Every year since 1971, the student population of Keystone Central School District has declined. At the same time, the population of Clinton County has remained the same at about 38,000 citizens.
Over these years, we have suffered a loss of industry and jobs. You know the names. Piper, the paper mill, silk mill, Woolrich, Sylvania, Armstrong, railroad yards, coal industries, American Aniline, and the wire mill to name a few.
Here is what has resulted:
A. Our youth continue to move from here in order to find work and get their start.
B. One out of two of the hard-working citizens of our county travels outside of our county to find and go to work.
C. County population is graying. Many citizens are retired and on fixed incomes.
D. In my opinion, KCSD and Clinton County government, the property taxing authorities, have never seen a tax increase that they have not liked.
E. This ongoing property tax explosion results in our senior citizens and those on fixed incomes facing tough decisions. They have to determine how they are going to pay for these dreadful taxes, their medical care and medicines, their fuel and heating costs.
F. Our county is known for mediocrity and an area in decline. Past issues, as important as they were and are, such as school consolidation, the paper mill strike, the incinerator and the dike-levee battles gave us a reputation as an area in strife.
A. KCSD must abandon their long-standing philosophy and practice that their primary goal is that of an ever-expanding “Bureau of Employment Security.” Instead, provide an outstanding and cost-efficient system of public education that puts front and center, students, their families and taxpaying citizens of our communities. The ongoing tax-explosion could be halted, even reversed, if only the KCSD school board would get with it.
B. Let us examine the vast increase in county government. They, too, have contributed mightily to your tax burden. Not long ago, the bulk of county government was housed at the courthouse along the river. Then, the former Garden Theater was purchased, renovated, and filled with county employees. Then the former Flemington School was purchased, renovated and filled with county employees. Recently, we have seen the Piper building purchased and expensively renovated, then filled with county employees. The continued expansion of county government must be stopped.
C. In order to promote business and industry, we must stop the tax explosion. Lifetime, paid politicians, as we have seen, despite all of their pro-growth talk, have yielded nothing but more government and more taxes. Politicians grow government. That is what politicians do. We do not need more government. Vote out these lifelong, paid politicians.
D. Hard-working folks in Clinton County want good jobs. We want them right here. To accomplish this, we need new leadership with experience and success in the private sector. People in the private sector have an enthusiasm and an ability to go far and wide to build relationships with business and industry. That is what the private sector does.
Folks, we have qualities here that cannot be found everywhere.
We are blessed with people of character and of a fine work ethic.
Our communities are safe.
We are blessed with the splendors of natural beauty. We have good land, plenty of good water and natural resources. We have lots of room for growth.
We have what it takes to succeed and to prosper.
This is an important election year for county, school and local government. We want jobs, not more government and more taxes.
The cure for mediocrity can be found in new thinking and new leadership.