GOP candidates will be more inclusive and accountable

To the Editor:

This is an open letter to the residents of Westerlo.

Our country is a representative republic as established by our Founding Fathers and, as such, so too is our town government. Quoting the American Heritage Dictionary, a “republic” is defined as: “A political order in which the supreme power lies in a body of citizens who are entitled to vote for officers and representatives responsible to them.”

That’s right, my fellow citizens: You have the supreme power. It is up to you to vote for officers who will be responsible to you. This Nov. 7 election has two open town board member seats on the ballot.

It is time now to seriously consider the power you have to elect representatives who are serious about the oath they take to represent the body of citizens in the town of Westerlo.

Over the past few months, I have heard repeatedly from residents that it is useless to attend town board meetings because the town board members do not consider input from town residents in their decisions. I’ve also heard — and personally witnessed — the board members treat residents disrespectfully.

In addition to lack of decorum, there are basic administrative and procedural problems facing the current administration. Town board reports lack the transparency and detail required to keep residents apprised of how funds are expended.

There is never an “Actual vs. Budget Year to Date Report” presented for the residents to view and bills are rarely discussed but rather glossed over with little scrutiny. Taxpayers deserve better.

There are two candidates running for town board this year who are advocating for a more inclusive and accountable town board: Rich Filkins and Kevin Flensted. Both Rich and Kevin will appear on the Republican and Reform lines on the Nov. 7 general election ballot.

Among the many items Rich and Kevin are advocating for are open communication and more respectful behavior between the public and board, disclosure and discussion of town documents such as monthly reports and bills subject to a town board vote, and increased fiscal responsibility through proper negotiation of fees and costs for projects and contracts.

There are opportunities for the town of Westerlo to secure its financial future and attract residents and new businesses. By doing so, we can expand opportunities for seniors and young professionals, lower property taxes and utility costs, and expand internet access. We can do all that while still maintaining our suburban character.

Though it is an “off election year,” it does not make this election any less important. I am confident that Rich and Kevin will serve with integrity, honesty, and transparency. They will conduct business in a pragmatic and fiscally responsible manner, always seeking to provide clarity to the residents when asked.

They will serve all residents of the town and their best interests. It is time to exercise your supreme power as residents of the town of Westerlo and elect representatives who will be responsible to you! Please consider voting for them on Tuesday, Nov. 7, Election Day.

For polling place information, you may contact the Westerlo Town Clerk’s office at: (518) 797-3111. Anyone who wishes to vote but does not have transportation to their polling location may contact me at (518) 396-0350 to make transportation arrangements.

Lisa DeGroff, chairwoman

Westerlo Town GOP