I want help from partners who will work to build on our successes

To the Editor:

I am so grateful for my five years as town supervisor, and thankful for your kind words of support for our town employees who have seen us through the last 15 months. Now, I ask for your support for town board candidates Paul Pastore and Amanda Beedle in the Democratic Party primary on June 22, in hopes of continuing our work to foster a generous and close-knit community that is welcoming to all.

In recent years, this town administration has advanced a progressive agenda of which I am extremely proud. Several years ago, with the support of the chief of police and officers, our town added body and car cameras, and this year, embraced significant police reform with paramedics helping in difficult overdose and mental illness cases.

In a similar spirit, we have fully supported state-financed affordable housing for seniors and people with disabilities, as well as backed award-winning net-zero energy apartment options for young families, down-sizing seniors, and residents who cannot afford or do not want to live in single-family houses.

And, with an eye toward making quality entertainment accessible to all, this year, the town will remodel GPAC [Guilderland Performing Arts Center] with landscaped terraced seating areas, new light and sound systems, and an expanded stage for larger productions, and will supplement last summer’s introduction of Pines Pavilion, an outdoor covered space for ensembles at the golf course.

Our town has embraced all residents’ right to a clean, safe, and beautiful outdoors. In the past few years, our town has acquired at least 300 acres of open space, created some 10 miles of hiking trails, and made all parks “non-smoking.”

This year, using state legislation passed just last week, our town will start a novel conservation-easement program under which landowners can receive property tax incentives for preserving open space. Later this year, we expect PSC [Public Service Commission]’s approval of our application to purchase National Grid’s street lights and convert them to LED [light-emitting diode], building on a long-standing commitment to environmental best practices.

Our town is also a founding member of the local Community Choice Aggregation program, which will allow for the bulk purchase of electricity for homes from renewable sources, and a Climate Smart Community, with new EV [electric vehicle] charging stations, expedited building permits for home solar installations, and converting Town Hall lighting to LED.

Our whole town benefits when it is accessible to, and safe for, pedestrians and bicyclists. In the past seven years, the town has laid down almost 30 miles of sidewalk, and, this year, we will add new sidewalks on Old State Road to Lynnwood Elementary and Western Avenue to Guilderland Elementary and Guilderland Public Library; next year, we will put sidewalks on Carman Road to Pine Bush Elementary.

With an approved grant, our administration is excited to soon start adding bike lanes on popular routes through our town. The planned bike routes reflect a collaboration between the town and the University at Albany's Graduate Planning School to create networks of bike lanes and multi-use paths between residential developments and schools, parks, and other popular destinations.

Before, during, and after the pandemic, your safety and well-being have always been our highest priority.  In 2018, the town proactively started a new ambulance service which, with talented EMS [emergency medical services] paramedics, now delivers advanced-life support, full overnight coverage, and reduced response times.

When the pandemic arrived, these EMS ambulance teams transported 276 positive residents to hospitals, and, using a rare special state license, vaccinated more than 1,000 residents, including hundreds of students and homebound residents.

During the pandemic, our administration worked hard to offer safe year-round outdoor activities to the public, including pool, golf course and hiking trail access, a children’s summer camp, and twice-weekly concerts at GPAC and the Pines Pavilion.

We also quickly expanded “contact-less” services on our award-winning website, as well as having issued daily COVID-19 emails every single day since March 10, 2020. We at Town Hall and our facilities are all proud that we met not only our residents’ needs but also our employees’ needs, with no layoffs, and no furloughs.

I am not looking to change course from continuing to pursue this forward-looking agenda which prioritizes the diverse needs of our residents, and I want help from partners who will work to build on our successes. I want persons with a history of public service, and who have shown deep care and concern for others. I hope to work with people whose goal is promoting the community’s quality of life and making hard decisions based on data and merit. I want partners who are kind and considerate, and have shown appreciation for the hard work of public employees. I hope to continue working with people who are not divisive, and also value our town’s growing diversity. I want to associate with board members who agree that our town should continue to provide opportunities for all persons, regardless of race, economic, or social status, to live and raise families in our wonderful and caring community.

I ask that you join me in casting your vote for Paul Pastore and Amanda Beedle in the Democratic Party primary on June 22.

Thank you for your continued support, and please stay safe and calm.

Peter G. Barber


Editor’s note: Peter Barber, a Democrat, is Guilderland’s supervisor. He is not being challenged in the June 22 Democratic primary.

More Letters to the Editor

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.