Within a week of Dan Lewza’s announcement that he won’t seek re-election as Milton town supervisor, an outspoken Town Board Member who has often opposed him says she will seek the position this fall.
“I would have run against Dan,” said Barbara Kerr, a Republican board member first elected in 2011. “I’ve been planning on this.”
Kerr attributed past disagreements with Lewza, another Republican, to them both wanting to serve the interests of Milton residents.
“I think we both feel as if we’re doing the right thing for the town,” she said. “There were times when we kind of clashed, but we were able to work it out most of the time.”
The Milton Republican Committee plans to meet Monday, April 24, to interview candidates and endorse a candidate for supervisor. Chairwoman Anna Stanko said two other council members, Benny Zlotnick and Scott Ostrander, are interested in running.
Ostrander, a 29-year Ballston Spa village police officer who is retiring from the department in June, was appointed to fill a vacancy on the Town Board on March 1.
“If I do not get the endorsement, I will primary,” Kerr said.
Kerr said it’s been difficult being an opposing voice on the board that consists of five Republicans, “and I don’t want to always be that negative voice, so I’ve made compromises.” She said was surprised by the news that Lewza wasn’t seeking re-election, and didn’t hear about it until the press release went out on Monday.
In February, the board voted 3-2 to advertise a vacant Town Board position in a non-partisan manner at Kerr’s urging. Lewza voted against the move and ultimately left the search to the town Republican committee, which recommended Ostrander.
More recently, at Wednesday night’s Town Board meeting, Kerr went against the four other board members who voted to appoint Republican committee member Megan Soden to the town Zoning Board, which goes against the town’s ethics code, “with the stipulation that the code would be changed,” Kerr said. The board plans to vote on changing the ethics code, adopted in 2010, at its next meeting. Kerr said she was involved in promoting the creation of the code as a resident.
“My objection, and why I won’t vote to change it, is that they should not be sitting on a policy-making board,” she said.
As supervisor, Kerr said she would focus on tightening the budget.
“I think we have to stop drawing from our reserve funds to balance the budget,” she said. “We have to live within our means.”
In announcing he wouldn’t seek re-election, Lewza said he was pleased that the town’s budget reserves have increased, however, from $100,000 when he took over in 2012 to about $2.4 million today.
Kerr also said she would work to rebuild relationships and “regain our status” with neighboring communities in Saratoga County, and develop a five-year plan to upgrade or rebuild Milton Town Hall.
“The majority want to leave Town Hall right where it is, but we’re in dire need of renovations and upgrades, and a lot of fixing,” she said.
Kerr said she’s been planning on running for supervisor “for a while, and that’s why I ran so hard for my position two years ago when I had to primary.”
After not receiving the town Republican committee’s endorsement to run for a second four-year term on the Town Board in 2015, Kerr forced a primary and received more votes than the two party-endorsed candidates.
Stanko said anyone interested in being interviewed to run for the two-year supervisor position, as well as a four-year board term, should send a letter of intent and resume to her at 32 Kent St., Ballston Spa, NY 12020 no later than April 20.