Clinton United Forum
Letters from community members, concerning Clinton's rural character,
environmental issues, history, and preservation.

Dear Friends,

As you may have heard, Governor Paterson's proposed budget would virtually eliminate the Hudson River Valley Greenway program and make deep cuts in other environmental funding. Because these very successful programs help drive the tourism that is crucial to our local economy, eliminating or cutting them is shortsighted and will have a major negative impact on our region.

Ned Sullivan of Scenic Hudson and State Assembly member Marcus Molinaro have been leading the fight to restore the Greenway program and avoid environmental budget cuts. Public input now is essential--please take a few moments to click on this Scenic Hudson link and send an e-letter to the Governor. Please also tell Marc Molinaro that you support his efforts and want the Greenway to continue as a vital part of our local economy. He can be reached at

Thanks very much for your help with this. Every voice matters.

Sheila Buff

P.S. For full details on the environmental impact of the Governor's budget, see this article in the Legislative Gazette.

The following letter was sent to Clinton United from a neighbor in the adjacent town of Milan. Those Clinton residents who live at the northern end of our town may be particularly interested:

Dear Friends of Milan,

Even during this historic election week for our nation, underhanded politics as usual continues in Milan. The Republican majority on the Town Board is set to approve a budget that will hike your town property taxes by a whopping 40 percent in 2009.

The public hearing for the proposed 2009 budget will be held at Milan Wilcox Town Hall on Thursday, November 6, starting at 7:30 p.m. Aside from announcing the hearing in the legally required newspaper notice, the Town Board has failed to publicize this hearing at all. It's not even listed on the Town of Milan website at

It's clear that the Republicans on the Board are trying to sneak this budget and its tax increase past the public with the least possible input. As of today, the proposed 2009 budget hasn't been posted on the Town website. In addition, no financial reports for the Town have been posted since March 2008, apparently because they don't exist.

In the next day or so Milan residents will be receiving a letter from Ross Williams, a Democratic member of the Town Board, alerting you to the hearing, explaining the poor budgetary thinking that has led to the proposed tax increase, and offering alternative budget ideas that will help reduce the tax increase. You can read the letter on the website, along with a longer discussion from Ross. In the spirit of open government, we've also posted the entire 2009 proposed budget.

We urge you to review these materials. No matter what conclusions you draw, we urge you to attend the public hearing on Thursday and speak out against Republican stealth tactics. If you can't attend, especially given the short notice, please send written comment to Supervisor Barrett at—and send us a copy at Don't allow this Republican-controlled Town Board to get away with hiding a flawed budget and a large tax increase from the public.

Thanks for your support.

Sheila Buff

This letter was received in response to the material posted elsewhere on this website about proposed changes by the County Department of Public Works to the old stone bridge in Clinton Hollow:

Dear CLINTON UNITED website readers,

I was born in Clinton Hollow, 50 years ago. That bridge was the place to meet socially as teenagers. At that time the top [of the walls] had the rocks standing up so kids like us couldn't climb or sit on the bridge.

Pauline MacNamara ran the store and the previous owner's wife lived next to the bridge, in a new house in front of her old house. We also used to ice skate behind the dam and swim [where there] once was a beach in the summer.


Thank You,
Ellen Rakow

The following notes are from a report by Millbrook resident Ilana Nilsen on a Forum with members of the town of Washington Conservation Advisory Commission and the Dutchess County Environmental Management Council, that was held February 27, 2008 at the Dutchess Cty. Farm & Home Center:

There are many good ideas circulating the county. Clinton, Red Hook, and Rhinebeck lead with good ideas, ranging from recycling programs, to school involvement, to watershed protection.... For example, other CAC's have been instrumental in encouraging the town boards to go beyond NYS building codes and mandated energy star requirements for all new buildings (Red Hook). Rhinebeck is working with their school to bring local produce into the school cafeteria and removing disposable products. Clinton has gotten a grant of $10,000 to put solar panels on the town hall roof -- a small step, but taken nonetheless. Clinton has also installed a nature garden by the town hall and they send off a welcome package to new residents. Stanford has created Critical Environmental Areas, I think 8 and they are recommending 3 more. Many other towns have the CAC present at all stages of a subdivision or development. Red Hook is also working with the VFW to send two kids a year to DEC Camp. Hyde Park walks every parcel of land under review. Pleasant Valley is working to accept medications at the recycling center so they don't end up in the water supply..... Every town's priorities are slightly different, but the core are watershed protection and overall improvement of the environmental quality.


Anyone who lives in or has their business in the East Clinton Fire District may want to attend the Fire Commissioner's Meeting on Wednesday, February 13th at the East Clinton Firehouse at 8 PM.

I have had numerous calls inquiring about the 93% increase in fire tax. This is an individual issue for both the taxes on your homes and your businesses. However, as a resident of the East Clinton Fire District and President of the Clinton Business Association, I will attend the meeting in the hopes of receiving some information regarding the following:

The West Clinton Fire District 2008 Budget is $352,465 (a 5% increase).
The East Clinton Fire District 2008 budget is $545,000 (a 93% increase) and $192,535 more than West Clinton.

My personal interest is that I wish to know what benefit or improvement there is to residents as there was no communication from East Clinton Fire District to the residents and, to my knowledge, we did not have an opportunity to express opinions in this matter. Is this a one time increase? And so forth.

Norma Dolan

Dear Clinton residents,

What if there were fun things to do right here in Clinton without having to use the gas and money to go "into town?" The Town of Clinton needs talent, ideas, new friends and faces for the Recreation Committee.

Are you a yoga instructor? Could you teach a nature class? Do you dance?
Wanted: Fun people and their time to help form a fantastic community!

Contact: Dan Harkenrider (care of Town of Clinton Recreation Committee) at 266-3445 or e-mail Please do get involved!

For information on efforts to reform the funding of public education in the State of New York, you can contact the following groups:

Tax Reform Effort of Northern Dutchess (TREND)
Vicky Perry, TREND coordinator

NY Property Tax Reform Coalition
P.O. Box 422
Highland, NY 12528

The following comments are from residents of other local communities:

by J. Gordon Douglas, Pawling
Taconic Newspapers
May 18, 2006

Referenda for financing open space conservation are wildly popular with voters of all political persuasion throughout America. In order of popularity, voters want to protect drinking water, guard the purity of streams, conserve natural land, save wildlife and habitat as well as preserve historic areas, farms, parks, and views.

by Daniel Oberhauser, Sr., Fishkill
Poughkeepsie Journal
May 25, 2006

With recent development [in Fishkill] . . . sites have been cleared of trees and wetlands have been destroyed and traffic congestion has grown to the point of developing gridlock. Furthermore, the increase in residents with children has put a burden on our schools and resulted in a 50 per cent increase in school taxes. . . . Because of high-density development, there is less land to soak up rainwater. This storm water with a number of pollutants ranging from pesticides, fertilizer, and road salt to automobile oil products is then diverted into the creeks and streams of Fishkill. The increased stream flow increases turbulence, erosion of banks and downstream silting, which is harmful to aquatic life. The wonderful environment of Fishkill is being destroyed so developers can make a higher profit.


Dear Clinton Residents:
It appears there is once again a movement to put commercial billboards in our town parks. Those involved say they want to raise funds for Little League. Some time ago, when this idea was proposed, community debate indicated little support and much resistance to defacing the parks for the sake of a few dollars. Some communities attempted the same approach to fund raising, only to later remove the signs (including the National Little League Stadium, Williamsport, PA). The message this misguided proposal sends is that "anything is for matter what the community cost", and the lesson it sends to our young people is that exploiting our environment for the sake of a few dollars is normal. There are many ways to raise funds for good causes that unite the community rather than divides neighbor from neighbor. We hope residents will contact the Town Board in support of a Town we all can enjoy and be proud of.

Jim & Helen Ashton, Heritage Road, Clinton Corners

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