Three Democrats vie for two open New Paltz Town Board seats

Ray Lunati, Dan Torres and Jeff Logan. (photos by Lauren Thomas)

Ray Lunati, Dan Torres and Jeff Logan. (photos by Lauren Thomas)

Voters in New Paltz will have to decide between three different Democrats vying for two open Town Board seats in November.

Daniel Torres, a former New Paltz Board of Education member, is looking to expand his horizons with a seat on the Town Board. He’ll appear on the Democratic line as a candidate, but he’s also appearing on the third-party Bull Moose line.


Active in campaigning for Barack Obama both times, Torres was one of the youngest elected Latinos in New York State when he got on the school board in 2009. The 20-something stayed busy after leaving the school board, serving as the Northeastern director of the College Democrats of America during his undergraduate years at Marist College.

Jeff Logan is the incumbent Democrat councilman, a local business owner and a lifelong New Paltz resident. He’s proud of the efforts he’s made as a Town Board liaison to other groups — which equates to Logan attending three to six meetings a month.

Logan hasn’t always gotten along with local Democratic leadership. He first won his seat back in 2008 during a tense, three-way battle for a board seat waged among three write-ins. The councilman’s also been the Town Board’s lone critic of consolidation.

Ray Lunati is a former Republican, who changed in 2012 to register as a Democrat. He wasn’t able to get an endorsement from local Democrats, so instead he’s running on the GOP line. Lunati is known locally for keeping a watchful eye on Central Hudson Gas & Electric Corp.’s dealings at the dam in Rifton.

Lunati ran unsuccessfully for a Town Board seat two years ago as a Republican, and he’s also a local business owner.


Ray Lunati

Why did you decide to run for office?

Trust and honesty. It’s what a voter expects when they give their vote to a candidate; choosing between right and wrong when no one is watching.

Past supervisors and their boards chose themselves. Toni chose herself — against the outcries of local residents — when she pushed the flood plain law through. Don Wilen chose himself when he tried to get lifetime health care. Supervisors and mayors putting pay increases in their budgets while people were being reduced to part-time.

I would like to see a transparent budget instead of the shell game of switching line items as needed. I’m running for Town Council to bring trust and honesty back to the board.


Should Park Point get a payment in lieu of taxes (PILOT) — yes or no? Also, how should New Paltz be developed in the future? Should it be kept more rural, or should it be more built out? What kind of businesses would you work to attract to town?

Absolutely no tax break for Park Point — unless every New Paltz resident gets free college for four years. Let’s not set a precedent that New Paltz is a cheap date.

What I would personally like to see is a bowling alley. We have farm markets, grocery, gas, mechanic shops, bars, restaurants, movies, deposit banks, pizza, etc. Businesses we need to bring to our community are medical services, financial, warehousing and green technology. These types of businesses won’t compete with current Main Street business but will bring in revenue for the town.


Do you believe consolidation has failed? Should a town-village merger still be pursued?

I was for consolidation. I don’t believe it will occur. If those who wish to pursue it continue, then I won’t get in the way and will vote yes to put it on the ballot for a referendum. Too many personalities with their own agendas.

We need to continue to work together with shared services. Each board needs to keep in mind that if a service provided by the other becomes unaffordable or used as a negotiating tool, then the affected board will have to provide its own service for the recipients. For example, fire and water.


What are your ideas for long-term infrastructure repairs to water and sewer?

If Tampa, FL can turn seawater into drinking water, then we can treat groundwater to be safe. I thought of running a pipe to Rosendale’s Binnewater supply along the rail trial. It cost $1 million a mile, possibly hooking Springtown up to a municipal water supply along the way.

The objective of sewage treatment is to produce a disposable effluent without causing harm to the surrounding environment and prevent pollution. With the possibility of state grants, a look at technology that processes sewage without being located along a waterway or dumping waste water into the waterway is necessary.

The Wallkill River is an asset to the community and not a dumping ground.


How do you feel about a shift of town police costs to the village? Are you for or against that? Why?

The town cannot shift its responsibility to provide police protection to the village. However, we could set up high-risk districts. That’s similar to young drivers paying a premium for being higher risk drivers.

Our police officers are an asset to the community. Their presence is why we feel safe and allow our children to go to the pool, library, movies, etc. They keep crime low. They are first responders to fire, medical, car accidents and all emergencies. If necessary, they would step in harm’s way to protect the public.