Marion Cooke, Rensselaerville town board candidate
RENSSELAERVILLE — Now in her first term as a town board member, Marion Cooke wants to continue for another four years.
“I’m running because I think the town is running on an even keel and I’d like to see it stay that way,” said Cooke, who is also deputy supervisor.
An enrolled Conservative and member of the local Conservative committee, Cooke has Republican, Conservative, and Independence Party endorsement this election.
Cooke, 60, owned and operated for 23 years the West Winds Diner in Preston Hollow. For the last 13 years, she has worked in the accounting department of GNH Lumber.
Heading the town’s safety committee that was encouraged by its workers’ compensation insurance provider, Cooke has been taking online classes to become the town’s safety coordinator. She applauded the town’s response to Tropical Storm Irene, but said more could be done in the future and hopes the plan for communications from the Albany County Sheriff’s Office throughout the county comes through.
The town’s budget reflects the board’s frugality with the “bare necessities,” Cooke said, and she expects it will allow for necessary budgeting for future expenses, like updating the town’s computers and creating capital funds to save money and avoid spikes in the tax levy. She noted the budget is tentative and could change, as could health and retirement insurance rates that she said make the tax cap unsustainable.
The printed and mailed newsletter, cut out of the budget last year to help keep the tax levy down, is something the town would likely be doing in a more electronic format, or printed only for central locations, not mailed, Cooke said. She did not give a specific plan she favored, but explained that people can already sign up for e-mail alerts with the calendar of events on the town’s website and volunteers should be sought for any needed labor.
“I don’t see it going back to the format that we had before, myself,” said Cooke.
She said the town would be reviewing the procedures of the board of ethics.
“The assessing department is a separate department from the town board,” said Cooke. “We have no control over the assessing department other than giving the money they need in their budget.”
Cooke said public opinion, not her personal view, will factor in her vote on any zoning regulations.
“Myself, personally, I don’t want to take the chance that, 10 years down the road, we have contaminated water in the area,” said Cooke on the subject of hydraulic fracturing.
Of zoning laws in general, Cooke said she would like to make sure laws are not too strict or discouraging for business.
“We have a part-time zoning officer,” said Cooke. “We are in a rural area. I want to make sure they are enforceable and that the people that live here can live with them.”
Cooke said the cross endorsement of Gerald Wood in this election doesn’t provide a substantial advantage. She said the Conservative committee in Rensselaerville hasn’t had a meeting in years.
“With the town council position, there’s two positions open. So, I don’t feel that he has any better chance than myself or Jeanette,” Cooke said of candidates Wood and Jeanette Rice. “People are going to vote for who they think are going to do the best job.”