By Melanie Lekocevic
Capital Region Independent Media
COEYMANS — Three Democratic candidates will be on the ballot in the November town election.
Nominated at a caucus in July, the candidates on the ballot will be former town clerk Cindy Rowzee and Ron Hotaling running for the two open seats on the town council, and Peter DeLuke was nominated to run for highway superintendent.
There were no nominations for two additional positions that will be on the ballot in November, town clerk and town justice. The Republican nominees for those offices will run unopposed.
The two seats on the town council and the highway superintendent position, along with the town clerk slot, are open due to resignations. The town council named appointees to those posts earlier this year after the former elected officials stepped down.
Rowzee was town clerk for four years before unsuccessfully running for town supervisor in 2021. She hopes to use her experience in town government if elected councilwoman.
“I have lived in this community for 11 years. Much of that time has been spent working to serve the community in both the village and the town,” Rowzee said. “I want to use the experience I have gained in working for local municipalities to make a difference on the Coeymans Town Board.”
Many of the issues Rowzee ran on in 2021 remain top-of-mind for her in this race.
“I would like to see a new ethics law put in,” she said. “I want to see discussion happening at the town board table. I want to see open government and things being shared. I went to the town board meeting this past week and I asked them to put up more information about the new town hall — things like that because the more that is shared and the more that people know, the better off we will all be.”
Rowzee was one of the key organizers in successfully filing a petition to put the proposed $7 million town hall project on the ballot in November. She wanted to put the decision over a pricey proposition to the voters.
“I think we need a new town hall. I don’t know if their plan is the best plan,” Rowzee said. “I want to see more information before I would be willing to say that. If they would put out more information and tell us what they looked into, give us some numbers — they were very vague when I went to the meeting this week — maybe I would even get behind the board plan and campaign for people to say ‘yes.’ I’m an information person — I like information. Personally, I would rather put $7 million into an older building rather than build something brand new, to fix something that is already there.”
The current town hall building, located at 18 Russell Ave., is no longer usable, she said.
Hotaling, a lifelong resident of Coeymans, said he wants to make a contribution to his community and see more transparency in local government.
“Living in the town of Coeymans the majority of my life, I have served this community in many ways such as youth sports, local EMS and sitting on my church Parish Council, to name a few,” Hotaling said. “Raising three children, along with my wife, we have had many personal rewarding experiences in Coeymans, developing many ties. I feel the time is now right to serve all the people in the town of Coeymans.”
Hotaling wants to bring a different voice to the town board, he said.
“I want more open government with respect to the fiscal decisions that are made,” Hotaling said. “I want something that the public can see — open government, fiscal responsibility. We need more things for the youth and open collaboration between the village and the town. I want an out-in-the-open government.”
Hotaling also agreed the current town hall building has outlived its useful life, but questioned the process and wanted additional information to be shared with the community.
“I worked for Coeymans Police as a dispatcher many years ago and I know from working in that basement back in the late ‘90s, the building has definitely seen its years and its life expectancy,” Hotaling said. “I would like to see how [the town board] came up with that number, not just all of a sudden say I’m going to unanimously vote to spend $7 million. Where did they come up with that number? If that’s the most feasible option then I would be behind a new town hall building, but I’m a numbers person — don’t just say it’s going to cost this much. Is there another building in town we could possibly rehab and reuse? I could be behind a new town hall, just show us the numbers and how they came up with it.”
Candidate Peter DeLuke will be on the ballot for highway superintendent to fill the vacancy that was created by the retirement of longtime superintendent Scott Searles.
“I am ready to serve the public and listen to their needs while working with the town board to budget for all phases of operations for the Highway and Beautification departments,” DeLuke said. “I will use my experience from my current position at New York State Department of Transportation to bring some of today’s technology and programs to the town. My cellphone will be available for residents’ questions or concerns.”
Election Day will be Nov. 8.