HALFMOON: DeCerce signs off top job

"We had to change 16 districts into three zones," he said. "The challenge has been to make costs uniform and fair."

Beyond managing town activities and presiding over numerous planning board meetings, DeCerce said that the chair comes with around-the-clock responsibilities and numerous requests from town residents. He recalled receiving e-mail from a family that had lost their home in a fire and taking time to refer them to the town's After the Fire program.

"People call me for things that are practical and impractical, and it is my responsibility to help out as much as I can," DeCerce said.

While he has supported progress, DeCerce, who grew up on a farm in Halfmoon, said that it has been frustrating to watch farm life in the area dwindle and that he has used his awareness to manage town growth. In 2003, the town added provisions to its zoning law that encouraged developers to keep parcels open and farm structures intact.

"Many people around here studied agriculture, and it's frustrating to see agrarian life wane," DeCerce said. "It tears at your heart. The art is to manage the growth path and we have been able to manage commercial and residential growth."

DeCerce said that the town's Republican committee will meet this month to choose his replacement. He said that he hopes to see someone with fresh ideas take the chair.

"I think we need younger blood," DeCerce said.

DeCerce also said that the town needs a controller to help manage bookkeeping for 16 water districts.

DeCerce said that he also expects to spend more time with his wife, Rachel, and three grandchildren who live in the area.

"I'm also looking forward to more sleep," he added.""

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