Schenectady County

Taxes, development key issues in vote for Guilderland Town Board seats

Economic issues top the list of concerns expressed by four candidates seeking two seats on the Guild

Economic issues top the list of concerns expressed by four candidates seeking two seats on the Guilderland Town Board on Nov. 8.

Michele Coons

OFFICE SOUGHT: Guilderland Town Board

BALLOT LINES: Republican, Conservative,

EDUCATION/EXPERIENCE: Graduated Guilderland High School, Schenectady County Community College; managed various CVS pharmacy stores throughout the Capital Region; town comptroller; merchant services manager for the Retail Council of New York State

PERSONAL: Married with two children

Brian K. Forte

OFFICE SOUGHT: Guilderland Town Board

BALLOT LINES: Democrat, Conservative, Independence

EDUCATION/EXPERIENCE: Graduated Schalmont High School, bachelor’s degree in criminal justice management from SUNY Empire State College; supervisor of Community Service Unit for Guilderland Police Department; Guilderland police officer for 24 years; fire commissioner and chairman of the board of Fire Commissioners Guilderland Fire District; volunteer firefighter for 30 years; past chief Guilderland Fire District; past president of Guilderland PBA; past president and presently training director for the State of New York Police Juvenile Officers Association

PERSONAL: Married with three children

Peter John Hubbard

OFFICE SOUGHT: Guilderland Town Board

BALLOT LINES: Republican

EDUCATION/EXPERIENCE: Graduated from Guilderland Central High School, Hudson Valley Community College and UAlbany; owns Sam Wilson’s Ice Cream in Troy; worked in the financial industry for the past 10 years

PERSONAL: Married with two children

Allen F. Maikels

OFFICE SOUGHT: Guilderland Town Board

BALLOT LINES: Democrat, Independence

EDUCATION/EXPERIENCE: Graduated from Siena College; certified public accountant since 1980; former Albany County legislator; former treasurer of the Albany County Airport Authority; member of the Guilderland Zoning Board of Appeals; race director for the Race for the Cure.

PERSONAL: Father of two children

Running for office are Democrats Allen F. Maikels and Brian K. Forte and Republicans Michele L. Coons and Peter John Hubbard. Terms are for four years. The board consists of four part-time seats and the supervisor, a full-time position that is for two years. Supervisor Kenneth D. Runion Jr., a Democrat, is running unopposed. Board members receive a stipend of $21,702. The supervisor receives $103,900.

Democrats currently control the board 3-2. The two open seats belong to Republicans, neither of whom is running for re-election.

The Daily Gazette asked candidates to identify two major issues facing residents of Guilderland and how they would address them. They were also asked why residents should vote for them.

Allen F. Maikels

Maikels said the two most important issues facing residents are balancing the need to provide services without raising taxes and the need to develop vacant commercial properties on Western Avenue and Carman Road.

If elected, Maikels said he would use his “30-plus years as a certified public accountant and business person to help the town look for new sources of revenue,” in addition to scrutinizing town expenditures.

To spur economic development, Maikels said he would work with the Albany Colonie Regional Chamber of Commerce and the Albany County Business Development Corp., where he is secretary/treasurer, to leverage loans from the Al Tech Loan Fund. He said the loans from the fund helped develop the Orchard Creek Golf Course and turned the former Figliomeni’s Restaurant on Western Avenue into Athos Restaurant.

Maikels said residents should vote for him because of his private sector experience and his public sector experience on the Albany County Airport Authority and with the Albany County Business Development Corp.

“I know how to work with people to get things done, and I will bring that attitude of working together to the Town Board,” he said.

Brian K. Forte

To Forte, the two biggest issues facing Guilderland are keeping services in place while keeping taxes low and controlling growth in the town.

Forte said the town needs to keep a high level of services and low taxes and the best way to do this is to “seek alternate revenue sources to help offset the budget.”

On the second issue, Forte said the town needs to control development by “working cooperatively with our business community to establish a new, better working relationship with it, which should help increase tax revenues.”

Residents should support his candidacy, Forte said, because of his “proven leadership skills” and because he has the “skill set to help keep our great town moving forward with vision, growth and community.” He said he has a commitment to public service and will bring a knowledge of public safety and how the town operates to the board.

Michele L. Coons

Coons said high taxes and a lack of jobs are two key issues affecting town residents. To spur job growth and develop a solid tax base, she said she would insist on having guidelines on what is required to open a business in town.

“The guidelines don’t have to be complex or lengthy, just consistent with Guilderland’s values and expectations,” Coons said.

She said guidelines would help business owners know their obligations up front and make it easier for them to bring their ideas to life, hire employees and support the town through taxes.

“I’d also work with town employees, from receptionists to department heads, to find ways to cut expenses and lower the tax burden for residents,” Coons said. “People doing the jobs know what is essential and where there is waste. We need to work as a team to trim excess wherever we can in this tough economy to support our residents.”

Coons said residents should vote for her because she will make decisions based on facts. “I believe in Guilderland and I think this is the best place to live and raise a family. I’d like to be part of a team that works together to find answers to Guilderland’s challenges,” she said.

Peter John Hubbard

Hubbard identified challenging economics issues and a lack of transparency within town government as key issues to address if elected.

“We are losing businesses within the town of Guilderland, which decreases our tax base. [Residents] also see a proposed Albany County tax increase of 19.2 percent and are wondering what is going to happen here in the town of Guilderland.”

To deal with the first issue, Hubbard said he will focus on keeping small businesses within the town and giving them the ability to market and expand their businesses.

“Within the past year, we have lost Finch Paper, Friendly’s, Little Caesar’s and Wendy’s on Route 20, and others. These vacant business locations not only create an eyesore, but they also take away jobs that are so important to the residents of Guilderland,” he said.

If elected, Hubbard said he will work with existing businesses and the rest of the Town Board and the supervisor to make it easier for businesses to start and grow in the town. “I would also like to encourage people who live within the town to patronize our local businesses,” he said.

Hubbard said residents should support him because he is not pushing a personal agenda. “I am coming as a candidate with an open mind and working to speak for the residents of Guilderland,” he said. “I feel it is so important that everyone within the town has a voice and that is why a two-party system is so important.”

Categories: Schenectady County

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