Questions for Candidates: Cold Spring

In anticipation of the Nov. 5 election, we asked candidates for offices in Cold Spring a series of questions by email. Their written responses appear below, presented in alphabetical order by last name.

Mayoral Candidates

Dave Merandy, the two-term incumbent, is being challenged by Chuck Hustis, who served two terms on the Village Board from 2010 to 2014. The mayor serves a two-year term.

Chuck Hustis and Dave Merandy

Why are you running for mayor?

■ Hustis: I want to serve as a mayor who represents everyone. I am running for mayor because the village desperately needs leadership. We are in a crucial period. I have the experience necessary to perform the job at a high level and complete projects. As someone who served as a trustee, I know how to work with people and how to foster respect and collaboration within the community. Additionally, I will seek to locate funding sources that we can use to improve our aging infrastructure. I am pro-business and understand that if we have a viable business community, the other components of our village will benefit — the tax base will be shared equally, the fire department will be able to function at a higher level and in a building that serves to protect the volunteers and their equipment, and, importantly, residents and visitors alike will be able to shop in Cold Spring.

■ Merandy: I’ve served our community for 18 years in elected office. I believe my service on the school board, Town Board and Village Board demonstrate my genuine commitment to the welfare and progress of our community. Over the past four-and-a-half years, I have successfully led our board and village staff, expanding sources of revenue, creating sources of revenue, maintaining services despite multiple staff retirements, and investing in improvements to village life for all residents and business owners. These range from addressing seemingly minor issues, such as having our garbage pickup rescheduled later in the morning so we aren’t woken in the middle of the night by the sound of our truck, to tackling more complex issues, like developing a fair and enforceable law to resolve the impacts of short-term rentals.

I want to continue this work for our village; I believe my management skills, public policy experience and genuine interest in public service make me the best qualified candidate to lead our village as mayor.

If elected, what would be your three priorities?

■ Hustis: (1) I would like to see a finalized plan for an upgraded firehouse on Main Street that is affordable and functional for both residents and the volunteer firefighters. Consider the number of calls for service our volunteers perform each day, but specifically in the warm weather months, performing rescues at Breakneck Ridge and the mountains. Funding sources exist to aid us in this endeavor and we need to secure these funds. The cities of Newburgh and Poughkeepsie have been able to secure funding to retain paid firefighters and equipment. Why haven’t we done that? Where is the leadership on this? (2) I would like to see a long-term lease agreement between the village and the Cold Spring Boat Club that benefits both the club and village residents while recognizing their importance to the vitality of the community. This is an area that has not been provided the proper vision it needs. (3) I would like to see better relations between both Cold Spring and Nelsonville, Philipstown and Putnam County. This can be done by mutual agreement, whether it is snowplowing, purchasing of equipment, leasing and sharing equipment. This will allow us as a village to partner with other municipalities for grant opportunities, as well as other important initiatives that benefit the people first.

■ Merandy: (1) My first priority is to develop and adopt a fair and enforceable law that will help the village manage short-term rentals. Because our village is small, even a few short-term rentals have a noticeable impact on the availability of housing for residential use, on village character, on noise and parking. As more and more people visit Cold Spring to enjoy what we love so much — our beautiful village and the natural beauty of our surroundings — we need to be thoughtful and deliberative about how we manage the impact of those guests. (2) My second priority is to finalize and adopt an updated village code. Our Code Update Committee, staffed by an extraordinary group of talented, professional residents, has for five years conducted an exhaustive review and prepared recommendations for updates to ensure that it is a clearly written, unambiguous and consistent body of law. Once publicly heard and adopted, this updated code will be an essential tool for our village departments, boards and committees. (3) My third priority is to support repair work on our Upper Reservoir dam by finalizing our agreement with the New York City Department of Environmental Protection for village access to the aqueduct water system (a connection without which we can’t move forward with the dam repair) and complete land-use easements that will secure village access to the dam through adjacent private properties.

Should Cold Spring, Nelsonville and Philipstown consolidate into a single municipal government? Why or why not?

■ Hustis: Like the dissolution of governments, consolidation requires a referendum of the voters. I support consolidation of services only if it benefits the residents as a whole.

■ Merandy: The short answer is no. It may seem like a good idea, but consolidation should deliver improved governance, improved services and real savings to the taxpayer. I don’t believe changing our form of government while merging and eliminating departments would necessarily deliver fair representation to all residents or reduce the need for services.

Trustee Race

Marie Early and Fran Murphy are each seeking a third 2-year term. A third candidate for the two open seats, Margaret Parr, will also appear on the ballot but said she plans to move out of the village soon and has suspended her campaign.

Marie Early and Fran Murphy

Why are you seeking re-election?

■ Early: I believe I’ve made significant contributions in my two terms. There is more work to be done, particularly in the area of the village code. I feel that I’m in a unique position to do that.

■ Murphy: Being on the board is not a job that can be done by attending a few meetings each month. It takes a lot of time and a lot of dedication. When I first ran for office in 2015, I promised that I will get the facts, talk with experts, listen to you and work to get results. I have done what I promised. And, while we have accomplished a lot, there is still more to do. I am not finished. I have the time; I have the expertise. Please allow me to continue to work for you.

What do you see as the board’s top two priorities over the next two years?

■ Early: (1) Updating of the code based on the Code Update Committee’s recommendations, and continuation of the Local Waterfront Revitalization Plan. (2) A plan for infrastructure upgrades, including equipment, in multiple areas: the dam, the firehouse, the municipal building, the village garage, the wastewater treatment plant, the water treatment plant.

■ Murphy: (1) To complete the code update and, based on that and changes in the village over the past 10 years, get approval from the state for our Local Waterfront Revitalization Plan. (2) Our upper dam is in need of repair. After negotiating with New York City for close to seven years regarding an upgrade to our connection to its aqueduct system, we are almost there. While the background of this project is larger than space will allow, getting this completed is a priority.

Should Cold Spring, Nelsonville and Philipstown consolidate into a single municipal government? Why or why not?

■ Early: Consolidation is typically considered to increase services or decrease costs; consolidation also has costs such as consolidating the municipal codes. The village and the town have cooperated in many projects, particularly among the Highway Departments, lending equipment for example. The village has entered into multiple Intermunicipal Agreements (IMA) with Philipstown and with Putnam County, with varied degrees of success. I believe that continued cooperation and IMAs are the better courses of action if cost savings or increased services can be shown. IMAs allow the village to choose which project to undertake based on projected savings and/or services while retaining the village identify and continuing to provide all the services that residents depend upon and expect.

■ Murphy: While there may be areas where the municipalities could benefit from joining, there are many where the residents of Cold Spring would be losing some services that are important to them. For example, as we have seen, consolidating the Cold Spring and Philipstown building departments did not work as we had hoped. Bringing the building department and code enforcement back to the village is much more beneficial for our residents. Our 24/7 police coverage is comforting to our citizens, especially our seniors, who know there is always an officer nearby. Our Highway Department provides invaluable services to the residents including, but not limited to, our regular garbage pickup.

One thought on “Questions for Candidates: Cold Spring

  1. The village leadership should take a bow. Dave Merandy, Marie Early and Fran Murphy were very impressive with their responses both verbally and in writing. But for me that was no surprise at all. I have admired their leadership skills to work very effectively as a team for years and I have found them cooperative, extremely knowledgeable and sound decision makers. They possess all the great traits a person should have in a leadership position and I encourage you to vote for them this election season.

    Leonard is a member of the Philipstown Town Board.