Beginning his seventh year as supervisor, Paul Hansut would like to think that it’s not about politics, or at least that it shouldn’t be. The Republican will be presiding over a town council mostly of Democrats, and he told newcomers Len Auchmoody and Claire Winslow that he’d prefer to avoid “gotcha moments” in favor of getting questions answered in time to get the job done. What that will require, he believes, is to read the material ahead of the meeting.
“My door is always open for them,” he said, and he hopes that he’ll be able to get questions answered before meetings, and thus make those meetings a vehicle for fixing problems rather than asking questions which may have already been answered. Being on the council requires more than “showing up twice a month,” he said. “I don’t mind being questioned.”
Next year will be a time to break ground on community projects. Connecting the Hudson Valley Rail Trail with the rest of the county system will get closer to reality in 2018, with construction beginning on a phase to extend the trail. The much-promised straightening of the Tillson Avenue intersection could start, as well. Repairing and adding to sidewalks in the hamlet might also be in the cards.
2019 is when Highland’s fire department hits 125 years old, and Hansut wants to start planning that celebration. Firefighters are protecting a community that’s growing: building permits are flying out the door at town hall, with new construction continuing at a record-setting pace.
Development has been an issue for at least two election cycles, and Hansut recognizes it’s time to review the comprehensive plan again. He hopes to seat a committee to start that important work. The new solar farm law has also raised questions as the first project is reviewed, and the supervisor said he’s intending on reviewing that code, as well.
All in all, Hansut pronounces the town to be in “good shape.” There are those concerns about development, but the economy is improving and people are spending money at local businesses. “Everybody seems to be prospering,” he said.