Did the New Paltz Town Board just vote to increase the cost of new homes by 6%?

That, at least, is what town supervisor Boss Hokanson seems to be saying in the January 1, 2009 edition of the Stalinpaltz Politburo-Gazette.*

“But ultimately,” Boss is quoted as saying, “if we’re going to create more homes, the 6 percent difference in the cost of these appliances or construction materials will pay back quickly and enormously when they receive their utility bills.”

It’s not clear whether or not that means a 6% increase on the total cost of a home (meaning, for instance, an additional $15,000 on a $250,000 home), or a 6% increase on some portion of the materials used in the construction. In either case, why do Boss and the board think it’s any of their business?

Well, the best explanation I could find in the article (titled “Efficient Mandate”) is that, “In the face of global warming, higher fuel and electricity bills, and a growing consciousness to tread lighter on the planet…” blah, blah, Boss and the gang decided to make the tough decisions for anyone looking to buy a new home.

But not to worry, Boss says the mandate “allows for flexibility.” Although not adding the extra energy-saving features isn’t one of the available options.

Now, imagine the uproar if this new mandate had required all owners of existing homes in New Paltz to spend this extra money. Has Boss upgraded her home to these new standards? Has any member of the town board done so?

If not, why not? If they are not willing to pay for the cost of their moral vanity over the issue of “global warming,” then why, for instance, would a young New Paltz couple buying their first home have to pay for Boss and the gang’s moral vanity?

“[A] growing consciousness to tread lighter on the planet,” indeed. More like a growing consciousness to tread lighter on the planet at someone else’s expense.

It’s clearly a case of “we have to start somewhere, so it might as well be with you.”

* Yes, that’s my latest name for the New Paltz Times.

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