In a quiet electoral surprise late last week, incumbent Olive Town Board member Donnie VanBuren, Republican, lost his bid for a second four year term to Democratic candidate Drew Boggess after the counting of absentee ballots on Friday.
Boggess, chairman of the Olive planning board for the past nine years, had run for the town board position two years ago, losing narrowly, and had been down by 11 votes to VanBuren’s 615 count on election day, November 3.
The final count for Olive’s voting, after absentee ballots were officially accepted by the Ulster County Board of Elections, had incumbent Republican/Conservative Councilman Peter Friedel winning reelection with 721 votes, Boggess gaining the second available seat with 647 votes, VanBuren with 630, and Democrat Bill Melvin with 622 votes.
“I am delighted and excited to be able to serve on the Olive Town Board,” Boggess noted upon hearing about his win. “My work experience as an engineer and as planning board chairman gives me a unique set of problem solving skills to bring to the Town Board. I think I can be very helpful in dealing with the work ahead on flood mitigation and infrastructure improvements. Also a new round of negations with NYCDEP on the reservoir appraisal value is coming up and I think I can be useful in that process also.”
Town supervisor Sylvia Rozzelle, who also won reelection on November 3 as a Democrat — without any challengers — said this week that she welcomes Boggess to the board come January, when he will shift it’s makeup from a 3-2 GOP advantage to a Democratic majority.
“He’s been an excellent member of the planning board for years, and has also rarely missed a town board meeting,” she said. “I’m sure he will be an asset.”
As far as the planning board goes, Boggess noted that NYS Town law Article 16 section 271 does not allow a Town Board member to serve on the planning board.
“I have been the chairman of the Olive Planning Board for 9 years and I will miss the work,” he said, noting his coming resignation. “The current members of the planning board are a good and smart group of people, and I am confident they will continue to do a great job for the Town of Olive.”
He added that he does plan to continue to serve on the Ulster County planning board.