100 Ideas for New Paltz

3. require curbside compost collection

Posted in agriculture, environment, garbage, increasing revenue/lowering taxes by Jason West on June 12, 2009

Require local waste hauling companies to collect compost as well as garbage and recycling.

From the San Francisco Department of the Environment:

“San Francisco has created the first large scale urban collection of food scraps for composting in the country. Today, hundreds of thousands of residents and over 3,000 restaurants and other businesses send over 400 tons of food scraps and other compostable material each day to Recology’s Jepson-Prairie composting facility, shown above. Food scraps, plant trimmings, soiled paper, and other compostables are turned into a nutrient-rich soil amendment, or compost, that is used to produce the organic food and wine that San Francisco is famous for serving.”

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4. expand municipal compost

Posted in agriculture, environment, public health by Jason West on June 12, 2009

Add curbside compost collection to the leaf litter bags at the community gardens.

8. get rid of poison ivy in parks

Posted in agriculture, environment, parks, public health by Jason West on June 12, 2009

Borrow some goats from a local farm to graze at Sojourner Truth Park – goats eat poison ivy before grass, and they can eliminate poison ivy without use of toxic chemicals.

Thanks to Terence Ward for pointing out that only certain breeds of goats like poison ivy — Spanish and Angorra goats to be precise.

a spanish goat

a spanish goat

24. outlaw subsidized sprawl

Since suburban developments cost $1.25 in services for every $1.00 generated in tax revenue, outlaw any private subdivision or development project that would cost more in taxes than it generates in revenue.

  • From the Ohio State University Fact Sheet on Cost of Community Services, “Many of the early studies providing estimates of [Cost Of Community Services] ratios were either sponsored or conducted by the American Farmland Trust. But in recent years a great number of other researchers from a variety of backgrounds have undertaken such studies. The results seem to corroborate each other. Virtually all of the studies show that for residential land, the COCS ratio is substantially above 1. That is, residential land is a net drain on local government budgets. The average estimate ranges from about 1.15 to 1.50, which means that for every dollar collected in taxes and non-tax revenue, between $1.15 and $1.50 gets returned in the form of services by the local government and school district.
  • From SmartGrowth America, “…sprawling development rarely brings about the economic benefits anticipated. While it is true that an acre of land with a new house generates more total revenue than an acre of hay or corn, the cost of providing infrastructure and services to that property is greater for residential development than for commercial, farm, or forest land. Cost of Community Services (COCS) studies conducted in more than 83 communities show that owners of farm, forest and open lands pay more in local tax revenues than it costs local government to provide services to their properties. Residential land uses, in contrast, are a net drain on municipal coffers: It costs local governments more to provide services to homeowners than residential landowners pay in property taxes.”

42. should the village be getting rent from watchtower farms?

Posted in agriculture, parks by Jason West on June 11, 2009

Explore whether Watchtower Farms is paying the Village to farm several acres of Village-owned land around the boat launch on Springtown Road. If not, negotiate rental payments with them. No one should be able to use public property for their private business, and a religious business doubly so.  In the picture below, the center parcel is owned by the Village of New Paltz.  While not a precise overlay on the satelite photo below it, you can get a sense of how much public land is being farmed.

village boat launch

43. biodiesel

Create a small public biodiesel production facility to manufacture fuel for the Village, Town, School District and SUNY. Biodiesel is fully biodegradable, nontoxic, renewable and making our own would save hundreds of thousands of dollars otherwise spent on buying fuel from the New York State Office of General Services.

44. plan tree planting for the effects of global warming on forests

Posted in agriculture, climate change, environment, parks, smart growth by Jason West on June 11, 2009

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation has published data about the effects of global warming on Hudson Valley tree species over the next century. Our local trees are going to change from a maple-beech-birch mix to an oak-hickory-pine. According to the DEC, maples are almost definitely on their way out by about 2070-2100. Tailor both public and private tree plantings to those species most likely to survive the climate changes of the next century

46. lay out concrete step-by-step plans for carbon reduction

Posted in agriculture, climate change, energy, environment, green building, parks, smart growth by Jason West on June 11, 2009

Once a concrete number defining the Four Governments’ carbon footprint is established, design a program of tree plantings, green building codes, public transit, automobile usage reduction, etc. to not only reduce our collective carbon footprint, but to reverse it, making New Paltz into a carbon sink.

48. get new paltz to meet the highest standards of the united nations urban environmental Accords

Create a program for the Village and a program for the Town for both meet the Five-Star rating of the UN Urban Environmental Accords

98. plant a buffer along the Wallkill River

Posted in agriculture, environment, wallkill river by Jason West on June 11, 2009

Work with the state Department of Environmental Conservation, Department of Agriculture and Markets and the Ulster County Soil and Water Conservation District to plant a one hundred foot buffer area along the length of the Wallkill River in order to reduce or eliminate soil erosion and agricultural runoff of nutrients, fertilizer, etc.