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Colonie supervisor candidates face off

Colonie Town Supervisor candidates Republican Mike Hoblock and Democratic incumbent Paula Mahan presented their views on town development, how to bring the town out of a multi-million dollar deficit, town technology advances and more during a 90-minute debate on Wednesday, Oct. 28, at the Holiday Inn on Wolf Road.

Hoblock, the former county executive, and Mahan, who is finishing her first two-year term as supervisor, will be vying for the seat of town supervisor in the Tuesday, Nov. 3, election.

The debate was sponsored by the League of Women Voters and the Colonie Chamber of Commerce and drew a packed crowd as candidates were asked questions and given two minutes to respond in between a three minute introduction and closing statement. While some questions were fairly broad, others appeared to be directed at one candidate, although the League asked the questions be applicable to both sides in nature.

During the introductions, Hoblock spoke about how he planned to beef up town services if elected and take a closer look at the town's cultural resources. He spoke of his previous political experience as county executive, a New York State senator and chairman of the New York State Racing and Wagering Board.

In Mahan's introduction, she explained that she was first elected in the wake of the revelation, that the town had been driven into a $19 million deficit. She mentioned other incidents her administration has brought to the public during her first term, including a paving job at the West Albany Rod and Gun Club that was said by New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli to have cost taxpayers more money than it should have and an e-mail "scandal" that involved a few employees in the EMS department.

"We have made great progress," Mahan said later in her introduction, explaining that her administration has helped cut the town's deficit by 45 percent to just over $16 million by the end of 2008. The topic of how much the deficit has been reduced came up several times during the debate, with Hoblock arguing that the deficit has not been reduced and that the Mahan administration has overestimated sales tax revenue and that the deficit has grown by $4 million. Mahan argued that the town's outside auditors confirm the deficit is on the decline.

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