Berne incumbents represent a legacy of leadership

To the Editor:

We are fortunate in Berne. Consider these town assets:  a balanced budget, a zero-percent tax increase, a new library, a new wastewater treatment system, a van dedicated to seniors.  These are assets that have improved our community, made life just a little easier for many, and made our beautiful town a more attractive place to live and raise our families.

What does it take to achieve results like these?

First, an assessment of needs: listening to the voices of our residents, recognizing the legal responsibilities and obligations of our community, observing where improvement would contribute to a better quality of life.

Identifying the issues is followed by a lot of reading to ferret out essential information about each endeavor, research to explore the best methods of tackling the issues, contacting experts in the field for their advice, soliciting bids, evaluating those bids. The list goes on, but you get the idea.  It takes a lot of work on someone’s part to go from need to idea to accomplishment.

So, just who are these individuals who willing devote the time, energy, and effort to accomplish these tasks? The answer is simple: our elected town board members.  We elect them based on their credentials and re-elect them based on their demonstrated ability to serve our community.

In this age of financial distress, unsustainable tax increases, and government dysfunction, progress can be difficult to achieve.  Examples of individual dedication and effective collective action can seem hard to find; sometimes it is hard to imagine that government can work anywhere.

Yet, Berne has moved forward. It has seen improvement of both infrastructure and quality-of-life issues.

The results are impressive:  a balanced budget, a debt-free transfer station, a wastewater treatment system for which grant money paid approximately 75  percent, a new library, a van to transport our senior citizens.

A study of flood hazards within the town, and means of floodwater mitigation was undertaken this summer consequent to the severe weather we’ve encountered in the last several years.  Soon, the intersection of routes 156 and 443, an obstacle to buses and cars alike, will be improved; the dilapidated building on that corner will be razed, and the state’s Department of Transportation will reconfigure the corner to better facilitate traffic flow. All this was accomplished with a zero-percent tax increase.

As the proliferation of campaign signs indicates, it is now election season. Three members of the current town board are up for re-election:  Wayne Emory, Joe Golden, Kevin Crosier.  Together, they possess 30 years of accumulated experience, and, make no mistake, experience counts.

The knowledge acquired in those combined years is formidable and informs each decision they make.  Drawing on that acquired knowledge, they listen, consider, actively pursue solutions, and weigh consequences.

Hardworking, committed, knowledgeable, and proactive, Wayne, Joe, and Kevin have sought to improve our community, and their success doing just that is laudable. They understand their role is to make better and build upon what we are so fortunate to already possess: a beautiful environment, a rural history, a community of individuals who want the best for their children and families. Together, they represent a legacy of leadership.

It is a leadership that is forward thinking and constructive.

I would urge each and every one of you to get out and vote on Nov. 5.

But, more importantly, I would urge each and every one of you to take a hard look at the accomplishments and direction of the candidates:  What have they achieved, what will they undertake, how will they improve our community?  Will they be open to ideas, eager to advance initiatives, have the experience necessary to effectively govern?

Your choice makes a difference. When you make that choice, make it an informed choice.

Thank you.

Karen Schimmer

Editor’s note: Karen Schimmer, a Democrat who served on Berne’s comprehensive plan revision committee, was elected to the Berne Town Board two years ago.

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