BALLSTON: Farm is scene of spirited discussion

Town council contenders include newcomer Republicans Kim Ireland and Tim Szczepaniak and Democrat George Seymour. Democrat Janet Milos was not at the event.

Seymour tackled the water issue immediately in his opening statement. The town board voted to buy into the county water system despite public requests for more information. Current Ballston Supervisor Ray Callanan served as the water system's chairman prior to the town signing on as one of the first customers. Others have argued on a county level that the system was initiated as a supplier for the Luther Forest Technology Park, and in particular, the AMD chip-fab company. AMD has been under scrutiny recently for dips in profit margins, and some community members have speculated AMD may not move to Malta.

"I was motivated to run when I heard about the board's decision made without consulting the public," said Seymour. "We could end up bailing out the county if this doesn't go through. Right now, we're the only customers on the system."

Ireland addressed public concerns about the safety of water from the Hudson River, which would serve as the source for the county system, and agreed, in part, the issue wasn't publicized adequately.

"I don't question the quality of the water, and the decision wasn't made in secret, but it wasn't brought to the public enough," said Ireland. "Hindsight is 20/20. The town council did make a mistake by not being as outgoing with the information, and there should have been town hall meetings where the public can come in and chew on the ears of the public officials."

The council candidates agreed they need to consult with traffic experts and engineers to draft future plans for keeping conditions safe on Route 50 and Lakehill Road, particularly with school children and buses frequenting the area, and to balance business growth downtown. They also concurred about the need for new and expanded town parks, such as building up Jenkins Park.

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