6pm, Masonic Hall, Centre Road, Town of Clinton

MARCH 19, 2018

Minutes from Town of Clinton Democratic Party Monthly Meeting


Karen Smythe, Candidate for NY State Senator for Clinton. Karen Smythe came to the meeting to discuss her candidacy.  She noted that there was an opportunity this election to flip the district Democratic as part of a wave to flip the State Senate blue.   Karen described her background -- she was born raised in Poughkeepsie, where her family runs a union-based sheet metal and plumbing contractor business.  She went to Vassar, and has served on the boards of the children's museum, Vassar, and Bardavon.  She discussed her views on health care (a right not a privilege), schools, and the problems with our current State Senator Serino who voted against limiting bumpstocks, for guns into classrooms, and has the lowest rating on environmental issues and the highest rates from conservative party.

Tom Mansfield, Candidate for Surrogate Court Judge. The Surrogate Court Judge has responsibility for cases related to trusts, estates, wills, and guardianships.  The incumbent judge is retiring from the office.  Mansfield came to the meeting to discuss his candidacy.  He  noted that as an attorney for the past 30 years, half of his work has been in the surrogate church (as a lawyer). He has also has experience from the other side of the bench, serving as a guardian.  He brings extensive and direct experience with the surrogate court issues, and a commitment to public service, to the job.

Town Board Update.  Several citizens are proposing that the town code -- which currently does not allow guns in the Town-owned public parks -- be updated to similarly not allow guns in other Town-owned buildings such as the library and Town Hall.  This issue is being debated at the Town Board meetings, and advocates for unregulated gun use in public spaces have been showing up to voice their views to the Town Board. It's critical that those who argue for leaving guns at home when using public spaces like the library, town park, and town hall come to the next Town Board meeting to share their views with our Town Board members.


Conservation Advisory Committee (CAS).  The CAC, which focuses on local environmental issues, is looking for community volunteers to join the committee.  There is interest in making Clinton a Climate Smart Community, and therefore eligible for many state funding lines. The group meets on the second Wednesday of the month, 4pm. If interested, please see details here

Town of Clinton Democrats Winter Social.  Scheduled for April 14, 1-4pm, at the West Clinton Fire Station (in Pleasant Plains).  This event is a great opportunity to meet a regional  political candidates, talk with your neighbors, and learn about how to register to vote in Clinton or volunteer to get out the vote in Clinton.   

Town of Clinton Get Out the Vote to Go Blue. The get out the vote plan was overviewed (details to come at the April 16 meeting).  The goal is to engage, inform, and excite our neighbors with the possibilities for making a difference nationally by voting locally.  We need volunteers for task forces. 



Unofficial notes from April 10 Clinton Town Board Meeting

By Merida Welles


Whole Board present except Dean Michael

Approx 22 attendees, excluding Board



Minutes of March 13 Town Board meeting and 3 public hearings on same date approved.



Several people commented on a proposal to introduce a local law to ban firearms on all Town Owned Property, not just town parks. Cynthia Kock, Barbara Mansell, Judy Canham, Merida Welles and Sam Moyer commented in favor of new law and / or of having a Public Hearing to discuss it.  Several others, including Idan Sims, opposed the law/ ban on grounds that law abiding citizens should not be restricted, that guns can protect against wild animals & maniacs with guns, that it might trigger “unintended consequences, ” that advertising location of a gun free zone is unsafe, and that gun free zones don’t work, are not enforceable and would be expensive to insure.  



Discussion points included:

  • Aging Senior Picnic at Hyde Park

  • In response to widespread outages this winter, the NY State Public Service Commission is investigating preparedness of all major electric utility companies.  There will be a Public Hearing on 4/23 in Poughkeepsie Town Hall. You can submit public comments at www.dps.ny.gov by May 22



  • Werner - Planning Board met twice - several items incl Falkill Road subdivision, camp ground permit renewal, etc)

  • Werner - Zoning Board of Appeal - 3 items

  • Whitton - CAC Board meeting 3/14 - 10 steps needed to help get grants for Clinton and CAC is pursuing 4; need volunteers for CAC and Climate Smart Program

  • Cunningham - Recreation Committee - no March mtg; Schedule for the Rec Park program is on Board website; book Rec Park early as pavillion is very popular; planned improvements for Friend’s Park in 2019

  • Cunningham - Building Inspector - 9 permits issues, 14 COs and CCs (?), 5 title searches

  • Werner - Zoning Administrator - reviewed the 9 permits, issued ruling on automatic battery stations

  • Cunningham - Highway

  • Werner - Scenic Roads - no meetings

  • Whitton - Library Report - circulation jumped to 4616 from 3763 YOY Q1 2018, partly due to more lending to other libraries; free lunches limited to 40

  • Whitton - Cablevision - no mtg this month

  • Werner - Zoning Revisions - Aquifers discussed at meeting

  • Oberly (?) - Transmission Lines - no power line workshops any more




  1. Oberly - NY Mini Energy Program - Good Energy Electric proposal should save money.  Will have public workshop to discuss and learn. One of 4 steps Whitton / CAC are proposing to help save $

  2. Oberly - Board approved holding public hearing at the Clinton Town Hall to discuss local law on search warrant. Per prior Town Bd notes, Zoning Officer cannot inspect a property without the owners’ permission. So, if there is a known violation and the owner does not give permission to inspect, that violation can’t be cited and dealt with. This Local Law establishes a procedure for the Zoning Officer to obtain a warrant to inspect if an owner refuses access to their property.

  3. Werner - Board approved motion to hold public hearing on May 8 to discuss proposed firearms ban on Town Property

  4. Oberly - seeking grant for Town Complex generator; or will try to add to budget

  5. Cunningham - tabling search for Electric Speed sign as $7k not in budget




  1. Board approved Denise Biery going to Tax Collector School

  2. Board approved support letter delaying fence along CSX train track in RH and Rhinebeck

  3. Oberly proposed number of ways Clinton could consolidate activities with Dutchess County or collect funds therefrom ( tax collection, assessors, fire inspectors, animal control, prosecution of violations) Board Members should submit their opinions to Oberly by April 25.

  4. Werner - Update on impact of Clinton taking over mgmt of 2 cemeteries (town committee to be set up, budgetary impact)

  5. Board approved free NYSERDA training for 3 ppl. One of CAC’s steps to save money. NY State Energy Research & Dev Authority helps New Yorkers increase energy efficiency, save money, use renewable energy, and reduce their reliance on fossil fuels.



  1. No resignations or appointments

  2. Warrants for roughly $60,000 (in regular town expenses) were approved

  3. Motion to move funds was approved

  4. Supervisor’s report should be ready by month end.



Idan Sims raised concern over financial impact on our community of recent NY State Legislation requiring insurance for firefighters subjected to cancer-causing contaminants; suggested a meeting to discuss this and improving coordinating between East and West Clinton Fire Districts


Joel Tyner discussed opioid crisis/ need for drug treatment (vs imprisonment), Chatham Care4U / Police Assisted Addiction and Recovery Initiative (P.A.A.R.I) - meeting 3pm May 5 in Rhinebeck and Dutchess County becoming a Climate Smart Community.