111th Assembly race fought on the airwaves

Santabarbara and Quackenbush empty campaign coffers, largely through attack ads

New York State 111th Assembly District candidates Angelo Santabarbara (D-Rotterdam), left, and Thomas Quackenbush (R-Fort Plain).

New York State 111th Assembly District candidates Angelo Santabarbara (D-Rotterdam), left, and Thomas Quackenbush (R-Fort Plain).

— “The committees exist to support their candidates for their political parties,” Santabarbara said. “There is no difference between the two.”

Santabarbara said he has never voted for a tax increase during his five years on the Schenectady County Legislature, and claimed Quackenbush raised taxes during his tenure on the Montgomery County Board of Supervisors starting in 2002.

“His campaign, his record, shows that he says one thing and then does something else,” Santabarbara said.

He went on to say property taxes have increased 44 percent in Montgomery County since Quackenbush took office. Quackenbush disputed this claim and said in the Town of Minden, where he is supervisor, tax rate has actually decreased since 2002 from $14.07 per $1,000 of assessed property value to $12.67.

Both candidates though are pointing to two different things, the property tax levy and the tax rate. A municipality's tax levy is how much money it is seeking to collect from taxpayers overall, while the tax rate is how much an individual taxpayer will pay in assessed value.

A topic often seen in Quackenbush literature as of late has been the Rotterdam Industrial Development Agency, which Santabarbara once lead before Rotterdam Supervisor Frank Del Gallo, along with then recently elected Democrats, removed all the IDA members after taking office.

Quackenbush said Santabarbara illegally collected a salary along with fellow IDA members and placed blame on him for its dissolution.

Santabarbara said the IDA Attorney at the time determined what a “responsible reimbursement” would be and then the members were paid such. He said the IDA wasn’t funded by taxpayer money, but through private businesses that deal with the IDA.

A recommendation by the state was for Rotterdam officials to see what legal authority it has to recover approximately $29,000 in stipends paid to past IDA board members. Stipends were received until 2010. According to state law, board members are to serve without compensation.

The town attorney said in March the town doesn’t have the authority to sue to collect the stipends, but a taxpayer may sue for the money to be returned.

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