The early take on Bob Turner’s decisive win over David Weprin is that Democrat reapportionment negotiators — read: Assembly Speaker Shelly Silver — might be willing to trade the now Republican Ninth District in exchange for a Republican district in the Buffalo area. But what if Republicans — read: Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos — dig in their heels to retain a seat (Turner’s) they haven’t held since 1923? Could that leave Hinchey dangling?
With Hinchey recovering from cancer surgery, 73 next month and coming off an unimpressive win in 2010, the 26th could be on the chopping block. Locally, the forced retirement of a public official first elected in 1974 would be sad indeed. For the locally ambitious, the loss of an Ulster congressional seat would be cause for sackcloth and ashes.
As if urgent budget issues weren’t enough, Town of New Paltz officials are currently considering the idea of requiring new hires to reside in the town. Recycling town paychecks at home would no doubt make sense politically, since jobs generate votes. Overtaxed residents might find it comforting to see their neighbors on the payroll. Out-of-work townies would have an advantage.
But requiring residency as a condition of employment is probably unconstitutional, as many another municipalities have learned.
Take Kingston. (Please!) At last look, at least half the police department lived out of town. City firefighter Mike Neilson is the (resident) highway superintendent in New Paltz, of all places.
Soon-to-be-retired New Paltz supervisor Toni Hokanson — rival Susan Zimet has every line except the Working Families Party — led the town board vote to set a public hearing on residency next month. Town Councilman Jeff Logan, voting with the minority, had a better idea: Let’s focus on really important stuff.
Here and there
Just in time for the Oct. 1 delivery of the 2012 county budget, the County Comptroller’s Office issued a financial report indicting all is well with Ulster finances. At least it was in 2010, the year covered by last week’s report. County officials said a few weeks ago they feared a $20 million budget gap for this year. My, what a difference a year makes.