Saturday September 29, 2012

I am writing in reference to a financial issue we are facing in the town of New Lebanon. Our local cemetery is facing bankruptcy, and should this happen, it will fall to the town to take care of it.

State law prevents town- owned cemeteries from ever selling plots again, which means the cemetery would no longer be self-sustaining. We have also struggled to repair and add on to our town hall, upgrade our park, etc. Yet, our local library is receiving an annual grant from the town in excess of $135,000.

For some reason only a politician could understand, our town board cannot legally reduce the amount of this grant. Only the library board can agree to do so. We are attempting to get that done, but don’t foresee cooperation being forthcoming there. The only other library in Columbia County that receives a large town grant is the town of Kinderhook Library.

How much do they receive -- $22,000? Compare that to $135,000! What need does a tiny local library have for that amount of money?

I would like the taxpayers of New Lebanon to know where their money is going and to ask why we do not demand the reduction of this amount? That money could solve our cemetery issue, provide replacements for our out-dated playground equipment, and restore the Town Hall. It could keep the shelves filled at the local food pantry and a thousand other things.


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I would like to know from Councilman Doug Clark, who also happens to serve on the library board, when they intend to address this issue.

J.J. JOHNSON-SMITH

New Lebanon, N.Y.