HOOSICK FALLS, N.Y. - Residents will head to the polls on Tuesday, Nov. 5, to cast their votes in the Town of Hoosick local elections.
Voting booths will be open from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. at the To w n offices, located at 80 Church St.
In fiercely contested races, the role of town supervisor will be decided next week, as well as two open councilperson positions and the post of highway superintendent.
All elected candidates will take office on Jan. 1, 2014.
Incumbent Town Supervisor Keith Cipperly is seeking his third consecutive two-year term against Mark Surdam, the longesttenured board member currently serving. The job of town supervisor comes with an annual salary of $16,480.
Deputy Supervisor Jeff Wysocki will seek reelection, with competition from Joyce Brewer, Michael Hickey and David Sutton, also looking to fill a seat on the board. The annual salary of each town councilperson is $5,665.
Current board member Kevin Allard, whose term will soon be up, is not running for reelection. Board members Bruce Patire and Mark Surdam each have two years of their four-year terms remaining.
Should Surdam beat Cipperly for the position of town supervisor, his remaining term would have to be filled, and a fifth board member would likely be appointed to serve until 2014 elections.
Highway Superintendent Louis Schmigel was elected in 2012 with one year left in the four-year term. He will run against the son of William Shiland II, the man who formerly held the position. Running for his first term as highway superintendent, William Shiland III will face Schmigel for the second year in a row. Both men ran for the position last year, which carries an annual salary of $50,367.
First elected to the role of supervisor in 2010, Cipperly is employed by the New York State Department of Transportation and works out of the Petersburgh garage. He is running for his third consecutive term. Born and raised in Hoosick Falls, Cipperly, 38, lives in the village with his wife Teresa and two children, Caroline and Aaron.
"We've done a lot of positive things," said Cipperly, who counts lowering taxes and raising the town fund balance among his accomplishments over the past four years.
"We increased our assessments and put more value on the tax role," he said, citing changes to the zoning laws as drawing new business to the area.
In campaign literature distributed to residents, Cipperly credits his own leadership as resulting in necessary repairs to the pool, skating rink and playground. Amid plans to fix the pool, which was installed in 1967, Cipperly also said he intends to lower taxes by 1.5 percent for the upcoming fiscal year. Cipperly is a Republican, running with support from his party.
Challenging Cipperly for the role of supervisor, current board member Mark Surdam started and continues to run his own property management business, and works full-time in the parts department at Delurey Sales and Service. Previously, Surdam has been a police officer in both Bennington and Hoosick Falls. He and his wife, Mary Wirmusky, raised their children in the village and continue to live there.
With nine years' experience on the board, Surdam said in his campaign literature, "I am fed up with this supervisor and his actions. I feel this town deserves, and needs, someone who is able and willing to work with town officials, employees and the community as a whole, for one common goal - to better our town." Calling current political practices "smoke and mirrors," Surdam said the estimated cost to fix the town pool is $450,000, which has not been budgeted from the current fund balance of $1.2 million.
"How can you propose a spending plan that does not include estimates of what you know you are going to spend," said Surdam. "How do you do this and offer a 1.5 percent tax decrease," the candidate asked. "I will be open and honest with taxpayers."
Instead Surdam says he will look to a five-year spending plan that will help keep taxes low, while encouraging revitalization within the community and "maintaining equipment, property and services."
Alluding to current tensions, Surdam said he will ensure that discussions and decisions involving the Town "include the whole board, and will be done in public." A Republican, Surdam is running on the Democratic and Hoosick First party lines.
Running for a first-time seat on the board, Brewer grew up on a dairy farm in West Hoosick and now lives in the town with her husband of 26 years Todd, and two daughters, Anna and Samantha. Brewer currently works as the finance director of nonprofit organization Troy Area United Ministries. Previously she served as deputy town clerk, and credits her experience with financial management and grant-writing as equipping her to help alleviate some of the town's "fiscal burdens."
Active in Hoosick Falls Girl Scouting, Brewer is also an adult helper with Hoosick Falls Central School's performing arts department. She is an elder, treasurer, Sunday School teacher and choir member of First United Church Presbyterian and a member of the Hoosick Area Churches Association who named her volunteer of the year for 2012. Hoping to see the town become "more fiscally responsible to the residents," Brewer said she thinks the board is currently "running very well" but would like to expand collaborations with HAYC3.
On the proposed 1.5 percent tax decrease, Brewer said that if it can be done, it will be a positive for the community.
"It's probably not going to amount to very much per family, but every little bit helps," she said.
Brewer graduated from Schenectady County Community College with a degree in culinary arts. She has been an Avon representative for more than 18 years. A Republican, Brewer is running alongside Cipperly, Schmigel and Wysocki.
Also a life-long resident of Hoosick Falls, Hickey is running for a seat on the town board for the first time. He works for Family Farm Insurance as a commercial lines underwriter, where he has been employed since 2008.
Hickey graduated from Hoosick Falls Central School in 1997, and attended Cazenovia College where he earned a bachelor's degree in business management. He has three years of prior experience as a member of the village board. Hickey now lives outside the village in the town of Hoosick, where he owns a home with his partner Angela Cottrell and their 3-year-old son Oliver. The Democrat is running on his party line, and said he is committed to serving the town, "with honesty, fairness and sincerity."
Sutton is currently a member of the Hoosick Falls Central School board of education where he has served since 2000, with seven years spent as school board president. He is running for a seat on the board for the first time.
A 1983 graduate of HFCS, Sutton received a degree in ornamental horticulture from SUNY Cobleskill and is an honorary alumni of St. Mary's Academy.
Sutton owns and operates a small full-service landscape construction company, where he has supervised projects in excess of $1 million for IBM, GE and Corning Glass. Suttonscapes, LLC is based in Hoosick, and according to Sutton has provided pro-bono drainage work to HFCS athletic fields and the elementary playground totaling approximately $20,000. Of the progress HFCS has made in recent years, Sutton said he is most proud of last year's 93 percent graduation rate, the highest in recent school history, and the overwhelming advancement in rankings from among other schools in the region and state.
Previously, Sutton coached girls' basketball at St. Mary's and HFCS wrestling, as well as worked with the Hoosac School to update the traffic island at the intersection of Route 22 and Route 7. He volunteers regularly with the Immaculate Conception Church in fundraising efforts to benefit local organizations, including the food pantry, health center, and telethon for children with disabilities.
"This community is struggling and we need new leadership to make a change -- the status quo is not working," said Sutton of his campaign. "We can have a resurgence of community, prosperity and dignity for the new generations."
A Republican, Sutton is married to wife Amy, and is running on the Democratic and Hoosick First party lines along with Surdam, Hickey and Shiland.
Current board member and deputy town supervisor, Wysocki has served one term as a councilperson and is running for reelection.
Owner and operator of Wysocki Farm, he and wife Amy are both lifelong residents of the town, where they raised their three sons. Wysocki served as chairman of the Farm Land Protection Committee and on the County Agriculture and Farm Land Protection Plan review board, to improve the stability of local farmers. He is the former co-director of the town camp and pool program, and cites progress done towards refurbishing the pool as one of his accomplishments while on the board.
"We just did a radar scan to see what the integrity of the inner walls is," Wysocki said of work still being done to the pool, the extent of which likely will not be known until after the election.
"I try to stay out of the politics of it," said Wysocki on his reaction to concerns of intransparency among the current board members and between town residents. "If we did this, they'd complain about that," he said, while conceding that everybody should have a right to existing public information.
In his campaign literature, Wysocki said he has worked closely with Cipperly and other members of the board to keep taxes down and provide better services to residents, including changing zoning laws to encourage new business. A Republican running on his own party line, Wysocki said he will continue to serve the community, "with friendly, open and honest government."
Approaching the end of his first year in the role of highway superintendent, which he was elected to in the middle of a unexpired term, Schmigel is running for reelection to the position in a complete four-year term. Owner and operator of Schmigel Excavating, the town employee said he will continue to maintain the roads and work for the taxpayer's dollar.
Previous experience as a town councilperson has given Schmigel experience working with and understanding the budget, he said in campaign literature. He was also on the board of PeeWee Football, a Little League and youth basketball coach, and a member of both the Polish Hall and the Pioneer Fish and game Club. A Republican, Schmigel lives in the village with his wife Michelle, they have two sons, Justin and Joe.
William (Bill) Shiland III
An employee with the Town of Hoosick Highway Department for the past 18 years, Shiland is running again after being defeated by Schmigel last year, for the position his father previously held.
Shiland cited necessary repairs to local roads as not being completed. With bad weather approaching, Shiland said that in previous years, by this time in the season grading and cold patch would already have been completed.
"I learned from the best, and work with a great crew," Shiland said. "I have what it takes ... to get the job done."
A graduate of HFCS, Shiland is also a lifelong resident of Hoosick, and has been married to his wife Rebecca for eight years. The couple have three sons, William, Andrew and Ryan.
"There is plenty of money in the town fund to cover the repairs that need to be done," said Shiland. "There's no reason we should not be out fixing them right now. I am asking for your support on election day. Thank you."
In uncontested races, Sue Stradinger will look for reelection in a four-year term as town clerk, with an annual salary of $39,770.
Judge Tom Restino will also seek reelection, to his role as one of two town justices. The fouryear term carries a salary of $10,903.
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