Four candidates vie for two seats on the Lloyd Town Board

Mike Guerriero, Michael Horodyski, Dave Plavchak and Joe Mazzetti. (photos by Lauren Thomas)

Mike Guerriero, Michael Horodyski, Dave Plavchak and Joe Mazzetti. (photos by Lauren Thomas)

Two Democrat and two Republican candidates have stepped up to the plate and are vying for two open seats on the Lloyd Town Board. Mike Guerriero has received the endorsement from the Democratic Party; Michael Horodyski is running with endorsements from the Republican, Conservative, Independence and Reform parties; Dave Plavchak has received the endorsement from the Republican, Independence and Reform parties; and Joe Mazzetti is running with endorsements from the Democratic and Conservative parties.

Here are their responses to questions from the New Paltz Times.

Advertisement

 

Mike Guerriero

Why did you decide to run for office?

I am running for re-election for the same reason that I ran initially: because I love this great town and its citizens and its local small business services. The Town of Lloyd has given me and my family so much and when I retired from running a small business for over 42 years in the village, I knew it was time to give back.

I have fought time and time again for the people of this town and in their best interests. Being the only Democrat on the board for the past four years has been rough — it’s been personal, I’ve been personally attacked, but I find my strength in the truth.

The truth is what we need is balance and that it shouldn’t always be about elected officials having a unanimous agenda or interests. It’s become clear to all that Paul Hansut, our town supervisor, can be rude, aggressive and at times behave like a bully. I’ve stood up to him, questioned him and I don’t regret doing so for one second.

 

What skills, experiences or qualifications do you have that make you believe you would make a competent board member?

I have been a councilman for the past four years and a downtown businessman for more than 40 years. I still own rental properties throughout the town. In short, I believe we should spend the taxpayers’ dollars like our own.

It’s clear to all that government spending on a local and national level is out of control. It’s harder now more than ever for families to get by. I always take the most conservative approach when it comes to our citizens and their dollars being spent.

 

How should Lloyd be developed in the future? Would zoning or comprehensive plan changes be needed to support your vision?

Development should proceed carefully, and we should have long-term goals for the next 20 years. The town should not be paying for improvements to districts to benefit the developers. Developers should bear all the cost of improvements and additional services that the town will need as caused by their projects.

We need to continue to attract new businesses to our town, help local citizens create new ones and make people aware of how the Town of Lloyd and Highland are great places to raise a family. Take the Walkway Over the Hudson as an example: what a tremendous showpiece and tourist attraction for our town. We need to continue to find ways to help our local businesses to grow.

 

Does the Town Council have a public relations problem? What would you do to make sure that public perception of the board matches reality?

Yes, the Town Council has a major public relations problem: the lack of transparency! This Republican-controlled Town Board has not been transparent and this brings me to a very important issue: FOIL, also known as the Freedom Of Information Law.

Taken from NY.GOV: “The Freedom of Information Law, effective January 1, 1978, reaffirms your right to know how your government operates. It provides rights of access to records reflective of governmental decisions and policies that affect the lives of every New Yorker. The law preserves the Committee on Open Government, which was created by enactment of the original Freedom of Information Law in 1974.”

The Highland Town Board passed a resolution on May 20, 2015 that our supervisor, Paul Hansut, will receive a report from the town clerk on what is being requested and who is petitioning for the information. In my opinion, this is not transparency and could possibly lead to bullying by officials. I voted against this resolution and stood alone with my vote.

 

What are the top three challenges facing the Town of Lloyd right now?

Over-development, extension of the water district and the revival of the village. We must continue to grow, but grow with a system of checks and balances. This Town Board continues to extend itself to developers. Time and time again I’ve had to question and challenge their judgement when dealing with developers and ask, “Who are they really trying to help?” The citizens or the developers?

In addition, we must continue to help revive the village and grow our local businesses. As someone who ran a business for over 40 years in the village, I am determined to see it thrive again!

 

If elected, what liaison positions would best suit your strengths when you begin your term in January?

I would be willing to serve on any of the committees as I have four years of experience on the Town Board.

One committee that I currently sit on and am the liaison for is the Environmental Conservation Committee. We have so many natural sanctuaries throughout this great town and it’s imperative to me that we protect them. It’s also imperative that we protect our natural habitat as developers develop our lands.

Minimal environmental impact is always my main goal.

 

Michael Horodyski

Why did you decide to run for office?

I have lived in the town my whole life, and I am passionate about seeing the Town of Lloyd flourish. I wanted to get involved and be a decision maker because I feel I communicate and effect the needed changes within the town that will not only maintain our rural character but also provide the development needed to sustain the required services for the town as a whole. The bottom line is, I believe we have something special to offer in the Town of Lloyd and I want to be involved to communicate that vision.

 

What skills, experiences or qualifications do you have that make you believe you would make a competent board member?

I have been the president and CEO of a local community bank for the last five years. I understand what it takes to make tough decisions and to work with and across varying opinions to find compromise. I am also involved in the community as a whole. As chairman of the Ulster County Industrial Development Agency, I am in contact with the decision makers at the county level. This provides me a unique ability to move between town and county government when needed. I am also a board member of the Walkway Over the Hudson. The Walkway can be a vital economic incubator for our town, but we need to work with both the Walkway folks and local businesses to make that happen. Additionally, I have served on the Town of Lloyd Revolving Loan Fund since about 2007. This is a great tool for businesses coming into town that need an additional capital infusion to bring their dreams into reality. In some ways, we are the best-kept secret in Highland, but during the last three years, we have been able to provide $350K (plus/minus) in capital infusions to local businesses.

 

How should Lloyd be developed in the future? Would zoning or comprehensive plan changes be needed to support your vision?

Lloyd should continue to work for the commercial development of our major arteries — Route 9W and Route 299. These are vital areas that are well suited to commercial development. I believe the Greater Walkway Zone, which was recently created with the help of a number of different stakeholders, provides the needed zoning/planning framework to bring good development to this area. We had excellent plans for the development of the 299/9W intersection, and I would like to see something come to fruition on that parcel. The Wine Village project toward the southern end of town is epitome of good planning. I believe the phasing of the residential units will ensure that the needed commercial development and corresponding job creation is in place well before we inundate the town with additional residential development.

In regards to zoning and the comprehensive plan, I believe we have a well-articulated comprehensive plan that was 20-plus years in the making. We had a very diverse group that worked to retool the plan, and I am happy with the results. Unfortunately, the comprehensive plan review could be a never-ending process, but I think the plan we have in place does a good job of highlighting what is important to the town.

 

Does the Town Council have a public relations problem? What would you do to make sure that public perception of the board matches reality?

I don’t believe we have a public relations problem. Anytime you make important decisions there is always going to be someone or some group that believes they were not heard. I think it’s important to continue to frame our decision-making process so the public can understand the thought process and rationale for why a decision was made. I am here to do what is right for the Town of Lloyd as a whole and I will continue to do that as long as I am privileged enough to remain on the board.

I think each time a decision is made, the thought process of the board members should be clearly communicated. The public should not have to wonder why a particular board member voted a particular way. It should be clearly communicated what the board member’s position is. And I believe that board members should be held accountable for knowing the process and what each vote means. We as board members should not be able to vote a certain way and not explain the position when asked. That would go a long way in making our decision-making process as transparent as possible. I want to make sure that even if you disagree with a particular vote, you understand why I voted a particular way.

 

What are the top three challenges facing the Town of Lloyd right now?

I think the most important challenge we have is maintaining and growing our existing infrastructure. As we continue to work within the tax cap, which we have managed to do since the law was enacted, it becomes increasingly difficult to conduct the proper preventative maintenance and continue investing in infrastructure when we are committed to staying within the tax cap formula set by the state. Infrastructure is important if we are going to prudently grow, and finding the needed funds to keep up is becoming harder and harder each year.

The increasing employee benefit costs continue to be a constant set of troubles for the Town Board. The additionally costs of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) for an employer our size are considerable. We have seen insurance programs that have worked very well for us in the past no longer offered because of ACA requirements. We need to maintain attractive benefit programs because our employees deserve them, but finding cost-effective alternatives is becoming very hard in the current environment.

Advertisement

I think property tax control is always a top challenge for any municipal board. I understand that each homeowner and business owner do not have unlimited funds to draw from, but I also need to balance that with needed services the town provides. The cost of living and doing business in New York is one of the highest in the country, and until we as the municipal leaders and our counterparts at the state level commit to finding ways we can do things cheaper, we will continue to see the exodus of people from New York.

 

If elected, what liaison positions would best suit your strengths when you begin your term in January?

I have been fortunate to have served on the Town Board for almost five years. I have worked hard to understand each different area and its impact to the town as a whole. I would feel comfortable in any liaison position the supervisor cares to give me as I will always be available and communicate the issues/needs of a given committee or constituency.

 

Dave Plavchak

Why did you decide to run for office?

I’ve resided in the Highland area for over 35 years, and enjoy living in the Town of Lloyd. I am a strong proponent of community service and have always been active in community activities. I have volunteered for and served on various community committees. I served on the town Zoning Board in 2009 and I am currently a member of the town Planning Board (since 2010). I now want to expand my responsibility and work as a town councilman to have a greater impact on the town. My objective is to work and help the town continue to grow and flourish. This is my first attempt at running for an elected office, and I am excited about the possibility of serving on the Town Board.

 

What skills, experiences or qualifications do you have that make you believe you would make a competent board member?

Through my successful career at IBM for over 38 years in numerous senior management, key leadership and technical positions I have acquired a vast array of skills. I have led numerous successful large teams and projects. Some of my specific skills include business management, leadership, organizational and human resource management. I have strong analytical and fiscal skills, including managing large budgets, understanding capital investments and return on investment. I have successfully developed and managed shared services that can also be applied to public entities. I am known for finding solutions to problems and implementing new ideas. All of these skills will be an attribute as a member of the Town Board.

Experiences and knowledge gained from my Planning Board tenure will be beneficial in a municipal governing role. On the Planning Board, reviewing site plans, special-use permits, etc. has enabled me to gain experience assessing public and private development projects. This role included gaining experience interpreting town code and zoning regulations and applying them to applications and development plans. It also involved soliciting input and comments from the public and working towards a common agreement and solution. For the past few years, I have also regularly attended the Town Board meeting, giving me a good appreciation of how the board operates and an understanding of the issues facing the town.

 

How should Lloyd be developed in the future? Would zoning or comprehensive plan changes be needed to support your vision?

Our town needs to continue to grow and balance our growth between commercial and residential while protecting the rural feel of the community. Specifically we need to develop the Route 9W corridor with additional commercial businesses while maintaining a strong presence in the hamlet. The corridor is a high-traffic area and we need to be able to get people passing through the town to stop and support our local businesses. I participated with Scenic Hudson and other stakeholders to develop the Walkway/Gateway Zoning, which the town adopted in 2013. This sets the stage for investment and smart development along the 9W corridor.

Developing this corridor will help funnel additional people into the town from the Walkway and trail connectors, which we have not taken advantage of to date. We also need to continue focus on upgrades in the hamlet, and provide continued support for our current merchants. The Wine Village project provides an excellent opportunity to create jobs and help with overall growth. We should proceed with this project with a balanced approach between commercial and residential development. As we focus on development in the aforementioned areas, we need to sustain the town’s rural feel and character.

The recent updating of the Comprehensive Plan has made significant progress in focusing on my vision which is to: “Preserve the character of our community and encourage a balance of commercial and residential development to enhance our tax base.” The Comprehensive Plan and associated zoning changes need to continue in line with that vision. Both zoning and the Comprehensive Plan should have a periodic schedule of reviews to capture changing economic conditions and demographics. The Comprehensive Plan and any zoning changes need to include input from a wide spectrum of citizens and committees.

 

Does the Town Council have a public relations problem? What would you do to make sure that public perception of the board matches reality?

The board’s decisions affect people differently and there are numerous opinions across a diverse set of citizens. I am not sure I would characterize it as a public relations problem, however, there are times when people are critical about the town’s operations. I do think any Town Board or governing entity should communicate as much as possible and make sure we understand and address both sides of an issue. If elected, I will explain my decision-making process and the facts/opinions I considered. I will also be accountable for my decisions and learn from mistakes and not make excuses. It is very easy for people to stand on the sidelines and criticize when they are not personally accountable. I understand and accept this and will not let it affect my ability to make decisions that move the town forward in a positive direction. The public perception of the Town Board versus reality is subjective and changes based on what topics are being debated at any given time. It is much easier today with social media for varying opinions to get surfaced. Many times comments on some of the social sites such as Facebook pages, etc. are bits of information and include opinions that are personal in nature and one-sided. I have also seen positive comments on these same pages, so there is a mix of opinions and perceptions. Although we cannot control comments, emotions and perceptions of others, we do need to continue to make a conscious effort to communicate and distribute as many facts as available to the general public. I have personally attended the Town Board meetings for the past few years and believe that if more people would attend and participate, they would be able to form a more rounded view.

 

What are the top three challenges facing the Town of Lloyd right now?

My top three are property taxes, maintaining aging infrastructure and service levels to the public and growth and development.

As a Town Board, we need to be fiscally responsible and do as much as we can at a local level to avoid increases in property taxes and stay within the “cap” levels. In some areas, we need to work to offset the mandates from the county and state. Additional commercial development which adds tax revenue could help offset some of the burden of continuous rising operations costs. We also need to work with all public entities to make sure we are being as efficient as possible when spending tax dollars.

Another challenge facing the town is upgrading and maintaining infrastructure. We have to plan for regular maintenance and not put things off that could potentially interrupt service or end up costing more in the long run. Our budgeting process needs to include maintenance of our infrastructure. This includes the water/sewer systems, roads, buildings, etc. With costs rising across the board, we must make the proper trade-offs to maintain our infrastructure. Along with infrastructure maintenance, we also have to maintain and improve public service levels to our citizens while staying within the allocated budgets. We need to be prudent as municipal leaders to make sure we don’t affect public safety and other critical services. We all want our town to be recognized as a safe and desirable place to live.

The third challenge is to make sure we work to promote the growth of our town through a balanced approach of commercial and residential development. We need to understand the economic and environmental impacts of all proposed development in the town. There are many projects already in the review process and we need promote additional investment. While promoting growth, we always have to remain cognizant of our vision and keep the public involved and informed.

 

If elected, what liaison positions would best suit your strengths when you begin your term in January?

Based on my experiences with planning/zoning boards, there is most likely a natural affinity to assign me as liaison to planning or zoning boards. However, I am willing to accept any of the liaison assignments and would have a short learning curve in any of the positions.

 

Joe Mazzetti

Why did you decide to run for office?

I have a natural inclination to help people expand their horizons. My goal in running for office is to motivate people to excel, to work cooperatively with others and develop a positive sense of community. I believe in community service and want to contribute my knowledge and expertise to make a positive difference in our town. I have received endorsements from both the Democratic and Conservative parties. The Upper Hudson Central Labor Council also endorses me.

 

What skills, experiences or qualifications do you have that make you believe you would make a competent board member?

I am employed as an assistant principal by the Poughkeepsie City School District. I have earned a Certificate of Advanced Study in Administration from the State University of New York at New Paltz, Master of Arts in psychology from Marist College and a Bachelor of Arts in political science from the State University of New York at New Paltz. I have successfully dealt with students, parents and staff. I have administrative experience with scheduling employees, budgeting, infrastructure, evaluations, working with outside organizations, facilitating professional development, department Liaisons, providing professional development and building staff moral. Many of the interventions and strategies I have employed as an educational leader have provided me with the valuable tools needed to be an effective councilmen.

 

How should Lloyd be developed in the future? Would zoning or comprehensive plan changes be needed to support your vision?

It is important that our local government guarantees fiscal accountability that maintains a high quality community. There is a delicate balance between economic growth and housing development. To maintain this balance we need to take into account the finical cost to the community before approving large-scale housing projects. We also need to revisit current zoning policies to determine if these policies meet the needs of our community and are in the best interest of our town.

 

Does the Town Council have a public relations problem? What would you do to make sure that public perception of the board matches reality?

I believe that the Town Board must always remember we severe the public. We need to communicate proactively about relevant issues. It is my goal to listen to all our citizens and create a feeling of pride in our community and make the necessary decision to support our residents. To ensure all of our citizen’s voices are heard I would create a community forum. This forum would be made up of representatives from varying town groups and organizations. The community forum will provide the Town Board with information pertaining to important issues and public concerns. This communication will provide the board with the ability to gain a sense of what our community members believe is important. The board would also be able to explain to the forum members why decisions are being made. Their individual representatives will provide the information to their larger committees. This will provide every community member access to the board and allow every town member the opportunity to voice their concerns.

 

What are the top three challenges facing the Town of Lloyd right now?

I believe the three top challenges our town faces are maintaining low taxes so all of our residents can afford to live in our town, increasing drug awareness for our children and creating a delicate balance between economic growth and housing development.

 

If elected, what liaison positions would best suit your strengths when you begin your term in January?

My diverse background and education make me suitable to be the liaison for many different positions. If I am elected in January, I would like to be the liaison for planning and zoning, the building department and the school district. I have extensive knowledge in all of the various areas and my expertise would help to make our community better.

 

To read about what the Lloyd town supervisor candidates had to say in last week’s issue of the New Paltz Times, visit newpaltzx.com.

There is one comment

  1. Jill Indelicato

    Mike H and Joe M have my vote.. They are hardworking people, they care about our community and they are not afraid to take the lead and make hard decisions. They are balanced on trying to keep taxes low, yet do the right development for our town. Best of luck to both.. !!

Post Your Thoughts