Our government's shortfalls
To the editor:
I have served as a Montgomery County supervisor from the town of Glen from 1984-87 and again from 2010-present. During these years I observed what I feel are the shortcomings of our present form of government.
First, the county lacks someone to oversee the day-to-day operations of what has become an expensive operation. Someone is needed to meet with department heads, make day-to-day decisions, and handle administrative duties which are now done by committees of the board of supervisors. The proposed Montgomery County Charter provides for this person through an elected county executive and by being elected would be accountable to all residents of the county. This person would have certain powers to make day-to-day decisions to move everyday business along smoothly. The executive would also be responsible for the preparation of the budget and it would be his/her responsibility to justify it to the public as well as the legislative body. The executive would represent the entire county and focus on countywide issues.
The second problem I see with Montgomery County government is the antiquated system of weighted voting we now use. I believe this system leaves supervisors from the least populated towns at a disadvantage. Supervisors from those towns may have some great ideas but without the votes these ideas may not get advanced. I also believe that 15 supervisors is too many. Some counties in New York work with as few as seven legislators. The proposed county charter provides for a nine-member legislature with legislators elected from nine evenly populated districts. Each legislator would have one vote, thereby eliminating any iniquities, perceived or real, with the present weighted voting system. Legislators would focus on countywide issues and the needs of their districts. City, town and village governments would remain exactly the same as they are now.
The county charter is simply a document that defines the functions of county government as well as the powers and responsibilities of those elected or appointed to carry out their duties. The charter commission was formed by resolution of the board of supervisors. The commission is made up of nine dedicated residents of Montgomery County who care about their county government. They formulated this charter through several months of discussion and debate. They produced a document which I believe is a step in the right direction and I fully support it. It would be impossible to cover every detail of the charter in this piece, so I would suggest that interested persons go to the Montgomery County website (www.co.montgomery.ny.us) and read the charter and all information leading up to it or talk to any charter commission member.
Montgomery County has many dedicated and loyal department heads and employees and I feel that those employees, working with an elected executive and county legislature, can make our government more streamlined and efficient. Over the long term I think these changes will help control costs while still delivering the essential services our residents deserve. I have lived my entire life in Montgomery County and plan on spending the rest of it here and I would not support any change that I felt was detrimental to the county. I know this is an important vote for those who care about their local government, so get informed and regardless of your decision get out and vote Nov. 6.
The writer is town of Glen supervisor.
Setting the record straight
To the editor:
It's time to set the record straight. Unfortunately, my opponent, state Assembly candidate Tom Quackenbush, has been telling flat-out lies about my record, while "ducking" his own.
Recently, Mr. Quackenbush sent out yet another misleading campaign mailer. This one insinuated that I voted to exceed the governor's property tax cap. That's a lie. The truth is, I voted against an override of the cap because I know our families can't afford an increase and shouldn't be forced to pay more.
Meanwhile, during his time on the Montgomery County Board of Supervisors, Mr. Quackenbush voted to increase property taxes six times -- a whopping 44 percent. He also voted to increase his pay by over 43 percent on the county board and by 66 percent as the mayor of Fort Plain. And to top it off, Mr. Quackenbush spent down the reserve fund to almost nothing on the county board of supervisors.
I'm proud of my record because unlike Mr. Quackenbush, I've never voted to raise property taxes. In fact, I've voted to cut taxes twice. I've also worked to keep the reserve fund strong to cover unexpected expenses in the future. And, I've never voted to increase my legislative pay and I never will.
Another thing Mr. Quackenbush won't talk about is how he testified before the governor's mandate relief commission on Feb. 24, 2012 and said, "Let us raise our sales tax by an additional percent or two, for every percent, that would mean $6 million for us." Taxpayers would pay even higher taxes for everyday necessities so government can have more money to spend.
My philosophy is very different. I believe the government needs to tighten its belt and spend less just like the rest of us. That's why I'm running for state Assembly and why I'm running on my record of cutting taxes and never voting to raise my own pay.
Candidate for State Assembly