We’ve accomplished much with quiet efficiency

To the Editor:

I’d like to respond to Deane Fish’s contention that the accomplishments of New Scotland’s current town board can be counted on one hand [“Americans distrust monopolies, bad in business and worse in government,” Letter to the Editor, The Altamont Enterprise, Oct. 15, 2021].

Perhaps he hasn’t been paying attention. Or perhaps he has more fingers than I. In any case, your readers should know that in our recent tenure we have:

— 1. Kept town taxes below the tax cap including a 1.5-percent decrease this year. When garbage pick-up is taken into account, the lowest in Albany County;

— 2. Guided the town through the COVID-19 crisis by adding weekly meetings. We had no layoffs, no loss of services, no serious outbreaks among staff leading to closures, and are in excellent financial shape;

— 3. Through our senior-service program and the great leadership of Deb Engel, worked tirelessly to get over 400 of our seniors vaccinated;

— 4. Developed shared services with neighboring communities, saving taxpayers significant money;

— 5. Upgraded the Community Center;

— 6. Updated the comprehensive plan, which lays out the town’s vision for its future;

— 7. Updated the New Scotland hamlet zoning to lay the groundwork for a walkable commercial district. We already see this work coming to fruition with Fred the Butcher and the commercial buildings going in next door, which will house up to 18 small businesses (see Ron Kaye’s letter);

— 8. Joined both the Climate Smart Communities and Clean Energy Communities programs, which brought in over $80,000 worth of grant funding;

— 9. Preserved critical open space including the Bender Melon Farm and Picard’s;

— 10. Led the effort to create a regional Community Choice Aggregation program, which may lead to savings of 10 percent on residents’ electric bills;

— 11. Codified our zoning laws, leading to much greater efficiency and transparency;

— 12. Purchased both a packer truck and paver (using state programs to do so), which gives us the ability to pick up leaves and brush more quickly and pave our own roads, saving our taxpayers money;

— 13. Negotiated significantly lower Emergency Medical Services (EMS) with the county, saving the taxpayers money;

— 14. Reorganized the building department to include a professional planner/economic developer. This will streamline applications and further our ability to attract small businesses;

— 15. Increased transparency by adding cameras to our meeting room so the public can stream our meetings;

— 16. Purchased LED [light-emitting diode] lighting for all of our lighting districts, which will significantly lower costs for their users;

— 17. Upgraded our water systems with more energy-efficient pumps;

— 18. Ran the daily business of the town — hiring and appointments, accounting and financial management, paving, garbage pick-up, plowing, public works, building inspections and code enforcement, transfer station, assessing, etc.;

— 19. Have begun to consolidate water districts; and

— 20. Yes, the barn. But not just the barn, which will house needed bathrooms and amenities for the park and rail trail (and quite possibly a restaurant or distillery), but also a brand new park (with walking trails) and all the site work that entails, that abuts it. And over $1.5 million in state grants that — had we not applied for and received — would have been sent elsewhere.

There’s more, but we’ve reached the limits of Mr. Fish’s fingers and toes. Some of these accomplishments are public and celebrated; some are handled without fuss or fanfare amid the general workings of good government.

Some, like the comprehensive plan and hamlet zoning, took a year of almost weekly meetings to complete. We are proud of all of it and eager to continue accomplishing so much with such quiet efficiency that even the town’s Republican chairperson doesn’t seem to know about it.   

Adam Greenberg

New Scotland Town Board

Editor’s note: Adam Greenberg, a Democrat, is running for re-election to the New Scotland Town Board.

See related story and video of the New Scotland candidate’s forum.

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