In Voorheesville: Trustees Straut and Winchell unopposed

— Ashley Waldron Photography

Richard Straut was appointed a Voorheesville trustee in 2016. He won the seat outright in 2017, in an uncontested election. 

Enterprise file photo — Saranac Hale Spencer

Sarita Winchell was appointed a Voorheesville trustee in 2017, after Florence Reddy resigned. 

VOORHEESVILLE — Trustees Richard Straut and Sarita Winchell are running unopposed in the village’s March 19 election. Voorheesville has had one competitive election in the past three decades.

Straut was appointed to the board in 2016, after Brett Hotaling resigned to become the village’s superintendent of public works. He won the seat outright in 2017, in an uncontested election.

That same year, Winchell was appointed to complete the four-year term of the resigning Florence Reddy, who had been appointed to the board in October 2014, following the resignation of David Cardona.

Winchell said that she is looking forward to working on a five-year plan for the village to not only improve existing infrastructure, but also extend sewer lines to the densest parts of the village currently without sewers.

She also highlighted refinancing the bond that was issued to build the Voorheesville firehouse. “It was supposed to end in 2037,” she said of the last payment due on the bond; by refinancing, it will be paid off by 2028, saving village residents about $200,000.

Winchell worked for the Voorheesville Central School District from 1974 to 2011, and then again, in 2014 and 2015, on an interim basis. She began as treasurer for the district and then moved on to become assistant superintendent for business for nine years.

She has lived in the village since 1971. Winchell and her husband, John, have two daughters who live out of the area, and two grandchildren with another one on the way.

Winchell said that she didn’t really know why no one runs for village board, but added, “There’s actually a pretty steep learning curve to be a trustee, and I’m wondering if that kind of makes people shy away from it.”

For her part, she said that she got interested in joining the board after working on the comprehensive plan committee.

Straut and his wife, Diana, have lived in Voorheesville since 2002. The couple has three sons. “The main driving force,” for moving to the village, Straut said, “was the school district.”

Straut is a principal with Barton and Loguidice and used to serve as the village engineer. He set aside his firm’s professional agreement with Voorheesville when he became a trustee.

Straut said that he is looking forward to implementing the comprehensive plan, specifically, the priorities identified as important by the community.

“Walkability,” Straut said, “was a big [priority].” This summer, he said, sidewalks on Altamont Road and Maple and Voorheesville avenues will be installed, extended, or updated. Eighty percent of the cost of the project is covered by federal funds; the village will pay $163,600 and the federal government will cover the remaining $654,400.

In addition, he said, the board is just about done updating the village zoning code and Straut expects to finalize that project in the next month or two; a board workshop has been set for March 12, to finalize the proposed changes to the code.

When asked his thoughts about why no one runs for the village board, Straut said, “You know, I ask myself that all the time … I think people must be content — I like to say happy — but at least content with how things are going. We are fiscally conservative; so our village taxes are low. And we provide good services.”

 

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