Pizza party

Kelly Myers defeated Greg Helsmoortel for town supervisor and the highway superintendent race between Darren Chlud and Doug Myer is undecided. Freddie Costello has signed up so many relatives and customers in the Independence Party that it should be renamed the Sue’s Pizza Party, so it’s no wonder he and Leeanne Thornton did well.

What is surprising is that Costello and Thornton got around 60 votes, while “teammates” Helsmoortel and Chlud got about 40. Obviously, the Sue’s Pizza crowd isn’t too thrilled with Helsmoortel’s job performance or Chlud’s qualifications. Oh yeah, why did Chlud work for the Saugerties Highway Department for less than a month? Don’t hold your breath waiting for an answer!

Facts, just the facts

Last week, Democratic mouthpiece Don Avallone accused me of “lying” in a recent article about Helsmoortel, Costello and Thornton’s horrendous record. Yet, Avallone presented no evidence to support his claim. Therefore, I challenge Avallone to produce concrete facts to dispute the following:


  • Fact – town property taxes have doubled during helsmoortel’s tenure. According to budget documents, town property taxes (excluding special districts) were $3.9 million. Now, they are $8 million. Under Helsmoortel, the average annual property tax increase is 9.6%, which is four times the average annual rate of inflation! (source: Bureau of Labor Statistics).
  • Fact – Costello and Thornton’s tax record is no better. During their tenure, property taxes are almost two thirds higher, increasing an average of 8.8% per year, which is more than three times the rate of inflation!
  • Fact – school property taxes could increase by $500,000 under an agreement negotiated by Helsmoortel, Costello and Thorton with the developer of a Glasco low-income housing project. Source: a public statement by a school district official at an August Planning Board meeting.
  • Fact – Saugerties’ bond rating was lowered. As reported in the 2/18/11 Daily Freeman, Moody’s Investor Services lowered the town’s bond rating. This was due, in part, to the town’s use of its fund balance. Per town budget documents, Helsmoortel, Costello and Thornton spent over $800,000 from the fund balance since 2008. According to a 1/27/11 Saugerties Times article, Moody’s indicated Saugerties had a “deteriorated financial position.”
  • Fact – the town spent over $12,000 on Opus 40 without a Town Board vote. Worse, Helsmoortel wrote in the 2/24/11 Saugerties Times that this money came from discretionary fund which, according to budget officials, doesn’t exist!


Joe Roberti Jr. is the chairman of the Saugerties Republican Committee.

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