Board candidates find little to disagree on

Debate between four Colonie Town Board candidates covers economics, transparency, landfill deal

Four candidates are running for two open seats on the Colonie Town Board.

Four candidates are running for two open seats on the Colonie Town Board. Photo by John McIntyre.

— A debate held between candidates for Colonie Town Board on Tuesday, Oct. 30, largely failed to draw any sort of debating.

The four candidates hoping to fill the remainder of the terms of resigning Town Board members Republican Dan Dustin and Democrat Nancy Hernandez didn't have much to disagree about. The hour-long debate sponsored by the League of WoMen Voters, the Colonie Chamber of Commerce and Spotlight Newspapers held at the Holiday Inn on Wolf Road only had time for six audience questions, along with opening and closing statements

Democrat David Rowley, who will also appear on the Independence line, is running against Republican Joe Gomez for the one year left in Dustin's term. Democrat Brian Haak and his opponent Republican David Green are running to fill Hernandez's remaining three years. Both Democrats are already sitting on the board, having been appointed to fill the vacancies.

When it comes to the town's focus on economic development and expanding the tax base, the candidates said attracting small businesses is key.

As chairman of the Industrial Development Agency, Rowley helped said he created "Grow Colony," a program to help bring high-tech businesses into the area.

"The other important factor is to keep the taxes low," Rowley said. "We have been very successful on that and we have to continue on that. We also have to work on our infrastructure, which we're doing."

Gomez added there are plenty of vacant buildings in the area that can be rehabilitated for new businesses.

Transparency on the Town Board was another issue addressed. Each candidate said televising the meetings would be helpful. Rowley, however, said it was expensive and with a limited budget isn't an "appropriate use of the resources." Gomez suggested the library could broadcast the meetings on Channel 17 as a public service.

Haak said adding reports on the town's website could create more transparency. Haak said he had talked to other Town Board members about starting a program to make board members more accessible.

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