Rosendale Town Board candidate profiles

John Hughes, Stacy Lipari (photos by Lauren Thomas) and Frank Klepeis (provided).

John Hughes, Stacy Lipari (photos by Lauren Thomas) and Frank Klepeis (provided).

Voters in Rosendale will have to decide between three candidates vying for two open Town Board seats in November.   John Hughes, who was elected to fill out the final year of Bob Gallagher’s term on the Rosendale Town Board when Gallagher became highway superintendent, is now running for reelection to a full two-year term. His candidacy has been endorsed by the Democratic and Working Families parties. The director of the Creative Co-op on Main Street in Rosendale, Stacy Lipari is running for a first term on the Town Board, with endorsements from the Democratic and Working Families parties. Currently a member of Rosendale’s Zoning Board of Appeals, Frank Klepeis is running for a first term on the Town Board, with endorsements from the Republican, Reform and Conservative parties.

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

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John Hughes

Why did you decide to run for reelection at this time, and what experience would you bring to the job?

I am running for reelection as I close out my first year in office. I took to the job readily, and really like the job and the responsibility it demands to serve the interests of the people of Rosendale as fully and fairly as I can. As a carpenter/builder, I have firsthand knowledge of construction projects, of which the town is involved in many. I graduated from SUNY New Paltz with a geography degree, with study in planning and zoning among other land use areas. I have long collaborated in teams to get great results.

 

How should Rosendale be developed in the future? What kind of businesses would you work to attract to town? What are your thoughts about the Tillson School project?

The ideal businesses for town are those that celebrate our unique bounty of resources: things we have that others do not. Rosendale is blessed with a beautiful natural environment and a very vibrant arts and creative community. Outdoor recreation and eco-tourism are already a draw for town, bringing visitation and revenue. The town itself is a living art project. We are conducive to arts-making and artisan production on a range of levels, and the talent base is huge. People are already cooking up innovative entrepreneurial ventures as we speak. Other towns want to be more like Rosendale; they’ve said so.

The Tillson School project is really in the early stages of application for proposed development. The folks who bought the building have already invested a lot in remediating the building and preparing their vision for the project. They have assembled a great team and seem intent on doing a good job there. But as for the Town Board, nothing is set and decided yet. Both the Town Board and Planning Board will be working on this application for awhile. In the meantime, it is a benefit to Rosendale that the new owners are reviving a property that was in the dustbin and investing in town.

How can the Town of Rosendale optimize shared services with other municipalities?

Rosendale is already out in front in this area. We are in process to share our town offices with Marbletown at the Rondout Municipal Center, formerly Rosendale Elementary. This gives each town vastly more room than each had, while sharing the costs and gaining ever more opportunity to reduce duplication of resources.

We are now always thinking of sharing possibilities, and so have regular inter-town cooperation in our Highway Department and Water and Sewer Department, among others.

 

What are your ideas for long-term infrastructure repairs/replacement?

A lot of that work is underway: The pool work is proceeding at a good clip, and soon we will be upgrading our water and sewer systems. The exciting “Finding Rosendale” wayfinding and signage project will enhance bicycle and pedestrian access and safety. This is in collaboration with the Ulster County Planning Department, and has great potential for the town. Of course, our roads demand constant upkeep. Reduced traffic speeds and providing road shoulders are big concerns.

 

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

Top three: Finishing the pool; seeing the Williams Lake project through its transition; fostering a healthy, vibrant local economy while protecting our environment and quality of life — with parking!

 

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

Currently liaison to: Building Department; Planning Board; Economic Development Commission; assessor; and bookkeeping register review. I am happy with all of those, and glad to jump to any others as needed. I have building expertise, so that’s a natural; and the Planning Board work taps into my experience as well, and as I learn more in that area, I serve us better, so am happy to stay there, too.

 

Stacy Lipari

Why did you decide to run for office at this time, and what experience would you bring to the job?

The decision to run for Rosendale Town Council came from my lifelong desire to be engaged with community, understand perspectives of all people and take responsibility for the vision I have. As a person with experience as a chair in public education, a community organizer and Rosendale small business owner, running Creative Co-op Rosendale, I have the pulse on what is happening in our town, meeting folks every week at a variety of events.

 

How should Rosendale be developed in the future? What kind of businesses would you work to attract to town? What are your thoughts about the Tillson School project?

Rosendale, like many small towns in Ulster County, has the task of welcoming investments in residential and commercial areas while ensuring that all ventures are sustainable and maintain as affordable a place to live as possible. All residents of Rosendale could benefit from new businesses like a local bank, or a locally based general store. Businesses that highlight the natural and historical assets of our town, while maintaining a low impact and remaining affordable for all, would be ideal.

The Tillson School project is a good solution to the shortage of renting housing, but there must be careful planning with respect to excellence and efficiency in construction, environmental impact, water usage and the impact on our neighbors in Tillson. If done right, the project seems like a great solution to the issue of housing that working-class folks and young families getting started can afford.

 

How can the Town of Rosendale optimize shared services with other municipalities?

The Rondout Municipal Center, located at the former Rosendale Elementary School, is a fine example of shared services. This was an excellent move by our town supervisor, Jeanne Walsh. The town also shares an assessor with the Town of Rochester. There is a great deal of further potential for housing equipment in one space for multiple municipalities, sharing those expenses, including the cost of energy to heat, cool and run all necessary offices. Perhaps moving toward renewable energy sources is another choice that can be made, increasing incentives and reduced costs through programs such as Solarize. Anything that improves efficiency, especially energy-efficiency, and reduces redundancy is a win/win for all.

 

What are your ideas for long-term infrastructure repairs/replacement?

Much of what is already in place is outstanding for the future of Rosendale. Reconstruction of the pool, the town water system, which is in need of upgrades, is already underway; the work that was completed along Keator Avenue and the plans for increased safety for pedestrians on Main Street are all much-needed and great efforts. The sewage treatment plant is in need of upgrades; research is being done for grants to access that funding.

Moving toward a more efficient use of energy, along with a localized, renewable energy source, would solve the issue of the large percentage of the town’s expenses that are used to power the Municipal Center, Rec Center and water and sewage plants. Our investment in such projects would create long-lasting savings.

The “Finding Rosendale program,” already in development, will provide signage and development of safe pedestrian and bike traffic in route [en route?] around Rosendale, further improving the ecotourism and revenue for our town, while keeping folks safe and active.

 

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

Maintenance of the aging infrastructure and maintaining affordability for all are a challenge for all small towns as funding from state and federal sources drop. The third challenge, unique to Rosendale, is creating a balance of the positive and challenging effects of increased volume of residents and tourists while allowing for change at a rate that all residents are comfortable with. One of the key pieces to supporting that challenge is engaging youth with the wisdom of our older citizens, fostering community connections for all residents, lifelong and newcomers.

 

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

Economic Development Commission, Youth Commission, Recreation Commission, Environmental Commission.

 

Frank Klepeis

Why did you decide to run for office at this time, and what experience would you bring to the job?

I have been asked to run for town positions in the past. This year, it was a conversation between my children, my wife and other parties. After serving the town for so many years, many people felt it was time for me to take a leadership role. Over the past 40 years I have worked in and around the town as a volunteer in so many various ways. Professionally, I’ve worked 25 years as an electrician and ten years as a mid-level supervisor. I worked as a mechanic and spent many years doing farm labor. My experiences in hard work will allow the town to approach projects with an expertise and intelligence that is essential to completing efficient projects.

How should Rosendale be developed in the future? What kind of businesses would you work to attract to town? What are your thoughts about the Tillson School project?

Rosendale has a master plan in place for development. What is important is relying on the needs and expertise of our taxpayers and local businesses to make decisions. When attracting businesses to Rosendale, it is important that they can join our town with similar interests and personality. The Tillson School project will be a benefit to our community after watching that building deteriorate over the years. I approve with hesitation over concerns of traffic and other matters.

 

How can the Town of Rosendale optimize shared services with other municipalities?

With the Marbletown government moving into the Rosendale Municipal building, I see a number of ways to share services between Marbletown and other towns. Simple things like departmental communication of dog control or employee training and insurance can be done with little relative effort. The one thing I can commit to is exploring any and all opportunities to share services.

What are your ideas for long-term infrastructure repairs/replacement?

There are a number of upgrades the town will need to make over the coming years. These include water line replacement, water plant upgrades, repairing James Street from the Irene flood damage, stormwater remediation at Washington Park, separating stormwater from sewer systems and upgrading our sewer plant. None of these are particularly exciting, but they’ll secure the town’s ability to continue to attract businesses and residents.

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

The top three challenges as I see them are replacing our water lines in a sustainable manner, upgrading our sewer plant and finishing our new pool.

 

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

Number one, I would support our town supervisor’s decision to assign liaison positions fitting those Town Board members with their skills for the best interests of the town. I would like to work with the Recreation Commission to see the pool finished and in full use. I was previously on that commission for 14 years. I am currently serving on the Zoning Board Appeals and have been for the past few years.

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