Letter: Belmont, board only look out for themselves

To the Editor,
Supervisor Belmont likes to say, “Only you can make it great to live in Harrison.” It’s a lovely sentiment and speaks to the ideal of citizens actively involved in the public sphere.

Yet, Belmont’s words seem strange to me; what about the public servants entrusted to do what’s in the best interest of the community? Didn’t the townspeople of Harrison elect the board to make Harrison great? Put more simply, it’s their job to make Harrison great.

The town board has a responsibility for advancing the common good. Policy-making certainly calls for a balanced approach and should be undertaken with equality and fairness in mind. Sometimes, I wonder if they remember that, or if they’re just concerned with making life better for certain individuals.

Harrison pays four part-time attorneys. One is Jonathan Kraut, a partner in a firm that bills Harrison monthly for legal matters. Does that seem fair and equitable?

Yet another stop sign was installed on Pleasant Ridge Road, making the total five stop signs in just over one mile. The sign most recently installed happens to be about 100 feet from the driveway of Councilwoman Marlane Amelio’s daughter’s home. It was approved despite multiple objections from Pleasant Ridge Road area residents. Now, there’s increased noise and air pollution from the constant start and stop nature of traffic, including lots of noisy school buses, early every morning.

The town board has persistently focused on Beaver Brook Swamp and the surrounding area. Area residents oppose the idea of rezoning to commercial status; rezoning might mean more concrete/pavement and make it harder for the ground to absorb storm water, consequently making one of Harrison’s most flood-prone areas even more vulnerable.

So it seems our town board often finds itself in cozy situations. They’re happy to make things happen for themselves, family and friends, often in spite of objections from town residents. But considering the board typically concludes its meetings in about 25 minutes, it’s no surprise.

When Belmont was campaigning in 2011, he promised to run all town board meetings like a corporation. But he usually interrupts or dismisses statements made by citizens and usually does not provide answers to many questions from the floor at most board meetings.

On Election Day, ask yourself: Wouldn’t it be greater to live in Harrison if it were governed by a more balanced town board that truly considers the will of the people and strives to ensure the greatest good for the greatest number of people?

Lucille Held,