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Syed, Weber square off in race for Niskayuna supervisor

Syed, Weber square off in race for Niskayuna supervisor

Candidates explain why they are running for the town's top elected office
Syed, Weber square off in race for Niskayuna supervisor
Yasmine Syed, right, and Lisa Weber

Yasmine Syed will seek her second two-year term as Niskayuna town supervisor on Tuesday.

Town Councilwoman Lisa Weber is challenging the incumbent.

Both candidates have explained why they are running for the town's top elected office, in statements posted on social media.

"I am running for re-election to build on the progress made in my first term," said Syed, a Republican.

"I have kept my promises to make town government more transparent, to treat all town employees with dignity and respect and to put us on a positive fiscal path for the future, all of this while holding the line on taxes, securing climate smart energy agreements, improving our athletic fields and open spaces and launching the town's first farmers market."

Weber, a Democrat, has been a member of the Town Board since 2016.

"I am running for Niskayuna supervisor to lead our community and ensure the issues we all care about get the thoughtful attention, debate and action they deserve," she said.

"I’ve been an independent thinker and leader during my years on the Town Board as chairwoman of the Community Programs Committee and Senior Citizens Advisory Committee," Weber also said. "That leadership has resulted in lowering taxes and pushing back on efforts to raise fees, expanding community services, investing in infrastructure and initiatives that have made Niskayuna one of the 'greenest' communities in the state and tackling the scourge of zombie properties that devalue our homes and cause health and safety problems."

Vote 2019: Your guide to Tuesday's elections

Syed was a political newcomer when she defeated 10-year incumbent Joe Landry in 2017. Syed received 3,631 votes to Landry's 2,897 -- or 54 percent to 43 percent. At the time, Syed was a senior budget analyst at Albany Medical Center.

Weber's work experience includes a legislative aide position for the state Assembly Health Committee, an advocate for the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists NYS, and coordinator for the Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) Program of the Capital Region, assisting children in Family Court.

Weber has said her Town Board experience includes work for a 2 percent tax decrease in the 2017 town budget and no tax increase for the 2018 budget. She has also worked on the completion of the town's waste water treatment facility, secured new playground equipment at Avon Crest and Blatnick Park and helped bring the town's new splash pad to Blatnick Park.

The candidates have met twice during the campaign, once in September at an environmental and energy forum sponsored by the New York League of Conservation Voters Education Fund and in October during a town candidates forum sponsored by the Schenectady County League of Women Voters.

The town budget has become an issue. Syed's preliminary and tentative budgets for 2020 have been released without tax increases; Weber said she believes the budget has been built on "inaccuracies and pie-in-the-sky revenue estimates."

"If we don't have a good handle on how much revenue is actually coming in, it's hard to budget appropriately for expenses and not end up with a big hole," she said, after the board voted to adopt the preliminary budget earlier this month. The vote had to be taken under law.

The candidates also gave reasons for their campaigns during the League's forum.

Weber said she has lived in the town for the past 18 years.

"I am running for town supervisor because I am committed to preserving and building on the very things that drew my family to Niskayuna to begin with," she said. "I want to ensure that our town remains as strong, safe community for the people who live here."

Syed said, "Under my leadership we are more fiscally sound, more transparent and more accountable to our residents and employees than ever.

"I've brought forth new and original ideas, like launching a  dedicated YouTube channel so residents can live stream all of our town board meetings."

Contact Gazette reporter Jeff Wilkin at 518-395-3124 or at [email protected]

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