The newsletter just published by the Village of Brockport is a great example of what a newsletter from a local government should be. The newsletter contains a lot of useful information from the Mayor, the Police Chief, the Department of Public Works, and the Building & Code Enforcement Department.
Brockport’s newsletter is the exact opposite of Volume 13, Issue 4 of the Town of Sweden Snapshots, which was a thinly disguised 4-page political advertisement for the Sweden Republican Party during a hotly contested town election campaign.
Kudos to the Village of Brockport. Instead of wasting the taxpayer’s money on political BS, the village government used the newsletter as a way to spread useful information to Brockport residents.
In the From the Mayor’s Desk section on the front page of the newsletter, Mayor Margay Blackman wrote that, “As the sun heads south for the winter, we’re investing in sun power. The village has just signed an agreement with Solar Liberty, a solar developer, to erect a solar farm to power our municipal buildings.” The agreement also includes the fire district’s buildings and the Seymour Library. Brockport took advantage of New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NSERDA) grants for project start-up, so there is no capital cost to the village, and the savings in the first year are estimated to be $30,500.
With the high price of oil, this agreement seems to make a lot of sense. The members of the Village Board did their homework on this. They put a lot of work into researching the idea, especially since moving away from oil-based energy seems to be the way to go.
Page 2 of the newsletter has a section on why the village, became the 169th community in New York to adopt the Climate Smart Community pledge, a “joint effort between 6 state agencies to foster a state-local partnership to meet the economic, social and environmental challenges of climate change.” Also on page 2, there is an explanation of how the village is applying for funding under the Cleaner, Greener Communities program to help offset the costs of developing a comprehensive plan and doing zoning updates.
There is a letter from Police Chief Daniel Varrenti on page 3, about how members of the Brockport Police Department are now wearing body-worn cameras. The total cost of the equipment was paid for through Federal Asset Forfeiture funds and a grant secured by State Senator Robert G. Ortt. That is the kind of information Brockport residents want to hear.
The top of page 4 is dedicated to a story about how the Village’s Department of Public Works has reduced the village’s use of salt by about 50 tons per year by using an organic based performance enhancer (OBPE) instead of rock salt on the roads. At the bottom of page 4, there is a reminder that clearing the snow off sidewalks is, “The responsibility of the property owner, resident, or business owner. The DPW plows sidewalks as a courtesy to help make travel easier for school children, the elderly, and mail carriers.” That kind of reminder is perfectly timed, when you consider that Brockport residents woke up this morning to find the sidewalks covered with snow.
Page 5 has information about leaf collection, brush pick-up, snow removal, and fire hydrants. There is also a reminder for “snow birds” about turning off the water supply before they leave for the winter, and a reminder that the Village has a sewer camera that can be used to help locate the source of any sewer problems residents may have.
Page 6 has an interesting article about a high-tech company located on Water Street, and page 7 has a full page explanation about what the legal requirements are if you run want to run a business out of your home. Page 8 has an article about how the Village’s new Active Transportation Plan (ATP) was funded by a $50,000 grant from the Genesee Transportation Council, and how the Greater Brockport Development Corporation received a $2,000 grant from the Arts Council for the new mural on the railroad bridge over Main Street. Pages 9 and 10 have an article on Brockport history, an article about how the first solar-powered boat to navigate the Erie Canal stopped in Brockport, and an article about the Emily L. Knapp museum.
There is a list of upcoming events on page 11, as well as an announcement about the Village Board Elections to be held on Tuesday, June 21, 2016 when two Trustee seats will be up for election. There is also an article about the mural for Sagawa Park that will be funded by a $7,000 grant from the Erie Canal National Heritage Corridor. The back page of the newsletter contains a list of contacts at the Village Hall, the Department of Public Works, the Police Department, and the Welcome Center.
All in all, the Fall 2015, Issue 5 Village newsletter provides the kind of useful information Village residents can actually use. Moreover, it does so without wasting the taxpayer’s money on political BS. It is another example of good governance by the Mayor and the Village Board.