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BALLSTON: Dem wins top spot

Democrat Patti Southworth will take over as Ballston town boss after defeating Republican candidate and longtime council member Harold Townley Tuesday, Nov. 6, at the polls.

Election Day brought a dramatic close to a fiercely fought race that took root years ago when Southworth emerged as a candidate new to the political arena calling for government ethics reform and better communications with town residents and business owners.

Final results showed Southworth received 1,483 votes versus Townley's total of 1,297 votes.

It's been a long three years, and I got where I am tonight with the help and diligence of many people ready for a change, said Southworth Tuesday at the Sherwood Lane home of a friend where a victory celebration was held. "The campaigning was tough, but the real work starts now."

Clashes between the two parties are part of the town's history, but they came to a head two years ago during a hotly contested debate about allowing big-box development, specifically a Wal-Mart Super Center, to enter the town. The town board came under fire for gaps in its long-term zoning plans that could have allowed the massive store to be built in Ballston. The town council, including Supervisor Ray Callanan, Townley and members Mary Beth Hynes, Jim Briaddy and Bob Boice, was also questioned about an alleged secret meeting that took place just prior to the vote to ban Wal-Mart from town.

The board faced public outcry beginning in March 2007, when members voted unanimously to sign on with the Saratoga County Water System as its largest future customer despite appeals for more information from the public.

Last week, in an exclusive report by Spotlight Newspapers, it was revealed the town board failed to research their current contractual agreement to buy water from the town of Glenville, and is in fact locked into a contract with no release clause until 2022.

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