Letters To The Editor

Letters To The Editor 08.11.22

Where Are the Pedestrian Spaces in North Greenbush?

We learned at the start of the pandemic that pedestrian spaces are desired for communities. People want to get outside, get fresh air, and be active. North Greenbush is fortunate to have Snyder’s Lake, but we only have that option for a portion of the year? Where are the other spaces that we can go?

Many municipalities near (and far) have options North Greenbush should consider. Here are few:

– Troy, NY just opened outdoor fitness facilities with MVP in multiple locations in Troy. Imagine an outdoor fitness facility around the grounds of North Greenbush town hall. Body weight work stations could be deployed around the perimeter and you could run to each one and do an exercise. 

– East Greenbush, NY recently added a pavilion to their dog park. Imagine an outdoor dog park in North Greenbush.

– Austin, TX has a bike path in town under their power lines. Imagine a bike path connecting North Greenbush to Rensselaer under the power line towers off Route 4. The land has to already be set aside and has restrictions. This right of way is ripe for a pedestrian trail. North Greenbush is surrounded by towns with bike trails. We need to link up with these paths.

North Greenbush received and allocated funding from the American Rescue Plan Act and a small portion of it will go to some pedestrian facilities, but we need more. Towns are for the people. These types of facilities make towns more desirable.

Michael Myer, North Greenbush

Rensselaer County Legislature Majority Opposes State Law That Could Hurt Farmers

The Rensselaer County Legislature is urging Governor Kathy Hochul to oppose the lowering of the 60 hour mandatory overtime threshold for New York State farmworkers.

In 2019, the County Legislature strongly opposed the adoption of the Farmworkers Fair Labor Practices Act because it would have imposed policies that would have increased labor costs by nearly 20% and caused difficulties in scheduling work that is dictated by weather and by animals that could suffer if not cared for in a timely manner. 

A three member Farm Laborers Wage Board was formed to review changes to the overtime threshold and are set to meet on September 6, 2022 to make its final recommendation, and are considering reducing the threshold to as low as 40 hours.

Majority Leader Ken Herrington operates his generational family farm in Bunswick and believes that this drastic change could cripple his business because his farmworkers want to work the extra hours and are prepared to go to neighboring states if their work hours are reduced. 

Legislator Herrington believes that a 20% jump in labor costs, on top of rocketing costs of feed, fuel, and fertilizer would deal a fatal blow to many dairy farmers, and those farmers who rely on seasonal help to manage crops.

Legislator Scott Bendett represents southern Rensselaer County where several family farms are located, and agrees that these drastic changes will drive migrant workers to other states where they can work as many hours as they want to. 

Finding employees is already a challenge, and Chairwoman of the Legislature Kelly Hoffman believes that if New York State adopts a 40 hour mandatory overtime threshold for laborers, farmers will have difficulty in finding additional workers to avoid overtime costs.

Farming has always been an important part of the Rensselaer County economy and the Legislature Majority will not support any efforts that could cripple our farmers and put them out of business.

Harry Tutunjian, Troy

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