District 33 Herbert Reilly

District 33
Herbert Reilly

NEW SCOTLAND – Herbert Reilly believes in representative government, and says that he feels he can "be the people’s voice in county government."
Reilly is running for a third term as the county legislator of the 33rd District, which covers the northeastern section of New Scotland, the entire village of Voorheesville, and a portion of the town of Bethlehem.

Reilly, in his early 70s, has lived in Voorheesville since 1963, where he is a licensed funeral director. He owns Reilly & Son Funeral Home in Colonie and Voorheesville.

He became interested in politics during Richard Nixon’s administration, he said. He was a member on the New Scotland Town Board for 10 years, and was town supervisor for 12 years.

Reilly, who answered The Enterprise questions in writing, had a long list of his accomplishments in the legislature. He helped get Empire Zone classification for the Atlas-Copco Company in Voorheesville; helped make $1 million available to support the Vista Tech Park in Bethlehem and New Scotland; supported project labor agreements for the construction of the new criminal courthouse and renovations to the 1918 courthouse; and sought solar energy for the Albany County Hockey facility.
Reilly was also the chief sponsor of a resolution to acquire the abandoned D & H railways for a biking and hiking trail, he said. "We have $700,000 in grants to purchase the property and $3,660,000 in the capital budget for engineering and construction," he said.
His goals for the upcoming term include: completing the rail-trail project, renovating the seat of county government and the courthouse, and, "most importantly," said Reilly, building a new nursing home.

County issues
Reilly said that he currently represents 5,962 voters. "At this level," he said, "I have an opportunity to meet many of my constituents in my daily activities and feel I can personally address their needs." In his written response, Reilly continued, "We have a very diverse district, with residential areas, businesses and farms in close proximity and I think it’s important to be able to see things from your neighbor’s perspective."

Larger districts, he said, would likely result in an increase in salaries and staff, and could potentially cause a decrease in the personal interaction between constituents and the legislature.
Regarding the county sales tax, Reilly says that 40 percent of sales-tax receipts are shared with municipalities. "When this item comes up for renewal each year, the local governments, both Republican and Democrat, are unanimous in their request for the county to keep the tax," he said.
"A great deal of the money is generated by non-residents at our large malls. To offset this loss, a large property tax increase would be required," Reilly said.

With respect to agriculture, Reilly said that the legislature is involved in countywide planning with the three agriculture districts, and implemented the right-to-farm law. He is an active board member of the Cooperative Extension and of the Soil and Water Committee — both, he said, offer assistance to the farming community.

Reilly said he is a proponent of the nursing home. The Berger Commission recommended 250 beds, while the legislature suggested a 370-bed nursing home.
"I support a 370-bed nursing home. I think it is unacceptable that residents are being sent out of the state for care," Reilly said.
Regarding the convention center, Reilly said the cost was originally estimated to be $200 million; the county directed $1 million from a 1-percent "bed tax" toward the cost. The bed tax comes from hotel and motel use, he said. The cost is now estimated to be 50 percent higher. "Sources of revenue other than the county will have to be found if the project is to go forward," said Reilly.
"Shared services isn’t something new," Reilly said. When he was supervisor, he said, it was common for New Scotland to share equipment with the village of Voorheesville and the county.

He cited the county large vehicle-washing facility shared with the school and other municipalities. His efforts, he said, helped the county’s department of public works to reach an agreement with the Voorheesville School District to purchase gasoline through the facility.
"Through the County Municipal Services Board, 19 municipalities use our purchasing power. This process should continue to grow," Reilly concluded.

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