Dukler Talks Property Taxes

The New Paltz Times recently published the Q&A from the candidates for the Gardiner Town Board.  Let’s look at what my opponents’ state they have to offer.   One candidate wants to reduce the town’s services to only those which she deems essential: safety, highway and tax collection.  What would that mean?  The following would immediately be eliminated:  the Transfer Station, Majestic Park, the Library.  How about the animal control officer, the Gardiner Senior Resource Committee which serves all of Gardiner’s seniors?  What will happen to the need for updates to the Master Plan and Code?  Maintenance on the rail trail?  The Pole Barn, the gazebo? New financial management software to provide modern tools to better able to manage Gardiner’s finances?

How much money would be saved?  According to the Gardiner Assessor’s Office for 2017, Gardiner residents in the New Paltz School Distrproperty tax imageict, per $1000 of assessed valuation of their property, paid:

$21.50 in school tax, 74% of their taxes

$ 4.29 in count taxes, 15% of their taxes

$ .30 for the Library, 1% of taxes

$ 1.51 for Highway, 5.2% of taxes

$ . 51 for fire, 1.8% of taxes

$ .94 for General Budget Expenses, 3.1% of taxes.

On a tax bill of $8000, $248 is what is as a result of the budget under the control of the Town Board.  All other costs are from other entities: Fire, Highway, County, and Library.  If one believes that any tax is too much, than any tax cut is better than nothing.  For some in our community, even this amount is meaningful if not large in dollars.  It certainly has a symbolism far beyond the dollars involved.  What makes a catchy slogan or a good bumper sticker does not necessarily make for good governance.  It is a lot easier to be the party of “No” than it is to govern.

Both (non-Democratic) candidates for Town Board have also called for changes to zoning that would override the Master Plan by allowing for more development.  They favor reduction of the current 5-acre zoning to 2 acres.  The argument is that such changes will make Gardiner “more affordable” for the next generation.  The cost savings obtained by the reduction on a 2000 sq. ft. raised ranch house would amount to $78/month on a 30-year mortgage at 4%.  Many of the aspects of living in Gardiner that residents have come to enjoy would be compromised.  More housing would mean more traffic, longer drives, more stop signs and lights, more kids in schools needing more classrooms and teachers, more pollution, more light at night, more noise and more demand on local resources.  The relatively few dollars saved with smaller lots will be go to higher taxes for schools and increased services.  The savings are not there.  This is the kind of thoughtful attention I give to issues that come before the board–analysis for understanding, consideration of options that fit Gardiner.  Please vote for me on November 7th.

David Dukler
Candidate for Re-Election to the Gardiner Town Board

Dave cropped 2


Gardiner Dems and Friends, we REALLY need your help in our efforts to get out the Democratic Vote for November 7!  We have a variety of GET-OUT-THE-VOTE efforts planned–including phone banking, door-to-door canvassing sessions and election day activities–and we need volunteers to do this.  You will find your efforts fun and rewarding and you will get to meet lots of new people in the process. Phone canvassing image

If you have never done this type of work before, rest assured, you will receive training before we put you to work.

Winning big in local elections in 2017 is key to prevailing in 2018 and 2020.  If you are outraged every day at the latest Trump tweets or what the Republican Congress is doing to harm our country and its most vulnerable, the place to start making a difference is now in these local elections.  Our local candidates have a huge effect on our lives and they share your Democratic values.  Please help them get into office.

Even if you can only donate a few hours between now and election day, please sign up!

You can sign up at this link.  If you have any questions regarding volunteer work, contact Lisa Lindsley at (845) 419-8929 or lisa.lindsley@gmail.com.


Gardiner Sample Ballot–Please Vote Row A

The Board of Elections has released, after a long delay related to the UC District 16 controversy, the sample ballot for Gardiner.  You can access it at the link below.

Gardiner Sample Ballot 2017

Please Vote Row A All the way!

Ballot box

Lisa Lindsley for Town Supervisor

David Dukler for Councilman

Warren Wiegand for Councilman

Tracey Bartels for Ulster County Legislator

Julian Schreibman for State Supreme Court Justice

Elliott Auerbach for County Comptroller

Michelle Mosher for Town Clerk

Brian Stiscia for Highway Superintendent

Robert Rich for  Town Justice

Also, please pay attention to the reverse side of the ballot.  We are urging voters to vote NO on the Constitutional Convention ballot question.

Lindsley’s “Gutsy” Declaration of Her Values

The following letter was reprinted, with permission of the author, from the October 26 issue of the New Paltz Times

At the Gardiner Democratic Party Caucus last July 14, Lisa Lindsley sought and received the Party’s nomination for Town Supervisor in the upcoming November 7 general election.  Before being elected, in her brief speech, Lisa had told the audience that she “never would run as a Republican,” which underlined one significant difference between her and her opponent, another Democrat–Marybeth Majestic. Marybeth already had publicly stated that if she lost the Democratic nomination, she would the seek the Republican Party’s nomination. Win or lose at the Democratic Caucus, Marybeth planned to be on the November ballot; whether she ran as a Democrat or a Republican, mattered not.Democratic Values

“I never would run as a Republican.”  I have thought a lot about Lisa Lindsley’s statement and have come to believe that it reveals important information about who she is.  And I like what I learned.

First, it’s a gutsy thing to say.  She is being honest, forthright and yeah, courageous–qualities that voters should look for, value and appreciate in their elected representatives. Leaders who possess, model and expect these critical qualities in others, unite us and strengthen our resolve to make our Community better for everyone.

Second, it’s a smart, knowledgeable, and confident thing to say.  Lisa Lindsley’s communication skills are excellent; she does her homework and she knows and feels good about who she is.  She pays attention; she listens and responds to what you have to say.  She talks with you, not at you. She is informed about what you care about. She shares her thoughts clearly, openly and succinctly.

Third, Lisa Lindsley’s statement shows a commitment to principles and core values.  There are fundamental differences in the philosophies, policies and goals of  the Republican and Democratic Parties. And those differences matter at every level of government and in every Community, including the Town of Gardiner. Given those fundamental differences, how can one candidate be committed to both political parties?

What about those differences in philosophy, policies and goals?

As a voter, I need to know where the Town candidates stand on those very issues where there are substantive differences between Democrats and Republicans because these issues deeply affect every Community.  I want everyone to feel safe and secure.  Everyone should have access to affordable health care.  Every child should have the opportunity for a quality public school education.   Economic and political favoritism for the wealthy and big businesses doesn’t trickle down to benefit the masses.  Eleven million undocumented immigrants shouldn’t be deported. The government has a responsibility to protect and preserve our environment. Women should have access to quality reproductive care.  Gun control is an urgent need. Voter ID requirements needlessly and wrongly suppress election participation.  Political contributions should not be secret.

A Candidate’s political party affiliation matters.  For a candidate, to be comfortable running in a particular election as a Democrat OR a Republican concerns and confuses me.

But I know who Lisa Lindsley is, where she stands and what she will try to do for the people in my Community.  And I like what I know.  I am supporting Lisa Lindsley, the Democratic Candidate for Gardiner Town Supervisor.

Maryann Fallek
Gardiner, New York

Court Decides Ballot Issue in Favor of Democratic Commissioner–Absentee Ballots to Be Mailed Soon

State Supreme Court Justice Christopher Cahill ruled that the Democratic Election Commissioner, Ashley Dittus, was correct in her interpretation of state law and that Kathy Miller will remain on the November ballot as the 16th District Legislative candidate forI voted absentee the Republican, Independence and Conservative parties.  Judge Cahill agreed that Miller’s filings that declined the nominations were due on July 17, 2017 (August 24 for the Independence Party nomination), as the Democrats have maintained, and thus Miller’s attempt to decline the nominations were untimely and hence illegal.  Also held invalid were the filings that attempted to substitute Miller’s husband, Jim Miller, for her on the ballot.  A link to the court’s decision in this matter appears below.

The practical implication of this court ruling is that the ballots will be printed with Kathy Miller’s name on them.  Miller is presumed to be unable to serve because of the federal Hatch Act and her employment as a rural letter carrier.

Absentee ballots could arrive in the mailboxes of 16th Legislative District residents as early as the first part of next week.  They should be available at the Board of Elections by the end of this week.  Although extremely late, residents who applied for absentee ballots will be able to cast them prior to Election Day, November 7.  This is good news for voters.

Here are some useful links:

BOE Decision

Daily Freeman Article on BOE Decision 

Absentee Ballot Application

Ulster County Webpage on Absentee Ballots

The Republican Plot to Suppress the Vote in Gardiner and Shawangunk

If you live in Ulster Legislative District 16 (Towns of Gardiner and Shawangunk) and are wondering why you have not yet received your absentee ballot in the mail, it is because the Republicans here are following a pattern set by Republicans nationwide.  They are attempting to suppress the vote.Stop voter suppression

It’s a bit complicated but here’s how it’s going down:  At their caucus in early June, the Republicans nominated Kathy Miller to run for District 16 Legislator against incumbent Tracey Bartels. (Bartels is unaffiliated but caucuses with the Democratic members of the legislature).  Miller, it turns out, is a rural letter carrier and is legally barred from running for public office under the federal Hatch Act.  They realized this fatal error sometime around the middle of September.  However, the legal deadline to withdraw from the ballot after being nominated was July 25, as the Board of Elections needs ample time to get the absentee ballots printed and mailed to voters. See the problem? By the time they realized their error, it was legally too late to remove Miller’s name from the ballot.  She was putting her job in jeopardy by being on the ballot and if she won she would not be able to serve.

So the Republicans hatched a scheme to circumvent the law.  They showed up at the Board of Elections on September 28, two months past the legal deadline, with bogus paperwork to illegally substitute Kathy Miller’s husband, Jim Miller, for their legally barred letter carrier candidate.  They were betting that the Democratic Elections Commissioner, Ashley Dittus, would go along with this scheme. She did not.  Since then, Tom Turco, the Republican Elections Commissioner has refused to certify the absentee ballots with Kathy Miller’s name on them in compliance with election law.

Here we are in late October and no voter in District 16 has an absentee ballot available because the Republicans are holding them hostage unless we go along with their illegal plot.  The Democratic Party has gone to court to force the Board of Elections to get the ballots certified and mailed.  During an attempted mediation of the dispute, Republican boss Tom Turco allegedly said, “I don’t care if no one in District 16 gets to vote absentee this year.”  Knowing that a majority of absentee voters in the district are Democrats, they are refusing to comply with the law.  We are doing everything we can to speed up the court case, but it is still pending. We will keep you updated.

This week, in a brazen PR move designed to apply pressure on the Democratic Party to acquiesce to their illegal scheme, the Republicans issued a press release filled with misinformation, including the bogus allegation that it is the Democrats who are trying to disenfranchise Republicans by opposing their new chosen candidate for county legislator.   Like so much from Republicans in the age of Trump, this is pure nonsense or “fake news.”

Local right-wing “eccentric,” Pam O’Dell, has been posting this Republican fake news in various places, including on the Town of Gardiner Facebook page. We felt it was important to set the record straight.

2017 is the year to reject Trumpism in all of its forms and in all of the places it rears its ugly head, including Gardiner and Shawangunk. 

Vote Row A on November 7! 

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Dukler Answers Queries from the New Paltz Times

Gardiner Town Board candidate David Dukler answers questions posed by the New Paltz Times about his bid for re-election to his second four-year term.Dave cropped 2

1. What do you see as the biggest challenge facing the Town of Gardiner at

Gardiner is facing a new wave of development after years of relative quiet. The most visible of these are the large-scale projects: Heartwood, Route 208 Apartments, Shaft Road. They all have raised concerns about their design, both on the part of the planning board and the public. While the planning board uses the code to evaluate the projects, the public has concerns that go to the heart of the Master Plan and how the code comports with it. As we have recently discovered, the code does not cover all recent developments in the marketplace. Heartwood is described as a “glamping” project, a glamour-camping resort that fall between the cracks of our code. This ambiguity needs to be solved. The availability of water as we go forward has also raised concerns. With the changing weather patterns and effect on rainfall, residents are understandably concerned about how large-scale projects will affect them. Other residents are concerned that property rights may be compromised by additional regulation. It is the responsibility of the Town Board to address this crucial issue. We need to: 1—revise the code in areas where it is found to be lacking. We must do that with input from all stakeholders as well as those with expertise in areas related to development issues; 2—review, revise and reaffirm the Master Plan as our guiding document. The MP was arrived at through a process involving a large group of community members. It represents our community’s vision for our town. 3—bring the public and private sector together to create a plan for Gardiner going forward.

2. What, in your view, is Gardiner’s most threatened resource? Most underutilized resource?

The rural environment that has been Gardiner since its inception is slowly disappearing before our eyes. While we knew that this would eventually happen, we are now experiencing an acceleration of that change. It makes real what more development means. It raises our awareness of how precious our open spaces and vistas are, how much of what we have we take for granted. As we move forward, we must reaffirm our commitment to preserving what we love about Gardiner while shaping the Gardiner of the future.

I believe that our hamlet district is our most under-utilized resource. By working to create more in-hamlet density housing, we could accomplish a number of goals. We could create less expensive residential units for both renters and owners. We could foster the condition for more businesses in the hamlet. We could promote a walkable hamlet for shopping, families, seniors as well as more utilization of Majestic Park. We could make the possibility of a drug store, a theater, more food establishments and other community businesses more likely.

3. If (re)elected, what would be your top-priority action to take as Town Board member in your first year of the next term?

My first priority is to have the zoning codes updated. We must also consider the need for a moratorium as pertains to sections of the code that are deemed lacking in specificity. The community needs to feel confident that the board is doing all in its power to see that the intent of the Master Plan is being carried out and that no projects are allowed to fall through the cracks.
4. What practical measures can the Town Board take to help the Planning and Zoning Boards cope with the recent deluge of large-scale development proposals, many of which are controversial?

The Town Board needs to engage in a conversation with both the Planning Board and the ZBA. We need to hear about their view of the challenges we face and what resources they need. We need to reach out to the wide array of resources—governmental and private—and access their expertise that can help us better understand and meet the challenges of recent development pressures and projects. We need to see that our budgets are sufficient to meet these needs.

5. What needs to be done on the municipal level in order to make/keep Gardiner an affordable place to live?

“Keeping Gardiner affordable” is a great bumper sticker slogan. But what do we mean by affordable? What solutions do we have? What will make an impact? Some have called for a reduction of residential zoning from 5 to 2 acres. In a survey of local realtors, a consensus emerged that a three-acre reduction on a 2000’ new raised ranch house would result in about a $25,000 reduction in cost. Over a 30 year mortgage and a current rate of 4%, it would result in a monthly mortgage savings of $78(assuming 10%$ down). Increased density also has hidden costs. All studies have shown that new residential housing demands more in services than they pay in taxes, causing rates to go up for all. Greater housing density means more cars, longer drive times, degradation of the local environment, and more demand for and pressure on public spaces.

The best tool that town government has to create more residential options is to formulate and actively promote an alternate vision for the town. As described above, a new and expanded vision for the hamlet could serve as a new model for small town—rural development. The town could work to bring together residents, developers, planners, environmentalists, seniors, families, and all other interested parties to craft and new model that would find a new way of keeping Gardiner rural while building both a housing and business base that would create a vibrant Main St, increase our tax base while preserving the rural and small town community we all value.

6. What background, experience, skills or approaches do you feel make you the most qualified candidate for the elected office you seek?

1—I am a problem solver. I am not doctrinaire. I approach issues as problems that need to be solved. I promote discussion for understanding, dialogue and use of all available resources to help make the best decisions.
2—In discussion of issues, I seek to understand. When we differ, I want to comprehend my colleagues thinking. I know that life is rarely black and white, that there are many ways to create solutions. The more we understand, the better we can be in devising effective solutions.
3—I show up and work. I have hardly missed any meetings over four years. I have actively sought out additional work to support the two supervisors and boards with whom I have served. I will continue to take on that role as there is much work to do and not enough time to get it done, no matter whom I serve with. I have a passion to improve the life of our town. I chose to live her. I value that choice every day. I will work so that future generations will get the best of Gardiner in the future.

Warren Wiegand for Gardiner Town Board (Post #2)

I have been working to save Gardiner’s farms and open space since 2004. We have accomplished a lot so far, but there’s much more to do to protect the town’s special, rural character and its unique, natural environment.Warren Cropped

In 2005 and 2006, I was a member of the committee which wrote Gardiner’s plan for protecting farms and open space. Next, I worked with town board member Nadine Lemmon to draft Gardiner’s open space law. Then in 2007 I was selected as the first chair of the open space commission, which identified the Kiernan and Hess family farms as the most important properties to be protected from development. Over the next 5 years, I worked with the Open Space Commission, the Open Space Institute, the New York Department of Agriculture, and private foundations to raise the money to save these working farms.

Both farms, totaling over 200 acres, now are protected by conservation easements, which prohibit any future development. This was accomplished without any increase in Gardiner’s taxes.

But there’s much more to be done. we should begin by restarting the Open Space Commission, rebuilding relationships with Gardiner’s farmers and other large land owners, and reviving relationships with funding sources.

Vote for Warren Wiegand on November 7 to protect Gardiner’s farms and open space, and its unique, rural character.

Warren Wiegand
Gardiner, NY

Warren Wiegand for Gardiner Town Board (Post #1)

I am a candidate for the Gardiner town board in the November 7 election.

I’ve worked for the people of Gardiner for more than 15 years. first, I was a member of the board of assessment insuWarren Croppedring that taxpayers’ property assessments were fair. Next I started Gardiner’s effort to protect open space from development, resulting in the Gardiner’s first open space law and saving two farms and over 200 acres from development. Then, I was the chair of the new library’s fund-raising campaign, which resulted in the construction of Gardiner’s new library which has become the center of our community.

I served 8 years on the town board, where I was chosen to be the deputy supervisor by my fellow town board members. while on the town board, I focused on keeping Gardiner’s roads, bridges, and highway equipment up to date and keeping taxes affordable, especially for seniors and young families. Additionally, I worked to protect Gardiner’s assets, including the sale of the old library for $100,000 and the recovery of $129,000 from a settlement of a series of law suits. And, for the last 1 ½ years, I have served on the planning board, protecting property owners and open space.

I hope you will support me in November, so I can continue to serve our community.

Warren Wiegand
Gardiner, NY

Lindsley Talks to the New Paltz Times

Lisa Lindsley, Candidate for Gardiner Town Supervisor, outlines her view of Gardiner’s challenges and what she intends to do about them:

What do you see as the biggest challenge facing the Town of Gardiner at present?

Our town is at a critical point in its development.  Gardiner’s elected officials must foster responsible economic development while preserving our rural character.  I want to ensure that our water, wildlife, land and the natural resources that make Gardiner unique are not exploited by predatory financial interests that are not part of our community.

The institutions, policies, processes and professionals that govern land use no longer serve the long-term Lisa head shot croppedinterests of Gardiner residents.  I will work for more effective implementation of Gardiner’s master plan and open space plan, and an update of the town laws to be consistent with these plans.  I will initiate a process to review, get community input, and update these two plans – each over a decade old – in light of the experience and trends of development in Gardiner.

The boards and committees that influence development in Gardiner – planning, zoning, open space, environmental – require dedicated impartial volunteers.  Recruiting and training those volunteers will be a priority.

What, in your view, is Gardiner’s most threatened resource? Most underutilized resource?

Gardiner’s irreplaceable natural beauty is its most threatened resource, followed by Gardiner’s small-town charm, its water supply and its wildlife.  Development projects in various phases of approval could threaten these precious resources.

Gardiner’s parks are its most underutilized resource.  In a town whose children attend schools in three different school districts, parks are an important resource for building a sense of community.  Gardiner is blessed with ample public parks with unfinished and decaying infrastructure.  Our town’s skateboard park could be complemented by a finished pole barn and revamped pavilion, soccer fields, and perhaps eventually an ice skating pond.  The town would earn revenue from renting these structures, and there could be many more recreational programs for residents of all ages.

If (re)elected, what would be your top-priority action to take as supervisor/Town Board member in your first year of the next term? 

I will make town government more accessible and transparent, and improve communication with Gardiner citizens by updating the website, use of email and social media, communications about board meetings, and publication of minutes.  I will explore streaming or videotaping of meetings, and hold office hours that enable people who commute to access the Supervisor.

Another top priority will be to design and launch a process to update Gardiner’s Zoning Code, Open Space Plan and Master Plan so that they take into account existing and expected land use issues and so that they are consistent with each other.

What practical measures can the supervisor/Town Board take to help the Planning and Zoning Boards cope with the recent deluge of large-scale development proposals, many of which are controversial?

Creating a deep bench of candidates for all of the town’s volunteer boards will be one of my priorities as Supervisor, as will ensuring that board members receive the training they are required to have in order to successfully perform. I will work to ensure that these boards, as well as the Environmental Conservation Commission, Open Space Commission, and Ethics Commission have the tools and staffing that they need so that the members of each board may collaborate and that the boards may easily disseminate to the public relevant documents regarding what is happening with these projects.  The professionals who advise these boards must be clear that their role is to support deliberation and decision-making, as opposed to steering the boards down a predetermined path.  I would also encourage the boards to exercise their prerogative to hire independent professionals, at the expense of the developer, to evaluate analysis provided by the developer’s experts.  I will work to secure a sound system that will ensure all attendees at meetings and hearings are able to hear what is being said, and explore adding video of key meetings, which can be done inexpensively.  A pause in the approval of development projects may be warranted as a tool for easing the burden on Planning and Zoning Boards.

What needs to be done on the municipal level in order to make/keep Gardiner an affordable place to live?

I will work to keep Gardiner affordable, and to maintain the quality of life that Gardiner residents currently enjoy. One component of preserving Gardiner’s rural character is to keep farmers on their land, and I will support efforts to do that through the Open Space Commission and alternative financing vehicles for farms. The most significant proportion of the taxes paid by Gardiner residents are levied not by the town but by the school districts.  While it is tempting to assume that residential land development will help our tax base, the opposite is often true when it comes to school taxes. Thorough analysis of the impact of residential development on our taxes should be a component of evaluating new projects.

I am passionate about providing affordable housing to our residents with low or fixed incomes.  I believe more study is needed to evaluate the demand in our town for this type of housing, as well as the alternatives for building and financing affordable housing that are economically and environmentally sustainable and consistent with our development priorities.

What background, experience, skills or approaches do you feel make you the most qualified candidate for the elected office you seek?

I love Gardiner and have been coming here for 25 years.  No I was not born in Gardiner – I chose to live here. I am willing to listen and learn from fellow elected officials and residents alike.  I’ll be a responsible steward of our town’s financial resources and tax dollars, applying my 30+ years in finance, my knowledge of municipal finance, and my managerial acumen to the operations and opportunities of Gardiner.   I have a track record of leadership, from global organizations to activist groups to a local skydiving team. And I’d like your vote on November 7!