Tuxedo’s progress

| 23 Oct 2023 | 03:38

    I’m Ken English, Tuxedo town supervisor. As you may know, I am not seeking re-election. My twin brother, Kevin, is fighting Stage IV melanoma, which has spread to his spine and lungs. I must refocus my priorities toward my family.

    The progress this town board has made is undeniable. I’m so proud to call Jay Reichgott, Michele Lindsay, Maria May, and Deirdre Murphy, my town board colleagues. We give it our all.

    I’ve heard since I moved here 20 years ago that nothing happens in Tuxedo, no development, no improvements to our Town Center, no new residents to support the Tuxedo Union Free School District (TUFSD), etc. I was told it would be a miracle if Tuxedo Farms came to be.

    Well, the miracle has happened. Lennar, the nation’s largest builder of quality homes, bought the property and began submitting the real plans for building. Related will build a new Town Center, The Commons, that will offer residents a new commercial area and a municipal meeting space that holds 250 people. The necessary preparations for spring construction are happening now! Along with the special permit we approved last year, $2,500,000 in cash was given to the TUFSD and 40 acres of beautiful property worth a lot of money. In order for the school to survive, like any public school, you need property tax dollars and kids. The Tuxedo Farms development will deliver both and be very cash positive to the school district. This town board insisted that promises made to the school in 2015 be honored. Related tried hard to remove these. We got it done, amidst rising interest rates and a deteriorating housing market. Just in the nick of time! The town received hundreds of acres of pristine forest from Related along Warwick Brook Road and Long Meadow Road, now in conservation forever, protecting our parklands for all to enjoy.

    We got Related to start up the new sewer plant, rescuing the 216 properties that connect to it from the brink of losing reliable sewer service. We got $1,100,000 for the Tuxedo Local Development Corp (LDC)., a town agency, from Related and Lennar to revitalize the hamlet business district. There are five projects on Rt.17 underway right now. The train station is being totally renovated, with $140,000 from Lennar. The old Orange Top Diner will be totally renovated and should have a new tenant very soon! The Tuxedo Historical Society (THS) was gifted the old Chase Bank building, thanks to THS President Betty Langberg’s dogged persistence, and the Tuxedo LDC provided $100,000 which is being used to totally restore this architectural gem. The Karlin Warehouse building is also undergoing a major facelift necessary to attract a new tenant.

    A new skylight assembly business is coming to Sterling Mine Road, that will bring a $3,000,000 state of the art building that is architecturally beautiful, and dozens of well-paying jobs! It will bring real tax dollars to our town with minimal traffic. The abandoned eyesore there now will be demolished soon. We avoided high traffic options that would have drastically changed the area.

    We lowered taxes by assessing NYS parklands, they pay much more, we pay less. That helped both of our school districts, M/W and TUFSD, as well. We protected the environment, cleaning up the 10,000 truckloads of construction debris dumped in the dead of night on the town’s highway Dept. site. That happened before I took office in 2020.

    Rob Dollbaum, highway superintendent, has moved a mountain of debris, meeting every expectation the NYS Dept. of Environmental Conservation set, avoiding the potential of $3,000 a day in fines! The job is nearing completion. This property is in the center of our watershed. These actions protect our drinking water. We’ve shut down any further chance to harm this town-owned property.

    We bought 27 acres of undeveloped forest on the Indian Kill Reservoir on Rt. 17A at the county tax auction, protecting our drinking water, and saving it from developers.

    We’re developing a plan to restore the sewer pipes in the hamlet district which are 100 years old and in desperate need of repairs.

    We brought accountability to the town’s municipal service, verifying payroll by installing an electronic timecard system, required for government audits. We restored five days of service, Town Hall was closed on Fridays! Town Hall got a new roof, $100,000 funded by NYS. New ADA-compliant bathrooms were added. New ramp, new accessible doors, making it easier for our seniors to get into the building.

    We brought town meetings into the 21st century, in the height of COVID, adding Zoom technology, making it easy to attend meetings that are recorded for all to see. Now that’s real transparency. Marisa Dollbaum, town clerk, has totally updated procedures in Town Hall, reorganizing our records, responding to residents’ needs, and working hand in hand with the town board.

    We restored 24/7 police coverage, hiring four new experienced police officers in 2023! We have a new professional police chief, John Trazino, who is preparing Tuxedo for today’s world problems. Unfortunately, Tuxedo is not Mayberry anymore. Crime finds the soft targets and we must be ready.

    Roads are being paved, parks renovated, and we restored the tennis court and basketball court at Tichey Field. We purchased new heavy equipment for our highway dept. and are awaiting two new high-end police cars, expected to be delivered any day.

    Our new account clerk, Carey Alley, has brought her professional accounting skills and municipal government experience to our fiscal management activities. We’ve recovered thousands of dollars in uncollected fees and set up systems that will keep this from happening in the future.

    I’m thankful for those who came before us. Anyone who has given time in public service should be acknowledged. Those on the town board seeking re-election have proven themselves. I urge you to elect deputy town supervisor Jay Reichgott, for town supervisor, and re-elect Maria May as councilperson. We also support Chris Kasker for town councilperson, and ask that you re-elect Marisa Dollbaum as town clerk, and Rob Dollbaum, as highway superintendent.

    Thanks for reading this. Please support those who work hard for our town every day.

    Ken English

    Tuxedo Park