I thank Cold Spring Village Trustee Matt Francisco for his open meeting last Saturday. It was surprising to learn how his actual views on Butterfield differ from coverage by “the paper of record” in our town. But when he says that he asks “the hard questions” I have to disagree with him. Mr. Francisco is asking the easy questions — and refreshingly not pretending to know all the answers — and I’m starting to wonder why some of the other trustees haven’t been asking these same questions.
For example, what tax implications will condos, which are taxed at a much lesser rate than single-family homes (as much as 60 percent less but with almost all the same service needs) have on the rest of the village? If this development requires upgrades in infrastructure — sewage and water, fire protection — who will pay for them? Sometimes these financial burdens fall on the developer, sometimes on the municipality. Do we really want that potential tax hike?
Maybe so, if we like what’s proposed, and maybe not, but presently we’re still uninformed as to what Mr. Guillaro actually wants to build. If a fire hose can’t reach the top floors of this development, which could be up to four stories from the 9D side of the site given the steep drop in grade, who will be responsible for the new underground piping and fire equipment?
There’s no reason these questions can’t be answered so that this development can finally go forward, but someone has to ask them so that they are ultimately addressed and I thank Mr. Francisco for sticking his neck out and being the one to do so. Thankfully, Trustee Francisco has reiterated several times that if the majority of the village wants something, even if he personally feels it unwise, it’s his job to vote for it.
In the PCNR’s reporting and the considerable spin-off chat-room noise, I’m hearing very little about resolving these questions to the benefit of us, the taxpayers of Cold Spring. What I am hearing is how late Trustee Francisco was to one meeting and that he did not attend a Planning Board meeting, for which he is liaison. This is curious since the other trustees and even the mayor himself arrive late for meetings, are absent or need to reschedule meetings to accommodate their needs — understandably they have other jobs to support their habit of public service.
Furthermore I wonder how many members of the Village Board have not attended their respective liaison meetings. Has the HDRB had its liaison present to all, or even most of their meetings? How about the Rec. Committee? If the PCNR’s reporter were actually keeping score on Mr. Francisco’s hours vs. that of the other trustees he might not like the final tally. And if the attendance record is so newsworthy why is it not being reported for all trustees?
I believe that Trustee Francisco is setting a useful example for us all, of asking the right questions now, so that we’re not left with a giant tax bill later.
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