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New Scotland Archives — The Altamont Enterprise, October 13, 2005

Coach mourned by swim team: Sayer was a gift

By Melissa Hale-Spencer

VOORHEESVILLE — Last Thursday, the girls on the Guilderville swim team wore T-shirts they had made for their meet at Burnt Hills. The shirts said, "This one’s for you Ed."

Their assistant coach, Edward David Tilley Sayer, had died the day before. He was 22 and had bravely battled cystic fibrosis for a long time.

"We all loved him," said Stephenie Bintz, 15, a junior at Guilderland High School who has been on the team four years. "We all called him Ed...He’d tell us to do the hardest thing in the world, yet he’d make it fun. He’d encourage us."

All the girls on the team — from both Voorheesville and Guilderland — knew their coach had cystic fibrosis, Bintz said, but, she went on, "He didn’t let it affect him in the pool. He never complained."

"He was always very upbeat and happy," agreed Katie Linehan, 17, a captain of the team; she’s a Guilderland senior who has been on the team since eighth grade. "That was part of the reason we never knew how sick he was."

She also said, "He was very fun, but he took swimming very seriously."

Sayer had graduated from Clayton A. Bouton High School in Voorheesville and gone on to earn a bachelor’s degree at Clarkson University in Potsdam. He was a semester away from completing a master’s degree at the time of his death.

"He swam for Voorheesville," said Ms. Linehan. "He had a lot of stories, which is why we bonded so well. We could talk to him about school and teachers and SAT’s, and the stresses."

Mr. Sayer had been an assistant coach for the team for just this season, which is two months old, yet the bonds he formed were strong, said the girls on the team. With several hours of daily practice and meets besides, Ms. Linehan said, "You spend more time with the team than with your parents."

"He never told us how sick he was," said Ms. Linehan. "Every day, he would go to Albany Med...I researched cystic fibrosis to find out more about it," she said.

She learned it is a hereditary disease of the exocrine glands characterized by the production of abnormally viscous mucus, usually resulting in chronic respiratory infections.

"He carried a little oxygen tank; he called it his buddy," said Ms. Linehan.

"I’m the kind of person who could get mad at a disease," she said, noting her coach was more tempered. As he waited for a lung transplant, she said, he told her matter-of-factly, "You have to be sick enough to get one but healthy enough to survive."

The last time she talked to him was Monday night, Oct. 3. He called from Albany Medical Center Hospital. "He gave me workouts for the week. He said he was tired. He asked how practice was," said Ms. Linehan.

"We did the whole set he gave us," she said of the prescribed practice regimen. "After he died, we continued doing the sets."

Ms. Linehan was the first on the team to learn of Coach Sayer’s death. On Wednesday, during her lunch period, she said, "My Dad came to get me to go to the hospital to see him...He died before we could leave."

She broke the sad news to her Guilderland teammates.

"After I composed myself, I told the girls," said Ms. Linehan. "I wanted them to hear from someone really close to them...We cried probably like a good hour."

It was hard to go to the next practice, she said. "Every day, Ed would be standing there, waiting for us to go into practice," she said.

Thursday’s meet was harder still. Referring to Head Coach Walter Lane, Ms. Linehan said, "Walt gave us the option of canceling the meet. I spoke up right away and said Ed wouldn’t want us to. It was unanimous."

"Thursday was the meet," said Ms. Linehan. "It was tough. I felt I had to lead the team. A lot of girls cried on the bus. I swam my event but, after that, I just couldn’t pull it together anymore....I couldn’t not be emotional. Some of the girls thanked me for keeping it together."

The team had to switch to a celebratory mode by Sunday. "Ed wanted bagpipes and dancing instead of a sad funeral," said Ms. Linehan.

On Sunday afternoon, Edward Sayer’s family and friends came together to celebrate his life. The three-hour celebration was held at the Colonie Country Club by his parents, Tam and Stuart Sayer, and his sister, Virginia.

"The entire team wore pink shirts," said Ms. Bintz. "His favorite color was pink. He was adorable," she said. "He loved pink."

On the Thursday before he had died, he had coached the team by himself, said Ms. Linehan. "He was sitting there in a pink shirt and blue headband," recalled Ms. Linehan. I said, ‘Ed, what are you wearing"’ He said, ‘Sometimes you’ve just got to accessorize.’"

So, in memory of that, all the girls on the team wore pink shirts and blue headbands to Sunday’s celebration, said Ms. Linehan.

Many of Coach Sayer’s words still resonate in Ms. Linehan’s head.

"One quote he’d always say is ‘That is outstanding.’...When someone would tell him, ‘Oh, Ed, I just swam this good,’ that’s what he’d say. Just the way he said it was priceless," recalled Ms. Linehan.

She warmly recalled something else Ed Sayer had said to her.

"I was swimming alone in my lane. He’d coach me on my technique. He’d be telling me to do this or that and I’d bust on him and harass him a little. He’d say, ‘I’m not saying I’m God’s gift to swimming...’

"One of the girls said this week, "You know what" He was a gift.’"


Memorial contributions may be made to the local Cystic Fibrosis Fund: Donna M. Crandall Foundation, 50 Traditional Land, Loudonville, NY 12211.

The Issues

By Holly Grosch

NEW SCOTLAND — The two hot-button issues this campaign season are water and planning. With candidates from both major political parties vying for a supervisor position and two town board seats, the competition for votes has been intense.

Incumbent supervisor Ed Clark is running on both the Republican and Conservative lines against Democratic and Independence challenger Elizabeth Stewart.

For the two town board seats, Wayne LaChappelle and Margaret Neri have the Democratic and Independence lines. Douglas LaGrange is making his second run for a council seat after being defeated in 2003 by 22 votes; he is endorsed by the Republican and Conservative parties. Incumbent council woman Andrea Gleason, with eight years on the town board is running for her third term on both the Republican and Conservative ticket.

New Scotland currently has a bipartisan town board with two Republicans—Clark and Gleason—and three Democrats.

Voter enrollment in town is roughly divided into thirds with about one third Democrats, one third Republicans, and one third enrolled in small parties or not enrolled at all.

Water issues

The town has plans to purchase water from Albany and for the neighboring town of Bethlehem to transmit the water, but, at this point, there are no written final agreements.

Candidates were asked how they would help further the water interests of the town.

If Albany doesn’t want to sell water to New Scotland, then what’s next" Even if New Scotland is able to work out a purchase agreement, there is still the issue of constructing new infrastructure. To what areas of town would the candidates like to extend public water service first, and how will these undertakings be funded"

Separately, the Clarksville and North Road Water Districts are supplied with water from wells within the town and are in need of maintenance and upgrades. As with most areas of town, those water systems are surrounded by other residents in desperate need of water. One resident of Morning Star Lane, who is part of the proposed extension to the Clarksville system, said she has been drinking bottled water for 18 years because of contaminants in her well.

The town has proposed a Clarksville water project that will consolidate the North Road Water District and the Clarksville Water District, extend service to individuals living alongside the water main, and extend some piping to new users, making the whole project possible and within the comptroller’s limits by refinancing the debt.

Planning issues

All the candidates agree that affordable housing for old and young people is needed in town, but how they plan to go about making that a reality varies.

Amedore Homes has proposed a planned-unit development to allow three types of townhouses and condominiums for people 55 or older, ranging in price from $140,000, to $250,000 on 74 acres next to the old Saab dealership on New Scotland Road. The project also incluedes 186,000 square feet of commercial out in front by the road.

This re-zone request is likely to be up for town board approval next year.

Concerns have been expressed about the dwindling commercial space in town, the density of housing projects, and affordability.

A subdivision called Kennsington Woods has an application for the largest housing development in New Scotland pending review.

The new plan was to be reviewed by the planning board this month, but was temporarily postponed by the developer.

Based on that application, the Garrison Development Group is proposing 282 residential units on 267 acres of land on the west and east side of Hilton Road. Lot sizes are anticipated to range from 9,000 to 40,000 square feet. Hilton Road is a connector road between Krum Kill and Route 85A, just east of the village of Voorheesville.

A few years ago, a smaller development was proposed in the same area and was referred to as Tall Timbers.

Supervisor Ed Clark said that the Garrison developers are proposing a private water and sewer district for the project.

The candidates were asked if there is such a thing as too much housing"

All the candidates agree that the town needs to increase its commercial tax base which is currently about 6 percent. Since the town doesn’t have an economic-development office, the candidates were asked who should take on such responsibilities, and how elected representatives can actively recruit desirable businesses.

The Residents Planning Advisory Committee (RPAC) handed in its report of recommendations for the route 85 and 85A corridor at the being of this year, but so far the document has remained a dead one. It had been met with some resistance, and has since gone nowhere. Two of the report’s recommendations stand out—for zoning changes and for aesthetic guidelines.

RPAC zoning recommendations include creating mixed uses and considering re-zoning the industrial area on the routes 85 and 85A corridor.


When the candidates were interviewed for the primary elections in September, most stated that he or she is fiscally conservative. Now before the November elections, the candidates were asked what their plan of action is for keeping the taxes low. Are there particular programs that they think can be reduced or cut"

Senior services

One municipal program that has expanded in recent years is senior services.

The town of New Scotland is now faced with two growing groups of senior citizens, the extremely elderly and the baby-boomers reaching retirement age. From the 1990 census to 2000, the percentage of people in New Scotland over the age of 85 has increased by 24 percent, and people, 55 to 59, increased by almost 40 percent. These are two new large groups of people that the town did not have to deal with 10 years ago. The candidates were asked what kinds of programs the town should provide to these people.

They were also asked how they see senior service department developing or not developing from here.

T.B candidates lead

By Holly Grosch

NEW SCOTLAND — The councilmembers govern a town with a population of about 8,500 and an annual budget of about $5 million.

New Scotland is one of the few local municipalities with a viable two-party system.

The current board is made up of two Republicans—Supervisor Ed Clark and Councilwoman Andrea Gleason, both running for re-election—and three Democrats—councilmembers Scott Houghtaling, Deborah Baron, and Richard Reilly. While Reilly and Baron each have two years left in their terms, Houghtaling is retiring after 12 years on the board.

Democrats Margaret Neri and Wayne LaChappelle are making their first runs for town board, although LaChappelle ran unsuccessfully for supervisor two years ago.

Republican Douglas LaGrange is making his second consecutive run for the board, having lost narrowly two years ago.

The councilmembers each earn about $7,000 annually in the part-time job.

With the possibility of Tech Valley looming, and continued suburban sprawl in neighboring towns, planning has become a central issue in New Scotland and, and with it discussion of water and taxes.

Located in the center of Albany County, New Scotland is less developed than its suburban neighbors Guilderland and Bethlehem and less rural than its Hilltown neighbors of Berne, Knox, and Westerlo.

Supervisors Race

By Holly Grosch

NEW SCOTLAND — Supervisor Ed Clark is running on his reputation and record against Elizabeth Stewart, who says she offers a proactive, go out and get’m approach.

Clark who was the mayor of Voorheesville for 17 years first ran for supervisor on the GOP line in 2000 and won.

Deomcrat, Elizabeth Stewart, a business development manager who is a 30 year resident of New Scotland, is an eager challenger.

The full-time supervisor’s post carries a two-year term.

Clark’s salary this year is $49,400.

Ed Clark

Supervisor Ed Clark stood in his office facing a map of the town’s water districts. He pointed to the blue, yellow, and red district lines as he highlighted his long-term hopes for water in New Scotland.

He envisions a water-development plan that takes on a regional approach.

He wants to see if the water systems on the north side of town could all eventually be combined into one large district, through extensions and connecting loops, interconnecting, and combining even with the village’s districts as well. And then, from there, he envisions also connecting, New Scotland with Guilderland and Bethlehem pipes.

The southern side of town is excluded from this vision because it is so rural, Clark said.

But the one gap in his puzzle had always been a middle chunk, right where the Kensington Woods development is proposed. With those developers planning to supply their own water and build their own waste-treatment plant, Clark said, the space to travel to connect New Scotland’s water all together is more manageable.

It’s not a far reach from the Front Grove water system to Hilton Road to the Voorheesville Water District, up Swift Road to Route 85.

"Water is such an important commodity to a community, it shouldn’t be done in bits and pieces but together" paying for infrastructure, Clark said.

"I understand this is a leap, but it makes sense and it’s something we should be inching towards over the course of time," Clark said.

To secure water from Albany and a transmission agreement from Bethlehem, Clark said, he is going to continue to set up meetings, and to keep moving forward.

He wants to make water available at a reasonable cost.

Behind all of this, there is desire for water for the commercial development to attract commercial interest, Clark said.

As supervisor, he said, it is his responsibility to recruit desirable businesses into town. His administration inherited an economic enhancement plan that has stayed untouched for three years, Clark said. He doesn’t think the document has enough substance to attract businesses.

The economic plan, in essence, says, "Come out to New Scotland, check out the community; you’ll love it here," Clark said. But the plan does not mention what makes businesses work: water, electricity, and sewer — infrastructure, Clark said.

The town can’t attract businesses without good transportation and an audience, Clark said. If the town wants businesses that provide services, then the town has to have residents first.

Clark said he sees a commercial future for New Scotland in eco-tourism, with scenic vistas, hiking trails, Thacher Park, and Bennett Hill Preserve, but this requires a commitment of resources. Clark said that he really hopes the county’s hike-and-bike trail on the old railway bed comes to fruition. New Scotland has rich rural resources, he said.

The town needs to develop its resources first, then the people will come and business development will follow, Clark said.

In terms of affordable housing, town officials can encourage development, Clark said, ‘by using the pressures the planning board has. The planning board can get developers to dedicate a portion of large developments to affordable housing.

This is not an easy struggle, Clark said. The developer wants his deal to get passed through the process, and the planning board is informing the developer what the community wants.

That’s why the town needs to upgrade its comprehensive plan, he said.

The document, created in 1994, was never adopted, but even that would have to be updated, Clark said.

A comprehensive plan lays out all the policies of the community, which would include encouraging affordable housing, Clark said. "So the zoning board, and planning board can then use that as rationale dealing with developers so it is not perceived as arbitary," he said.

Clark’s hope for a comprehensive plan is one of the reasons he wanted to have a professional planner on the planning board, he said. A comprehensive plan needs to be reviewed at least every five years, he said.

A master plan will describe in some detail what an outcome of a development should be, and certain characteristics that will lead to these objectives, Clark said. It would include methods to preserve the character of the community, and to make and create amenities, such as sidewalks for ease of shopping, and recreational facilities, Clark said.

"I’m very hopeful to revive RPAC committee’s energy," Clark said. The report produced by the Residents’ Planning Advisory Committee was "resisted inappropriately by some people," Clark said.

The residents on the committee had no agenda, and no thoughts of a moratorium, he said. Clark is not sure where this public opinion came from, or why the committee was perceived in that way, but nonetheless people became fearful of losing their land rights, Clark said.

For the comprehensive plan, Clark wants to use the same thought process used by the residents’ committee, not necessarily the same people, Clark said.

In terms of zoning changes, Clark said the northeast section of town could stand another look, since it currently has conflicting zoning — density and low-density. He would like to make it more uniform, and look at changing the high-density to lower-density, he said. "I’m not sure right now that’s the right thing to do, but it’s worth considering, he said.

In terms of his budget, Clark said that he didn’t see anything that should be cut, but stated that he will be careful about incurring additional expenses.

"I’m very careful about salary increases," Clark said, and about benefit increases like health insurance.

He is wary of administrative expenses, in particular technology.

There is now computerization for everything, Clark said, networks, cell phones, Xerox, all of which need continual upgrades; "I watch that very carefully," he said.

There is a trend by people to buy anything when it comes to the newest technology, but then, Clark said, the town won’t see results in saving manpower. Often, when people come before him with a technological purchase proposal, they promote the product by saying that it will save them so much time, but, Clark said, he has found , it just makes the person capable of doing more things.

One technological advance that interests Clark said is putting the assessment rolls on the Internet. "I think it will be a better service to the public and increase the public’s confidence in the process," he said.

The town assessor proposed a program to put the assessments on-line at last month’s town-board meeting.

Clark said he was just updating the data base of senior citizens on his office computer, which currently has 2,000 names. The number of seniors is growing, Clark said, and the town needs to be getting ready now for the growth. He said he would like to see the registered-nurse program expand a little.

Further down the line, in later years, Clark said he would like to offer, seniors transportation, although this would be very expensive because of the town’s rural geography.

Elizabeth Stewart

The current administration has been "asleep at the switch," said Elizabeth Stewart, Democratic challenger for supervisor.

Stewart. a business development manager, went to visit Bethlehem Supervisor Theresa Egan in June, and, back then, there was no problem with working out a water-transmission agreement, but Ed Clark just sent a purchase proposal to Albany last month, Stewart said of her opposition.

"I’ve been toting this the whole time," Stewart said. "Water is not an issue"; it’s just a matter of paying the transfer fee and contacting Albany, Stewart said.

She can’t believe a proposed purchase agreement hadn’t been sent out earlier, she said.

Stewart promises her supporters that she will be pro-active rather than reactive.

She will actively keep in touch, and build better municipal relations with other towns and the village of Voorheesville, she said.

The town of New Scotland needs inter-municipal water for emergencies, Stewart said. She has already spoken with Voorheesville Mayor Jack Stevens, she said.

The town needs to have something in place, just in case, Stewart said. She also asked, "What about fire hydrants""

Everyone wants municipal water, and the only thing New Scotland can’t do is go over the debt limit, Stewart said. So, once elected officials know what the debt limit is, the town can then proceed from there. Stewart said she’ll create a plan and do a little bit every year.

For the proposed Kensington Woods project, Stewart’s main concern is the aquifer and how it is affected by the old pit mines, which were dug about 15 years ago, two to three feet above the water table, she said.

"My concern is for the environment and the aquifer," Stewart said with such a high density of houses.

It takes an aquifer 100 years to recuperate from pollution, she said. She worries about so many houses and foundations with concrete additives. "I have to protect the citizens of New Scotland from pollutants," Stewart said.

Stewart’s more general thoughts about development, she said, are: "I do not want New Scotland to look like a Colonie."

A town supervisor has to talk to developers and make sure that there is going to be a good mix, Stewart said, because the town does need development and affordable housing.

Stewart has heard people say that they don’t want development at all coming into town, but, she asserted, a large number of volunteers come from housing developments.

The helping hands at the local school come out of the developments, she said. If a town doesn’t welcome development, it’s like "cutting off your life line," cutting off the people who bond a community together in an effort for children, Stewart said.

So development can be a good thing, she said; it’s the density that is really the issue.

The enrollment at the school is down compared to years past, so there is room at the school, Stewart said.

But, she went on, "I don’t want an infrastructure crump."

Stewart’s eldest daughter lives in Hilton Head, S.C., a town that has not addressed infrastructure; there are just two lanes on roads going in and out of town, she said.

Hilton Head’s elected officials did not address traffic or pollution along with the development and it caught up to them, she said.

"We have to be looking at infrastructure," Stewart said. "Can we add additional roads in a certain area of proposed development" What will the traffic patterns be" These are things that need to be considered," she said. "We do not want to look like Western Avenue."

Stewart said that she is in favor of the planned unit development on Route 85, and that she sees it as a good opportunity for empty-nesters, who wouldn’t be adding to traffic during peak commuter hours.

As for the PUD taking some of the town’s commercial space, senior housing is a win-win situation, Stewart said, not burdening the school, but increasing the tax base.

Although she supports the PUD planned for Route 85, Stewart is concerned about the high density proposed for Kensington Woods, she said.

In response to the report produced by the Residents’ Planning Advisory Committee, Stewart said, "This is not Nantucket; this is New Scotland; we want clean green area in our developments."

She doesn’t think that aesthetic guidelines are needed, however, because she believes that developers try to fit their architecture in with what is already in the town, Stewart said.

She said developers consider the flavor of a community’s character when they propose a project.

To give guidelines on what color a house should be or whether a builder should install wooden shutters is too restrictive, Stewart said,

RPAC’s zoning recommendations, such as mixed use, are already happening with the PUD, Stewart said; she doesn’t think the recommendations have to be adopted.

"We do want green spaces for people to enjoy," Stewart said, agreeing with that particular recommendation.

A number of residents have expressed a desire for a town pool, Stewart said. While she knows it would be costly and would add liability, she said she is going to look into getting grant money for a town pool.

Albany just got $6 million to revitalize its waterfront, said Stewart, asking why New Scotland couldn’t get similar funding. The town’s elected officials would have to apply in order to get such funding, Stewart said.

Another complaint Stewart has heard from people is about the lack of cell- phone reception across town, she said.

Parents are not able to reach their children because of poor reception, she said.

For senior services, Stewart said, she would like to make more use of county-wide programs.

A town should never create a duplicate program, she said.

For example, she said, the county already has visiting nurses. Additionally, Stewart said, she is uncomfortable with the town’s liability of having a nurse.

A seniors’ advocate who happens to be a nurse, that’s a different story, said Stewart, indicating she would reorganize the program.

She said she knows one of the things the town nurse does to assist seniors is to take their blood pressures, but there are volunteer groups that do that, Stewart said.

Two for Town Justice

By Holly Grosch

NEW SCOTLAND — Two attorneys in town are facing off for one town justice position.

Incumbent Judge Thomas Dolin, a Democrat, says his 12 years of experience as a New Scotland judge make him good at his job.

Challenger Susan Aron-DeFronzo, a Republican, says her diverse experience as an attorney prepares her for being a town justice, coupled with her innate ability to judge character.

Dolin has lived at his Swift Road home since 1968. His three children are now grown. He is running on the Democratic, Independence, and Conservative lines.

Aron-DeFronzo, a Voorheesville resident since 1999, has the backing of New Scotland’s Republican party. Her daughter is in elementary school.

New Scotland town justices preside over a court that handles traffic and zoning violations, criminal cases, civil suits up to $3,000, and felony arraignments.

In 2005, New Scotland’s judges earned $20,596; they serve four-year terms.

The Enterprise asked both candidates about the same issues.

Susan Aron-DeFronzo

Aron-DeFronzo says her law experience in a variety of fields of law qualifies her for the job of town justice.

As an assistant district attorney for Nassau County, from a prosecutor’s approach, Aron-DeFronzo represented the rights of victims. In law school, she handled pre-trial civil matters; and, most recently, as chief council for a state senator, she has had to consider conflicting views on legislative matters, she said.

All of this prepares her for the diversity of cases in town court, and her range of experience gives her the ability to "balance the equities," she said.

One of the most important characteristics a judge should have is the ability to judge character, Aron-DeFronzo said.

"It’s not a quality you can acquire, but it’s innate; you have it or you don’t," she said.

A judge has to be able to determine if what she is hearing rings true or doesn’t, she said.

Aron-DeFronzo was brought up by German immigrant parents who have a strong sense of right and wrong, and "that is something that I’ve carried with me," she said. "Not only in my hard work ethic, but in doing what’s right," she said.

Each case before her as a judge will "stand on its own," she said. It’s important not to pre-judge people or the case, she said.

"Two people can see the same thing and see it two different ways," she said. A judge has to handle each case with a sense of fairness and integrity, she said.

While sentencing, where judges have discretion to choose from a range of punishments, Aron-DeFronzo said, some of the deciding factors is prior history, the person’s ties to the community, what type of person he or she is, and how severe the crime is.

She said her sentencing decisions will "help society as a whole."

Aron-DeFronzo wants to accomplish two things — help criminals rehabilitate themselves and also protect society.

"Criminal justice goals are not just punishment for the sake of punishment," Aron-DeFronzo said, but to "help that person become gainfully employed and put some good back into society."

It’s a balance of that, plus protecting New Scotland’s great quality of life, Aron-DeFronzo said.

Judges can help maintain that quality of life, she said, "through our decision-making."

Community service and restitution are good forms of punishment, Aron-DeFronzo said.

"Programs...may help certain people better than a jail sentence," she said.

"I think it’s important to be lenient when that’s warranted and strict when warranted and, most importantly, to know the difference," she said.

When a case involves abusers, whether it be domestic abuse or alcohol abuse, Aron-DeFronzo thinks that the town court should make information readily available, and inform people where they can find needed services.

A town judge should not directly assist a victim because that would be choosing sides, Aron-DeFronzo said, but she would work with the court clerk and elected officials to make sure that residents are aware of available programs.

A judge should be aware of things that are happening in the community, and attend community events, such as seminars put on by the school, Aron-DeFronzo said, because by remaining aware and informed all elected officials can work together to better society.

Thomas Dolin

Judge Dolin has established a routine in his courtroom where, when the night starts, he informs all the defendants of their options, he said. Most of the cases are traffic infractions, Dolin said, and he doesn’t want the individuals who don’t have a lawyer to have a disadvantage. In fairness, he said, he wants to make certain that everyone knows the process.

His courtroom, he said, is "not rushed and everyone knows their rights."

He tells the defendants that they have the opportunity to meet with the arresting officer who, in the town of New Scotland is also the prosecutor, and each defendant has the right to be heard, he said.

"A lot of people only have one or two infractions for their whole lives," Dolin said.

If a individual "has a clean driving card, police officers generally make an offer of a lesser charge," with moving violations, Dolin said.

Over his 12 years as judge in New Scotland, Dolin has adjusted some things in town court. Dolin and New Scotland’s other justice, Republican Margaret Adkins, agreed a year-and-a-half ago to move the court starting time up an hour to 6 p.m., so that people can stop in on their way home from work. They have also added a second court night each week, to spread out the cases heard, so that people can get in and out in a more reasonable amount of time, Dolin said.

He is now going to start experimenting with a morning session, something that Adkins has already started, to try to accommodate the working and single parents, Dolin said.

Judges can play a role in the community as well, Dolin said. In the past, he has attended seminars at Voorheesville’s high school. He participated a few years ago, for example, in a panel about parents’ hosting drinking parties for teenagers; he explained the criminality of such events, he said.

Later this month, Dolin is attending a seminar at the school to talk about teenagers and Internet crimes, such as harassment through e-mail, and instant messages, he said.

He said he has had a few cases in New Scotland involving teenagers and Internet abuse, but not enough that he would classify it as a problem.

"I wouldn’t say it’s rampant," Dolin said.

He plans to explain to students and parents their obligation. "I also understand there’s situations where there is anonymous name-calling," on-line, he said.

Another form of Internet harassment is if the message is threatening in some way, Dolin said.

Messages posted on open spaces or Internet bulletin boards are protected more by free speech then direct e-mail or instant messages, Dolin said.

A judge can take on an educational role in the courtroom as well, Dolin said.

In New Scotland court, years ago, a volunteer from the county’s domestic abuse bureau used to be on hand. Now, judges have to take on a larger role in informing people of the resources that are available to them, having names, addresses, and phone numbers to help direct victims to a safe place to go, Dolin said, or to direct alcohol abusers to rehab programs.

When The Enterprise recently interviewed teenagers charged with vandalism, the youth stated that they were bored, had nothing to do, and that’s what led to their vandalism. Dolin said, in his experience, New Scotland youth are the opposite of bored and are often very busy.

In vandalism cases, Dolin has found that he is dealing with troubled youth, which is specific to each person’s particular circumstance, rather than a problem with the community’s not offering the youth anything to do.

For sentencing, Dolin said he attempts community service if he thinks it will work.

"Community service gives you a chance to see if the person is genuinely remorseful," Dolin said. And, it is a good punishment for teenagers, because a fine, since they typically don’t have money, is often paid for by their parents, which wrongfully punishes the parent not the child, he said.

With first-time offenders, especially young offenders, Dolin said, "You have to take into consideration how it will damage their future."

If convicted of a misdemeanor, Dolin said, "It sticks with them for the rest of their life, so that’s a serious penalty."

But there are "some hard-core people" who need actual jail time, and community service won’t work, Dolin said. It’s up to the judge to assess, in a short period of time, a person’s character, Dolin said.

When there is the potential for probation or jail time of 90 days or more, the Albany County Department of Probation produces a pre-sentencing report, where the department interviews the defendant, and evaluates the person’s character, then makes a recommendation to the judge. The report usually covers the person’s family life and whether he or she is serious about a job or education, Dolin said.

For lesser cases, however, Dolin said, he alone has about 15 minutes to detect the person’s character, so he has to be a "good judge of character," Dolin said.

He is good at this, Dolin said, because of his 12 years of experience and because he raised three teenagers of his own.

Dolin said a defendant in his court is always free to speak, which he always encourages.

Unopposed Town Clerk and Highway Superintendent

By Holly Grosch

NEW SCOTLAND — Two Democrats are running unopposed on Nov. 8 to keep their full-time post.

Diane Deschenes has been town clerk for five years.

Darrell Duncan has been highway superintendent for 11 years.


Diane Deschenes

Diane Deschenes, a Democrat, is running uncontested to start her sixth year as town clerk. This year she will take on the added responsibilities of tax collector.

Following Deschenes’s recommendation, the town board voted unanimously in April to eliminate the separate elected position of town tax collector, and combine the duties with the town-clerk position.

Deschenes said she made the recommendation because her office was already doing the off-season tax work, from April until December, taking the phone calls, and making copies. So she thought that her office could take on the additional duties all year-round, saving the town in salaries and benefits, she said this week.

In the 2005 budget the town clerk’s salary is about $43,700 and the tax collectors salary was about $15,000.

Deschenes said that, for the 2006 budget, she has requested an extra $5,000 in her salary; $4,000 more for the deputy town clerk; and a $500 increase for the deputy tax collector, who will be continuing on as a part-time employee to do data entry.

The new arrangement of tax collecting is a better service for the community, Deschenes said, making someone available five days a week, seven hours a day to answer tax-related questions.

In April, Deschenes said her office was receiving about seven calls a day related to taxes and now, in the off-season, she receives about five calls a day related to taxes.

When a bank calls recently about a closing on a house, it wants an answer that day about the town taxes for property, Deschenes said, and now, her new dual position gives her the ability to do that.

Deschenes and the deputy town-clerk are already familiar with the tax-collection computer system that is on all of her offices computers, and will be learning the preparation of tax bills from the previous deputy tax collector.

In alternate years, Deschenes attends sessions for town clerk training, so she would like to, every other year, go to tax-collecting training sessions as well. There are regularly new updates and approaches to both positions, Deschenes said. Hot topics now are putting tax rolls on the Internet, or allowing people to pay their bills with credit cards — there is a lot of information that can be learned from training, Deschenes said.

Deschenes said that with the tax collector’s office being meshed with hers, the senior services office will be moving into the old tax collector office window and tax collection will be moved then to the back room of the clerk’s office.

Now, when citizens come to pay their taxes, they can just walk into the clerk’s office.

Since Deschenes’s term began, she has secured about $70,000 worth of grants, she said. This year, with a $33,000 records-management grant, Deschenes bought a new computer program and was able to hire a part-time employee to scan all the town’s important documents, including minutes and local laws, into a fully searchable data base.

She can type in the term "Font Grove," for example, and all the documents containing that phrase will come up, she said.

"When I first started [as town clerk] everything was just thrown in the basement," Deschenes said. Since then, the town’s record management has come a long way, she said.

In that first year of her elected service, Deschenes started by just buying shelving to organize; she labeled and dated everything. And now, this year, the scanned computer files have made a huge difference, she said.

She is able to e-mail documents to board members, and get timely information to insurance companies.

She said she loves her job because of the variety. "Everything has its season," she said.

Right now, in October, she is busy with budget documents. In September there is an influx of residents coming into the office, getting their hunting licenses, and another group comes in the spring to get marriage licenses, Deschenes said.

"I enjoy dealing with the public, our neighbors and friends," she said.


Darrell Duncan

There are 100 town roads in New Scotland, and throughout the year at planning board and town board meetings, people regularly complain, or request that their street be moved up on the priority list to be repaired or paved.

The highway superintendent since 1994, Darrell Duncan, is running unopposed on the Democratic ticket to keep his job.

With his department’s limited budget, Duncan said, he inspects each road two to three times a year. While he is on the roads regularly, he still set asides a particular day and spends all day taking notes on the many roads conditions, if the road needs to be paved or brushed for example, he said. He counts the number of potholes to tally the damage, he said.

Roads in shady areas tend to be need repair sooner than roads with direct sunlight, since the sun dries up rain and reduces the wearing of the street, Duncan said.

He classifies the roads into four types to prioritize the repair projects:

—Traveled through roads, connector roads like Swift Road;

—Main roads such as Krum Kill;

—Housing development roads; and

—Dirt roads.

Duncan tries every year to upgrade equal amounts of each kind of road, he said. Equal sections of town are hit with the touch-ups, he said.

When it comes to complaints, "People don’t hold back," Duncan said, but he finds the people who complain also turn out to be the hardest workers and the first to help out.

The complaint phone calls can be useful, Duncan said. At times, he is frustrated because the complaint is about a road that he is trying to get to, but, other times, callers point out a problem that he might not know about so it can be addressed right away, he said.

Besides the roads, the superintendent oversees parks, the transfer station, refuse and recycling, animal control, and some water and sewer issues.

Duncan’s salary for 2005 is about $61,500, the highest-paid town position.

Duncan said, even with seasonal help, he has fewer than 20 employees to oversee at one time.

Does he like being a boss" "Yes and no," said Duncan. Sometimes the biggest headache of his job is managing people, but it always seems to work out — balance itself out, he said.

Duncan’s recommendations to the town board helped to revamp the animal-control program this summer.

The village of Voorheesville had split from the town program this year. Then this summer, two of the town’s animal-control officers quit because of the awkward on-call hours, and because they didn’t feel like they were being paid enough.

"The program is a work in progress," Duncan said; he added that sometimes he has felt like the animal-control program is just stumbling through.

In September, the town board announced that one new animal-control officer was hired. The town now has two part-time officers.

New Scotland can’t afford to hire a full-time officer, Duncan said, so, with two part time officers who are devoted to the program, it’s working out well so far.

Overall, Duncan likes working for the town. He enjoys New Scotland and is glad that his children can grow up here as he did.

He likes working for the people of the community and he said being the highway superintendent has been a good way to support his family.

Town Board Canidate — Margaret Neri

By Holly Grosch

Democrat Margaret Neri, an attorney making her first run for public office, expressed that one of her prime priorities as a town board member, will be to listen.

The proposed development off Hilton Road is a big issue for the town, said Neri; it will bring in water for the town and increase the tax base, but, on the other hand another group of people want to maintain the rural character of the town.

Effective government involves listening to constituents, Neri said, so she plans foremost to listen, and then make a decision based on what’s best for the town.

"Leaders need to listen and consider all the facts," Neri said. "The best course is to strike a balance."

Her approach to all development will be to make sure competing interests are balanced and to move forward with what’s best.

In terms of the routes 85 and 85A corridor, "I don’t think rural has to mean under-developed," Neri said; she added that she believes the corridor is currently under-developed.

If done carefully, that commercially zoned area could be used to everyone’s benefit, Neri said. "Developing that small area won’t be a bad thing," she said.

The planning board and zoning board members are experienced and are equipped to evaluate projects, Neri said.

Neri’s husband, Louis, serves as the appointed legal council for the town’s zoning and planning boards.

Encouraging desirable commercial growth should come from Town Hall, Neri said. She said maybe the town should look into being more proactive and have an outreach to recruit low-impact commercial, such as information technology companies, which would not be a burden to the town and would increase the tax base, Neri said.

The report produced by the Resident’s Planning advisory Board is just a document, Neri said, with recommendations; zoning changes recommended by the report have no teeth. Requests for zoning changes can only happen through a formal application process, which hasn’t happened in relation to RPAC, she said.

Before considering zoning changes to the corridor, she would want input from the residents living within that specific area, Neri said.

RPAC produced, "well-thought-out recommendations," Neri said, adding, but "I didn’t see much that didn’t get addressed in the zoning law."

"I have a law background but more importantly I work well with others, other town board members and residents," she said.

Neri worked in a private law practice for a number of years, and she now works as an income-tax litigator for the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance.

In terms of New Scotland’s taxes, Neri said she would approach the town’s budget the same way as she would a house-hold budget. Everyone has to be closely considered, she said; there are limited funds.

She’ll consider what services are totally necessary, and what services are not.

To reduce spending, Neri would encourage the town and the village of Voorheesville to share expenses, and also share services with other towns, whether it be animal-control officers, or recycling programs.

If the town can increase the tax base, that will greatly help with budget issues, Neri said.

Many areas of town desperately need water, said Neri, Feura Bush Unionville Road, is one that comes to mind, but almost all residents in every area that Neri visited while campaigning expressed a desire for water, she said.

"We need to be more aggressive," in securing water supplies, Neri said. The town needs to be looking for a secondary source, she said.

For the Clarksville water project, Neri thinks that Councilman Scott Houghtaling presented the water project very well to the residents at a recent informational meeting.

The repairs need to be done, she said, and the consolidation of the districts is fair to all parties.

Two factors that motived Neri to run for town board at this juncture were — two of her boys are off to college and Houghtaling is not running for re-election.

"I think he’s been a strong, effective board member," Neri said. She would like to continue in much the same way he did, Neri said.

As the population of elderly in New Scotland continues to grow, Neri said, "Seniors shouldn’t have to leave...They are the grandparents to our kids and our history."

Medical services have to be made available, and driving is something that typically goes first in senior citizens’ abilities to be independent. In terms of giving the elderly rides to their medical appointments, Neri said, "we have a very caring community." She sees assistance already being offered in neighborhoods. She thinks more volunteers can be mobilized to help transport seniors.

There is also a terrific need in the community for senior housing, said Neri. The town has to negotiate with developers, Neri said, and bring in developers who want to build senior homes.

Town Board Canidate — Douglas LaGrange

By Holly Grosch

Douglas LaGrange, a Republican, is an eighth-generation Feura Bush dairy farmer. "I’m not a politician...I have no aspirations beyond the town board," he said, going on to add that he’ll be able to "put all that party garbage aside."

His Enterprise inverview was interrupted by the birth of a calf; a cow doesn’t know it’s campaigning season, said LaGrange.

He has learned a lot over the last two years about the town’s government, as a planning board member, LaGrange said, and by attending town-board meetings regularly.

"I know what’s the coming slate for the town," he said. "I’ll be hitting the ground running."

LaGrange ran for a town board seat in 2003, and lost by 22 votes. He has also served on the Residents’ Planning Advisory Committee.

"From my understanding, consolidation was a part of the agreement for the bond issue... if that’s the case it’s something we need to do right away," LaGrange said of the proposed Clarksville water project.

His one concern about the proposed extension is the cost to homeowners to hook up from the town water lines.

"Before we pass out petitions...I would like some sort of study done to give folks some idea how much it will cost," he said.

A lot of families don’t have any water to waste, but they also are not able to afford $5,000 to run the line into their house, he said.

The road where the extension is proposed is not called Flat Rock Road for nothing, said LaGrange; it will be expensive to put water lines through rock. He would just like homeowners to be informed of what the additional cost will be as the town’s petition to form the district is being circulated.

As for Albany’s water, LaGrange said there are areas of town that have genuine needs while residents in other areas have wants, and it’s important to get water to sections of town were wells are polluted.

When he was on the campaign trail, talking to people at their houses, LaGrange said those in rural areas would ask him, when is water going to be coming up and around us" Then he saw four vacant lots to the left and more vacant lots to the other side and he asked them, do you want houses to pop up all around you"

"You know, my well isn’t that bad," is the response he would get, LaGrange reported.

LaGrange listed a number of areas in town known for poor water quality, as areas of need. But , LaGrange said that his first objective for the Albany water is to supply Route 85 and help service the commercial area, because it will be an asset for the whole town.

The trick for opening up affordable housing is to offer more middle-price housing, LaGrange said.

In New Scotland, he said "We either have moderate or very pricey homes;" there are not very many houses in-between, he said. People living in moderately-priced homes, in the $100,000 to $200,000 thousand dollar range, have told LaGrange that they want to move up to a $300,000 to $500,000 hundred thousand dollar homes, he said.

If they are given that opportunity, then it opens up the older, more affordable housing to younger first-time homebuyers, LaGrange said.

With the Kensington Woods project, which he understands is proposed to have three stages, including top end expensive homes but also middle-priced housing, his concern is the very high density.

"I don’t think that road or our school systems can handle that type of development," LaGrange said.

The project is way too ambitious, he said, but some sort of development in that area will entice business, LaGrange said.

Of the planned-unit development on Route 85, he said, "I have no problem with senior housing in the commercial area" as long as it remains strictly senior citizens and no children are allowed. But what he would like to see with the townhouse development is more affordable housing, LaGrange said.

"I don’t want to ship our seniors out of town," LaGrange said. What the planning board has tried to do is get the developers in the mindset of less expensive senior housing, LaGrange said.

There is definitely a need for senior housing in town, and it may have to start with this project, he said. But, he would also like to see more attempts at subsidized senior housing. It comes down to "how much we want to push them," LaGrange said of the developers.

The town doesn’t have a definitive comprehensive plan, LaGrange said. Planning board Chair Robert Stapf uses the 1994 plan for direction, LaGrange said. But, as a planning board member, he said, "I know I never received one...If that’s what we should be working off of, then it should be adopted." At the same time, now is the time to revisit the 1994 plan and take what the Residents’ Planning Advisory Board learned and maybe apply some of it, he said.

The industrial zone on the corridor should not be changed just for the sake of changing it because the railroad is no longer there, LaGrange said. There is plenty of industrial development that is not intrusive, LaGrange said, such as a cheese factory, which is no longer an opportunity for the town, but is still a good example, he said.

He would like to see multi-use, but it most certainly would need a lot more input, LaGrange said.

"There is some merit to having some sort of aesthetic guidelines, but the planning board has conceptual knowledge of what people want," LaGrange said.

He stands by what the planning board did with the Stewart’s on Route 85. " I think it looks fine," LaGrange said and, when residents see the Omni medical office building, they will understand how the planning board is able to work with developers to make construction aesthetically pleasing to fit in with neighborhood character.

Overwhelmingly, people in New Scotland do not want things to change, LaGrange said, and he is conscious of the desire to maintain New Scotland’s rural character.

"Do we need to spell out, including shades on a building"" he asked, answering himself, "That’s a little overkill." But general aesthetic guidelines, LaGrange said, he could supply, to give to the new appointees that come onto the planning board.

One way LaGrange plans to curb spending in the town’s budget is to vote down all stipends.

Just because an employee is taking on a new responsibility or an additional job description, if that person isn’t taking on any more hours, then that doesn’t warrant a stipend, LaGrange said.

This comment come after the recent debate in a budget workshop on how much more money the town clerk should receive for taking on the old tax collector’s responsibilities.

Senior services is "one of the few places, I’d like to expand the budget," LaGrange said.

The way he sees it, a town has four responsibilities: the town’s highway department, good planning, support for the volunteer fire and ambulance squads, and a viable senior program.

Town Board Canidate — Wayne LaChappelle

By Holly Grosch

"Should I be elected, I will not vote for any tax increase," Democrat Wayne LaChappelle promises his supporters. "How can you justify tax increases when people can’t pay their oil bills"...We must find other ways to cut," said the retired police officer who now owns an excavation business. If it’s a cut in his salary, so be it; he doesn’t care, he says.

He said he sees himself as the candidate for the working-class people.

"I’m so concerned and worried about the future that I really want to be involved, I really do," said LaChappelle, who is making his second run for office in New Scotland. Two years ago, he was defeated in a bid for supervisor.

"Little if anything has been done with the water districts in six years...Nothing has happened," LaChappelle said.

He added that he believes residents served recently by public water can be counted on one hand.

"That’s unbelievable in this day and age," LaChappelle said.

"It’s maddening to me," he said,that people can be 1,000 feet from a water line and not have water. "It’s egregious," he said.

"I will flex every available muscle the town has," he said, to extend the public water service. A bond issue is critical, he said; New Scotland needs some type of assistance. He said he’ll first poll for state grants that might be available.

LaChappelle has served on the town’s water committee in the past, and is currently on the town’s zoning board.

Developers want to come in, LaChappelle said; it’s up to them to split the bill for water in some districts.

LaChappelle lives in Feura Bush on a small horse farm that he built with his wife; they do not have town water.

If New Scotland is able to secure water from Albany, a master water plan is needed, LaChappelle said.

Unionville is one area in need that he would like to address first.

Everyone is afraid of development, LaChappelle said. He doesn’t want the town to become like Clifton Park either, he said, but development is knocking at the door and "we can’t be like an ostrich and have our head in the sand or it will bite us right in the rear end."

He has land in Feura Bush that he has just sold as three building lots, LaChappelle said, which he made sure would be used for affordable development. It’s up to both landowners and the town government, he said.

The town can’t demand affordable housing, LaChappelle said, but the town board does need to encourage the development of affordable housing.

LaChappelle thinks that, along with a developer’s housing proposal, the town should request a certain area of that development be used for affordable housing.

This encouragement can start early on in the application process, he said.

He would like to have a town-board-appointed committee review the application from prospective builders of large projects.

The committee would look over the application as soon as it is submitted and make recommendations to the developers as the application is being finalized before the proposal even goes before the planning board, he said.

If a developer wants to build on 40 acres, the committee would ask the developer if there is somewhere in that acreage for affordable housing, LaChappelle said.

This additional review is not to, and would not, delay the process, LaChappelle said. He thinks this committee can work in conjunction with the building department.

"We are not taking advantage of the 85 and 85A corridor," LaChappelle said. "I am passionate about this."

"I get so frustrated that we are relying on a residential tax base and it’s not there," he said.

The town needs clean commercial and industrial growth, like nano-technology, LaChappelle said.

"Why play second fiddle to Bethlehem"" he asked.

"I love the way New Scotland is and the rural aspects...I think, in the right area, nice clean industrial growth is not intrusive to the majority of the town," LaChappelle said, adding that the corridor is a great place for that.

Without an economics-development officer, the supervisor’s office needs to pursue desirable business, LaChappelle said. The town should work with other chambers of commerce, he said.

Some bad ideas that came out of Residents Planning Advisory Board, LaChappelle said. When he read the recommendation, of permitting only one house per 40 acres in an agricultural area, he said he didn’t believe that was given any thought. A farmer’s land is his 401k Plan, LaChappelle said; it’s his bank account.

He’s all for green space, LaChappelle said, but he also loves to quote Ronald Reagan’s philosophy of not over-regulating.

Another thing that bothered LaChappelle about the RPAC report was most of it focused on the northeast quadrant of town and he would prefer a town-wide approach.

As for adopting any of RPAC’s recommendations, LaChappelle said that the town already has a comprehensive plan from 1994. "That covers it all," he said.

LaChappelle said the town’s senior services really only apply to people over the age of 72. He said he watched Bethlehem’s senior service program evolve over time, and, while New Scotland cannot afford such an extensive full-time operation, he would like to see transportation be offered to seniors to get them to their medical appointments. Buses for seniors is not something in the near future, LaChappelle said, but smaller transportation arrangements could be made.

He would like the town’s senior programs expanded with volunteers, he said.

Town Council — Andrea Gleason

By Holly Grosch

Andrea Gleason is running for a third four-year term on the Republican ticket. A retired Voorheesville school teacher, she has said she brings a senior citizen’s perspective to the board.

With the Clarksville water extension, the question left for residents is "Can I afford to hook up"" Gleason said. Since people have to pay for their own hook-ups, she is in favor of using creative ideas to help reduce the expense, such as bidding out a contract collectively, so that one contractor may give a reduced rate if he is guaranteed 10 customers.

Town board members can help with this, Gleason said. Board members’ main purpose is to help the residents and inform them, she said.

Gleason said she wants to extend the Clarksville Water District as far down and to as many people as possible. If the town’s engineer comes up with a creative way to make it affordable, "I’ll be all for it," she said.

She said she understands the frustration residents feel over water. Where Gleason lives, she has well water and she is two houses away from a pipe.

"I know what it feels like to be so close, yet so far," Gleason said.

If the town does get water from Albany, one of Gleason’s first priorities is New Salem South Road and Font Grove Road, and then, the corridor — trying to make a business district.

"I think what drives business here is not the businesses saying, ‘You need me,’ but communities saying, ‘We need you,’" she said. "The community has to be able to support these businesses," Gleason said.

The town wants to have businesses that provide services residents actually need, rather than having empty storefronts, she said.

Of Omni’s doctors’ office to be built on Route 85, Gleason said, "I’m really happy about that." The area needed a medical facility, she said.

A family kind of restaurant would also be desirable, Gleason said.

The town board can encourage consumer demand, she said, "by keeping things looking nice...spiffing things up a bit, fluffing things up to make people want to be here and shop," she said.

The zoning and planning boards have done an excellent job, Gleason said.

Development rules help people feel guided, she said, adding, "My problem is that things change." She cited an example that an area zoned commercial is no longer next to a railroad.

"Should it be re-thunk, redone; maybe we should be flexible," Gleason said.

A town board member has to be aware of changes and look at the total package, she said. Mixed use offers flexibility, she said.

While she particularly thinks of mixed use in older town’s main streets, Gleason would like to investigate and keep an open mind about mixed use in New Scotland.

Years ago, planning experts said it was a bad idea to put industrial next to commercial next to residential.

"I was told that’s a difficult blend," said Gleason, because of noise and other complaints. "But now they are saying it can work," she said of planning experts.

Gleason thinks mixed use in New Scotland could work, factoring in "what kind of business it is, such as, is it a smelly business," she said.

Gleason said that she thinks the corridor’s retail space really could fill in with mixed kinds of businesses.

The report produced by the Residents’ Planning Advisory Board should still be used as guidelines, Gleason said, as helpful hints.

The town should "not just close it and it’s over with," she said. "I think it should still be used as a guide and useful tool," she said.

"Builders want to make money; that’s their job. You really can’t fault them for wanting to make as much money as they can," she said, but the town does need to do something about creating homes for seniors and first-time homebuyers.

When Salem Hills was built in the 1960’s, the houses were affordable, Gleason said. Mostly first-time homebuyers moved into the development, she said.

"Maybe a builder can get his money in some other way," Gleason said, perhaps with a combination of mixed housing types and cost ranges.

"I don’t know what the secret is to it," she said.

But with Amedore Homes’ proposal, she said, $250,000 "for a little townhouse doesn’t seem like senior housing."

It would take building a high density development, placing many units in one space, such as four units per lot, for a builder to get enough return to make it worth his while, she said, but no one wants that either.

"I think the town would suffer from high density; the roads and the services would suffer from it," Gleason said.

People want to keep the rural character in town, she said.

Gleason said the town could stand one planned-unit development.

"I really think it’s looking toward the future," she said, adding that she thinks it’s all right in that one spot on New Scotland Road.

Gleason is not happy about the proposed density of the Kensington Woods subdivision. It’s a vigorous undertaking; it should be reduced so that is not so ambitious, she said.

"In our town, taxes are very reasonable," Gleason said, "It’s the school taxes that cost so much."

As a town board member, her approach to managing spending is to start at the top and work down.

"If I watch what I spend and what other people spend, it will trickle down," she said.

When others see Gleason holding the line, then they will see some other areas that can be held too, she said.

Being fiscally conservative to her also means that, if the town were to get extra sales or mortgage tax revenues, she would give the money back to the people rather then say spend more.

"Sometimes you have to give it back to the people," she said, and that’s what she would vote to do.

Gleason has stated that she is a senior citizen on a fixed income.

"I feel very proud of our senior outreach program," Gleason said. Sue Weisz, the senior outreach liaison, has gained the confidence of the people of the community and elderly residents now know they have someone to call when they need help, Gleason said.

Elected officials are getting to know the seniors in town, and the elderly feel confident that people are here for them, that people in town care about them, and that the town wants them to stay here.

New Scotland seniors used to think they were alone, Gleason said.

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