Knee-jerk reactions need to be tempered

To the Editor:

My political career is very short. I was elected to the Knox Town Board two years ago and had been the freshman until Amy Pokorny came on board last year. As I have been learning the intricacies of town government, I have gained a great appreciation for what it takes to run our town.

I compare the town as being run much in the same way my father, Marshall Barber, ran our farm. He was born in Knox, and I spent my entire life here. Season to season, the crops may vary with the weather at hand, but bills must get paid and barns can be built when you have the resources to do so. My father was a very successful farmer.

My family and I moved back into the homestead farmhouse of my youth several years ago as my mom was aging. I’m now sitting where my father did not that long ago. Brian Whipple now tends to the hay and plants the land. But I still have the privilege of this view of Knox from the same window that my dad looked through that really isn’t much different than what it was when he was sitting in that same chair.

Reflecting on this, I feel very much the same about our town government. Prepare for the unexpected, live within your means, and build when you can. The incremental steps that have been taken since I’ve been on the board have been reserved, affordable, and well planned. These people are the most conservative folks I’ve ever met.

The public hearing that we had on the hamlet was enlightening and I’m glad we’re moving forward. Since that meeting, there’s been some disturbing things said by a few newcomers to town.

You know something? I believe they really just don’t like Knox.

They live here a few years, decide it’s not good enough for them and everything has been done wrong, and then set out to set us straight. Suggesting we hand out “incentives” to who knows who, and raise taxes to do so. Wow!

To the highly critical candidate for town supervisor whose letter was in last week’s Enterprise I say, get your facts straight.

— 1. We passed up an opportunity to partner on the Hilltown Senior Bus? Read the minutes from November 2012 Town Board Meeting — Resolution # 103-town of Knox to participate with the town of Berne for the operation of the Hilltown Senior Bus. Passed unanimously.

— 2. New York State Civil Service Law dictates employment practices for all public entities in the state. Your statements advocate filling position without a vacancy! Shoot from the hip on this one and the town will be spending a lot of time in court defending unfair labor practice lawsuits.

To that same candidate, I would also say, I’m sorry you don’t like our town. I’ll tell you right now, I’m all for improving our town, but, as I believe my other colleagues on the board would agree, a snap of the fingers or knee-jerk reactions need to be tempered.

The bottom line to financial incentives for residents, businesses, and especially our farms is consistently low taxes. That’s what we do here in Knox. It’s across the board, everyone gets that benefit.

We build when we have the resources to do so, just like my dad did. That said, this transition occurring in the hamlet will take place. I’m confident it’ll happen by individuals who like Knox and find the advantages of our community fit their needs and ambitions.

I like this view from what’s now my picture window. Knox is a special place. My father and mother loved it here, and I do as well.

Dennis Barber


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