Friday, March 5, 2010

Keewaydin & Mary Island Closing Info Meeting

At the request of Town Supervisor Martha Millett, an informational meeting was held today at 11:00 am at the Town Offices.  Kevin Keiff, Thousand Island Regional Parks Director and Assemblywoman Addie Russell were there to present information and answer questions.  Also present were 2 reporters from the official news papers. Trustee's Roy and Drake, as well as Town Council Williams and Hunneyman were in attendance. The meeting lasted just over an hour.....

I would like to premise the audio with a few of my thoughts.  Keep in mind that the Regional Director, is responsible for the day to day operations of all the state parks in the Thousand Island region.  To simplify it further the Regional Director is responsible for managing revenues and expenses for these parks.  It amazes me that our parks have been allowed to operate in the RED year after year.  This is not just fiscal recklessness in our region, but this is a problem with many state park regions.  Yet, some state parks have revenue greater than expenses, keeping them in the BLACK.  Some of you will argue that this is how government does business.....  Today's meeting was an eye opener for me, leaving me.........speechless.

Please Sign the Petition

Any moron can run an operation into the RED! Why not make this guy the next political appointee. He works cheap [no suit] and can accomplish the same thing........The same caliber can be hired for the NYS Division of Budget


Anonymous said...

Some thoughts: If Keewaydin is underutilized per the formula in 2010 then was it underutilized when they planned to build a 1/2 million dollar bathroom or should I say Taj Mahal in a park scheduled to be closed. Since NY State operates a State Office Building in Watertown should the Region's office move there rather than heat and air condition the 1960's vintage building. How much would this save in fuel and electric to say nothing of state car mileage and gas for those with taht perc?

One would think that cutting a state agency that does generate revenue that at least covers part of the cost is stupid. I never realized that the state was supposed to run at a profit.

Anonymous said...

I went through the budget links- that tell us absolutely nothing about the costs to operate the parks ( just bragging about all of the capital projects, and the millions of $$$ that are being spent). Where is the detailed breakdown of expenses? Where does the money really go?
If the closings take place, will staff be cut accordingly? Park police, state police? Less people staying in the area overnight means less law enforcement is needed.
I was wondering- will all of the private campgrounds close too? if the state cannot even break even, how in the world could a private campground possibly stay in business!
Perhaps the parks can be leased to a private management company who WILL turn a profit.

Anonymous said...

10:27, if u think they should run at a loss then don't complain when ur taxes go up and up year after year.
3:07, u r so right about park police etc. lay them off so they don't give anymore seatbelt tickets on Thanksgiving day in our village as they did in 2009.
PS- keep them off our Rt 12 median also

Anonymous said...

the reason that keewaydin is in the red is because of the pool. should just close the pool and keep the campground open. then it wouldn't be in the red.

jim cummings said...

How about all the other state parks that do not have a pool and are in the red

Anonymous said...

I really like the idea of turning the park over to a private concern.

Dean Erck said...

How come this Public meeting was a private meeting according to Martha Millet? I know of legions of concerned people who would have shown up. Apparently you are on the invite list. I guess being a volunteer swim instructor and someone who is constantly advocating for the saving of the pool and park does not warrent an invitation. Martha telling Dale Honneyman that this was a private meeting is a violation of the law.

Dean Erck said...

Many of the reasons for the red of the pool are the ridiculous operating rules that the state hands down. Lifeguard counts, testing and operating rules, ect. If we had to adhear at local sites to the rules the state does we would be costed out of the pool too.

Same goes for Mary's Island when I spoke to someone in Parks about the scouts or some other group taking it over to keep it open the cost of the water treatment was the reason for the expense.

jim cummings said...

There is nobody on the Town, Village Boards, or the Chamber that jumps up and down and cheers JC is here! I suspect that several politicians [past and present] wished I was dead.

One former politician made this statement on Facebook regarding the online petition:
write your state Senators and tell them what you think,thats the only way to make a difference, not some loser blog that people don't respect!!!!

Some do not realize that I also wrote the petition that Dale Hunneyman was distributing.

I found out about that meeting by mistake. I had to talk to several people on Thursday night to get the whole story. In the past, I have argued with board members about their interpretation of the open meeting laws. They just do not understand that it is better to bend over backwards when it comes to meeting announcements.

I am not on anyone's invitation list! If you want to talk about another infraction, re-read the first paragraph.....where I list who was at the meeting....

Anonymous said...

I apologize for suggesting your were invited. I knew I was not even though I have been talking this issue up everywhere I go. What is wrong with our local politicians wanting to constantly freeze the concerned public out of important meetings such as this?

Thank you for your audio feed. The paper did a poor job covering the meeting. How about the great economics lesson Ron Thompson gave the Park director? Fabulous. How about the fact that 9 dollars out of the 15 go to an outside reservation company. That will give the state a couple of dollars back if the park actually does the reservation. How about the fact that Keewaydin is seasonal in the black but does not cover the overhead when it is shut down. What overhead? Big commishioners with big salaries is my guess. What about the fact no one from the Town's youth program was invited. The group that teaches 150 kids to swim every year. No one spoke up for the pool.

What about the fact that a slight raise in camping fees could put all of Keewaydin in the black even with the pool?

I have spoken to Addie Russells office and they did not intend for the public to be shut out. I have spoken to the New York State office in charge of inforcing the sunshine laws and since she did invite the paper it is not a violation of the law. The individual said it is clearly an attempt to mislead the public but not a violation of the Law.

It is sad the article in the TI sun was so incomplete but at least they got to provide cover for the Supervisor and her plan to keep it all to herself.

Kudos again for providing us with the only real coverage of this very important meeting. Everyone really missed some outstanding questions from Ron Thompson. I suspect if all of Alexandria was invited we would have had even more. Missed oportunity. Shame on you Martha Millet. Shame on you Dale Honneyman

Anonymous said...

can you give me a recap of Ron T's Econ Comments.

jim cummings said...


Recapping Ron's comments would do a disservice to the points he was trying to make to K. Keiff. The only way to fully appreciate Ron's comments is to listen to the audio....

Anonymous said...

After listening to Ron's comments and Keiff's answer I would like to illustrate on great point. The 15 dollar camping fee is dictated by the state with only a small "premium" charge for a waterfront site a "couple" of dollars. Ron had the figures quoted how a private site was around the 25 dollar range. He brought up the fact only a 6 dollar increase would bring all of the Parks in the black including the pool.

Addie Russell does not want to price families out of camping but would be "the bad guy" to ask for a raise but only a small increase. Ron brought up the fact they could add many more sites and make it more economical. that sent Keiff into the fact that black and red for operating Keewaydin only took in seasonal expense not the expense when it is shut down? Basically 60 percent of the Parks state wide in total costs is overhead for the administration of parks not for having it open piece. Unfortunately that is the only piece parks was willing to cut. Not their salaries or overlapping layers in the parks. Ron did not bring up the fact they use this cost advantage for an unfair pricing in competion with business

This is the best one. 15 dollars for a camp site. 9 dollars goes to Reserve America. A private outfit. Even if parks does the reservation they get paid then give the state a "couple dollar kick back". Only 6 dollars goes into the Keewaydin column. I would have asked does the couple dollar kick back go into the local park balance sheet.

Ron did a fantastic job. I wish he had some back up. I wish someone who represents the families in this community was invited not just the Chamber of Commerce. The town, village and school does have a youth program and no one. No one was invited to represent them. Not even Gayle who works for Hearts for Youth and is married to our Town Councilman. I guess Martha didnt have time to call her but she called the Clayton dude.

Please listen to the audio feed. It is really great how Ron did and it is really sad that our Town board and village board didnt think it was important. to them or to us.

Please everyone call Martha and tell her how disappointed they are with her invite only public meeting. I hope as many people are able go to the next Town meeting.

Dean Erck

Anonymous said...

I would just like to know, he said it is soley because of the number of campsites that loses the revenue for Keywaydin. Then tell me how DeWolf, even with the cabins, can survive with so few campsites! Doing the math, it should have been the first on the list. Just sayin.

Anonymous said...

It may not be a moneymaker for the State but Keewaydin has a lot to offer. In the gentleman's speech he encouraged people to make reservations at places like DeWolf and Wellesley Island. Did they also tell these campers they were going to be crossing a toll bridge at $2.75 a crossing? I feel for Abay this summer even more so I feel for the people getting screwed out of a campground because this state has been run into a financial nightmare. Why is it everyone's answer is raise taxes, raise rates, make people pay more?
I also wonder if they will feel bad for the families who will cancel their summer vacations because they can no longer afford them? Camping is one of the last extremely affordable vacations around, don't ruin it by making people pay more.