Brian Forte

Brian Forte

GUILDERLAND — Democrat Brian Forte, a current town board member, will run for supervisor on the Republican ticket.

He interviewed for endorsement from his own party, but Peter Barber received the nod instead, and he said he wasn’t allowed to interview to keep his town board seat.

Forte said his message as a Republican candidate is largely the same as it would have been as a Democratic candidate.

Having been a town police officer for more than 30 years, Forte said he has a good working knowledge of the community.

Forte had been arrested in December in Herkimer County for operating a snow mobile while intoxicated, but he issued a public apology at a town board meeting in January, explaining the circumstances, calling it a “stupid mistake,” and promising it would never happen again.

He said he did not think the arrest would be an obstacle to his campaign.

On neglected buildings, Forte said, “Since we passed the new ordinance, our building and zoning departments are working on getting the contacts of the owners of the properties in question and getting them to adhere to it.”

He said the town is also attempting to discover what the status of the properties is — whether they are in foreclosure, are for sale, or are simply abandoned.

“Should they not adhere to cleaning up the properties or bringing them into compliance with the town standards, the town can go ahead and do the work and charge a bond towards whatever they have to do to make the property safe and secure,” he said.

The town has financial securities in place so that, if the property owners do not pay, it will not fall to the taxpayers, he said.

“I hope as supervisor I’ll be able to work closely with these folks to encourage them to reinvigorate properties or bring in new development to clean up a lot of those areas,” said Forte.

The town could, he said, do a better job at bringing in some smart economic growth with businesses and commercial properties.

“Along the commercial corridor, we could work a little more closely with developers to help reshape those properties,” he said.

He said business owners seem to shy away from Guilderland because of the perception that the town is unfriendly and more cooperation needs to be fostered.

He also said he would encourage the town to re-examine the comprehensive plan.

“It hasn’t been touched in 15 years and it’s supposed to be a living, breathing document that gets regenerated all the time,” he said. “I would consider having a new committee go through it and make sure it is adequate for now and for where it needs to be in the future.”

The town’s ultimate goal, said Forte, is to keep the tax rate down and provide as many services as possible.

“With smart economic growth and an increase of businesses we can offset part of the tax burden,” he said. “One of the issues we’re going to face is that the budget is pretty bare bones, and we provide great services, but to provide even better services costs money; we have to find ways to do that without increasing taxes.”

Alternative energy is something Forte said he has been looking at since he has been a town board member.

“I first looked at bringing solar to all municipal buildings to decrease our electric bill, which is quite high,” he said. “We use a lot of energy.”

The town looked at putting a solar farm on the landfill, but the grid there would not support that much energy being provided to its system, he said.

“It’s something where, if they upgraded the grid in that area, we could put a solar farm there and that would be a great asset,” said Forte. “Green energy is definitely the way to go; anything we can do to go green is great.”

“I think we need to build stronger relationships with the business community and work more cooperatively with other civic organizations, including the school, library, and other municipalities,” he said. “We can cut our expenses but provide better services.”

More Guilderland News

  • The legal decision is the fifth in four years to uphold the town’s approval process of what was initially a three-site development proposal from Pyramid for over 200 apartments and townhomes; a 160,000-square-foot warehouse-price club; and only recently, a $55 million 120,000-square-foot regional cancer center. 

  • The May 17 petition filed by Cuyler Court residents William and Colleen Anders claims that, in July 2023, the town’s use of heavy equipment to access “stormwater or water management facilities” caused damage to their driveway and yard, which when combined with Guilderland’s “negligence and failure to maintain certain components” of those facilities, led to “significant flooding” of the Anders’ basement six months later. 

  • “This legislation levels the playing field for hotels and motels by collecting sales and occupancy tax on short-term rentals, addressing an estimated $550 million in lost local revenue over the past five years,” said the bill’s sponsors.

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