3 contenders for 2 slots in Tuesday election
By Liz Schevtchuk Armstrong
Nelsonville voters go to the polls on Tuesday, March 20, to elect two more trustees to the Village Board, which will expand from three to five members. The polls are open at Village Hall from noon to 9 p.m.
Three candidates — Michael Bowman, Dave Moroney and Rudolf van Dommele — are competing for two open seats, each with a term of two years. In addition, incumbent Trustee Thomas Robertson is running unopposed for a one-year term.
The Current posed the same questions to each candidate for the contested trustee seats. The responses have been edited for length and clarity.
What are the three biggest challenges facing the village?
Bowman: (1) Cell towers. Process is key. It’s rather obvious that large cellphone towers do not fit with the aesthetic of our community. The question is: What can we do about it? (2) “Negotiations” between Cold Spring, the Cold Spring Fire Company and Nelsonville over their contractual agreement. I have been shocked as I have read about disagreements between the municipalities, with the fire company left hanging for months without money for their operational budget. I believe my experience as both a Cold Spring trustee and fire company president makes me uniquely qualified to attempt to bring both sides together, so this argument doesn’t become a yearly one. (3) Preservation of the character of Nelsonville is tied to the previous two issues. I have lived in the area my entire life. In 2005 I was part of the Nelsonville Sesquicentennial Committee. One thing that stood out was how little had changed. It was still the small quaint village it had been decades before, and there is still that sense of community that has faded away in many river towns. As trustee my job will be to cultivate those values.
Moroney: (1) Building and maintenance repairs; (2) crosswalks and speeding; and (3) signs.
Van Dommele: (1) Stewardship and conservation of publicly owned land: The Secor street parcel at stake in the cell-tower controversy should be preserved for public use. (2) The relationships with the Cold Spring and Philipstown governments. Shared-services issues, particularly with regard to fire protection, need to be addressed and resolved. (3) Promoting participation of Nelsonville residents through better communication: The village website should be updated and managed. E-mail blasts could inform the residents of issues related to village government.
Why do you want to be a trustee?
Bowman: If I had to point to one issue that made me want to run, it is the desire to see the 5 acres off Secor Street preserved as part of our village park. As the discussion regarding a cell tower above the Cold Spring Cemetery continues, I feel my experience and knowledge could make a difference.
Moroney: To serve the community.
Van Dommele: I have lived in Nelsonville since 2002. My wife and I have raised our three children here. We love living here and our roots run deep. I would like to do my part to ensure that Nelsonville remains a sustainable community while preserving its unique character and natural beauty.
What qualifications do you bring?
Bowman: Having spent 2014 to 2016 as a trustee in Cold Spring, I have recent and tangible experience in helping to run a municipality. In addition, as former president of the Cold Spring Fire Company and a former member of the Cold Spring Historic District Review Board, I bring a broad understanding of all types of issues. One of my strongest attributes, even in the most divided of times, is my ability to listen to contrary and opposite views and try to find common ground.
Moroney: I ran a successful business for more than 22 years.
Van Dommele: I bring a lifetime of experience in problem-solving and communication. As a professional photographer and, more recently, cinematographer and producer, I have been responsible for the direction of large crews. I also have extensive experience in construction and renewable energy and am a competitive chess player and professional chess coach. The analytical skills I have developed in these interesting and diverse aspects of my life would be applicable in various issues in local government. I believe I can build bridges between people with differing opinions and priorities.
Why are you a better choice than your competitors?
Bowman: I am not going to say I am a “better choice” than my competitors. After all, we are all neighbors and they are my friends. Residents need to decide whom they feel most comfortable with representing them. I hope my experience and past performance make me an easy choice when they mark their ballots.
Moroney: I have been going to meetings, so I am up to speed on the issues facing Nelsonville.
Van Dommele: In a perfect democracy — which Nelsonville could easily be if everyone comes out and votes — the best choice would be determined by the popular vote. Each candidate brings a specific skill-set to the position, and each should be commended for offering their time and effort to public service.