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Find out the will of the people

June 21, 2012

On the website of the Town of Callicoon, the committee responsible for producing a new comprehensive plan posted a response to the many comments that were made at the recent workshop. It noted that one of the most contentious issues was the 2010 survey sent out by the town. The purpose of this survey had been to find out what the residents wanted for their town, but the results were not conclusive in some cases. Of particular concern was the question of whether residents are in favor or not in favor of hydraulic fracturing. The committee said: “While it is absolutely an important topic to many residents, the survey results alone are not enough to establish that a majority of residents are opposed to gas drilling,” according to the website.

Since the topic of drilling is acknowledged as important for the future of the town, and since the survey results cannot offer the necessary guidance on how to proceed, it seems obvious that the town needs to find out what the residents want. We propose that the town do a one-question survey to find out. A folded mailing, with a copy-protected, stamped return postcard, should be sent out to every voter and landowner in the town, with the question: “Are you in favor of gas drilling in the town?” and check boxes for “yes,” “no,” or “no opinion.”

We have gotten an estimate for the printing and mailing of around $2500. The results could be tallied in less than one month. We would be willing to contribute some money for this effort, and we are sure others would be equally supportive. The committee has been working on this plan for close to three years; another small delay could not matter.

Given the importance of this question, we request that the money be raised, the survey mailed out, and the results made known. Until then, the public hearing on the plan, scheduled for the 27th, should be postponed.

Alvin and Raizi Shoop
Callicoon Center, NY