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Letter to the editor: Bravo to Hurley for saying no to the byway
By Lissa Harris
7/5/12 - 2:57 pm
7/5/12 - 2:57 pm
Background: Last week, after the Town of Hurley voted to withdraw from the Catskill Scenic Byway project, the Watershed Post ran a letter to the editor from Melinda McKnight blasting the town board for their decision. McKnight is Hurley's representative to the Central Catskills Collaborative, a group that represents five towns and two villages, and that is spearheading the byway project.
McKnight's letter refers to Olive resident Glenda McGee, a prominent opponent of the byway, citing McGee's "irrational arguments." The letter below is McGee's response.
Melinda McKnight's emotional reaction to Hurley's meticulous assessment of the Byway Plan's pitfalls and expenses warrants a response.
The Town of Hurley has saved their taxpayers untold sums of money and unforeseen consequences by saying no to the Byway Plan. It included no cost analysis, doesn’t grandfather in pre-existing non conforming homes and businesses, and suggests a stunning array of infrastructure projects that are urban-styled, exorbitant and often far- fetched.
Such as: "re-designing Route 28” in order to “slow down traffic" via: roundabouts, crossing lights, median islands, landscape bumpouts, etc. The group verbally advocated truck weight regulations that would "protect" the Byway from truck traffic. They did not deny this goal when addressed at the Hurley meeting.
It was about this point that I queried Mr. John Gill. As a relative of Missouri farmers I asked him about consequences if the Byway group were able to achieve their goals. He replied: “farmers couldn't truck their fertilizer in or their milk out” -- and that he was committed to not letting that happen.
At the Shandaken meeting, where Peter Manning redefined and downsized Home Rule as "being able to pass resolutions" people were batting back Byway misinformation like mosquitoes on a summer's night. I don’t remember how I expressed Mr. Gill’s commitment to stopping a massive taxpayer investment in re-designing Route 28. Did Mr. Gill say he "pledged" himself against the Byway like a Boy Scout? No. I apologize to Mr. Gill for attempting to speak for his sober commitment to reason in my words.
Last week, the State Byway representative, addressing an Olive meeting, concurred with Mr. Gill -- rejecting the re-design notion. She also dropped financial bombshells -- stating a Byway management group had to be established (Tug Hill, for example, costs 1.4 million annually and has 17 employees) and we might receive a maximum of 80 percent reimbursement for projects along the Byway --- no upfront outlay. Who would choose projects? Which area of a 6-town Byway would benefit while the rest pay? What town is in a fiscal position to pay for the minimum 20 percent shortfall? And why commit to a “Work in Progress” legal document that the State can alter -- but the Town Board can’t?
The State Byway representative left documentation indicating a town cannot vote itself out of a Byway. Good work Hurley.
Olivebridge, New York
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