Former Woodstock town supervisor Tracy Kellogg is challenging 18-year Hurley supervisor Gary Bellows for his job this election season, seeking to break up what she sees as an old boy’s network that’s kept the town from facing its issues.
Kellogg, a Democrat who won two terms as Woodstock supervisor between 1995 and 1999, once as a Republican, will be running with fellow Democrats Marie Shultis and Ashley Dittus for town board against incumbent Republicans Janet Briggs and Barbara Zell. Incumbent highway superintendent Clyde Russell and town clerk Judy Mayhon are running unopposed.
Bellows, who lost one term to Shultis’ husband Mike a decade ago, says he’s proud to have kept his town free of debt and passed budgets in the two percent tax increase range even before there was a tax cap mandate. He pointed out several projects he was looking forward to continuing, including the placement of solar panels at town hall — which he noted would be going next to the building instead of on it, due to weight and structural issues.
The incumbent also stressed how he would have to stay on top of the relationship with the New York City Department of Environmental Protection, with which he settled a lawsuit with in 2012 raising the city’s assessment for Ashokan Reservoir lands in the town from a requested $40 million to $165 million.
“They are not a good neighbor to us,” he said. “I want them to stop ruining my creek.”
Kellogg, who served four years as a town board member and five as a planning board member while in Woodstock, noted how she’d always proved herself a “fiscally responsible” manager, with a talent for finding new revenues. She moved to West Hurley in 2001 after the death of her husband, Jonathan, and has since become an attorney with a part time private practice and employment in Albany. She says she feels much wiser, now 13 years older than when she last held the tiller of the Town of Woodstock.
“It’s been a good old boys gang running things for so long that there’s not much discussion or challenge left on the Hurley town board. People aren’t looking at things much,” she said, in regards to issues. “It comes out in many small ways, from the manner in which bids get meted out to the difficulties the board’s having passing an anti-fracking law. We’re a divided community here, between Hurley and West Hurley, with some great environmental treasures and some rising issues.”
Neither candidate said they knew of any Meet the Candidate events that have been planned, and were planning to spend the coming weeks going door to door, meeting people.
Bellows added that he’s just starting the town’s annual budget process, which he expects to stick within a two percent tax increase level easily.
“We’ve still got reserves left,” he said. “We’ll set some aside for drainage and infrastructure issues each year.”
“Being supervisor here versus Woodstock would be a walk in the park, comparatively,” said Kellogg. “That is, should I win.”
Kellogg ran for a town justice position two years ago and came in third out of four candidates, seeking two judgeships.
Bellows and fellow Republicans have tended to win elections by almost two to one margins, except when he was defeated by Shultis. In 2012, however, Obama/Biden beat out the Romney/Ryan ticket in the town by a comfortable margin and Senator Kirsten Gillibrand won reelection by a reversal of the two to one ration by which Republicans used to take all seats in town races.
It depends on how those splits Kellogg sees play against Bellows’ vision of a united town.