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Four on ballot for two town council seats


By Melanie Lekocevic

Capital Region Independent Media    

COEYMANS — Four candidates will be on the ballot vying for two seats on the Coeymans Town Council when voters head to the polls Nov. 7.

Republican incumbents Brandon LeFevre and Marisa Tutay are both seeking re-election, while Democrats Ronald Hotaling and Michael Stott are making their bids for the two town council seats.

All four candidates were asked to complete a questionnaire about their candidacy. Their responses are presented in alphabetical order.

Name: Ronald J. Hotaling

Age: 56

Family: Tina – wife, Savannah (daughter 27), Shane (son 25) and Samuel (son 22)

Place of residence: Ravena

How long you’ve lived in the town: Lifelong resident

Occupation: Senior parole officer, New York State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision and also self-employed polygraph examiner – Northeast Polygraph Services

Are you an incumbent: No

Party line on ballot: Democratic and Coeymans Forward

Previous elected offices, if any: N/A

College: Associates degree: Columbia-Greene Community College

               Bachelor’s degree: SUNY – Albany

Military service: N/A

What do you think is the top issue facing your community?

What would you do to address this issue if elected?    

Communication and transparency between current board and community. I would like to see more involvement and communication between all board members. Current board meetings offer no meaningful open discussion in public between council members, giving the public the perception that all decisions are made behind closed doors with no public consideration. I want to bring back public workshops between the town and village boards on a monthly basis to discuss areas of mutual interest. We need to work together, not against each other. There should be better accountability of public funds and where and how they have been or will be spent. We need a comprehensive ethics plan to govern our town board and employees. 

Our town board should work in the best interest of the people who elected them and not local businesses or neighboring towns. Decisions made by me will always be after careful review of what is in the interest of the community as a whole, not just a few members or one business.  There should be a balance between industry and residential life. I believe we can both live in the same town together, however we need to find that balance and make sure that our local businesses and industry are also good neighbors for our community. To do so, we need to have a community work group that is comprised of town and village board members, local business members, community group leaders (environmental, school, clergy and so on) to meet to work together to make Coeymans a place to reside and raise a family, to retire and enjoy all it has to offer.

Why do you think you will be a good trustee? If you currently hold office, what are you most proud of accomplishing? If you are a newcomer, what are you looking forward to accomplishing if elected?

See above.

I believe what will make me a good council member for the town is that I will work equally as hard for those who elect me and those who chose not to. As a board member, you work for the community and my interest should never come into play, even if it upsets people in my own party. My decisions will be made after proper research, open discussion with the public and board members, and always with the best interest of the town of Coeymans in mind.

Name: Brandon L. LeFevre

Age: 36

Family: Son of Patricia and Lou LeFevre (passed away in 2021) and an uncle to two beautiful nieces who I adore.

Place of residence: Ravena and I own a two-unit apartment in Coeymans

How long you’ve lived in the town: I have lived in the town of Coeymans my entire life (36 years).

Occupation: I work in Human Resources as a recruiter for Carver Companies. Previous positions held were project manager at Kasselman Solar and finance manager at Porsche.

Are you an incumbent: Yes, I have been a town of Coeymans councilman for the past four years.

Party line on ballot: I am a registered Republican (Row B) and am also endorsed by the Conservative Party (Row C).

Previous elected offices: Town councilman 2020-2023 and appointed deputy supervisor in 2023.

College: I attended Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute for four years, earning a bachelor’s degree in business management.

Military service: N/A

What do you think is the top issue facing your community? What would you do to address this issue if elected?

The biggest issue our town is facing is the need to strike a balance between economic development while maintaining our residents’ quality of life. We also need to support the offshore wind project which could potentially create hundreds of jobs. The money that will be invested into our community will boost our local economy and keep our tax rate low. We can accomplish this by continuing to work together with our local businesses, elected officials and community residents.

Why do you think you will be a good supervisor/trustee? If you currently hold office, what are you most proud of accomplishing?

As a councilman these past four years, we have worked on many projects that have improved our community. I’m especially proud of the Joralemon and Coeymans Landing Park improvements. New permanent bathrooms that are handicap accessible will soon be completed, making life easier for all residents visiting our beautiful parks. Joralemon Park now has new basketball court as well as tennis and pickleball courts. The park also has a new state-of-the-art playground that was designed to welcome children with special needs. I’m also proud of our 350th celebration, which Councilmember Tutay and I co-chaired. The two-day event was filled with free festivities, live music, carnival rides, and a spectacular display of fireworks over the Hudson River. I must credit the success of the event to a large group of community members who spent countless hours for over a year planning and organizing the celebration. If re-elected, I look forward to representing and serving the residents of the town of Coeymans.

Name: Michael Stott

Age: 41

Family: Megan (wife), Jesse (10), Harper (8)

Place of residence: North Coeymans

How long you’ve lived in the town: I’ve lived in the Town of Coeymans my entire life

Occupation: Teacher at the RCS Central School District

Are you an incumbent: No

Party line on ballot:  Democratic line, as well as an independent line called Coeymans Forward

Previous elected offices, if any: None

College: College of Saint Rose

 Military service: None

What do you think is the top issue facing your community? What would you do to address this issue if elected?

While campaigning, I’ve talked to many people throughout the town of Coeymans. Several concerns were brought up, but the one that seems to stand out the most pertains to the balance between industry and residential life. Many people feel that the town of Coeymans has made concessions to industry in the past, in turn neglecting some aspects of residential and environmental life. If elected, I’ll work collaboratively with the other members of the town board and local businesses to come up with solutions to this problem. I think periodic meetings should be held with various business owners with the hope of working together to mitigate such issues.  Helping to solve issues such as this will hopefully create a balance between industry and residences.

Why do you think you will be a good trustee? If you are a newcomer, what are you looking forward to accomplishing if elected?

As someone who has lived in the town of Coeymans my entire life, I believe I can look at the town in a holistic and unbiased manner. When concerns are brought up that require the town board’s attention, I feel I can make sound decisions as to what is best for the town. I am also someone who is easily approachable. I look forward to having discussions with the public about town issues and believe local government should be a place where community members and local officials work cohesively to create a great place to live.   

Name: Marisa Tutay

Age:  54   

Family: I have been married to my husband, Stan Tutay, for 31 years. We have three children:  two daughters, Lauren Tutay, aged 29, and  Lindsay Tutay aged 22, and one son, Logan Tutay, who is 21. This past December we were blessed with a granddaughter, Emilia, aged 10 months.   We also have a loving Labrador retriever, Mia, who is 5.

Place of residence: Feura Bush (this is at the very western and northern parts of the town, thus the Feura Bush address)

How long you’ve lived in the town: 54 years, 23 of which I lived in the village of Ravena on both Main Street and then Woodlawn Drive, and the other 31 at my current address.

Occupation: I have been an elementary school teacher for 33 years. My first 13 years I taught grades 3 and 5 at Guilderland Elementary School in the Guilderland school district. The last 20 years  I was in the classroom teaching grades 3 and 4, with the last six years holding the position of Curriculum Content Specialist for Math and Science at A.W. Becker Elementary school. I also work with students as a math interventionist for grades K-5.

Are you an incumbent: Yes, I am currently a council member on the board.

Party line on ballot: Republican and Conservative lines

Previous elected offices: I have not served as an elected official in a municipal office prior to my tenure on the Coeymans town board. However,  I did serve on the town of Coeymans planning board/zoning board of appeals for two years prior to serving on the board. I was also a member of the Coeymans Hollow Volunteer Fire Company Ladies Auxiliary, serving as both vice president and president.

College: After graduating from RCS in 1987, I attended the College of St. Rose, receiving my Bachelor of Science in elementary education in 1991. I then attended SUNY Albany, receiving my Masters of Science in Reading in 1994.

Military service: N/A

What do you think is the top issue facing your community? What would you do to address this issue if elected?

I believe we need to continue to move forward and build upon the progress we have made. We are continuing to work on revitalizing our town and a major part of that is the offshore wind project at the port, which will bring jobs and tax revenue to the town. We also need to make sure that our economic progress is balanced according to our Comprehensive Plan and provides for quality of life for our residents. In addition, we need to address the issue of the town hall building and determine what route we want to take, whether it be renovating our current town hall, purchasing another property and renovating that, or new construction. This means ensuring that we provide a balanced budget and that spending plans are sensible while providing affordable taxes to our residents.

Why do you think you will be a good trustee? If you currently hold office, what are you most proud of accomplishing?

As a current board member I am proud of several accomplishments that have taken place while I have sat in my seat. The first is providing internet service to more rural  areas of our town which assists residents in being able to work from home and their children being able to complete assignments that are digitally based. Another accomplishment that I am proud of was the honor of serving as the co-chairperson of the 350th Anniversary Committee for the town of Coeymans and helping to plan and provide a  celebration which was enjoyed by many this past June and September. In addition, I had the pleasure of working with village of Ravena trustee Linda Mueller and my colleague on the town board, Linda Bruno, in revising the Town of Coeymans/Village of Ravena Summer Program to ensure greater accountability and safety for the children of our town. We were also able to partner with the RCS school district’s Discovery Camp, hiring assistants to the teacher, working in the program, and helping to enhance the program for the children who took part in the camp. Helping to enhance the quality of life for our residents by building permanent bathrooms at both Joralemon and Coeymans Landing (which is still in the construction phase) is another accomplishment by the board that I am proud of being a part of. Lastly, being part of the budget process that has enabled the town to receive a score of zero, the best you can attain, from New York State Comptroller’s Office for fiscal stress and creating a budget that provides for increases to both the Ravena Rescue Squad and Senior Projects of Ravena, while maintaining a 0% tax increase to residents, is an accomplishment that my fellow board members and I are incredibly proud of. All of these, while very important, take a back seat to my proudest accomplishment and that is being a resident of the town of Coeymans and being able to represent our residents, who are the best thing about the town of Coeymans. I am honored to serve the town and hope to continue to serve a place that I am proud to call home.

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