Michele Coons

Michele Coons

GUILDERLAND — Michele Coons, a registered Conservative running for the town board on the Republican ticket, made an unsuccessful run for the board four years ago.

“I have more experience now,” she said, of her decision to run again. “I just feel like I need to do something for Guilderland.”

Coons works as director of member services for the Retail Council of New York State. She has volunteered with Guilderland Pop Warner football and Guilderland Babe Ruth baseball.

“I am helping people in Guilderland, but I am not helping all the people in Guilderland,” she said. “I just think I am meant to do that.”

In terms of vacant buildings in town, “We are looking at a couple of different issues,” said Coons. “You have resident buildings and commercial buildings.”

She said she did not realize, until being out on the campaign trail, how many houses were vacant.

“I do worry about vacant buildings like that, even if the grounds are being taken care of, you don’t know what could be going on inside,” she said.

Vacant commercial buildings, she said, are buildings that could be revitalized and put back on the tax rolls.

“We need to put all of our ideas together to figure out how to take care of residences and commercial buildings,” she said. “One person is not going to have all of the answers.”

Coons believes that Guilderland should set a specific policy for businesses wanting to open and be consistent in enforcing that policy.

“You can’t keep having everybody jump through hoops,” she said.

“As long as you follow the rules, then the door is open to hear what you have to say,” she continued. “It’s not just about you are, it’s about what you are going to do for the town.”

Putting businesses on the tax roll will help offset homeowners’ taxes, she said.

“I think we need to put together a committee of people who have already developed, people who want to develop, residents, and board members, to hash out what needs to be done,” said Coons.

“It all comes down to not just picking and choosing who is going to go in, but who is going to go in and if they are going to be friendly to people and good for the area,” she said.

Coons said the tax rate has been the lowest in the county since long before Supervisor Kenneth Runion took office.

“That’s been spouted for many supervisors,” she said.

In her opinion, though, the services in town have declined over the years.

“If you go to the parks, they aren’t maintained as well because they don’t hire as many part-time maintenance workers,” she said. “There are more services we can offer to seniors and the town could get more involved with youth services.”

Taxes do not need to be raised to increase services, she said, but, the tax base needs to be raised, and that’s where revitalizing some of the vacant commercial buildings would come into play.

Coons also pointed out that, although the town tax has not increased, there are sometimes new tax lines in a given year.

“They are able to move taxes around to a different line so it doesn’t look like your town taxes went up,” she said.

Coons said she could not really comment on renewable energy because she was not familiar enough with it to know if it would make sense financially.

“I do like going green, and if we can find a way to save money and save energy I am all for it,” she said. “I’d need to see a proposal and look at all the facts first.”

The bottom line, said Coons, is that she cares about Guilderland.

“I grew up in Guilderland; I treasure Guilderland,” she said. “I want to make Guilderland a home for families so they can stay here.”

More Guilderland News

  • “This means a great deal to not only this community, but my family as well,” said Councilwoman Amanda Beedle on flying the pride flag. She said she had brought the matter to the board because she wanted “to show that this town is very open and inclusive and welcoming to all.”

  • 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. 

  • Superintendent Marie Wiles says the hope is the added funds will increase the number of places available so that families who were disappointed in lottery results may still have a chance of their children attending. “This is a game changer for our partners,” she said of the preschools the district works with, “and for our community.”

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