Residents will have a clear choice between different visions for the town’s future in this year’s town supervisor election.
Incumbent Supervisor Paul Sausville, a Republican, says he deserves credit for the town’s success in recent years, but he believes the current downtown zoning allows too much development there.
Democrat challenger Cynthia Young said development should be concentrated in one area, and Sausville’s ideas are no longer realistic, given already-approved downtown projects.
“I’m concerned if we don’t have a realistic vision, we will have sprawl,” said Young, who is making her fifth bid for townwide office, but her first for town supervisor.
She is critical of Sausville’s leadership style, which has sometimes seen him casting the only dissenting vote when the Town Board votes on controversial issues. She said the supervisor needs to “reach out” more often to hear other points of view.
“We need leadership that is a consensus-builder,” Young said.
Sausville, however, described his approach as one of “teamwork.” “There’s a chance for everyone to air their views,” he said.
Sausville, who is seeking his fourth two-year term, said he’s proud of the record he has compiled after 25 years of involvement in town government, including significant roles on the Planning Board and Town Board in the years when plans for the Luther Forest Technology Campus were being made. That’s where GlobalFoundries is now building its computer chip plant.
“I take great pride that they are here and I was part of the team that brought them here,” he said. “The success we have had here in Malta isn’t an accident, and it happened because of the leadership I provided.”
He noted that while the roads in the technology campus belong to the town, he negotiated for the technology campus corporation to pay an annual maintenance fee, and he helped negotiate for $4 million in community benefits from GlobalFoundries.
Both candidates agree there’s a need for a new central fire station, but Young said the town needs to be moving forward with it more aggressively.
“We were told three years ago our facilities were lacking and our equipment was lacking, and now we’re in a pinch,” she said.
Sausville agrees a new downtown station is needed, but said firefighters need to answer hard questions about their financing before he can support their plans.
He said he’s proud of having the town free of a general property tax — something he said requires fiscal vigilance.
Young supports the idea of a densely developed downtown as a method for keeping other parts of the town open and rural. She believes controversy about whether projects like Ellsworth Commons are too large has hurt development prospects by creating uncertainty for those looking to invest in developments.
“I think we have the opportunity here in Malta to create something that’s unique,” she said. “In the end, there’s so much uncertainty that development isn’t happening.”
While Ellsworth Commons is under construction on Route 9 and a similar-scale project is getting started a little farther south, Sausville said he’d still like to see the zoning changed to limit building heights to one or two stories.
He said the planning done in the recent past hasn’t recognized the indirect costs of downtown development, such as providing more fire protection.
“Everyone in town pays the costs associated with having a citylike downtown,” he said.
If re-elected, Sausville said he’d like to see the town pursue plans for a new highway garage, and for developing the new passive recreation park on Round Lake, and the new athletic field complex in Luther Forest.
The supervisor serves a two-year term, at a current town salary of $30,502.
Also on the Nov. 8 ballot, Democrats Carol Henry and Ryan Gregoire are running for Town Board seats against Republican incumbents Tara Thomas and Peter Klotz.
For all other elected positions, Republican incumbents are running unopposed.
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Categories: Schenectady County