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Town hall, supervisor’s term on the ballot

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By Melanie Lekocevic

Capital Region Independent Media

A proposal to build a new town hall will be one of two town referendums voters will decide on Nov. 8. File photo

COEYMANS — When voters head to the polls Nov. 8, they will determine the fate of two referendums that will be on the ballot — whether the town should construct a new town hall and whether the town supervisor’s term should be extended from two years to four years.

TOWN HALL

The first proposition on the ballot will ask voters to decide whether the town should build a new town hall on the same plot of land as the current town hall at 18 Russell Ave.

The town council voted in July to construct a new town hall, but a petition was circulated in the community seeking to have the issue put to the voters in November. Enough signatures were collected on the petition to force a public referendum, so voters will decide the issue on Election Day.

Under the proposition, the town seeks approval to build a “two-story, approximately 12,000-square-foot building at 18 Russell Ave. in the Town of Coeymans, including the demolition of the existing Town Hall building, related site work, and original furnishings and equipment required for such purpose,” according to the proposition that will be on the ballot.

The project cost is capped at a maximum $7 million, with the town financing a portion of the cost of the project in an amount not to exceed $4 million.

“The remaining portion of the project cost is to be paid from other available funds,” according to the proposition posted on the Albany County Board of Elections website.

Town Supervisor George McHugh said building a new town hall would replace an “aged, outdated and inadequate Town Hall building,” and would be compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 and the Office of Court Administration.

“Thankfully, through smart budgeting and conservative fiscal spending by the current administration, Coeymans residents enjoy a healthy fund balance, which will serve us well as we can anticipate paying at least 50% of the cost of a new Town Hall with savings rather than borrowing,” McHugh said. “With proper budgeting and planning, together with the growth of our tax base, it is anticipated there will be no effect on the current town tax rate as a result of the construction of a new town hall building.”

Cindy Rowzee, who is running for town council on the Democratic ticket, organized the collection of petition signatures to force the issue to a vote. She said she wants more details on the plan and how the money would be spent.

“I went to the town board and asked for a breakdown of numbers on what the $7 million would be for and they were not able to say. I also asked for numbers on how much some of the other options they looked into would cost and they did not provide it,” Rowzee said. “I am not comfortable spending $7 million of taxpayer money without having comparisons and breakdowns. I know Supervisor McHugh keeps stating it won’t be taxpayer money, but any money that comes into the town is taxpayer money.”

SUPERVISOR’S TERM

The second proposition on the ballot will be the proposed extension of the town supervisor’s term.

If approved by voters, the local law — which required a mandatory permissive referendum — would extend the term of town supervisor from two years to four years. If enacted, the change would begin Jan. 1, 2024, so it would not affect the current town supervisor’s term in office.

The first term that would be impacted by the change would be the election for town supervisor that will take place Nov. 7, 2023.

The Coeymans town supervisor currently serves two-year terms. Town council members, Ravena mayor and village trustees serve four-year terms in office.

Election Day will be Nov. 8.

  
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