Mark Grimm, Guilderland supevisor candidate
GUILDERLAND — Mark Grimm, a media strategist and adjunct college instructor, was a member of the town board for one term, from 2008 to 2012, during which time he and his fellow Republican board member, Warren Redlich, were often at odds with the Democrats.
Grimm said he believes that 14 years is long enough for any one person to serve in public office, and that he could bring “new energy” to the town.
“I’m very passionate and committed to the constituents,” he said.
Grimm said he thinks the town board does have a role to play in taxes in each of the town’s separate districts.
“The supervisor controls assessments and Mr. Runion’s inflated assessments are affecting all of our taxes,” he said. “Anything that affects my constituents, I’m concerned about.”
When the Guilderland Public Library put up a roughly $13 million bond vote to upgrade and expand last year, Grimm was very vocal in his opposition, circulating fliers and financing robo calls encouraging people to vote against it. The bond was voted down, which Grimm took some credit for.
He was silent on a recent $3.9 million fire district vote for expansion, which passed. The tax burden would have been relatively the same as the library’s increased burden.
Grimm’s role in the library vote was as a private citizen, since he was not in public office at the time, but he said it is up to the town board to stand up for its constituents.
“While it is up to the voters to decide officially, it is our job to make things transparent,” he said. “I don’t agree that it’s our role to stay quiet.”
Town officials, he said, should not be encouraged to keep their feelings private.
“That was a really important vote in our town,” said Grimm, referring to the library vote. “Why didn’t Mr. Runion speak up?” he wanted to know.
“We can’t tell people what to do,” he said. “But, I’m for as much transparency as possible.”
Grimm said he thinks the town should be sure the courts are “as secure as necessary.”
If he were supervisor, he said, he would sit down with the town judges and ask their opinions on how to make the courts more secure.
“It’s not something I would decide on my own,” he said.
Grimm said that, in his opinion, Runion has a bad reputation with businesses.
“I live in the business world, so I know,” he said. “We have to change that; we have to improve that.”
He said the town needs to increase business revenue, but do it with sensible development.
“We need to build in a way that’s responsible, but do it so that it enhances quality of life,” said Grimm. “I think I’d be much better at it than the current supervisor.”
The NanoTech facilities are right down the road, he said, and there are many empty businesses along Western Avenue.
“I would love to meet with people and ask how we could spin some businesses off onto Western Avenue,” he said. “These would be high tech jobs capitalizing on our nearby NanoTech campus — that’s a huge potential for us.”
He also said he thinks zoning is a “political tool” in the town, and that small-business owners need to be provided explanations with clarity about the rules and regulations.
“Ken is a career politician and I am a businessman,” said Grimm. “I have an inherent advantage here.”
The quality of the town’s water source requires the full attention of the supervisor, said Grimm, and he would provide it.
“I would sit down with Watervliet and ask them how we could work together,” he said. “We have a mutual interest.”
He said he did not think the town should be relying on a filtration system, and should ultimately clean up the water.
“It’s a big issue that not a lot of people are aware of,” he said. “That’s the main source of our water and we don’t control it.”
Grimm said he thinks there is grant money available for cleaning up water sources.
“Clean water is usually a pretty high priority,” he said. “That’s one of the reasons we need a more professional grant- procurement operation in our town.”
“I think people appreciate my new energy, and my strong record,” Grimm concluded. “Those are the two things I’m hearing the most.