Storms to play key role at Schoharie County polls

Rebuilding infrastructure destroyed by tropical storms Irene and Lee, keeping taxes low and hydrofra

Rebuilding infrastructure destroyed by tropical storms Irene and Lee, keeping taxes low and hydrofracking are among the key issues cited by candidates in Schoharie County election races.

In the county clerk’s race, incumbent Republican M. Indica Jaycox faces off against Democrat Gary R. Hayes.

Jaycox pointed to her accomplishment of joining with other county clerks from across the state to fight a proposal that would have allowed people to renew driver’s licenses without taking eye tests.

“We did get them to back off on that and change the wording of it and change a little bit of the law,” she said.

If re-elected, her goal for the next term would be to launch a program for veterans. When veterans file their discharge papers at the county clerk’s office, which they are technically required to do by law, the county would give them an identification card that would qualify them for discounts at local businesses. A similar program in Saratoga County recently topped 2,000 members

Hayes, former Middleburgh mayor, said in an email that if elected, he would focus on fiscal accountability. The county was facing problems before the flooding, he said. He said the county should have had a disaster preparedness plan in place and it is facing a potential $10 million price tag to recover destroyed documents.

“It is time to run the county clerk’s office like a business and serve the residents while cutting the costs at the same time. The fluff has to go, the political agendas have to go and accountability needs to come back.”

He said he will also add more evening and Saturday hours at the clerk and motor vehicle offices and improve customer service.


Longtime Republican Supervisor Robert Mann Jr. is facing a challenge from Democrat Ralph Arrandale.

Mann could not be reached but is seeking his 10th term. For 14 years ending in 2009, he chaired the Schoharie County Board of Supervisors’ finance committee. He resigned because he didn’t think the board was doing enough to reduce spending in the wake of declining revenues.

Arrandale said he is running to provide a change of perspective since the supervisor’s position has been held by the GOP for 20 years.

“When you get government entrenched in a single position for a long period of time, things get into a mode where not much change happens,” he said.

He said his top issues are trying to control taxes while preserving services. Infrastructure was neglected for many years, Arrandale said, which was only exacerbated by the damage from flooding resulting from the back-to-back tropical storms in August.

Also, three people are seeking two four-year terms on the Town Board: Democrat Chester Keyser, Republican Renee Grabowski and Joseph Ward, who is endorsed by both parties.


The Carlisle supervisor’s race features Republican incumbent Larry R. Bradt facing off against Democratic challenger Linda K. Cross.

Bradt said experienced people are needed as Schoharie County tries to rebuild from the disastrous flooding. He also wants to hold the line on taxes because the tax base has shrunk as a result of the flooding. “We have reserve money in our budget to keep taxes in check, and I want to be around to ensure that continues,” he said.

Cross said she is running to offer a choice to voters. She wants to improve communication with residents, expand the posting of notices about meetings and topics of interest and work to bring affordable broadband or other high-speed Internet to as many people in the town as possible.

Disaster preparedness is also another top issue for her. “It is really important to review very carefully and revise the notification and warning and evacuation plans for the Schoharie Valley.”

Competing for two seats on the Town Board are Democrat and Open Country candidate Michael Benton, Republicans Mary Tillapaugh and Kevin E. Sisson and 2nd Guess candidate David A. Jones III.


In Cobleskill, incumbent Democrat Tom Murray is seeking his second term as supervisor. He said his focus is on rebuilding the county in the wake of the storms.

“It’s hard if you were to pass the baton to somebody to tell them all the information you gathered since Aug. 28,” he said.

He also wants to continue working to extend water and sewer service along Route 7, which will help attract new businesses and jobs. Murray said the town has simplified the permitting process, and he has backed sharing services such as highway and court with the village.

Challenger Kenneth R. Hotopp said in an email that the town must re-establish its reputation for being a good place to live and a welcoming community. He said that with the recent closing of Camp Summit, the slowdown in employment and the destruction of homes, bridges and roads, local officials must do all they can to obtain state and federal assistance.

“With an expected increase in our county taxes to pay for the hurricane recovery, we should aim at fiscal restraint on the local level by eliminating tax increases,” he said.

In addition, he said natural gas hydrofracking must be resisted until drilling procedures are carefully reviewed.

Democrats Scott Kelley and Ron Williams are vying against Republicans Linda D. Angell and Alan E. Rubin for two seats on the Town Board.


The three-way race for Fulton supervisor pits Democratic incumbent Philip R. Skowfoe against Republican challenger Timothy J. Hardendorf and Conservative Maryann Pietromonaco.

Skowfoe took credit for sound fiscal stewardship. The town has had to spend close to $300,000 so far to repair damage to roads and other infrastructure, which it tapped from reserve funds.

“I’ve been criticized for a surplus, but right now it’s carrying us,” he said.

It is important to keep taxes low because the town is going to have a lower tax base with all the properties that are coming off the tax rolls, he said.

Hardendorf could not be reached. He previously served as supervisor from 1985-97, when he stepped down to focus on his career.

Pietromonaco said she is running because she wants to change the way town business is conducted.

“I think the people of the town of Fulton, they deserve to be told the truth and not misled,” she said. “There shouldn’t be any political favors.”

She said she would donate her salary to the community if elected.

Democrats Carrie M. Bowman and Anne Kovac are competing against Republicans James Heiser and Richard Mix for two seats on the Town Council.


The Middleburgh supervisor’s race features two new faces, as incumbent Dennis Richards opted not to run again. James S. Buzon, who has the Democratic, Conservative and Independence lines, is facing off against Republican David Lloyd.

Buzon said his top priority is helping the community get back on its feet and attracting a new grocery store to the area. The Grand Union was completely flooded. “Everybody has to travel miles to Cobleskill to get anything. That’s a real hardship for our elderly,” he said.

Buzon also opposes hydrofracking because he is worried it will harm the environment and would not benefit local people.

He also believes the county needs a new nursing home.

David Lloyd, who has been on the Town Board for 10 years, said his top issues are improving the disaster notification system and getting a new nursing home.

“I was right in the middle of this last flood. The notification was terrible, partly because our emergency management [center] was flooded out,” he said.

He also said he is not totally against hydrofracking but believes it needs to be regulated.

Competing for two seats on the Town Board are Democrats William F. Dyer and Sara Masterson and Republicans Susan C. Makely and Frank Herodes.


Voters will choose between Richard “Dick” Lape and Scott Bennett for supervisor. Lape is currently serving in the position after assuming the office when John Barlow resigned in November 2010 because of declining health. Barlow died in May.

Bennett is making his second bid for supervisor. In 2009, he lost to Barlow by one vote.

His top issue is spending. “Budgets are out of control. A lot of the people I talk to in Richmondville, they’ve just had it with the taxes,” he said.

He said he would like to increase economic development. The town has two exits off Interstate 88 but is not capitalizing on that.

Bennett also believes hydrofracking would not be compatible with the town and should be regulated by local zoning.

Lape said he would like to continue the projects that are ongoing, including finishing up a new highway facility.

Rebuilding infrastructure such as roads damaged by the flooding is also a priority.

Lape, who was on the Town Board for five years, said he has a good work ethic. “I’m on the job every day,” he said.

Competing for two seats on the Town Board are Democrat Vernon F. Hall and Republicans Eric Haslun and Todd C. Sperbeck.


In the Schoharie town supervisor race, residents will chose between Republican incumbent Martin Shrederis and Democratic challenger Gene Milone.

Milone, who has been a councilman for the last four years, said he is disappointed with the lack of leadership in the town.

His top issues are getting a new nursing home for the county and rebuilding infrastructure.

“We are the only county in the state without a skilled nursing home facility,” he said. “Many of our residents are traveling as far as an hour away to be accommodated.”

Milone also said he has asked for federal assistance from the Army Corps of Engineers on dredging from the Gilboa Dam all the way to the Mohawk River. He believes flooding could happen again if the problem isn’t fixed. He also wants a ban on hydrofracking.

Shrederis said he has the necessary experience, having been supervisor for 14 years and a councilman for six years before that.

“In that time span, I’ve made a lot of contacts with a lot of different individuals to make things happen in the town and the county,” he said.

His top priority is getting people back into their homes to help preserve the tax base as much as possible.

Competing for two seats on the Town Council are Democrat Patricia Conboy, Republican Richard Sherman and James P. Schultz, who has multiple lines.


Incumbent Republican Bill Goblet and Democratic challenger Jean Burton face off for the Wright supervisor’s position.

Goblet said he did accomplish some things in his first term, but then the tropical storms hit and did a lot of damage. He has also worked in construction, which is helpful in rebuilding some of the infrastructure damaged during the storm.

He is pleased with the town’s fiscal management.

“We’ve been very frugal and very careful with our money. We did manage to get two roads paved this year,” he said.

He said while on the county Board of Supervisors, he was able to help cut spending by getting rid of non-mandated services.

Burton, who has spent the last two years on the Schoharie Town Board, pointed to her accomplishments in convincing the board to appoint a town attorney to have its own legal counsel. She worked with the highway committee and recommended upgrading its equipment by purchasing a loader for the Highway Department.

She pointed to her involvement in a project to refurbish the tennis and basketball courts, complete a town court audit and oversee waste management services.

Democrats Kevin Moody and Edward A. Thornton and Republicans Frederick W. Martin and Alex K. Luniewski are competing for two seats on the Town Board.

In other contested races:

• Broome: Democrats Jeremy Dupont and Ed Johnson and Republicans Dave Simkins and Joe Piscatella are vying for two seats on the Town Board.

• Conesville: Democrats Catherine J. Riedl and Paul Z. Hilliker and Republicans Kelly Smith and Ronald Berry are vying for two Town Board seats.

• Esperance: Todd Cipperly, Brian R. Largeteau and Timothy S. Rank are running for two Town Board seats.

• Jefferson: Democrats Tom Clark and Helen Tari and Republicans Russell H. Danforth and Margaret A. Hait are vying for two Town Board seats.

• Seward: Democrats Kevin Collins and Nancy Kniskern and Republican Debra Hagadorn are seeking two seats on the Town Board.

• Sharon: Democrats Nancy DiPace Pfau and Glen Goldfarb are competing against Republicans Carl D. Ullman and Brian R. Young for two seats on the Town Council. Also, voters will decide whether to increase the annual operating budget of the Sharon Springs Free Library by $5,000 to $43,000 per year.

Categories: Schenectady County

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