Rounding up the Week’s Legislative Activity in Orangetown

The day-to-day work in town government isn’t always the most exciting to read about, but here in Orangetown we have moved two agenda items forward that are for the betterment of the entire community.

Preserving Orangetown for future generations
After recently speaking with the Orangetown town arborist, it has come to my attention that the budget for planting new trees was significantly cut in 2008. Throughout the year, the town has to trim and remove trees when taking care of roads and rights of way in the interest of public safety. Previously, the town would always re-plant new trees in safer nearby areas. However, due to budgetary restrictions in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis, that process was, like those trees, cut, leaving no way to keep Orangetown’s roadways and public spaces similarly green and tree-lined. As such, every year since then, Orangetown has had progressively less and less trees in the most visible areas. With many residents reaching out with concerns about animal habitat and the loss of trees generally, including some of our youngest residents, it was clear that something had to be done in order to balance our need for economic growth and strong desire to preserve our natural resources and the feel of our community.

As such, this past Tuesday night, the Town Board and I voted to reallocate an additional $20,000 to tree planting within the town, bringing the total dollars spent on tree replanting efforts to $30,000, the most in about a decade and enough to actually begin catching up on several years of tree removal while being prepared for future needs. In addition to this big first step, we are researching and applying for various state and federal grants in the hopes of increasing this total in the coming months.

Parking
Parking in Downtown Pearl River has always been a concern, as it is in any downtown. With our ongoing efforts to revitalize the downtown underway, and the need to better handle more vehicles while making it more convenient for visitors and customers of local businesses to park quite obvious, it was time to get something done.

Generally speaking, we have a situation in Pearl River where our municipal lots are underutilized while our meters on the main streets are over-utilized by long-term parkers who are feeding the meters. For this reason, the Town Board and I have passed an updated plan to totally revamp the municipal parking permit system in Pearl River. The goal here is to make it easier and more efficient to park in our lots if you’re going to be in the downtown, especially if you’re going to be there for a while.

Along with these changes to the parking permit system, which will be implemented in the coming weeks, we will also be adding much needed signage to direct drivers to our three convenient municipal lots and improving pavement markings within them. Given how empty those lots have been, these efforts should be able to free up a lot of spots in front of our storefronts and restaurants, and much better position Pearl River for a growing economy.