GOP candidate pitches platform

Drake, Mahan share thoughts on current state of affairs

— Republican candidate for Colonie town supervisor Todd Drake has laid out a platform that chiefly targets the town’s finances and calls for an end to “one-party rule,” a scant few years after the GOP effectively exercised singular control of town government.

In his first major policy announcement, Drake vowed that if elected, he would double the amount of money in the town’s cash reserves, grow the tax base, institute transparency measures and pursue a ward system of government.

But incumbent Supervisor Paula Mahan countered that many of Drake’s ideas are ones that have been or are being implemented by her administration.

Drake said the money to increase the town’s savings would be realized by finding savings and growing the town’s tax base through courting private businesses to Colonie, especially high-tech companies. He argued the supervisor should partner with the Industrial Development Agency to promote the town with a full-on marketing campaign.

“We want to take advantage of the multimillion dollar projects that are happening on both sides of our borders … we are at the epicenter, and we should be marketing that aggressively,” Drake said.

Mahan pointed to companies that have located in Colonie during her tenure, including tech companies like Precision Valve & Automation, AngioDynamics and M&G DuraVent. Other companies offering medical, retail and construction have also come to Colonie, Mahan said.

“We have been working on attracting businesses to town, including businesses related to technology, and they have been bringing jobs to the community,” she said.

She also said the town ended 2011 with a $700,000 fund balance and increased that to nearly $1.5 million over the next year. Since 2008, the town payroll has also been trimmed by 76 full-time positions and 124 part-time jobs. Now, the town employs 497 full-time workers and 124 part-timers.

Drake, a Latham resident and owner of a real estate firm who is making his first stab at public office, was already critical of the Mahan administration when a state comptroller’s report listed Colonie as among the most fiscally distressed municipalities in the state. Mahan, in turn, called that report’s methodology flawed, and pointed to a recent community profile from the comptroller’s office that found the town is moving in the right direction. State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli recently came to the town to praise the administration’s efforts.

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