2018-05-08 / Opinion

Frazier Wishes to Clarify

I am writing to correct a statement in the Walton Reporter regarding county business and my retirement. “Frazier said one of the things that has concerned him is that in a poll, environment ranks lower than the economic development.” This statement does not at all reflect my concerns about the environment vs. economic development. It also lacks the context of the point I was attempting to make. An attempt to clarify follows.

Over the last 27 years I have noticed that some folks, who may not live in the county, seem to believe that we in Delaware County do not care about the environment and that we are not capable of understanding any environmental consequences of our actions. The County commissioned a survey to find out what county residents consider to be the most important to them. This was a follow-up to an economic impact analysis of the NYC Land Acquisition Program. The results showed that economic development ranked first and the environment a close second. That makes good sense and is not at all surprising. Generally speaking, if a county resident does not have a good job that pays well enough that that person can pay the bills and meet their basic needs of shelter, food, and clothing, it is very likely that the environment is going to be lower on their list of priorities. Despite Delaware County’s median household income being in the neighborhood of just 64% of the state median household income, Delaware County residents still considered the environment important. Even though we aren’t the wealthiest county, the poll clearly showed that we also highly value the environment. Delaware County residents have demonstrated time and time again that they are the best stewards of the land and that we are the best friends that regulators and environmentalists have, yet for some reason that hasn’t seemed to register with everyone. Protecting natural resources is important, but I certainly would never propose or believe that the economic prosperity of a community shouldn’t be the number-one concern.


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