Niki Armacost, Mary Lambert and Tom Drake Pledge to:

  • Maintain the Fiscal Strength of Our Village

  • Undertake Strategic Planning

  • Promote Environmental Sustainability and Resiliency

  • Rebuild Our Infrastructure

  • Invest in Our Downtown and Support Local Businesses

  • Prudently Manage Development

  • Encourage Volunteerism

  • Foster Safety and Community Cohesion

 

The Democratic team has a built a solid record of accomplishments under the current administration.  We pledge to expand and extend those accomplishments, while realizing a brighter future for our village. Our focus will be on investing in what matters – our parks, streets and other vital infrastructure, our downtown and waterfront, and most especially our people – and all the while continuing to keep budgets under control and sustainability considerations front and center.

Maintain the Fiscal Strength of Our Village

We will scrutinize village finances as we navigate the last months of the pandemic. Our focus will be to:

  • Manage the Budget: Continue the budget oversight that has generated a fund balance (or ‘rainy day’ fund) of more than $2.1 million, ensuring dedicated funds for capital infrastructure and parks.

  • Control Taxes: We will keep taxes below the 2% annual cap imposed by NY State, as we have consistently done in recent years.

  • Manage Debt and Source New Income: We will closely manage our debt, and look for new sources of income including grants, so as to make needed improvements without burdening our taxpayers.

 

Undertake Strategic Planning

 

We will create and implement plans that map out a shared vision of a resilient community for the future:

  • Update the Comprehensive Plan: We will update the current Comprehensive Plan (an important document that has guided us for many years) and outline a strategic vision for the next decade.

  • Create a Climate Action Plan: We will draft a Climate Action Plan  – with specific green house gas (GHG) reduction goals – that outlines what we need to do to build resiliency for generations to come.

 

Promote Environmental Sustainability and Resiliency

We will work with a combination of policy, education and structural initiatives that reflect the commitment of our village to sustainability:

  • Improve Municipal Energy Efficiency and Reduce Greenhouse Gases: We will implement measures to decrease Village government energy use through building upgrades and conservation, and we will update our Green Building Code to ensure sustainability considerations are taken into account in future development. We will continue to upgrade our vehicle fleet with electric vehicles (EVs), and will expand availability of EV charging infrastructure. Most importantly, we will put our policies into practice by, among other things, using low carbon concrete in major infrastructure projects (e.g. sidewalks) and in procurement choices.

  • Leverage our Climate Smart Community Status

      We are already a NY State silver-tier Climate Smart Community (one of only 7                communities in the State, 2 of which are villages), and our goal is to continue                  implementing actions that strengthen our ability to adapt to and mitigate climate              change.  We plan to leverage our silver status to secure funding for deeper energy-        related improvements. This will include improved heating and cooling systems and          energy management systems for Village buildings, as well as an investment in                green infrastructure. We will also produce an organics management plan and                  investigate more ways to reduce waste and increase savings.

 

Rebuild Our Infrastructure


We will continue to invest in what we all value – our parks, our streets and other vital infrastructure.

  • Protect our Parks and Natural Resources: We will continue remediating our parks, from the expansive Quarry Park to the tiny Vest Pocket Park. Using grant funding, we will support implementation of key recommendations to restore Hillside Woods, stabilize the shoreline at MacEachron Park, and conduct inventories of other parks to ensure they receive the stewardship they need.  And we will seek funding to support volunteer efforts to clear vines and invasive species, and plant trees and pollinator pathways. We aspire to enhance our parks using green infrastructure.

  • Promote Pedestrian Safety and Walkability: We will revisit our paving and sidewalk rehabilitation plans and continue making improvements consistent with our Safe Routes to School initiative, our Complete Streets Policy and the Rt. 9 Active Transportation Conceptual Design Plan. We will also review recommendations by our Transportation Working Group and Safety Council, and support new laws and funding for initiatives that increase pedestrian safety, walkability and bikeability throughout the Village.

  • Preserve Vital Infrastructure: We will work to improve critical infrastructure, including buildings, roads, bridges, parking lots, playing fields, courts, and other Village owned infrastructure. We will also work to restore our green spaces by encouraging residents to adopt-a-spot and plant pollinator pathways. We will ensure our Library, Fire Department and DPW have the resources and equipment they need to carry out their critical work.

 

Invest in Our Downtown and Support Local Businesses

This past year, our businesses needed extra support to help them weather the pandemic. We allowed the Farmer’s Market to operate and facilitated out-door dining, we welcomed new businesses and launched the “Destination Hastings” gift card. Moving forward, we will accelerate the process of upgrading downtown infrastructure, such as improved sidewalks, new tree pits and street furniture and expanded bike parking. We will continue funding community-building events to attract residents and out-of-towners to our downtown by creating a welcoming atmosphere, and we will support our Downtown Advocate as she in turn aids local businesses.

Prudently Manage Development

We will ensure that affordable housing and sustainability are part of any new development in the village. We are committed to the planned rezoning of the waterfront, which will determine how the waterfront will fit into the future village and how it can benefit us financially. We will work with the Waterfront Rezoning Committee and the public to guide this process. We will push for the inclusion of the key recommendations of our Shoreline Advisory Committee for a public park along the waterfront in BP-ARCO’s final engineering design for the waterfront. We will follow the wishes of the majority of Village residents to develop a fiscally responsible plan to preserve the Water Tower.

Encourage Volunteerism
We actively recruited for boards and commissions and added four new volunteer committees or task forces: the Climate Smart Communities Task Force, the Zero Waste Advisory Task Force, the Safe Routes to Schools Task Force and the Police Reinvention and Reform Collaborative. We integrated a sustainability focus into many of the existing committees and boards. Hundreds of volunteers worked to remove thousands of invasive vines, trees, and shrubs and planted more than one hundred trees in Hillside Woods. We supported our EMS and firefighters as they responded during the pandemic with the resources they needed including individual masks and PPE.

Foster Safety and Community Cohesion
This past year, more than ever, community mattered. We showed drive-in movies and held outdoor events that were compliant with pandemic-imposed restrictions. We instituted our Safe Routes to School initiative and encouraged Village safety through striping walkways, adding stop signs, and lowering speed limits. We will implement ideas from the Police Reform Collaborative to strengthen the connection between our community and our police force to build on existing popular program such as “Coffee-with-a-Cop”. This next year, when health-related restrictions are lifted, we plan to reinstate the much loved community events that bind us and bring us joy.