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Guilderland Archives — The Altamont Enterprise, August 28, 2008

New chair
Kriger preaches “no harm” for development

By Saranac Hale Spencer

GUILDERLAND — Following the exit of the long-time, and sometimes controversial, chair of the town’s Economic Development Advisory Council in April, the split-party town board appointed a new chairman in a strikingly congenial unanimous vote on Tuesday.

Dr. Thomas Kriger hauled himself up to the podium, easing one leg along after having knee surgery, to answer general questions from the board before the vote.  He answered routine questions carefully.

Currently the associate budget director for research and policy in the sate university system, Kriger has worked as an assistant professor and assistant farm manager over the last three decades.  “I’ve had a pretty varied career,” he said when asked in a phone interview last night what he thought might have given him preference for the position over the other three candidates.

He learned a good deal about business when he worked on a large farm, Ontario Orchards Farms, in central New York for 13 years, he said.  That job also gave him respect for rural, agricultural land, some of which Guilderland still has, unlike many of its thoroughly suburban neighbors, Kriger said.

While he called economic development “absolutely essential,” he stressed the importance of “maintaining the way of life.”  At Tuesday’s meeting, he told the board that his philosophy of development isn’t unlike the Hippocratic oath that doctors take, to first “do no harm.”

“We are a suburban and rural community,” he said last night, contrasting Guilderland with other nearby communities.  “That makes us different.”

The town’s comprehensive plan is a “sound document,” he said, and he plans to respect it.  Since it is now several years old, he said, some parts may need to be revisited — he cited transportation and information technology as two areas that have changed since the plan’s creation. 

Noting the sharp increase in fuel costs recently, Kriger suggested that the transportation plan might be revised.  When asked what he envisioned it might become, he said that “this is the appropriate forum to raise those issues.”

An enrolled Democrat, Kriger says that the key to effective local government is being able to work with everybody — the supervisor; the town board, which has three Democrats and two Republicans; and other committees.

The council had been headed for eight years by Donald Csaposs, who works for the town as a grant writer.  The council chairmanship pays $3,600 annually.

Having served on the town’s Conservation Advisory Council for four years and enjoyed it, Kriger wanted to get more involved in town government, he said.  “I look forward to it.”

Other business

In other business at its Aug. 19 meeting, the board:

—         Heard from June Kline that she was angry with the way the board conducted itself at its last meeting.  She defended the work done by Carol Wysomski, the now retired assessor, who had come under fire, saying to Republican Councilman Warren Redlich, “Please don’t just sit there and throw out lies and half truths.”

She also reprimanded Redlich, a lawyer, for talking down to people who address the board, saying, “We might not know as much about the law as you, but some of us know more about the running of this town”;

—         Heard from Don Reeb, president of the McKownville Neighborhood Improvement Association, that he appreciates the work that the town has done to try to alleviate the flooding problems in McKownville.  He also reported progress on raising funds to help the Plant family rebuild their home at 29 Providence St. after heavy rains collapsed one of their cellar walls (go to www.altamontenterprise.com and look under “archives” in “Guilderland” for Aug. 7, 2008 for full coverage);

—         Heard from Doug Smith, also of McKownville, who echoed Reeb’s praise for the water survey;

—         Voted unanimously to authorize the supervisor to enter into an inter-municipal agreement to establish a coalition for cooperation on issues related to storm-water management;

—         Voted unanimously to designate Supervisor Kenneth Runion as Guilderland’s representative to the board of directors of the 12-member coalition;

—         Voted unanimously to accept bids for items requested by the highway department.  The bid for recycled asphalt in place, per ton, went to Callanan Industries, Inc. for $71.47.  The bid for conventional asphalt in place, per ton, also went to Callanan — this included seven items that range in price from $71.47 to $189.  The bid for diesel fuel went to Long Oil Heat, Inc., as did the bid for heating oil, at $4.06.  The bid for burner service was also awarded to Long Oil, for a regular rate of $95, overtime rate of $142.50, and cleaning per unit at $169.50. 

“It’s out of control,” Todd Gifford, the highway superintendent, told the board during a discussion about rising fuel costs;

—         Voted unanimously to appoint Jacqueline Siudy and Gerald Lugg Jr. as building inspectors;

—         Voted unanimously to waive building-permit fees for foundation repairs to 29 Providence St., the Plants’ house;

—         Voted 4-0 to name a private road off of County Line Road as Almond Lane.  Councilman Mark Grimm recused himself because he is related to the applicant;

—         Voted unanimously to schedule an informational meeting or workshop on Sept. 23 at 7:30 p.m. on the tentative 2009 town budget; and

—         Voted unanimously to enter executive session to discuss: the purchase of land to relocate the town’s communications tower, contract negotiations for relocating the tower, and a Freedom of Information Law request appeal.

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