Rosemary Centi

Rosemary Centi

Rosemary Centi was the first Democratic clerk in the town of Guilderland, a town that was long dominated by Republicans, and she served in that position for 13 years, before she retired in December 2013.

She retired, in part, she said, because she wanted to spend more time with her family, including her new grandson.

When she announced her decision to run for the town board, earlier this year, she said, “I really feel I have as much experience as some of the current board members.”

As the clerk, she attended all of the meetings, took the minutes, and received all of the same information as the board members.

Through her position as clerk, she said she developed good working relationships with other town employees and made connections with businesses in Guilderland.

“I understand there is a concern with the blights the vacant properties bring to the town,” said Centi. “I also understand there is progress with a lot of the properties.”

Many of the properties, she said, are owned by people who live outside of the town, and, she said, she believes Supervisor Kenneth Runion has been “vigilant” in working toward getting them to take responsibility.

“Should there be some kind of enforcement?” she asked. “Absolutely; but, I don’t think it’s as easy as some people may think it is. You can’t just go knocking on someone’s door and say ‘Clean up your property.’”

Centi said the town has gotten a “bad rap” with businesses and indicated that she did not understand why.

“Of course we need businesses in the town,” she said. “You have to work with the builders and developers and residents to make it work for everyone — not just for the developers and not just for the town.”

She said she had a number of questions she would ask developers and business owners who were proposing something new for the town, including: “How can the town help you? How will you impact the neighborhood? Are you bringing something to the table that is useful to the town and its residents? What are you going to do here that will benefit us?”

Centi lives in a neighborhood off of Carman Road, and said that, if elected, one of her projects would be to get the sidewalks extended and connected on Carman.

“I would love to see Carman look like Western relative to sidewalks,” she said.

There was a Carman Road study done “years ago,” she said, and she went to all the meetings and voiced her opinions, and she said she would try to bring that back to the forefront.

Centi said the town’s Democratic Committee had discussed town finances.

“There is no sense of any of our parts that anything should change,” she said. “As of today, we are committed to keeping the tax rate the lowest in the county and doing whatever it takes to ensure that.”

The Guilderland Democrats are fiscally conservative, she said, “as witnessed by the 16 years we’ve been in office.”

She said that, as clerk, she looked at the town’s budget every year, and didn’t just put her stamp on it, but went through it line by line.

“Something catastrophic could happen, who knows, but, as of right now, the tax rate looks sustainable,” she said. “We’re going to stay the course or I’ll go down trying.”

The current administration has been committed to the quality of life of residents and she is proud to call Guilderland her home, she said.

 “I’m not just saying that, I really am,” she said. “I look around and I think we need to show people what we’ve done.”

She referenced a self-sustained golf course, parks, and walking trails.

“I don’t think people know about all these little things,” she said.

Centi said she did not have any data on renewable energy and that solar energy was “new” to her.

“If we could put solar panels on Town Hall and have it pay for heating and cooling, that would be great, but I would need to see the proposals to make a more educated decision,” she said.

She said she would need to see how it would play out in the long term and if it would be sustainable.

“I don’t know anyone who wouldn’t want to go green unless it wasn’t financially feasible,” said Centi.

One issue Centi said had no bearing at all on how effective she would be as a town board member was her decision to step down as a marriage officer — a volunteer position — when the state legalized same-sex marriages.

“It doesn’t have anything to do with anything,” she said. “I did not refuse to issue licenses, I issued licenses to everyone, I just didn’t perform the ceremonies because of my own personal belief,” she said.

Overall, said Centi, she is 100 percent committed to what is best for the town.

“It’s all about the neighborhood, right?” she asked. “And, Guilderland is everyone’s neighborhood.”

More Guilderland News

  • In a Jan. 5 letter to the Surface Transportation Board, village attorney Allyson Phillips writes that Altamont is opposed to CSX’s attempted acquisition of Pan Am Systems because the running of a 1.7-mile-long train twice per day over the Main Street railroad crossing would leave parts of the village inaccessible to emergency responders for as long as 10 minutes.  

  • Mayor Kerry Dineen noted that the Altamont Zoning Board of Appeals rarely meets, its last meeting — prior to the one on Jan. 11 — having been in September 2020; it met six times that year. The zoning board met twice in 2019. 

  • Curling, says Kathy Bentley, is like playing chess on ice. The ancient Scottish game is not just about technique and precision, but also about strategy. Listen to this week's podcast.

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.