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Murray officials should work to preserve ‘authentic rural America’ in their own town

Posted 22 January 2017 at 8:41 pm

Editor:

I’d like to thank former Murray Supervisor Mr. Hank Lehning for nominating me to the Orleans County Planning Board over 10 years ago.

It was the beginning of my commitment to community service and during the past decade I’ve enjoyed working with my colleagues and staff at the county for the betterment of all our wonderful communities.

Thank you to the Murray Town Board for the privilege to serve on the town’s planning board and for your support over the years in both capacities. I learned so much about zoning, planning & development in those important roles and the knowledge gained is an invaluable asset that I carry forward in my resume.

Congratulations to Elaine Berg, Mike Mele and Bob Miller for your appointments and I look forward to hearing your ideas as we embrace the challenges ahead on our town’s continued path to a bright future. Fresh ideas and new faces keep government healthy and wise.

We accomplished a lot in 2016 by questioning Murray tax rate increases, bringing to the forefront our water districts operational and long term sustainability. We highlighted the exorbitant fringe benefit packages provided to select officials. Today town hall meetings are very well attended by interested citizens and it’s the place to be on the second Tuesday of every month at 7 p.m. But our work is not yet finished.

In 2017, I’d like to see a change in policy with less emphasis on code enforcement and more focus on community outreach. After years of the code enforcement department cleaning up our town and zero significant growth one would assume the town is in a reasonable state of compliance.

Now it would be great if our councilmen would make an increased effort to reach out beyond the walls of the town hall and hear firsthand the voices of families, farmers and businesses that make up our community.

There are businesses within our town that have achieved national, state and local awards without any recognition from our town council. In November at a packed town hall meeting residents, farmers, business owners and professionals spoke out in a unified voice over a common concern.

All were discounted and referred to as bullies. How can that be justified? There is an obvious disconnect.

Our community is a very special place. We have great people, beautiful architecture, a riveting history, wide open spaces with room to roam along with the best farmers providing the finest crops for our tables.

There are animated conversations filled with laughter and the best home grown stories you’ve ever heard. It’s a rare piece of authentic rural America. It’s a great place to live and let’s not take it for granted and lose what we have.

Best to you,

Joe Sidonio

Murray