Philipstown City Council Approves Pride Flag at City Hall

But says policy is needed to manage requests

Philipstown City Council agreed on May 5 to display an LGBTQ flag at City Hall in June, but not on the flagpole that features the American flag, and called for a policy to regulate the flying of the flag on ownership of the city by outside groups.

Sean Conway, who lives in Cold Spring, asked the council to display a Progress Pride flag during National Pride Month.

“I have no problem with a flag representing your movement,” as long as it’s not on the main mast, supervisor John Van Tassel said. “This is for the American flag, and the American flag only.”

The council offered to hang the Pride flag outside on a new, shorter pole – “I’ll even put it up for you,” Van Tassel promised – or in a window in City Hall, like the Ukrainian flag placed there to show support for Russia. invasion.

After Russia invaded Ukraine, Philipstown officials hung a Ukrainian flag from a window of City Hall. (Photo by LS Armstrong)

Conway found both options acceptable. “I can guarantee you that there are more queer people in our city than Ukrainians,” he said. “If we care about representing the people of Philipstown, I’m confident I can muster enough people to outnumber the Ukrainians.” Local businesses would pay for the flag project, he assured the board.

The discussion prompted a thought about what comes next.

“Once you allow a non-government flag to be displayed, you have an obligation — because you make it an open forum under the First Amendment — to display other flags” upon request, Stephen said. Gaba, the city attorney. “You can open a whole Pandora’s box when you start flying other flags, unless you have other flagpoles designated for that.”

“We will have to have a policy” on the unfurling of the flag, concluded Van Tassel.

After the United States Supreme Court ruled May 2 that Boston could not stop a Christian group from flying a flag with a cross on city property, a Satanic group demanded the same accommodation. Boston had allowed private entities to fly their flags in a city plaza during events, but was sued after rejecting the Christian flag because of its religious symbols.

Philipstown Councilwoman Megan Cotter suggested the town avoid flying any more flags until it establishes a policy. But Gaba said “just because you don’t have a policy now doesn’t mean you can’t adopt one in the future” after displaying the Pride Progress flag in June.

A policy may come soon, Councilor Robert Flaherty confirmed. “For now, I think we’ll just say we’re all in favor of flying that flag.”

Relief funding

Although it did not take a formal vote, the board said it plans to allocate funds from its US federal bailout to the Philipstown Behavioral Health Hub, Philipstown Aging at Home, an initiative aimed at helping the city apply for grants and campaign against hunger with the extension of the Cornell cooperative.

As Councilors Jason Angell and Judy Farrell, who oversaw the city’s review of applications, pointed out, The Hub would receive $10,000 now and an additional $40,000 later; Aging in place would bring in $15,000 up front and $35,516 later; the grant-writing effort would receive $10,000 now and $20,000 in the future; and the Hunger Relief and Food Security Initiative would receive $15,000 up front, and $129,760 later — all of the latter amounts contingent on sufficient funding for the Garrison Water District, which Farrell and Angell described it as the city’s “most urgent infrastructure need”. Putnam County has expressed interest in helping pay for water district improvements.

“My thought would be to support all of these” four recipients, Van Tassel said. “They certainly seem legit. There is a need. The money is there. We should get it where it’s needed.

“There are a lot of people in Philipstown who are hungry right now,” Angell said. “The problem is that it is difficult to identify them.” The grant would fund efforts to locate residents in need, which will likely involve door-to-door outreach, he said.

Composting of food waste

The council has approved an eight-month contract with Curbside Compost, an organization that collects food scraps for composting. The city is planning a pilot program, starting this month, to help residents collect rubbish from household bins before disposing of it in a container at the old city landfill on Lane Gate Road.

Flaherty noted that minimizing food waste will also reduce the city’s pollution-related carbon footprint. “It’s unbelievable – the amount of food waste and the amount of carbon it produces,” he said. “I was shocked.”

Stretch Code

The board voted unanimously to incorporate the eco-friendly NY Stretch Code into city law. The code, which is stricter than the state’s base building code, requires things like better insulation, windows and lighting, and similar adaptations for new construction, as well as bollards charging for electric vehicles.

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