Saratoga County

Four vie for two spots on Ballston Town Board

The competition for two seats on the Ballston Town Board has all four of the candidates promising to

The competition for two seats on the Ballston Town Board has all four of the candidates promising to make the body more congenial and less partisan.

Seeking to fill two seats on the board are Republican incumbent Tim Szczepaniak, Republican William Goslin, Democrat Paul Simpson and Independent Bruce Hogan.

Szczepaniak, who has served four years on the board, said he is running for another term to keep the community “great.” Included in this goal is a commitment to ensure that the town continues its trend of not having a town or highway tax.

The first priority for the next session, said Szczepaniak, is to get a grocery store to open in the town. He claimed he was in talks with two chains and said he was very focused on bringing more businesses in general to the area, which he feels is an attractive place to set up shop because of its location.

For the next semester, he said, “We need to have better teamwork on town hall.” Szczepaniak blamed Town Supervisor Patti Southworth, Independent, for the political strife.

Democratic candidate Paul Simpson agreed that the town board has operation issues, saying, “The present arrangement of the existing board produces confrontation rather than cooperation.” But he didn’t blame Southworth for this, instead Simpson reluctantly labeled Szczepaniak as one of the problem makers.

“I’m running to help with the effort to have the Town Board … be more effective,” he said.

Simpson said it was hard to tell what issues would dominate the board’s attention next session, but said they could tackle any challenges if they worked together and predicted that the Ballston First ticket, which includes Hogan, Southworth and himself, could make that happen.

“Bruce [Hogan] is an Independent. I wear a Democratic hat,” he said. “We’ll have a complete mix of the political environment and we’ve all pretty much agreed that the Ballston First philosophy is what has to happen.”

Hogan, who is a registered Independent, was formerly a Republican and switched parties in 2008 as the result of frustration with the two main parties. “A lot of political bantering on the town level and that should not be happening,” he said of what contributed to his change.

If elected, Hogan feels like his background in manufacturing with Mohawk Fine Papers will make him an effective legislator, because it provided him a broad base of knowledge.

One issue he is concerned about now is the budget, especially the process of paying for large items with bonds. Hogan said long-range spending plans would allow the town to put money aside for programs down the road so they could avoid the interest costs associated with a bonded project.

Republican William Goslin is also concerned with the town’s budgeting practices and has called repeatedly for audits to ensure the town’s financial situation is where it should be.

Of the current Town Board he said, “I don’t believe this town government works as a team.”

Goslin said a new direction for the board should include an effort to incorporate local organizations, like schools, churches and volunteer groups into the governing process. “I think town government could play a leadership role in community building,” he said.

His background as a volunteer, including efforts in New Orleans, experience with the Eagle Matt Lee fire company and 35 years of telecommunications experience, said Goslin, make him qualified to serve.

Categories: Schenectady County

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