EDITORIAL: Why debt ceiling matters here

CALL ME SOFT, but I like clean water and flush toilets, too. Maybe I need to go to a summer camp and toughen up. But I have to save my money so I can pay my taxes to keep the water safe and the sewage system working.

People who have their own wells and septic systems won’t have much sympathy for my lament, but the same principle applies not only to central services like water and sewer, but to the infrastructure we all share. Think of roads and bridges, and then add to the list all sorts of services like the systems that prevent water pollution and stop poisons from getting into the dirt where our food grows. It’s not that roads and bridges and pollution protections are going to disappear, but taxpayers could soon face much bigger bills for the upkeep of these things.

Read more…

EDITORIAL:Library move makes sense

PITY OUR SHRIVELED SOULS. Newspaper editors wallow in so much bad news and misfortune that it feels sometimes like we wouldn’t know good news if it bit us. But I feel the tooth marks of a positive story brewing in the City of Hudson.

The Hudson Library, officially known as the Hudson Area Association Library is going to move. And unlike some other recently announced plans to move public services (Sorry! Think positive, think pos…), this move and the way it’s being handled make terrific sense. Within the next few weeks the library board expects to announce both the sale of the building the library currently occupies and the lease of a new space in the city. But the new space isn’t intended to be a permanent home, just an “interim step” for the next five years or so while the library board plans for a new, long-term home. Read more…

EDITORIAL: What’s that echo?

GET OUT YOUR CALCULATORS and remove your ear buds. (If you don’t know what ear buds are, just grab a pencil). Now here is your first summer school math problem: Columbia County is buying a 125,000-square-foot building to serve as the office space for 150 people; how many square feet does each person get? (You can round your answer to the nearest whole number.)

If you said 833 square feet per person, congratulations. You now know what the county wants to do with $6 million of your money, as it buys the building on Fairview Avenue/Route 9 that Walmart vacated when it moved up the road to a new shopping center. Read more…

EDITORIAL: How slow can we go?

WHO INVENTED HOLIDAYS? In the news business, they just cause problems. Whenever normal folks relax and turn off their phones, news people scrounge for stories. Unnamed sources go to the beach and politicians actually spend more time with their families. Such thoughtless behavior creates what’s called a “slow news cycle.”

It was so slow in Chatham last Thursday that I was thrilled to see a Fox News 23 TV truck parked on Main Street around 10 p.m. You couldn’t miss it with the lights shining on the sidewalk and passers-by peering inside the control room. The network had unearthed something big. The guys in the truck were about to feed a live segment. Cool. Read more…

EDITORIAL: A manager: when, not if

SAVING THE BEST for last makes sense for kids’ birthday parties. It works for mystery novels and horror movies too. But burying a significant fact on the final page of a government policy document seems a little like hiring a stripper to jump out of a toddler’s cake. It’s surprising all right, but what, exactly, is the point?

Consider the report issued this week by a subcommittee of the county Board of Supervisors, which looks at whether the board should hire a county manager. The report is called “The Case for a County Manager,” a 36-page document prepared by a group called the County Manager Initiative Subcommittee. Given the titles of the subcommittee and its report, there isn’t much question about the conclusion. And sure enough, it recommends that the board hire a professional manager. Read more…