Snyder won’t seek re-election to New Scotland Town Board

Patricia Snyder

Patricia Snyder

NEW SCOTLAND — While neither party will have a contested primary on June 25, both the New Scotland Democrats and Republicans are gearing up for a fall election that will see two seats on the town board up for grabs.

Incumbent William Hennessy will seek his third four-year term, while Patricia Snyder has decided, after eight years as a councilwoman, not to seek re-election. Both are Democrats.

In Snyder’s place, the New Scotland Democrats are backing Bridgit Burke. Glenn Schultz and Timothy Stanton will be running on the Republican ticket.  

Asked why he’s running again, Hennessy, an engineer, said, “I thoroughly enjoy working on the town board and I have some issues that I want to complete.”

Among the issues, Hennessy said, are the consolidation of some of the town’s water districts and transitioning the role of planner from a subcontractor position to a staff job. Currently, Jeremy Cramer, the town’s building inspector, is pulling double duty, Hennessy said, performing his actual job while also dealing with zoning and planning issues as they come into Town Hall.

Lastly, Hennessy said, he’d like to continue improving both Hilton Park and the Hilton Barn.

Burke, an attorney, believes that the town is headed in the right direction and said that, as a member of the planning board, to which she was appointed in September 2018, she has been able to serve the community. And now, as a candidate for town board, she’d like to make a bigger contribution.

Schultz said that he has been involved in local politics for his entire life; his father had been a town judge and served for a time as the mayor of Voorheesville. Schultz, a first-time candidate, has served as president of the New Scotland Republican Committee. He works as the national director of sales and marketing for Wyatt Engineering, a Rhode Island-based parts manufacturer.

He feels now is the time to get more involved because he doesn’t “particularly like what is going on in town.” As a Voorheesville resident — and member of the village zoning board of appeals — Schultz said that the village has done a good job with its waste and water infrastructure whereas the town has done little for its infrastructure.

The current town board, Schultz said, lacks an interest in attracting business to New Scotland — to be clear, he’s not talking about big-box stores. “No one wants to do business here in the town of New Scotland,” he said.

Stanton’s reason for running is simple.

“I like to see choice,” he said.

Over the past five years, he said, the town board has had very few votes that weren’t unanimous. So, Stanton wants to give those residents who may not agree with all of the unanimous votes a choice. Stanton, a farmer, has previously made unsuccessful bids for town board and county legislature.

As for Snyder, who worked in finance before retiring, she said that she’s had the pleasure of serving for eight years, and “enjoyed it tremendously.” But now is a good time to step aside and allow new people with new ideas to step up, she said, adding that she never intended to have a long tenure as a board member.

It would also seem that she’s accomplished what she set out to do when she decided to run eight years ago — change the nature of development in town.

“I didn’t do anything by myself,” she said; it had been a collective effort.

Snyder said that she took a special interest in planning and land-use issues when a lot of the current development in town was in its infancy; she was interested in how the community and surrounding areas would be affected by the development.

When the “big-box” issue came up, she said, she had been approached by some town residents who knew her interest in planning issues and asked her to get involved.

A decade ago, controversy gripped New Scotland when an out-of-town developer proposed building a large-scale Target-anchored shopping center on Route 85A on what had once been the Bender melon farm.

Then, “we, as a town board,” were able to “elevate some of the standards” that the planning board had been using, Snyder said.

Some planning-board members “cycled out,” Snyder said, and, so, the town board was able to appoint members whose views were different from those of their predecessors.

“I think that, that, in and of itself, was a huge accomplishment because that brought along with it, I think, some more cohesive relationships” between the planning and town boards, which made it easier to work on such long-term projects as the New Scotland Hamlet Zoning Plan and an update to the town’s comprehensive plan. Snyder said those are important tools that the town needs to move forward in a direction that residents agree with.

The planning board now, Snyder said, in a way, takes a more “insightful look” at the way development unfolds in town and thinks about the impact that it may have on surrounding areas.


More New Scotland News

The Altamont Enterprise is focused on hyper-local, high-quality journalism. We produce free election guides, curate readers' opinion pieces, and engage with important local issues. Subscriptions open full access to our work and make it possible.