Comments by ronzo
Posted on February 19 at 7:37 a.m. (Suggest removal)
Since zip codes were created in 1963 who decided that a zip code should be aligned with the name of a city, town, etc.? And specifically since the early '80s when zip plus 4 went into affect, that numerically identifies your exact location (home or business) it is actually not even necessary to address anything more than to who and the 9 digit zip code that will get mail delivered correctly. It sounds that some 911 dispatch systems do not use zip plus four which they should. Some zip codes cover areas in more than one state. So what's the big deal? When I address outgoing mail, if I have the full zip code I never include anything more than the addressee and the 9 digit zip code and have never had any mail returned to me as undeliverable.
I believe this issue has to do with some people's need to feel an association with a place they call "theirs" as exemplified by the statement of that state representative - “We are Halfmoon Proud". “This code puts a stamp on who we are”. You can be Halfmoon proud without causing the Postal Service to make a special arrangement for you. That just adds cost to mail delivery, plus if they do it for one, then all of a sudden how many more places will "demand" the same? That would cause mayhem within a very efficient mechanized delivery system.
I like Sen. Schumer a lot but he's way out of line on this. He should spend his time correcting the damage that the 2006 Congress did to the postal service stealing billions from their operating funds instead of playing up to a few people who have this passion for the name of some geographic boundary.
I would bet that if you conducted a truly unbiased poll of people who live in Halfmoon you would find that most people couldn't care less one way or another.
Posted on February 13 at 8:48 a.m. (Suggest removal)
Why should state legislators get paid at all, except a per diem to cover expenses? When public money is involved, graft and corruption will accompany it. New Mexico, where I came here from, has citizen legislators. They do not get paid a salary. They get about $160 per day as per diem when the legislature is in session, and when they work on behalf of their constituents. Because they do not get paid a salary, they are incentivized to get the state's business done quickly so they can get back to whatever they do to earn a living whether they are small business owners, ranchers, independently wealthy or just middle-class people. Granted, New Mexico does not have the same issues as New York, but by taking salary out of the equation, it would attract people who truly want to work to make the state better rather than just collect a high salary for a part-time job with an opportunity to steal even more from the people and get a pension to boot. Plus, it would further incentivize many who do serve to do it for a short period of time rather than make it a career like they do here in New York. That would be a built in term limit without an official term limit.
Posted on February 10 at 1:33 p.m. (Suggest removal)
Upstate would lose - I've seen reports that make your numbers low. In other words, the 52 counties that are upstate get even more state revenue and contribute less than your numbers but yours make a valid point. The fact is upstate NY does not contribute its fair share to the state treasury. The irony is that outside the cities, the party that governs most of those 52 upstate counties, towns and villages is the one that supposedly hates big government and welfare. They're hypocrites. They love all the local government they can create and keep upstate while they take all the State welfare they can get and still complain that it's not enough. With my Saratoga County tax bill is a "complaint sheet" that describes why the taxes are what they are. The list is a bunch of excuses blaming everyone but themselves. But of course they do not state what they will do to lower costs that will lower property and school taxes, since most of the direct costs that taxes fund are within their control. And they have the people upstate convinced that it's all New York City and downstate's fault. That may have been true in the 50's, '60's, and '70's when upstate was booming with manufacturing and NYC was broke. But not today. I'm not favoring NYC. The only thing I want from New York City is distance, and for them to continue to be the economic engine that powers New York State until upstate pulls itself up by its bootstraps and becomes more self-sufficient.
Posted on January 27 at 11:16 a.m. (Suggest removal)
Nice example to the people who this sheriff serves. How should he expect the people who he supposedly protects obey laws that they do not agree with when he does not. He's a hypocrite. I do not believe that every person in his jurisdiction agrees with his attitude. And they wonder why some people have disrespect for police agencies when some cops, like this guy, don't respect laws that are created by others who are elected by the people. Respect goes both ways. People need to respect the police agencies that enforce laws whether you like the law that the cop is enforcing or not. Police agencies need to respect the laws created by legislators whether they like the law or not. A cop's personal feeling and belief about a law that s/he swears to uphold should not be brought to the job. Actions like this further put a wedge between police and the public. He's taking the coward's way out. There are other legal ways to enact laws that he likes and change laws that he does not like. The state police should arrest this guy for breaking a state statute.
Posted on January 23 at 7:53 a.m. (Suggest removal)
sparkling: you keep affirming what I keep saying - people would rather pay the high property taxes in NY in order to keep their small town, village or school district. That may be OK for you, but I'm guessing it's not for the majority of New Yorkers who seem to speak loudly about the unaffordability of living here. The exception is that they are not willing to do anything about it but complain. And for people like me who have experienced living in other states, where a sense of community is very present without all those multi-layers of local government, it's difficult to understand why New Yorkers are the way they are about the subject.
Corporations merge to obtain savings by eliminating duplication and replication. I know that governments are not corporations per se, but the principles of consolidation and benefits apply. It's been proven over and over in other states where cities are merging with counties like in Kentucky, Indiana, Georgia and others.
I understand that the Village of Scotia has some of the highest property taxes in the Capital Region. If that's what you want and like, I guess that's up to you. I am not willing to pay these high taxes. I'm just saying that's not for me and I've tried in many ways to get people interested in changing the system, to no avail. I guess that's what makes us different. I do not need to see a town hall building with a sign on it to give me sense of community where I live. What makes me feel no sense of community is annually getting the egregious property and school tax bills. That turns me off completely about the New York system of local government. And I do not blame the State for that. They're trying to affect change. It's the locals who want it that way. And the irony to me is that in most upstate suburban towns and villages, the people who govern are from the party that is allegedly against big government. But they are the sponsors of enlarging local government. And the governor is of the party of allegedly big government and he's trying to entice the locals with cash to reduce their size of government. That the paradox.
Posted on January 22 at 1:29 p.m. (Suggest removal)
sparkling: not sure you got the jist of my message. What does the identity of a location have to do with who or what governs that location? What do parades, fire works and other public events have to do with a village government? Why is it important for someone to personally know a municipal employee? The Governor and State does offer to give to local towns, villages and school districts millions of dollars of support for them to consolidate and merge. So far there's not too many takers. Small government is more accountable. The question is, how much are you willing to pay for those multiple levels of very small local government?
I do not know anything about your specific local politics between the two individuals you speak about.
How do you actually know that merging governments in the state will not realize savings to the taxpayers? And how can you guarantee that the property taxes will not go down? Here's what I know coming from outside New York.
New York is the only state where I have lived that has other than cities, these multiple levels of local government - multiple towns, villages, school districts within a county. Each entity does the same thing - courts, clerk, highway department, tax collection, police and fire service, school districts, etc. redundantly in their own small way, each with their own bureaucracy and staffs replicated many times within that county. And I can unequivocally say that my property taxes (plus school tax) here are the very highest I've paid anywhere by a lot. This is the only state I've lived that has school taxes.
You sound like the person I spoke of earlier. You do not mind paying the high taxes if you can keep the identity of your small local government. And I believe that you speak for the majority of upstate New Yorkers.
Posted on January 22 at 9:56 a.m. (Suggest removal)
So the mayor says that the village does not want a combined municipal building. Or does he mean that HE doesn't want that. The other guys says - “We don’t want to sacrifice our identity 100 percent for cost...".
What constitutes the identity of where you live? Is it your neighborhood? Is it a sign that welcomes you to that place? Is it a sign on a building? Is it your tax bill? Is it your zip code? Or is it something else.
Why can't you have a feeling of identity where you live by just the name of the place where you live? That's the way it is in most states. Why does the name for that area have to include a local government? Why can't a county in New York have "sections" called e.g.- Glenville, Scotia, Niskayuna, Rotterdam, Duanesburg, Princetown, Delanson, Ballston, Malta, Halfmoon, etc. plus a city or cities within that county like in most other states? Why does the name have to also be associated with a local government?
New York does have place identities within a county that don't include a local government and people are OK with that. Here they're called Burnt Hills, Alplaus, Jonesville, Ballston Lake, Elnora, Crescent and others. When you ask someone where they live they'll say Burnt Hills. Why don't they say they live in Glenville or Ballston since Burnt Hills is in both towns? Because Burnt Hills is their identity.
So what's the answer to all this? It's the hypocrisy. People believe that in order to have an identity to the place where they live, it has to have a "town hall" or some other government institution with all its amenities and they are willing to pay for that in high property taxes to support that government. But they'll blame everyone but themselves for the high property taxes that they're willing to pay. Additionally, every May they'll vote themselves a property tax increase to keep their school district identity and also blame the State and everyone else for their decision to raise their own taxes.
That mayor wants the new building because he wants "his" village hall. That's his perceived power and it supports his ego. To share that building that satisfies his ego with someone else is out of the question.
So in the end, you can report on this all you want, but the chances of any change happening here in New York regarding the administration of local government is zero until more people leave the state eroding the tax base even more and the ones left are so broke that they'll have no choice but to accept change. I hope I'm wrong.
Posted on January 16 at 8:29 a.m. (Suggest removal)
Of course it would be out of the question to combine the village and town into one municipality and build one government center. This is an example of why New Yorkers do not mind paying the property taxes that they do. The people don't care about the cost of gov't as long as they can have their little town or village. If the people really wanted lower taxes they'd do something about it instead of continuously rejecting the State's offer of millions of $$$ to consolidate and merge local municipalities plus let municipal leaders like the ones in Scotia and Glenville pile on more cost that lead to higher property taxes.
Posted on January 7 at 9:13 a.m. (Suggest removal)
Johnny: The upstate vs. downstate thinking regarding the economy of New York State was probably true in the '70s when New York City was bailed out by the State as it teetered on bankruptcy. That is no longer true. The economic engine that powered upstate New York is now in the Sunbelt. NYC and the 10 counties that make up "downstate" now power the economy of the state. Be careful what you wish for. If you take NYC away from the rest of the state, you'll have to erect new welcome signs at the Upstate New York border that states: Welcome to Northern Mississippi.
Posted on December 2 at 7:24 a.m. (Suggest removal)
It's also possible that the decline is due to more people doing what we do. Many years ago we and those who we gifted quit the holiday and special occasion (birthdays etc.) gift giving and donate whatever we would spend on gifts to a local charity. The exception is now with two grand children we limit them to two gifts each, purchased before October 1, but to no one else. It feels better to give to those who need than to those who don't.