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Hilltown Archives — The Altamont Enterprise, November 4, 2010

Dems’ Dorner is out
Bolte coasts to town board seat

By Jo E. Prout

RENSSELAERVILLE — Confident Conservative Robert Bolte surprised town Democrats and ousted Democratic incumbent Dale Dorner from her appointed board seat Tuesday with 58 percent of the vote.

In the town justice race, incumbent Democrat Timothy C. Miller won over Republican opponent Myra Dorman with 65 percent of the vote.

In an off year for local elections, the town-board race was hotly contested with many letters sent to the Enterprise editor. Dorner was portrayed as an experienced attorney with knowledge of planning and zoning issues, and Bolte as a hardworking handyman who has been scrutinizing the town board for years.

Bolte ran for town board with the support of the Republican, Independence, and Conservative parties. He received 319 Republican votes, 123 Conservative votes, and 59 Independence votes, for a total of 501, according to unofficial tallies yesterday from the Albany County Board of Elections.

Dorner won 356 votes on the Democratic line, garnering 42 percent of the vote, again according to unofficial counts. There were no write-in votes in Tuesday’s election.

Dorner, a political newcomer to Rensselaerville, is a South Westerlo attorney who, in January, was appointed to fill former Councilwoman Marie Dermody’s seat on the town board when Dermody was elected supervisor.

Bolte, 67, is a retired shopping center manager, licensed electrician, and wastewater operator. A lifelong resident who attends town board meetings regularly, Bolte came in a close third in a four-way race last year, before winning Tuesday.

“I expected it, because when you go around…and don’t knock the other candidate, you put yourself in the more honest position,” Bolte said Wednesday. “I feel like I worked hard for the town for many years, and [the win] did not surprise me.”

“We expected Dale Dorner to win, but she didn’t,” said town Democratic chairman and town councilman John Kudlack. Democrats outnumber Republicans in Rensselaerville by nearly 3 to 1.

“The Democrats still have control of the board,” said Kudlack. In addition to Dermody and Kudlack, Councilman Gary Chase is also a Democrat. Councilwoman Marion Cooke is, like Bolte, a Conservative who also ran on the Republian line.

Town Clerk Kathy Hallenbeck explained that Bolte’s one-year term is the remainder of Dermody’s original four-year term on the board. “He will have to run again to end up with a four-year term,” she said about Bolte.

In the justice race, Miller won a four-year term on Tuesday with 411 Democratic votes and 119 Independence votes, for a total of 530. He was appointed justice last year when Judge Victoria Kraker retired. His opponent, former supervisor and board member Myra Dorman, garnered 285 votes. There were no write-in votes.

Town plans

“The town board has to work together in accomplishing what needs to be done for the town, and to keep taxes as low as possible,” Bolte said Wednesday. One thing the town must do is order new machinery for the highway department, he said.

Highway Superintendent Gary Zeh — also a Conservative who ran on the Republican line last year, ousting the long-time Democrat G. Jon Chase — has asked the town board for more equipment.

“We have to look at the machinery in the highway department and make sure the trucks are safe and do the job they’re designed for,” Bolte said yesterday. The town must also upgrade some of its equipment that has not been taken care of in the past, he said.

“We need to spend money only on things we can afford and we need,” he said. Noting that money has already been spent on a new copy machine for the town, Bolte said, “I think that’s a perfect example of how we can save money, by not buying things for convenience.”

Asked for her reaction to the election yesterday, Dorner said, “I was disappointed. It happens.”

She credited Bolte with running a good campaign.

Asked if she would consider another run, Dorner said, “I’m not ready to make that decision right now. It’s kind of nice to have my evenings back again.”

She concluded, “I enjoyed being on the board. It’s an undertaking and it’s time-consuming. You want to know that you’re wanted.”

Bolte said that he hopes that politics will change within the town.

“The taxpayers in town really are boss,” he said. The board should “do the people’s work, and not our own personal agendas,” he said. His comments echoed those he made in 2009.

“I think, as a board member, I would listen at the public hearing to what the public would say,” Bolte said last year. “As a town board member, it’s not about your opinion; it’s about what the public would like, and that’s how I’d have to vote.”

Kudlack said that the current board works well together, and that the addition of Bolte should not affect that ability in the highly Democratic town.

“Our candidate lost. We’re all going to try to work together,” Kudlack said. He, like Bolte, said that the board is trying to buy another truck for the highway department “to do what’s right for the town.”

“We’re not going to sit there and fight about it, like the last administration,” Kudlack said, referring to Republican Jost Nickelsberg’s one term as supervisor.

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