STORY AND PHOTOS BY JANIE ROSMAN
As coals heated on the barbeque and ears of shucked corn, burgers and other picnic fare waited their turn on the grill, Stony Point’s Republican candidates met with the public at a barbeque Wednesday evening.
Town Councilman Jim Monaghan — running on the Republican, Conservative, Independent, Working Parties and Reform Party lines — seeks to replace Supervisor Geoffrey Finn, who will not be seeking a third term. He is facing off against former councilwoman Democrat Luanne Konopko.
“The biggest goal we’ve been trying to achieve is bringing in ratables (high-value taxable properties) to Stony Point,” Monaghan said. “The first thing we did is Letchworth Village development — we changed the zoning to allow a hotel, and we also changed the zoning here on the Hudson River. We’re looking to attract a restaurant, an open public walkway, possibly town homes.”
Regarding the town budget, he agreed that selling the cell towers helped keep the budget low. “Probably the biggest way (to continue that) is we have to reduce spending,” he said. “We cannot afford to keep raising taxes here. Our seniors cannot afford to live here, and it’s very tough for young people to buy a home here.”
The homes may be affordable, he said, yet the taxes are high due to the town losing industry “so Stony Point has to be open for business. To attract business, we have to be creative for all our business people,” he said, noting the town welcomed Tractor Supply Co.
Council members Karl Javenes and Jim White are also seeking re-election.
“My aim for the past eight years has been keeping the finances in check,” White said. “I feel I’m the strongest person with a finance background as a CPA.” He’s been managing partner of Banks, Finley, White & Co. since the company was founded in 1973. “I take pride in keeping the town’s taxes at zero percent increases given all the situations that we’ve had.”
While the cell towers’ sale kept the budget low, White felt it build up te reserve — “that was only last year going into this year, and also the earlier year we were carrying overages so we were able to do it.” What also helped, he said, was resolving contracts with CSEA and the police department for a period of four years, which is good from that standpoint.”
White praised the continuity of the existing town board, which, he said, is excited about the ratables that will come into the town. “The recession is behind us, and things are picking up. It’s all good news.”
“I’ve been working to change the zoning, and we’re very close to doing that,” Javenes said. “Right now we’ve lost every single large business — Gibson, Tilcon, the Lovett plant, the list goes on and on. We need to bring business back in, maybe a hotel.”
Highway Superintendent Larry Brissing, seeking another term, was away at a convention; Town Justice Bill Franks chose not to be interviewed.
Party chair June Jobson was present as was her son, County Legislator Doug Jobson, who seeks re-election.
“I hope the voters return me to office and that I’ve gained their respect and accountability,” Jobson said. “Hopefully I’ll have another four years to try and do the right things and go in the right direction.”
He said the county is in the process of selling the county hospital. “We hope to make it a smooth transition and keep as many employees on as we can. That’s one of the things I’m looking out for, and once the sale is accomplished it will help bring the deficit down and turn a corner.”