Candidates for Supervisor in the Town of Bethlehem listen to instructions from Spotlight's Charles Wiff during an Oct. 24 debate sponsored by Spotlight and the League of Women Voters of Albany County. Pictured from left to right: Kyle Kotary, John Clarkson, Wiff, and Richard Reeves-Ellington.
continued “We’ve been doing a real good job of that, specifically, with the Wemple Road project,” said Kotary.
Clarkson talked about the importance of diversified housing in the town.
“If you have housing that appeals to seniors and younger people, you often get families that don’t have children in school,” said Clarkson. “From a fiscal stand point, that can help us tremendously, because we have taxes coming in, and we don’t have that expenditures for that particular population (students).”
The candidates then tackled the issue of budgeting, and how to better prepare the town for years to come.
“I think we’ve made the budget discussions more accessible. We’ve had more meetings. We can always do more and communicate more, but I think we have a really good process,” said Kotary, who emphasized the need for more citizen involvement, and to start the budget discussions earlier in the year.
Kotary and Clarkson agreed on the need to think beyond the next year’s budget.
“We have to look at the budget in more than a single year’s time frame. When you solve a problem a year at a time, you’re not really solving it,” said Clarkson, who added that the town has made some progress this year in reducing its use of reserves.
Reeves-Ellington stressed that the town should focus on programs that the community wants and can afford, while also gathering more public comment.
“Rather than just meetings such as this, or the monthly meetings of the board, there are a number of modern and more technological ways of getting citizen input,” said Reeves-Ellington.
Albany County Legislature
There wasn’t much agreement among the three candidates vying to represent the 36th District in the Albany County Legislature.
However, all three candidates stated they wouldn’t support a 19.2% tax levy increase that goes along with County Executive Michael Breslin’s proposed 2012 budget.