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Southern Ulster TimesMarlborough race features rematch

Marlborough race features rematch

Past and present town supervisors square off again in the race for Marlboro Town Supervisor. Incumbent Al Lanzetta is being challenged by Tom Coupart, who has held the office for 8 years.

Al Lanzetta – Democrat
Democrat Al Lanzetta served as Supervisor from 2006-2009 and won election again in 2016. The term for Supervisor is two years and in November he will be on the Democratic, Conservative, Independence and Working Family lines.

Lanzetta touted his accomplishments in the past two years, starting with the recovery of $50,000 in grant money. He said this money came through NYS Assemblyman Frank Skartados and was earmarked to pay, in part, for the replacement of the Milton Train station roof but it sat in limbo because the previous administration failed to fill out the proper paperwork that was needed.

Lanzetta successfully negotiated a long-term water deal with the Town of Newburgh that had built a $20.6 million state-of-the art filtration plant. In the agreement, worked out with Newburgh Supervisor Gil Piaquadio, Marlborough paid back fees of nearly $1million from a dedicated fund balance for water service they received from 2011-2016. Another $250,000 was owed because Newburgh’s water rate had gone up during this period while Marlborough was paying at the old rate. To fix this, Marlborough paid $50,000 in 2016 and agreed to pay it off at $50,000/yr. for the next four years. In addition to these calculations, Lanzetta said Marlborough will pay $175,000/yr. for their water from 2017 through 2031. This portion is being paid for by an increase in water rates to residents.

“It supplies Marlborough actually with the best water in the country; it’s just beautiful water. It’s something that had to be done and we did it and got it accomplished,” he said.

Lanzetta has taken steps to bring sewer infrastructure to Route 9W, linking up by the traffic light at the Elementary/Middle Schools on up to the Industrial Park at Riverview Drive. NYS Assemblyman Frank Skartados and NYS Sen. William Larkin have collectively secured $500,000 for this infrastructure work.

Lanzetta said the Town Board and all of the department heads worked together to bring the 2018 budget in at about 1.9 percent above this year. He pointed out that the Police Department will not be purchasing a new police car and their overall departmental budget has dropped by $5,000 to $1,143,001; there will be an $80,000 reduction in the Highway General Repair line (for paving) bringing this to $367,000. In addition, the Milton Fire District budget has dropped by $32,400 to $570,500.

“We’ve streamlined most of every department right down to exactly what they’re using because it’s unsustainable to keep using your fund balance,” he said. Lanzetta pointed out that last year the board tapped $175,000 from the fund balance to offset taxes but in 2018 they will appropriate only $75,000. There is also a 14.23 percent hike in health insurance benefits for employees that is impacting the town budget.

Lanzetta said the Town Board works “very hard for the community to keep taxes low and we all have the same vision about the Route 9W corridor being an economic base and having our farms be pristine to the west. We’re moving forward, we’re business friendly and new businesses over the past 22 months have opened in Marlborough. I can’t emphasize more that it’s a team effort. I am the leadership of the team but without the Town Board behind me and in unison together, especially Alan Koenig and Howard Baker who are running with me, it would be difficult.”

Tom Coupart – Republican
Tom Coupart is back. He tossed his hat into the political area earlier this year and was later nominated to run for Town Supervisor at the Republican caucus. He said receiving the support at the caucus was “very humbling and I was very, very pleased and excited about getting involved again.”

Coupart moved back to his hometown from Florida ostensibly to be near family but found that people frequently stopped by his Western Avenue home to urge him to run again. He previously served as Supervisor from 1998 until the end of 2005. He spoke to his wife, who said if he wanted to run that she would be behind him 110 percent. That clinched it for him.

Coupart has long been involved in his community; previously serving on the Planning and Zoning Boards, on town committees, Marlboro Youth Baseball, CYO Basketball, Snoopy Soccer, the Lions Club, UNICO and the Knights of Columbus. Being in the construction business he said he has had a hand in “about 70 percent” of the projects that have been built in Marlborough in the last 40 years.

Coupart said taxes and keeping them under control is the big issue facing the town. He said the lack of a robust commercial tax base continues to negatively impact the taxpayer; pointing out that $100 million in new rate-able projects would go a long way toward lessening the tax burden upon residents.

Coupart said growth in neighboring towns, “is just running circles [around us] and has surpassed Marlborough tenfold. It’s frustrating and disheartening to see what’s happening here in our community; I want to say nothing.”

Coupart said Marlborough has to actively market itself if they want to attract businesses that offer good paying jobs.

Second on Coupart’s list is infrastructure. He recalled that in his last year in office [2005] there were plans to bring infrastructure from N. Youngs Ave. north along Route 9W to the TOMVAC building with funding of nearly $900,000. This was coming from the Empire State Development Corps, the Royal Kedem Winery and Mickey Jamal, who is now developing the former Dickies Diner property. Coupart said these projects “were basically handed on a silver platter” to Lanzetta but the only project that appears near completion is the Milton Train Station.

Coupart said one must have a steadfast attitude about getting things done when you are in an elected position.

“You will make friends and enemies but when you look at it with open eyes you know you are making a decision that will benefit the town overall, not any one individual in particular. That’s the main objective, to make our place more productive and [provide] a better quality of life for everybody who lives here or for anyone who wants to come in here,” he said.

Coupart said he is running for office to help a community he loves.

“I’m here to work for them. I’m here to protect their investment, which they’ve made in our community,” he said. “I’d like to see everybody prosper, being able to live here, enjoy what Marlborough has to offer and offer over and above what we have right now and make it affordable. We want people to stay here, have jobs here, be happy and enjoy the simple things in life.”

By Mark Reynolds
mreynolds@tcnewspapers.com

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