Citing improvements in town administration, a ban on synthetic drugs and cancellation of a tax agreement with a controversial affordable housing development in Glasco, Town Supervisor Kelly Myers announced her candidacy for a second term last week.
Her 2011 opponent, six-termer Greg Helsmoortel, threw his hat in the ring the week previous, and at this time has no Democratic challenger. No so for Myers. Last week, she shared the stage with two other Republican nomination hopefuls: Gaetana Ciarlante and James Uhl. The GOP will choose its nominee at its June 19 caucus.
At the candidate night, Myers invoked her former opponent. She asked the Republicans in the room to support her because she’s proven she can beat Helsmoortel in a townwide election. She also repeated the story of her first day in office when, rather than a collegial changing of the guard, she had to pick up the keys at the police station. She said she found an empty office and a computer with a wiped hard drive.
Myers painted her predecessor as a lax administrator. She said she began signing off on town bills to provide oversight instead of letting office employees do so to improve oversight. She said she insisted on putting all town contracts out to bid, something the town had been cited for in previous years.
She said Helsmoortel left her $400,000 in unpaid election and social service charges. His explanation for the former is that payment was withheld in protest of unfair county charges; for the latter, the county had previously collected the amount by including it in the taxpayers’ bill after the town budget was passed, and only changed its process in 2012 — not something he could control. Myers and other Republicans saw it differently, all but accusing the former supervisor of hiding a huge part of the town budget to keep the tax rate low.
Myers also pointed to rescinding the PILOT (payment in lieu of taxes) agreement with Dickinson’s Keep, a proposed affordable housing project in Glasco, and two laws banning synthetic drugs as accomplishments.
In the next two years, Myers said she wants to make sure the county continues to phase in its takeover of social service expenses; dredge the Esopus under the dam to revitalize the waterfront; retain the Coast Guard cutter in Saugerties; reduce Esopus Creek flooding; get the state to turn over the Bristol Beach park on the Hudson to the town; apply for grants to improve sidewalks and building entrances; and get businesses to relocate and support existing businesses.