Gardiner’s town government went though quite a shakeup this past Election Day, with two multi-term incumbents turned out of office and a number of former Democratic candidates successfully running on Republican and other party lines. In a squeaker Town Board race that took weeks to resolve, Warren Wiegand lost his seat while Mike Reynolds kept his, despite losing the Gardiner Democratic Party endorsement this time around. Former supervisor Laura Walls also rejoined the board.
Gardiner voters, including enough Democrats to turn the electoral tide, also rebelled against longtime incumbent town supervisor Carl Zatz after a year of stormy confrontations — some of them in public meetings — with Reynolds, recycling coordinator Wendy Toman and some other town residents. Taking the middle seat at the Town Board meeting table come January 5 will be Marybeth Majestic, who has been a town employee and civic volunteer in past years but never before held elected office.
“Gardiner is a great town; it always has been, and I intend to keep it that way,” says supervisor-elect Majestic. Here’s what she foresees 2016 holding in store:
Do you anticipate any differences in goals, priorities or how meetings will run, based on the skill sets, personalities and fields of interest that new Town Board members bring to the table?
Meetings will be run in a similar manner; however, I intend to have agendas available earlier than they have been in the past. The first monthly meeting will be a workshop session and the second will be a regular meeting. Public comment within reason will be heard and considered at both meetings.
What do you believe will be the most difficult challenge that the town is likely to face in 2016, and what needs to be done to prepare for it?
The draconian tax cap limits mandated by Albany combined with the 2016 budget will make the 2017 budget a challenge.
My goals as town supervisor are to balance a shrinking budget with growing infrastructure needs, rising costs of insurance and other expenses while continuing to have programs to support citizens young and old. The challenge is to be able to maintain the services offered without further burdening taxpayers.
By what benchmarks or feedback mechanisms do you intend to gauge your administration’s success in the coming year?
When government is open and transparent, feedback comes from your constituents. If people are pleased and content with the way things are handled, there will be little feedback. It is when people are displeased and dismayed by the Town Board’s actions that they will be most vocal. As stated during my campaign, I intend to listen to what people have to say and give them the opportunity to present to the board.
Town of Gardiner to hold swearing-in ceremony on January 3
The Town of Gardiner will hold its swearing-in ceremony for newly elected and re-elected officials this Sunday, January 3, 2 p.m., at the Gardiner Town Hall. Newly elected town supervisor Marybeth Majestic and councilwoman Laura Walls will join re-elected officials — councilman Michael Reynolds, town justice Bruce Blatchly and highway superintendent Brian Stiscia.
The Town Hall is located at 2340 Route 44/55. Refreshments will be served and all are welcome.