2017 Rensselaerville election: Marie Dermody for council

Marie Dermody

RENSSELAERVILLE — Marie Dermody says, “You have no right to complain if you don’t want to fix what’s broken. I’m putting my money where my mouth is.”

Dermody, a Democrat, is running for a council seat on the Democratic line.

She has produced the R’ville Community Newsletter for four years, which is emailed, for free, to about 200 people, she said; the town has about 1,800 taxable properties.

“I’ve been to 98 percent of the meetings,” Dermody said of monthly town board meetings. “I’ve been very vocal.”

Dermody previously served on the Rensselaerville Board of Assessment Review, and was on the town board for four years. She was also elected supervisor but resigned soon after.

“Just prior to my stepping down,” she said this week, “I had voted town over party and I lost significant party backing for a short while The board refused to accept my financial statement … I was getting knocked around. According to them, I could do nothing right ... My husband and I had surgery scheduled. I didn’t need the stress.”

Dermody, who taught elementary school in Ulster county for 33 years, is 69 years old.

If Dermody is elected to the town board, her chief goal is to get “more taxpayer involvement and participation.” She said she was the only person in the audience at the last town meeting.

She went on, “I get the sense people have been shut out.” She wants to make sure things are not done in “perceived secrecy.”

She explained that phrase by saying she thought the board was “deciding things outside of meetings and then rubber-stamping” decisions in public sessions. “I’m told I’m wrong,” she said.

Dermody also said, “If I’m fortunate enough to be elected, I will represent the town and not pursue a personal or hidden agenda. I am for transparency.”

On the budget, Dermody said, “With a tax cap, you never have as much money as you’d like. But it makes a board aware of the impact on the taxpayer’s wallet.”

She noted the town has recently purchased a generator and said, “The highway superintendent apparently has enough to buy whatever he wants.”

She concluded with a question, “Is the amount of the levy reasonable?” She answered herself, “In some places, probably not.”

On revaluation, Dermody said,  “I’m not sure a total town-wide reval is necessary. I’m not cognizant of problems there.

“Our assessors should not inflict ‘Welcome, neighbor’ on new residents,” she said, indicating new property owners should not be charged more.

Dermody also said, “Reval is costly.” She noted the upcoming year, with additional expenses for county ambulance service, would not be a good time to take on the costs.

On the local economy, Dermody said, “The town wants commercial enterprises for the tax base..” Although many have said they want commercial development, they don’t want it in their own backyards, said Dermody.

“I live between a saw mill and a car-repair shop,” said Dermody. “I’m very happy here.”

She went on, “You can’t have it both ways. You’ve got to reconcile what you want with what you’re willing to do.”

While she favors commercial development, Dermody also said, “We shouldn’t do anything to negatively affect agriculture.” There’s no reason “you can’t have both,” she said.

On waste disposal, Dermody sid, “As a small town, we do an amazing job with recycling.” Referring to Jon Whitbeck, she said, “Our garbologist is really good about keeping his finger on the pulse of what’s going on” in terms of getting the best deals on selling recyclables.

She noted, “We have electronic recycling full-time,” not just on certain days a few times a year.

As far as recycling organic waste, Dermody asked, “Logistically, where do we put it?”

On affordable housing, Dermody said it is “absolutely” needed. “But that goes with commercial development,” she said. “That all goes to our zoning. And again, you run into ‘not in my backyard.’”

Dermody concluded, “I’m very liberal when it comes to social issues. I want to keep as many people happy as possible … I’m conservative on financial issues.”

On the opioid crisis, Dermody said, “I know our library is really good about providing programs for children.”

She went on, “Years ago, each hamlet had a youth committee for kids. Now, all too often, kids are left to their own devices. It would be good if we could provide alternative, healthy activities for kids. They are our future.”

She concluded, “We can’t sit by idly … We need to provide other avenues for their leisure time.”


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