interesting.

Also, a grant application for some kind of structure at the Trumansburg Farmer Market has been approved.


0-26-35 Don Ellis uses the privilege of the floor to comment on what he thinks the board should do to address the threat from the gas drillers.


0-40-40 Liz Thomas reports on the possibility of federal money to extend broadband internet into rural areas. Clarity Connect is trying to put together a grant proposal. They want resolutions from the towns in the area. Deadline is 8/14.


1-17-20 Liz Thomas reads a resolution about asking the DEC to extend the comment period from 30 to 90 days in order to have enough time to read, comprehend and tear our hair out, about how little the Department of Environmental Conservation is likely to do to conserve the environment. The board passes it unanimously.


1-23-30 Liz asks who on the board has leased property to gas corps. Doug Austic admits that his land is leased.


1-28-00 Liz brings up the high levels of pollution of Trumansburg Creek according to the Community Science Institute. Steve Peningroth is asking for the board to release the already budgeted $5000 to support CSI's water testing in the creek, and establish a baseline prior to gas drilling, and CSI's continuing efforts to educate the public on these issues.


Dave Kerness objects on the grounds that the EPA is only interested in phosphorous and sediment and CSI tests for more than that, and there's more than one group testing the waters.


Rod Ferentino thinks that we ought to be going to the USDA about this and keep the 5G.


I think that CSI is much more independent than the USDA or the EPA or the DEC, and we ought to give them the money.


1-38-30 Doug finally gets to me. I pass out the printed resolution. I had emailed this to the entire board (I got the addresses from the website) yet some of them said they didn't get it. So I guess I'll have to check all of those addresses. Rod said that he had gotten it, and he complained that I my ordinance would prohibit windmills. I guess he didn't read it too carefully. That's right in the title. The Ulysses Sustainable Energy Ordinance. You see, wind energy, solar energy, geothermal energy, bio mass energy etc, these are sustainable and are encouraged, by my ordinance.


The town's attorney Marriette Geldenhuys said she thought that it appeared to be rather broad and opinion based rather than specific. There certainly are some big picture explanations within the ordinance which are there to explain why the board (should they decide to pass it) is passing it. I would be glad to remove these parts if the board wishes. Perhaps when Ms. Geldenhuys and the board have time to read it they will see that the ordinance spells out very specific action.


Ms Geldenhuys is correct that NYS Environmental Conservation Law (ECL) has preempted Ulysses right to self government. Article 23 delegates all authority to regulate oil and gas activity to the DEC. Get the irony? Our Environmental Conservation Law is telling us we have no legal right to conserve our environment. This ought to anger every member of the board. This preemption is unconstitutional. The Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, declares in part, “No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States”


1-44-40 Rod says "I have a stupid question" I don't think this is a stupid question at all. Listen to Rod's approach here. I think he will run up against NY ECL Article 23, just as my ordinance would. But I think he is right, and that it is our right, it is our duty, to act on this.


Here you go Rod, I've written your resolution for you,



Town of Ulysses Toxic Substance Ordinance


The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Conservation recently published a "Summary of Hydraulic Fracture Solutions" used by vendors that provide the chemical solutions that are added to the water used in Hydraulic Fracturing.



Some of these ingredients are very dangerous, and very likely to enter the ground water around drilling sites, and inevitably will be in the large quantities of waste water that is a byproduct of the drilling and fracking process.

Ethylene glycol, and Methanol are common ingredients in these solutions.


Ethylene glycol is toxic and due to its sweet taste, children and animals will sometimes consume large quantities of ethylene glycol if given access to it. It and its toxic byproducts first affect the central nervous system, then the heart, and finally the kidneys.

Methanol is toxic. If ingested, as little as 10ml can cause permanent blindness by destruction of the optic nerve.

Whereas, we the Ulysses Town Board, object to the use of large quantities of these poisons in our town, we do hereby prohibit their use within the Town of Ulysses, in quantities greater than one gallon per year per natural person, or per corporation doing business within Ulysses.

Enforcement: any natural person or corporation found to be in violation of this ordinance shall be fined $750 for the first offense, and $1500 for second offense, and the fine shall continue to double with every subsequent offense. The Ulysses code enforcement officer shall be responsible for enforcing this ordinance, and issuing these fines, which shall be payable to the Town of Ulysses.

1-46-53 This part is funny, check it out. Rod says "what happens next, is it costs the taxpayers a lot of money to deal with" I say "so what we've come to is that we are so afraid of these corporations and their high powered lawyers, that we are afraid to stand up for our rights" Rod says "NO, NO,NO, NO....... I DID NOT SAY
THAT'' He picks up Liz's recorder and speaks directly into it so we don't miss it. But he is afraid, or perhaps "concerned" is a better word, that passing these ordinances might result in being sued by one of these corporations. This is a reasonable concern, but it must be weighed against the greater threat to our health, future, community, and environment. And it's just the right thing to do. If we do get sued, I'm not convinced it has to cost very much. We don't necessarily need William Kunstler. Perhaps our new town supervisor can represent us without counsel. Ha. Or perhaps we can find an attorney to take the case pro bono.

1-47-35 Jim Meeker (highway supervisor) takes a common approach, wait and see what the experts have to say about it. He is saying that the Tompkins County Counsel of Governments is working on this. I hope they do come up with miracles, but I don't think we should count on it. Let's be pro-active.

1-50-20 Rod objects to the whole approach of slowing down the damage via road regulations. He says that going after the trucks is like treating a symptom instead of treating the disease. He's right, but I think we have to use every tool we have.

1-53-09 Ken Zezerson says that there are 19 DEC field agents charged with inspecting 13,000 gas wells now, and there will soon be many, many more wells. The DEC is woefully underfunded. It's not clear to me wether the DEC is part of the problem or part of the solution, but they are incapable of adequately overseeing the existing gas wells let alone the hydrofracking boom.

1-55-54 Doug Austic says that we could require a bond on any road that we knew would be heavily used by the tanker trucks, and that any repairs could be funded by these bonds. Good idea.

1-56-40 Lucia Tyler suggests that we pass a resolution is support of the bill in Congress that would reverse the exemption to the Safe Drinking Water Act. Good idea, as long as that's not all we do, because this bill is probably not going to pass. Pressure from lobbyists recently got the sponsors of the bill to back off of their attempt to get quick passage, and they have asked for "further study" in order to keep the bill alive.

1-58-35 Doug says that it's pointless to make laws because we can't enforce them anyways. What is this the wild wild west? What's the point in having laws if we can't enforce them? I disagree. I said you just send the police out and turn the truck around. Doug says "YOU CAN'T DO THAT ALLEN, THERE'S THINGS YOU JUST CAN'T DO" I disagree. It depends on how we word the ordinance. If violations required the arrest of the perps, then it would be a sticky situation for the police, and the sheriffs department is suffering from cutbacks. If the ordinance specified a fine, however, it might be better handled by a code enforcement officer.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Town Board Meeting 11/10/08

You will see a link to an mp3 file of the meeting below. If you click on the link, you can listen from within your browser, but there is usually a way to move this mp3 file to your desktop. In Firefox, you wait for the whole file to move to the browser, (a minute or two) then you go - File - Save Page As..... and you can put it anywhere you want. The advantage is that you can then listen with other programs (Real Player, Itunes etc.) which allow you to adjust equalizer settings and they give you a time counter. With the time counter and my notes below, you can jump to the part that interests you.

Here's the link to the mp3 file

5 minutes 50 seconds - Chris Austin (dog control officer) says there is a discrepancy with the bill from the SPCA. Apparently there were a couple of incidents recently when the SPCA came out in spite of the fact that they no longer have a contract for dog control in Ulysses. They are still the animal cruelty investigators for the county, that is not the responsibility of Chris Austin? I'd like to know more about the details of these incidents. There appears to be a big difference between Chris Austins version of the story and the SPCA's version.

Chris implies that his relationship with the SPCA is not the greatest. He said that he's gotten into the habit of taking the dogs to his own kennel for 5 days, instead of the SPCA. Did the Town Board approve this change? Chris states here that Abigail Smith is not the director of the SPCA. If you go to http://www.lansingstar.com/content/view/3961/294/ you will see how wrong Chris is.

It seems irresponsible for Ulysses to refuse to support the SPCA. The residents of Ulysses have thousands of pets, and we benefit from the services of the SPCA. We ought to pay for it. The SPCA has had to double the price of their dog control contract, but this is just an indication of how low it was before. The new price brings them into line with the national average of four to six dollars per capita per year. Using a private dog control officer like Chris Austin can save Ulysses tax payers a couple of bucks per year, but we then are responsible for the budget shortfalls at the SPCA. Our SPCA is one of the best. They are available 24/7. They have vets on the staff. They are supported by 165 volunteers. It seems odd that our Town would refuse to fund them, in a year when they are reducing the Town of Ulysses tax levy.

0-42-0 Marsha discusses the upcoming Winter Festival. Go to http://www.tburgfestivaloflights.com/

0-52-0 Rod Ferintino says "no way" to funding the stream watch program that is run by http://communityscience.org/ Sounds like something we ought to support to me.

1-00-20 Rod says he doesn't want to put money aside for the action plan to implement the comprehensive plan. (is Rod missing the fundamental concept of communities organizing to protect and improve the commons?)

1-02-00 Rod says he doesn't want to put money aside for an audit of the Town's books.

1-11-14 - Liz Thomas seems to think that the budget process is somewhat less than ideal. There is a discussion of this here. Liz reads her resolution for improving the process into the record dispite Doug Austic's objections.

1-36-00 Jason Fulton gives a Fire Dept report. Referring to third party billing Jason says - "It's more when it's going to happen now, they're not going to push the issue now, but it's still ready to go whenever it's needed" I've written about this at the previous post.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Village Board Meeting 11/11/08

You will see a link to an mp3 file of the meeting below. If you click on the link, you can listen from within your browser, but there is usually a way to move this mp3 file to your desktop. In Firefox, you wait for the whole file to move to the browser, (a minute or two) then you go - File - Save Page As..... and you can put it anywhere you want. The advantage is that you can then listen with other programs (Real Player, Itunes etc.) which allow you to adjust equalizer settings and they give you a time counter. With the time counter and my notes below, you can jump to the part that interests you.

Here's the link to the mp3 file

I read a statement at the first public comment period. I usually set my recorder in front of Tammy Morse (Village Clerk) She apparently didn't turn it on until I had started my statement,

It's been awhile since I have been here to encourage the board to stand for justice, and much has changed. The Bush administration's economic policies have resulted in bringing us the most threatening collapse since the Great Depression, and they used this crisis (as they use all crises) to advance their agenda, this time by transferring our taxpayer dollars (and the taxes of future generations) to the wealthiest 1/10th of one percent , who happen, in this case to be the CEO's of the very institutions that are responsible, along with the Bush Administration, for this collapse. The one trillion dollar bailout package is the greatest theft in history, and they are stealing from all of us, including the local governments of Trumansburg, and Ulysses, and our schools, and health care for our elderly, and our poor.

The election of Barack Obama changes how you should look at this movement of those who seek justice, accountability, and the restoration of the rule of law. Some of you mistakenly thought that this was merely partisan politics. The fact that he has been elected and we are still asking for justice, proves this wrong. Some of you felt that seeking impeachment would threaten the success of the Democrats in the election. This is now a moot point.

I admit that it is unlikely that Nancy Pelosi will allow the House to begin impeachment before inauguration, but her action is not the measure of the worth of your action. You should act so that history will record that you saw the gross crimes of the Bush Administration, and the harm being done to your constituents, and you objected. By remaining silent in the face of these crimes, you ensure that others will attempt the same crimes later.

Is there any member of this board who values the rule of law, and our Constitution, enough to make a motion to pass the resolution to encourage our representatives in Washington to investigate the possibility of impeaching Bush and Cheney?

As usual my statement invoked no response. Oh well.

One disappointing bit of news from the meeting is that the purchase of the old telephone company building by the Village, for use as a community center has apparently fallen through.

The Board approved the purchase of a new defibrillator for the ambulance. Trustee John Hrubos commented that because of expensive purchases like this, the concept of going to third party billing was really a question of when and not if. This got under my skin, but I held my peace until the second public comment period near the end of the meeting.

This is at about the 2 hr, 56 min mark. John defended his "when and not if" comment by complaining about the ever increasing cost of the equipment as if it is spiraling out of control, which it is not. The defibrillator will be fully covered by the allowance in the budget for equipment upkeep and replacement. The increase in the cost of the EMS service, is roughly equal to the rate of inflation. It is far from the crisis that they make it out to be.

Chris Thomas said (in order to get me to shut up) "But Allen, truthfully, you have to hear everything the board is saying, and one thing the board said is that the 'when' includes that tipping point when the symposium is 75% in favor of going to billing because the costs have escalated so much" That's on the record. I was listening, and the board hadn't said that, but I'm glad to have that on the record now. The public will never be 75% in favor of privatizing this important aspect of our community.

Sadly, Jason, our Fire Chief, left after hearing John's "when and not if" comment, and went across the street to the ongoing Town Board Meeting, and reported that the Village Board considered the privatization scheme merely a question of "when". Jason and fellow proprivatizer Rod Ferentino, commiserated with each other over what a shame it was that they had failed to tap into the pool of dirty money from the private for profit health care industry. Rod Ferentino commented months ago on the "paradigm shift" that he saw occurring, that was causing a low response rate from the volunteers. That paradigm shift has apparently vanished. The response rate is way up, and Bangs has had to come out hardly at all. This is thanks to the fact that we beat back the attempt to privatize, and to the work of Jim Mason.

Thank you Jim, and thank you EMS volunteers!

Friday, October 17, 2008

Back to Democracy Candidate Forum 10/16/08


Tom Schlee


Charles Wolff

Last night Back To Democracy held a Candidate Forum at the Trumansburg Fire Hall, in order to inform the public about an important race which will be decided on the November 4th ballot. The incumbent Ulysses Town Justice Tom Schlee, is being challenged by a local attorney, Charles Wolff.

You will see a link to an mp3 file of the meeting below. If you click on the link, you can listen from within your browser, but there is usually a way to move this mp3 file to your desktop. In Firefox, you wait for the whole file to move to the browser, (a minute or two) then you go - File - Save Page As..... and you can put it anywhere you want. The advantage is that you can then listen with other programs (Real Player, Itunes etc.) which allow you to adjust equalizer settings and they give you a time counter. With the time counter and my notes below, you can jump to the part that interests you.


Here's the link to the mp3 file

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Charles Wolff vs Tom Schlee for Ulysses Town Justice

I was initially disappointed to hear that Charles Wolff (a registered Democrat) was seeking the Republican Party's nomination, because it has always been my opinion that a relatively uninformed public will defer to party affiliation before taking the time to study a candidate's position on the issues. If the various political parties strictly enforced adherence to party platforms, and if these parties never allowed members of other parties to run on their ballot lines, then it would be nearly treason for candidates to cross party lines, but that is not our present situation. Since we have representatives locally and nationally whose values sometimes contradict the platforms of the parties that helped get them into office, we as voters are required to look a little closer at candidates, than simple party affiliation.


An odd conflict exists within NY State Law. Judicial candidates are not supposed to be partisan, yet they are essentially required to seek the support of political parties. Mr. Wolff has been criticized for lack of "loyalty to the Democratic Party". I believe Mr. Wolff is driven by principals which he considers more important than party loyalty. (I know I am)

I was at the Ulysses Democratic Party meetings when Charles Wolff and Tom Schlee explained their reasons for wanting the position, and described their experience and qualifications. I was impressed by Tom Schlee, and I think he would make a good Justice. But Charles Wolff is clearly the better qualified of the two, and would make a great Justice. Charles Wolff is a licensed attorney with thousands of hours of courtroom experience, he is a member of the NY Bar, and a graduate of law school. Tom Schlee is none of these things. I don't understand how voters can ignore this huge difference between the candidates. The New York State Unified Court System is trying to put more attorneys on local benches. (in fact new NYSUCS rules will soon give defendants the right to have their cases heard before a judge that is an attorney) This is why Charles Wolff is running. He explained this at the Democratic Caucus when he was seeking the Democratic Party nomination, but there were a lot of old friends of Tom Schlee in the room, and he got the nomination. Charles Wolff saw the likelihood of this outcome months ago, and asked for the nominations of other parties. Should we hold this against him? Is party loyalty the most important factor here?

Tom Schlee was a friend of our much loved, recently deceased, Justice Christine Springer, and he uses this to great effect in his campaigning. This is true, but he neglects to mention that Charles Wolff was also a friend of hers and it was at her suggestion that he joined the Tompkins County Assigned Counsel Program whereby he often provides services to clients who can't afford expensive services, for greatly reduced cost, or no cost.

I have always voted Democratic. This will be the first time that I have ever voted on the Republican line. I wish that our world were simpler, because I know that it's hard for voters to find the time to educate themselves fully before voting, but it is my hope that many voters will make the effort. Obviously, there are other extremely important races to be decided on the ballot in November, but most of us have already made up our minds how we will vote on the presidential race. Please take the time to go to Charles Wolff's website www.podunklaw.com where you will find more information on this important campaign.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Eric Massa talk in Ithaca September 19th

I just got home from the event described below. Eric Massa will be a fantastic Congressman for the 29th if we help him defeat Randy Kuhl (Rubber Stamp Randy) If you missed this event, don't despair, I recorded it for you.

You will see a link to an mp3 file of the meeting below. If you click on the link, you can listen from within your browser, but there is usually a way to move this mp3 file to your desktop. In Firefox, you wait for the whole file to move to the browser, (a minute or two) then you go - File - Save Page As..... and you can put it anywhere you want. The advantage is that you can then listen with other programs (Real Player, Itunes etc.) which allow you to adjust equalizer settings and they give you a time counter. With the time counter and my notes below, you can jump to the part that interests you.

Here's the link to the mp3 file

The race between Massa and Kuhl is being reported as one of the closest in the country. Please consider contributing.


0 hours 0 minutes 0 seconds - begins with someone introducing Michael Thomas

0-0-56 - Assemblywoman Barbara Lifton introduces Eric Massa

0-5-14 - Eric Massa

0-12-40 - Michael Thomas - I was actually expecting to hear about how great the rebuilding of Afghanistan was going. This is not at all what I heard. Give a listen.

0-33-05 - Eric jumps in to begin the question and answer session

0-45-28 - My question for Eric - and his excellent answer

Here is the invitation, which describes the event,

Allen,

I write today to remind you about our event in Ithaca this Friday, September 19th (please see the invitation below). My longtime friend and colleague Lieutenant Commander Michael Thomas, who recently returned from a year long deployment in Afghanistan as an Executive Officer for a US Provincial Reconstruction Team, will be joining us for an evening to discuss his experiences and share his first hand insights into the reconstruction efforts in that troubled region. This promises to be a very interesting discussion, and I would be honored it you would consider joining us for this great event. In addition to Lt. Commander Thomas' presentation, I will be giving a brief update regarding the race, and would love to take any questions you might have.


Sincerely,

Eric Massa

CDR, US Navy (ret.)


Adelaide Park Gomer

Invites you to join her for an evening with

Recently Returned Afghanistan Veteran
Lt. Commander Michael Thomas, USNR
“The Ground Truth in Afghanistan”

For a presentation, discussion, & reception to benefit

Eric Massa’s
2008 Campaign for Congress in New York’s 29th District

Friday, September 19th, 2008
5:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.

at the home of

Adelaide Park Gomer
513 Wyckoff Road
Ithaca, New York 14850

Co-Host $250-$500 Sponsor $100 Individual $50
Please use the enclosed envelop, contribute online at www.actblue.com/page/massa2008, or bring attached form to the event!


Lieutenant Commander Michael A. Thomas, USNR recently returned from a year long deployment to western Afghanistan, where he served as the Executive Officer of one of twelve US Provincial Reconstruction Teams. Born in Washington, DC, he grew up in New Haven, Connecticut and graduated from Wesleyan University in 1990 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Government, History, Economics, and Philosophy. In 1995, Lieutenant Commander Thomas graduated from the Yale Law School and entered Naval Officer Candidate School in Pensacola Florida, where he received his Commission later that year. Lieutenant Commander Thomas’s operational experience includes combat tours in Kosovo, Iraq, and Afghanistan. During his service in the military, Lt. Commander Thomas received the Bronze Star, Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Joint Service Commendation Medal, Joint Service Achievement Medal, and the Navy Achievement Medal. Lt. Commander Michael Thomas is married to the former Karen L. Dickey of Millinocket, Maine. They currently reside in Milford, Connect

Eric Massa, a Naval Academy graduate (class of ’81), is a 24-year retired Naval Commander. While in the Navy, Eric was involved in several global conflicts including Beirut and Desert Storm. His capstone military assignment was serving as the Special Assistant to the Supreme Allied Commander of NATO, General Wes Clark during the Bosnian conflict. In addition to his career as a military officer, Eric has worked for a high tech firm in the automotive environmental division, as a health care advocate while in the military, and as a professional staff member serving the House Armed Services Committee. With no primary and a seasoned staff, Massa’s campaign has the full support of the DCCC (Red to Blue), as well as the State and local Democratic Party. Thus far, Massa has out raised his opponent Republican Randy Kuhl, and the DCCC recently announced an early TV buy of $1.5 million in the Rochester media market, the largest TV buy in the country by the DCCC. In addition, the NY Times recently recognized NY-29 as one of the closest races in the nation (G.O.P in House at Risk in Northeast, 8-14-2008). The 2008 Massa for Campaign has tremendous momentum and is poised for victory in November. Eric Massa lives in Corning, New York with his wife of 20 years, Beverly, and their two teenage children, Justin and Alexandra.


Contributions or gifts to Eric Massa for Congress are not tax deductible. We may accept contributions from an individual totaling up to $2,300 per election; $4,600 per election cycle. Federal PAC’s may contribute up to $5,000 per election; $10,000 per cycle. Federal law prohibits contributions to the campaign from corporations, labor organizations and national banks; from any person contributing another person’s funds; from foreign nationals who lack permanent resident status; from federal government contractors. Federal law requires us to use our best efforts to collect and report the name, mailing address, occupation and name of employer of individuals whose contributions exceed $200 in an election cycle.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Town Board Meeting 9/9/08

You will see a link to an mp3 file of the meeting below. If you click on the link, you can listen from within your browser, but there is usually a way to move this mp3 file to your desktop. In Firefox, you wait for the whole file to move to the browser, (a minute or two) then you go - File - Save Page As..... and you can put it anywhere you want. The advantage is that you can then listen with other programs (Real Player, Itunes etc.) which allow you to adjust equalizer settings and they give you a time counter. With the time counter and my notes below, you can jump to the part that interests you.

Here's the link to the mp3 file

I'll add some notes soon

Village Board Meeting 9/8/08

You will see a link to an mp3 file of the meeting below. If you click on the link, you can listen from within your browser, but there is usually a way to move this mp3 file to your desktop. In Firefox, you wait for the whole file to move to the browser, (a minute or two) then you go - File - Save Page As..... and you can put it anywhere you want. The advantage is that you can then listen with other programs (Real Player, Itunes etc.) which allow you to adjust equalizer settings and they give you a time counter. With the time counter and my notes below, you can jump to the part that interests you.

Here's the link to the mp3 file

I'll add some notes soon

Fire/EMS Budget Meeting 9/4/08

You will see a link to an mp3 file of the meeting below. If you click on the link, you can listen from within your browser, but there is usually a way to move this mp3 file to your desktop. In Firefox, you wait for the whole file to move to the browser, (a minute or two) then you go - File - Save Page As..... and you can put it anywhere you want. The advantage is that you can then listen with other programs (Real Player, Itunes etc.) which allow you to adjust equalizer settings and they give you a time counter. With the time counter and my notes below, you can jump to the part that interests you.

Here's the link to the mp3 file

I'll post some notes soon

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Town Board Meeting 8/12/08

You will see a link to an mp3 file of the meeting below. If you click on the link, you can listen from within your browser, but there is usually a way to move this mp3 file to your desktop. In Firefox, you wait for the whole file to move to the browser, (a minute or two) then you go - File - Save Page As..... and you can put it anywhere you want. The advantage is that you can then listen with other programs (Real Player, Itunes etc.) which allow you to adjust equalizer settings and they give you a time counter. With the time counter and my notes below, you can jump to the part that interests you.

Here's the link to the mp3 file


0 hours 2 mins 20 sec Sue Poelvorde on the Town''s Comprehensive Plan. It should be ready for the Board to consider approval in October or November

0-9-40 Chris Thomas says that the Village is going to hold off on the idea of going to EMS billing. And mentions the extra paid shifts on Friday and Saturday nights. And mentions his plan to draft a contract between the Village and the Fire Company.

(For more on the EMS issues, see the 8/11 Village Board meeting audio and notes below)

Chris mentions that the Village has offered $41, 113 for the old telephone company building..$30,000, for the building and the rest for asbestos abatement. He said that there has been an anonymous contribution of $30,000 and another for $1000.

0-12-40 Jim Meeker - Highway Superintendent's report
Town Clerk's report

0-15-10 Lucia Tyler reports from her attending the Environment Management Council meeting. There was a presentation about an Ash Borer which is expected to decimate our Ash trees soon. There is now a regulation which prohibits bringing firewood into State Parks in order to slow or stop this insect.

0-22-00 Discussion of wind generators, and regulations, and noise ordinances.

0-43-22 Lucia Tyler mentions my letter that I gave her just before this meeting. Here is the text,

I spoke with Abigail Smith, the director of the SPCA today. She said that the council of governments requested proposals for dog control to be sent to them by 8/15. Abigail is working on this and will have it to COG on time. She would like to provide comprehensive services to all of the townships in the county and be supported accordingly (currently Ulysses and Groton are the only hold outs) .

When we stopped contracting for dog control with the SPCA, we began to get a free ride for the other services that they provide, such as animal cruelty investigations, picking up stray cats, free spaying and neutering, and animal adoptions.

Apparently Chris Austin has been doing a good job, and saving tax payer dollars, but this is not the only issue. We want the SPCA to be there for many reasons, and it is irresponsible to withhold funds from them.

Abigail would request that before entering contracts that would take us into 2009, that towns would wait and review the proposal that will be available at the COG on 8/15, and if there are any questions, to ask for a meeting with her.

In July, the SPCA took in a stray dog that was brought in by a resident of Trumansburg. They will be billing for that impound, but it's interesting to note that Chris Austin wasn't called--the woman just brought the dog in. He stayed there for 11 days, and was adopted out. The point is that the SPCA is there, fully staffed, providing even the services they are not reimbursed for.

After Lucia Tyler synopsized my letter, Doug Austic's immediate response was that all of these services that the SPCA provides beyond dog control, are not required by the Department of Agriculture and Markets. We, funded the SPCA for many years, in spite of it not being required by Ag and Markets. We used to feel that it was the responsible thing to do. We stopped when there was a large increase in the contract cost. The cost after the increase, however, is not out of line with that paid for similar services around the state and the country. The question is do we want to shoulder our responsibility to pay for these services. If we do, it will be a very small percentage of our tax bill. Rod Ferrentino said that I should talk to the SPCA, because Abigail Smith came to a meeting a few months ago, and didn't advocate for the SPCA very aggressively. I have talked to her however, and she would like to have comprehensive contracts with all of the towns in the county, in the interests of the animal's well being and the long term financial viability of the SPCA.

The town will soon be working on their budget for next year so it would be a good time to discuss whether or not we will contract with the SPCA again.

0-50-00 discussion of escaped buffalo roaming around Ulysses! Someone suggested that a real Town Board would get together and herd the buffalo back onto the owners property. If you see 'em, contact the DEC.

1-00-00 discussion of the ethics involved in members of the board receiving gifts such as Grassroots tickets.

1-07-45 Doug says they have a $400,000 rehabilitation grant and they can't get rid of it because federal rules say you can't touch a building that has lead based paint.

1-21-00 discussion about support for the Black Diamond Trail. Jim Meeker says that he thinks the town could handle installation of culvert pipes, but the BDT folks should come up with the pipe.