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.
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.
Dear Mr. Wiegand,
I am writing as a member of the Democratic party who has contributed money to this year’s Democratic party efforts in Gardiner and has a large sign on my property facing Rte. 44/55 with, among others, your name on it. My concern is your claim that you are a fiscally conservative candidate who will do all they can to look for savings to reduce property taxes in Gardiner. We have before us several large development projects under consideration and I appreciate your work on the Open Space committee to help preserve Gardiner for future generations. As a member of the Friends of Gardiner organization, I have been actively working to stop the Heartwood project. I know you’ve heard all of our arguments so I won’t waste your time with them here.
The reason I’m writing is to make you aware of a potentially costly situation which would raise the operating budget of the Town of Gardiner far into the future. This is the situation with our Fire/Rescue and EMS services. According to Dot Bailin and others, this volunteer service is already facing dwindling numbers and staffing concerns while their calls continue to climb. She estimates that 50% of their calls are to take care of people who are VISITORS to Gardiner. If Heartwood and other potential glamping facilities were to be allowed to slide through before a moratorium could be passed or meaningful zoning changes enacted, this number of visitor calls would skyrocket. The potential apartment complex on Rte. 208 would also add to these numbers.
Bottom line is this – if these projects go through it is likely that the town will have to pay for professional EMT’s. The average EMT in the Poughkeepsie area (closest I could find) makes $43,936 annually. A team of full-time EMT’s might have to be permanently attached to our town budget to the tune of as much as $100,000 a year. And – this figure does not even take into account the strain on the Fire Dept. budget. There is no way any potential tax payments from Heartwood would come even close to matching this budget increase. Therefore, the allowance of large resorts and apartment complexes in our town would significantly and adversely affect the tax burden of our residents. If you mean what you say about property taxes then it is incumbent upon you to look into this matter and make the right choices for our taxpayers.
Thank you for your time and attention in this matter and good luck on Nov. 7th.
Your comment was forwarded to Warren Wiegand–Gardiner Democratic Committee