What is the plan? Is there a plan? If the Town Supervisor acquires 307 acres of prime agricultural property for $3 million of our dollars, what then? There either is no plan at all or our town officials refuse to share the true purpose of this latest lunacy. Do you want to gamble on your money being spent wisely or otherwise?
Let’s see how we got to this point. In 2021 as a result of post-pandemic spending the Town realized a windfall of $2 million from Sales Tax revenue. The funds were promptly stashed in the Farms and Forests Fund, which had been a failure since its creation, in order to make it appear the fund was well funded rather than a true boondoggle.
Now with an additional $1 million pledged by various entities, the Town is prepared to make the purchase. We are given pretty, meaningless phrases like, “Conserves farmlands”, “Protects open space” without revealing what the plan is to accomplish either. One way to ensure farmland remains productive is to roll back the John Clarkson reassessment screwing on farmland and undeveloped land so farmers can afford to stay in business in this town.
The phrase, “Creates new parks” leads me to think that is the plan, but is it? What kinds of parks?
The phrase, “Promotes agribusiness” leads me to think either the Town is going into an agricultural business or incentives will be offered to individuals or entities to start farms with subsidies or other “assistance” which existing farmers will not enjoy. Is the plan to compete against legitimate farmers forcing them into oblivion?
The phrase, “Helps fight climate change” leads me to conclude the plan is to create a gigantic solar panel “farm”. Would that be wise?
One fact not shared is that in February 2022 the Town had an appraisal of the properties completed. One conclusion was all the parcels except the 1.3 acre parcel have a highest and best use as “single family residential development” as well as agricultural use. Is the plan to allow the Town to sell off parcels for both purposes thus generating revenue?
Also, why does the Supervisor hide behind entities like the newly created, “Save Bethlehem’s Farmlands and Open Space”? Do you wonder whether the Supervisor funded this group and with what funds? Follow the money.
A far more wiser use of the $2 million would be for the Town to invest in replacing the old, decayed water and sewer lines system throughout town FOR THE COMMON GOOD. Iron oxide and carcinogens must be eliminated from our drinking water.
There are so many questions, so few answers.
What is the plan? If we don’t know, we must VOTE “NO”. Stop Prop 2!
George T. Harder