When village voters go to the polls Tuesday, March 20, they will find three candidates on the ballot running for the three available seats.
Vince Buono and Donald Hackett will be running for their second two-year terms, while Terry Parisian will be running for his first term. Parisian was appointed to the village board earlier this year to replace former trustee Kelly Myers, who was elected town supervisor. The three are all members of the Saugerties New Vision Party.
Their message is simple: keep village taxes under control. They say they’ll do it by watching the budget like hawks and consolidating services with the town where possible.
“We need to keep our taxes down, so everything is on the table as we look to consolidate services,” says Don Hackett.
Like Buono, he suggested the village explore consolidation. As for cost-cutting, he says installation of “co-generation” equipment at the wastewater treatment plant has yielded savings. The village would pursue grant money to replace a fire truck as well, rather than foot the bill itself.
Like Buono, Hackett grew up in Saugerties. He operates the wastewater treatment plant in Rhinebeck. He and his wife Paula have four daughters and two stepsons.
“I believe we’ve done a good job with the village finances and I’d like to continue to finish what we’ve begun,” said Buono.
Buono and he and his fellow candidates are willing to look at possibly combining the DPW, water and wastewater departments.
“We will explore all viable options,” he said.
Buono has lived in Saugerties his entire life. He and his wife, Ruthann, have four children who attended school here, and they have several grandchildren. He is a retired sales manager and a former Saugerties Board of Education member.
Parisian is the general manager of the Hudson Valley Mall. He says life experience helped him understand the consequences of a weak local economy.
In the 1980s, he had a good job in a local company, but when the economy went south, so did Parisian and his family. “I had to move out of town, the town where I was raised, for 13 years in order to have a job that paid enough to provide for my family,” he explained.
He moved his family to Bergen County in neighboring New Jersey where he found a good-paying job. He also found that property-owners in Bergen County, which is one of the wealthiest in the state, paid lower property taxes than he had been paying in Saugerties. (Though today New Jersey has the highest average residential property taxes in the nation.)
“They had a mixture of housing and industry,” Parisian said.
And that’s what he would like to see Saugerties do. Attract more industry into the town and village, he added.
Any industry that moves into the town, in areas such as Kings Highway where there are already a number of shovel-ready sites, would benefit the village, which is the center of Saugerties.
“In the early 1970s, there were all kinds of manufacturing companies here, but now they are all gone,” he said.
“We need to work to bring businesses back, so that families can afford to stay in their homes,” Parisian said.
“We needed a reasonable balance between industry and housing to improve the quality of life here,” he added.
Parisian is a member of the Ulster County Development Corporation, which is looking at ways to grow the county’s manufacturing base to help cut property taxes countywide.
He, too, touts the importance of sharing services with the town. “Why should we have duplicate services?” he asked.
Parisian said that he wants to serve on the board because, “a lot of people complain about what’s going on, but don’t take part.”
He, like Buono, is a former member of the Saugerties Board of Education.
He and his wife JoAnne have two grown sons.
The polling place is village hall, 43 Partition St. Polls will be open from noon- 9 p.m.