Letters To The Editor

Letters To The Editor 12.03.20

Averill Park Capital Projects Proposal Ill-timed and Unnecessary

We have lived in Averill Park for 34 years and been supporters of the district with two student-athlete graduates. A school’s facilities are important and need to be in good condition as part of the over-all district welfare. We had no issues with any facilities while our children attended. So, we brought a folding chair or stand to watch our daughter and son play softball and baseball! So, the spring athletes had early season practice in the gym(s) or in the parking lot but seasons started and completed successfully.

Our school taxes have gone up over 300% since 1986 when we built our home. We have not complained though we have studied these annual increases averaging almost 10%/year over 30+ years to see if warranted. I voted against the regular school budget this past spring/summer for the first time since there was a healthy increase with no real cuts. In fact, programs expanded! The timing of that increase was poor in the midst of the COVID -19 unknowns.

Now these projects costing $45.5 million. The district says that the state will pay for 75% of this project. Are we sure of that as the state says they have a 3-year deficit of $60 billion? Even if the state does pay 75% remember we are state taxpayers too!

The two proposals are poorly-timed with another surge of COVID-19 in our midst, even in the school district. All of our assets should be dedicated to fighting the virus and related disease (including reminding parents not to host Homecoming or other parties for large groups of students not wearing masks) and not squandered on new athletic facilities/other academic buildings capital work. We should limit all facility work to repairs/maintenance and maybe certain emergency work. Flat roof defects such as poor drainage should be addressed with the last contractor who did defective work. This December 8 vote could not be at a worse time. Many cannot afford this increase. Do we have the 75% state aid in our bank account?

Vote NO December 8.

Philip LaRocque, Averill Park

Where Have All the Flowers Gone?

Several years ago, the Glass Lake Preservation Corporation (GLPC) brought a lawsuit to ‘privatize’ Glass Lake. If the GLPC had succeeded, the lake no longer would have been stocked by NYSDEC on an annual basis and local residents, as well as fisherman from around the state would no longer have had access to the lake.

The Town of Sand Lake and many individuals from our town as well as members of fish and game clubs from around the state, spent almost two years fighting the move in court. Eventually the suit was settled and the GLPC abandonded its attempt to privatize the lake. This meant that the lake would remain open to the public and continue to be stocked annually. As part of the agreement, the town was required to construct an access ramp at a designated site on the Glass Lake Road. The access needed to accommodate hand-carried boats, kayaks, canoes and paddleboards and was to be maintained by the Town.

Initially, the Town did just that. It created an entry to the lake that was welcoming to all the lake visitors, complete with hand railings, fencing and perennial landscaping. The access was well maintained by the Town until 2016. Three years into Supervisor Perry’s tenure, the once well-maintained access has been allowed to become overrun with weeds, The plantings have died and have not been replaced.

My question is simple. How is it that the Town, under Supervisor Perry, allowed the access to fall into such disrepair. When will the Town resume proper maintenance of this public resource?

Mary Ellen Trumbull, resident

Glass Lake Road

End Surprise Medical Billing

Getting a bill in the mail you didn’t expect is always unpleasant – especially a large one. I know first-hand how frustrating something like this can be. It happens to one in five Americans and it is known as surprise medical billing. The reason we get these bills is because a patient goes to a hospital or doctor that is considered “out-of-network” by their insurance company. The insurance company won’t pay the full bill and the patient gets stuck with the rest.

Congress has been trying to solve this problem for a long time yet, like many things, we do not have a solution yet. The most recent issue under discussion would protect patients, which is absolutely a good thing, but still puts hospitals and doctors at risk.

We are still in the middle of a pandemic and we need to do everything we can to protect our current healthcare system. The legislation Congress is now discussing doesn’t go far enough and still creates incentives for insurance companies to send these bills. If it is adopted it will create doctor shortages and hospital closures, which threatens our ability to get medical care. That’s the last thing we need right now.

We can’t afford to simply transfer the financial risk of surprise medical billing from patients to hospitals and doctors because that threatens healthcare access for all of us.

Seth Coulter, Averill Park

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