Incumbent Jeanne Walsh is seeking reelection to a third two-year term as Rosendale’s town supervisor. “I believe in a balanced and bipartisan approach in administrating our town government,” she says on her campaign’s Facebook page, and that approach is reflected in the fact that both the Rosendale Democratic and Republican Committees have again endorsed her candidacy this time around. Walsh may be running unopposed, but she’s still seeking your vote, and here are some of her reasons:
Why did you decide to run for reelection at this time?
Well, I enjoy the work I do as Rosendale supervisor and I really want to continue to work for the people of our community. Many of the projects I began are underway, and it takes a few years to complete the work. A supervisor’s term is only two years, and it is really not long enough to complete any project in such a short time.
What skills, experiences or qualifications do you have that make you believe you would continue to make a competent supervisor?
I believe I have proved that I have the skills it takes to be a good supervisor. While in office I wrote several grants and received funds for the pool and shared services. I have run several small businesses; I had spent ten years working as a member of the Rosendale Planning Board before becoming supervisor. I have combined my experience from both business and working in government to identify the needs of our town and make a plan to address those needs. The Town of Rosendale has been awarded over $7 million in grants for our town since I took office.
How should Rosendale 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? What are your thoughts about the Tillson School project?
Rosendale is perfectly placed to be a town that can benefit from tourism. We have the Wallkill Valley Rail Trail and the Rosendale Trestle that runs through the town and is a destination for tourists. We have the Rosendale Street Festival and the Pickle Festival, and just this year the Women’s Studio Workshop hosted the August Art Festival. I believe we are and should always be a rural town. But it is important to keep the assets we have and to look for ways to keep the small businesses in our town thriving. We have in the past couple of decades seen much of the businesses decline due to a poor economy, and many of the properties on Main Street and Route 32, including the Tillson School, needed to be revitalized.
A few years ago my husband and I rebuilt five properties on Main Street, and along with other business-owners recognized the importance of revitalizing Main Street. It is now much improved, with many of the buildings having been rebuilt and with many new investments in small businesses in the area. I feel Williams Lake is also an example of a revitalization of an existing business and property. I would like to see the same effort put into the revitalization of the Route 32 corridor businesses and the rebuilding of the Tillson School, which has been neglected for too long.
How can the Town of Rosendale optimize shared services with other municipalities?
The Town of Rosendale has already taken steps towards shared services. We have been awarded a state grant for $250,000 to help set up shared services with the Town of Marbletown. We have taken over the former Rosendale School, and expect to share the facility with the Town of Marbletown once the governor signs the papers to allow Marbletown to operate in Rosendale. We have made arrangements to also share services with several not-for-profits to help offset the cost of running the facility. Ulster/Greene ARC, the Rondout [Valley] Growers [Association] and a food pantry hub are now all operating out of the Rondout Municipal Center.
We have agreed to share our assessor with both Marbletown and Rochester, saving more than $89,000 between the three towns. Our highway superintendent Bob Gallagher saves us money by sharing services with other highway departments.
What are your ideas for long-term infrastructure repairs/replacement?
There are several infrastructure repairs or replacements that have been identified and are now being worked on.
- The first is the Rosendale Pool. We have begun the construction of the pool and expect it to be completed in time for the 2016 summer season. We received over $800,000 in grant money. We continue to have fundraising events to help with the cost of the new pool.
- The Rosendale Water District has been awarded a $2 million grant and a $1,048,000 zero-interest loan to replace failing infrastructure. The water main on Main Street, which is over 100 years old, will be replaced. The filtration plant will be rebuilt and expanded to handle more water. We will refurbish the water tower and upgrade to a better water meter.
- The town will be rebuilding the James Street area that collapsed during Hurricane Irene. The flood-control stabilization will be improved, culverts replacement and a promenade along the Rondout Creek for pedestrians and cyclists will be installed. This will be funded with New York Rising funds.
- A stormwater improvement project will take place in the Washington Park area behind Fann’s Plaza with money from New York Rising.
- Two generator projects have been identified to help with emergencies. A new generator will be installed at the Rondout Municipal Center, and the bathhouse at the pool will be connected to the Recreation Center generator for emergencies.
- The town has applied for grant money to implement the signage from the work that was done from a grant from the Ulster County Transportation Council for “Finding Rosendale.”
- We have been working to make the improvements to the new Town Hall. Much has been done, but we have a few more items to take care of.
What are the top three challenges facing the Town of Rosendale right now? What will be your top three priorities when you begin your next term as supervisor in January?
The top three priorities and challenges are the same. We are working hard to get the infrastructure projects that have been identified completed. The hard work has begun by the staff and department heads. Tara Burke, Bob Gallagher, Tom Fiore, Terry Johnson, Jill LaFera, Carl Hornbeck, Shawn Rider and Matt Hintz, the Highway Department workers and many others pitch in to make these projects happen. The town employees have worked hard to make these projects a success, and they deserve recognition. This is all above and beyond their typical responsibilities. In addition, we have had so much support from the community for the pool project from staff, commissioners, residents, local businesses and residents who donate their time and money. Thanks to you all!
To learn about the Rosendale Town Board candidates, visit newpaltzx.com.