Council race begins

Hynes would like to work on improving the town's Web site as well.

"It's a basic RoadRunner ac-count that we get for free," she said. "I'm going to put together a proposal and pitch it to the other town board members and put a cost to it. I don't think it's going to be that much money."

Southworth said the town Web site was something she campaigned on last cycle. She'd like to make the site more interactive, including a place where residents can directly e-mail the board.

Another issue both candidates are concerned about is land preservation in the town.

If elected, Southworth said her salary would be going to "Preserve Our Small Town," a nonprofit group in Ballston. The group helps landowners to preserve their farmland by applying for grants.

In April 2004, Hynes was asked to chair the land conservation committee. She said she'd like the board to work with nonprofit groups, such as Saratoga PLAN, to determine key parcels of land that would be important to preserve, and then decide how to do that in a way that is cost-effective and meaningful to the town.

"We don't have enormous resources already in place to go out and purchase open space," she said. "So we have to be more creative than that."

The conservation committee sent out a survey to all the property owners in town to get an idea of what they might be willing to pay to preserve open land.

"We received a very favorable result," said Hynes, who is in support of the committee's plan to create a term easement program.

The term easement would allow landowners to sign a contract with the town saying they wouldn't develop their land for 10 years, in exchange for a tax break. The program, Hynes stressed, would be voluntary and there would be no penalty for those who chose not to volunteer. The money those landowners weren't paying in taxes would be spread out among the rest of the taxpayers in town.

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