To the editor:
This assembly race is about telling the truth. It's also about measuring the candidates and deciding which one is the best to represent the people. So, here is the real story, the truth behind my opponent's distortions.
In 1998 the village of Fort Plain Board of Trustees decided there needed to be an incentive to retain the once-ceremonial position of mayor once I left office. Our deputy mayor therefore put forth a resolution to raise the mayor's pay, and the board voted to raise the salary from $3,000 a year, which amounted to $2.80 an hour for a 20-hour work week, to $5,000 a year -- $4.81 an hour for a 20-hour work week. That's below minimum wage. In 2007, the Montgomery County Board of Supervisors (15 members) voted to raise each supervisor's pay to $10,000, and it hasn't been raised since.
As for hiking property taxes? That's a lie. As a supervisor on the Montgomery County Board of Supervisors, I took office in 2002 and the county tax rate for the town of Minden was $14.07 per $1,000. This year the county tax rate is $12.67 per $1,000, at 100 percent assessment. I am proud that I helped lead the fight to cut every resident's taxes.
Here's another thing my opponent, Angelo Santabarbara, isn't telling you. According to an audit by the state comptroller, as chairman of the Rotterdam IDA, Santabarbara carved out a salary for himself and other board members, costing taxpayers $38,000. The money hasn't been returned. He gave away $4.2 million to a corporation to build a facility which was never built and for jobs that were never created. That money hasn't been returned either. Angelo Santabarbara failed as Rotterdam's economic development czar, failed the taxpayers by swindling them out of their money, and failed to create jobs.
That is the truth. On Election Day, I ask for your support and consideration. Hire the best: Vote Tom Quackenbush for assembly.
The writer is a candidate for office in the 111th Assembly District.
Another pay hike explanation
To the editor:
As deputy mayor of Fort Plain for over 40 years, I had the great pleasure of serving with Tom Quackenbush in the village of Fort Plain from 1997 to 2002. Since I have firsthand knowledge of what happened during those years, I can personally say that the accusation attacking Tom for his "enormous pay hike" distorts the truth.
In 1998, the village board of trustees decided that when the mayor's seat became vacated again, there would need to be an incentive to hold the once-ceremonial position. As deputy mayor at the time, I decided to put forth a resolution to raise the mayor's pay. As a result, the board voted to raise the mayoral pay from $3,000 a year, which amounted to $2.80 an hour for a 20-hour week, to $5,000 a year, or $4.81 an hour for a 20-hour work week. Note that the hourly total is below the minimum wage.
I can vouch for Tom's leadership as mayor and the outstanding job he did while representing his village and the taxpayers. As mayor, Tom has a list of legislative accomplishments that have greatly benefited our village. Tom helped to secure a $1.2 million grant to build a water tower to provide increased water pressure to areas of the village in need. He started the neighborhood watch program, which helped keep our village safe. At a time when keeping local services was important, Tom did his best to balance state mandates while fighting tax increases. He also brought job creators to the area like Access Transportation and its 43 employees.
Tom has always put the taxpayers first, which is exactly the kind of representative we need in the Assembly. Vote for Tom Quackenbush on Election Day.
Loring S. (Dutch) Dutcher,
Of course it will work here
To the editor:
I write in support of the proposed Montgomery County Charter. Right now, we simply have a default form of county government known as the board of supervisors. It operates under the general provisions of county law rather than a county charter of our own choosing.
As I see it, the biggest weakness with the board of supervisors form of government is that the supervisors hold both legislative and executive authority -- a system that confuses, minimizes and contradicts any real possibility of executive leadership. More importantly, the people don't get to choose who leads. The chairman of the board is chosen by fellow board members. Sometimes they just take turns with the chairman's position and alternate between the towns and the city.
Times have changed. Rural counties like ours now have big budgets and are responsible for the administration and delivery of complex programs and services, all under a newly imposed tax cap. Clearly, our county would stand to benefit from the executive administration of its budgets, day-to-day affairs and long-term goals, but not everyone sees it that way.
Some people say it won't work here. Of course it will work here. The separation of legislative and executive power works on both the state and federal levels. The people elect governors and presidents. Most certainly the people can be trusted to elect a county executive too.
The proposed charter is worthy of our support. I urge you to flip your ballot over on Nov. 6 and vote "yes" to change county government.