Incumbent Supervisor Harold Baird faces Election Day opposition from John Moul, a member of the Town Council in Mamakating, as well as Bill Herrmann, who has ran for the seat of Mamakating supervisor, years prior.
Spirited three-way vote in Mamakating
Story by Eli Ruiz
WURTSBORO November 1, 2013 He was elected Town of Mamakating Supervisor in 2009, and after two terms in office, Harold Baird believes there’s plenty more to be done in his district.
As this year’s incumbent candidate, Baird hopes that come November 5, voters in the Town of Mamakating think enough of his last four years in office to give him at least another two.
Among Baird’s many goals for a third term are, as he explained, “Fiscal responsibility, doing rather than complaining. I plan to vote for a 15 percent insurance co-pay for all elected officials. This will save thousands of dollars to my district. I further intend on adding to the reserve funds for the Town of Mamakating. I have put 1.7 million dollars in our reserve fund and intend to add more for the purpose of keeping the town fiscally strong. I also intend to keep building up the Highway Department through new equipment purchases.”
Asked what he was proudest of accomplishing for Mamakating as supervisor, Baird said, “As I said before, I restored $1.7 million to our reserve fund. I resolved an inherited stalemate contract with the Town Highway Department at a $90,000 savings over the next 10 years with liability insurance. I’ve reduced health insurance costs for the town and town employees and I installed an emergency generator at the New York State Police barracks in Wurtsboro. Another thing I take pride in is the enhancement of the Boys and Girls Club summer camp programs. There are now 350 kids enrolled.”
Regarding Prop. 1, the November 5 referendum on casino gaming in the Catskills, Baird was short and to the point: “I do support the casino [referendum]. We need to grow and this will help the tax base.”
As far as all of the current and proposed development in the county, Baird offered, “This is going to bring back tourism. We were strong at one time and need to build on all we have in Sullivan County.”
As for Mamakating, Baird is realistic: “The town has moved forward in hard times,” he said. “We have a lot more work ahead of us. When it comes to emergencies in the town, all are not the same. The Town of Mamakating has had an Emergency Management Plan in effect since December of 2006. Mamakating was the first town in the county to implement such a plan and the committee meets yearly. Invited to these meetings are town emergency services workers, county and state police, Chase [Elementary] School’s principal, the Village of Bloomingburg and Wurtsboro, the county Public Service Commissioner, Highway Superintendent and Town Emergency Coordinator. This plan has helped the town deal with various weather related situations and meets after every incident to discuss what we can do to better serve our Community.”
Story by Eli Ruiz
WURTSBORO November 1, 2013 Mamakating Councilman John Moul wants more of a say in how his town is run. After all, why else would the first term councilman be seeking to take on the tremendous responsibility that comes with the town supervisor post in the upcoming November elections? If you ask him, he’ll tell you: “I’m doing this for the area’s families and the kids.”
But that’s not all, as Moul a 24-year retired New York State corrections officer further explains, “If elected I will propose to re-establish the defunct Master Plan Review Committee. I will work to launch an Ethics Committee. An ethics committee that will have the determination to remove someone with a conflict of interest from any appointed or elected post. The committee would create new standards for elected officials so that there isn’t crossover between town government, village government and private business.”
Having lost a hard-fought Republican primary to Nick Salomone in 2007, Moul has the “people of Mamakating” in mind when asked why he’d run again.
“My last four years as town councilman I have developed a passion for serving and working for the residents of Town of Mamakating” says Moul. “I understand what the hardworking people of our community want and need. Once China City was proposed to our board and I found our current Supervisor was in favor of the development an enormous monstrosity that would take over our quiet, rural community I knew I needed to run. We don’t need a huge amusement park in our majestic and beautiful town.”
Asked what he’d do differently than current Mamakating Supervisor and incumbent Harold Baird, Moul offered, “I would work to restore honesty, integrity, and bring back civility to our town. We will communicate with the residents, answer questions and do what is right and fair for the whole town.”
Regarding the recent spike in proposed development in the county, Moul noted, “My focus has been on the concerns of our town, including fiscal responsibility, transparent government and growth and development. On a county level I feel unquestionably we need to bring sustainable growth and prosperity to our region. Bringing high quality ethical business to our county that will help to shrink our high unemployment rate I am all for. I am not for developers who come to our towns and county promising great things to our residents but fail to deliver.”
Reiterating his displeasure with not just the direction of the town’s current administration, but that of the Village of Bloomingburg’s as well, Moul continued, “I do not support the current development in our town for a private school. A private school that will only be for certain families to enroll is not right. A private school that would take away the school tax money we pay for our district a district already in deep financial need. A school like this would not only raise our taxes, but would only be for the benefit of a select group of people that would tax our district with extra busing and special programs. Our six town school districts need to have the resources and financing so that our town’s children can succeed and receive the best education possible. In my four years as a Town of Mamakating Councilman I managed to keep the town budget below the two percent tax cap. I worked with the Highway Superintendent to finance three much-needed new town trucks and a front-end-loader. Further, I made upgrades to our Town Park, pool, and buildings and created several youth programs and added adult fitness and sports leagues to help keep our children and residents fit and active.”
Moul concluded, “I am a Town of Mamakating homeowner and taxpayer for over 20 years. I am an honorable, hard-working member of this community like the many residents who live in Mamakating, and I understand the many challenges confronting our town. As Supervisor, the town can put their trust in me and I will do my very best to honestly represent the residents of our great community.”
Story by Eli Ruiz
WURTSBORO November 1, 2013 Second-time Supervisor candidate Bill Herrmann thinks it’s time for change in Mamakating.
Hoping for a better result in the November 5 election, Herrmann’s got ambitious plans and ideas if elected.
“One thing I plan on is promoting responsible economic development that will expand the town’s tax base and will provide existing and future residents with a range of business and employment opportunities while ensuring effective and efficient use of tax dollars,” said Herrmann. “Treating our natural resources as an asset to the community, not an impediment to development, by executing the existing Master Plan to improve the infrastructure while considering community design is also of utmost importance.”
He added, “Also, encouraging and assisting every citizen to have a voice and access to their government and ensuring honest and open government through disclosure of potential conflicts of interest are issues I hold near and dear. Finally, the institution of an independent board of ethics with the goal of restoring Mamakating’s trust and confidence in its government is an obvious issue as well.”
Asked why he was motivated to run a second time (he lost a close race to incumbent Harold Baird in 2011) Herrmann explained, “I have been ashamed of and infuriated by what I have seen our local officials doing with our tax-payer dollars. I approached a few of the ‘power players,’ but they turned a cold shoulder. I found like-minded running mates who are looking for good local government as well. I am grateful to have such a great team in Matt Taylor and Brenda Giraldi. I also started the Rural Heritage Party in Mamakating so that people of all parties can feel comfortable voting for my team and myself to address the problems of our community without political bias.
“In 2011 I lost by just seven votes, and I have been working hard with many others to educate our community and expose the incompetence and corruption of our current town and village leadership,” he added. “I banded with three others to form the Rural Community Coalition for that purpose. I believe the incursion of 396 High Density Housing Units, the introduction of China City, and potential higher school tax assessments would not have gotten very far if I had been elected two years ago. In fact, over the past four years that the incumbents have been in office, we have seen the townhouse foundations and framing installed, and China City is at our door.”
Asked what he would do differently than the current administration if elected next month Herrmann offered, “Instead of relying on others to come in and ‘save’ Mamakating, and ‘save’ Sullivan County, I believe that we already have the talent, resources, and energy we need to make our town prosper through our own hard work. I will update and use the Master Plan as it was intended to be used. I will change the deficient zoning which has allowed bad development. I will provide an honorable environment to attract respectable and respectful business to our town. The best deals are made when both parties benefit; no winners, and no losers. I will answer to the residents, not to just a privileged and select, special few. I will welcome and encourage businesses and developers who want to come and develop only in a fashion that we want, need and require.”
He added, “As a Past District Governor of Rotary International I will encourage our residents to think about Rotary’s For Way Test:
1. Is it the truth?
2. Is it fair to all concerned?
3. Will it build goodwill and better friendships?
4. Will it be beneficial to all concerned?”
Regarding all of the current and proposed development in Sullivan County, some of it dependent on the results of the casino referendum, Herrmann is hopeful, offering, “It is such a shame the once vibrant and thriving Catskills have declined. I have worked at almost every hotel when they were operating, and I saw the decline first hand. This is a beautiful area endowed with environmental riches. We must have a healthy environment for our families and an attraction for tourism and the dollars it brings.
“Our town, the Gateway to Sullivan County, should be a dominant place in the tourist industry,” he added. “Cultural Tourism is a viable alternative to big box stores, considering the historical significance of our town. Eco-tourism is a real industry where we can utilize our beautiful natural resources, instead of destroying them. Tourism is dependent on the preservation of the character and beauty of our area. I am happy to see investors looking to revive the Catskills. We seem to have a second chance, we need to get it right.”
He concluded, “I am the candidate with a baccalaureate degree in Business; I am the candidate with experience managing budgets in excess of 10 million dollars; I am the candidate with human resource experience in managing a workforce of over 100 people. I want the residents of Mamakating to vote for my qualifications, experience, education and my loyalty to none other than the taxpayers and residents of our town.”