HALFMOON: DeCerce signs off top job

Although Ken DeCerce is stepping down as Halfmoon Town supervisor on Feb. 28, he said he's not stepping out of politics. DeCerce, who has overseen one of the fastest-growing towns in the state, said that he's taking a new position, though he wouldn't say what it is.

I'm looking forward to new challenges, said DeCerce. "I still remain committed to the Republican committee."

DeCerce, a 63-year-old retired educator, said that he never imagined being in politics and that he was surprised to win as town supervisor in 2000 after the Republican committee declined to endorse incumbent Larry Devoe. DeCerce ran uncontested in 2001, 2003 and 2005.

DeCerce has been credited with seeing the town through significant growth and major projects, including a $10.3 million water treatment plant in 2003, plans for a new town hall, and a town Web site.

"We needed water badly. The water treatment plant was one of the first things discussed with Clough Harbour years before," DeCerce said.

He also said that people in the town wanted a new town hall and felt that it was his responsibility to use 5.5 acres of land that the town purchased a few years ago.

Those who have worked with DeCerce said that he has been a collaborative leader. Clifton Park Supervisor Phil Barrett said that he and DeCerce worked together to secure a $1.68 million federal grant to upgrade the Erie Canal towpath, which would connect bike-pedestrian trails between the two towns. Both towns also negotiated sharing a deputy sheriff and car.

Additionally, Halfmoon resident, Matthew Shea, said that DeCerce was supportive in the development of a town trails committee.

"He's been a great communicator," Shea said. "If you had to see him about town problems, he was very available."

As DeCerce reflected on his years in office, he said that dealing with budgets has been most challenging.

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