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New Scotland Archives The Altamont Enterprise, September 29, 2011
Dolin runs unopposed for supervisor
By Saranac Hale Spencer
NEW SCOTLAND Thomas Dolin, a Democrat, wants a third two-year term as supervisor. He is running unopposed.
His first term was dominated by controversy over commercial development and he won his second term by campaigning on a platform calling for a cap on the allowable size of retail development. He and his running mates, Patricia Snyder and William Hennessey, “are running on the position of, ‘Let’s finish the job,’” said Dolin.
Dolin, a lawyer and former town judge, is currently drafting a preliminary budget for the town’s next fiscal year, he said, and he’s committed to coming in at 2 percent. Of where cuts might be made, he said, the highway department submitted a budget with a reduction of one employee, which would save the town $55,000. The highway department now has just over a dozen employees.
The town is waiting for a report from Sano-Rubin Construction Services on the cost of rehabilitating the current highway garage and building a new one, Dolin said. He expects that the cheapest option will be to upgrade the current building and construct a separate space for administrative offices some of which are currently housed several miles down the road in Town Hall.
“New Scotland should adopt a wind energy law,” Dolin said, “We made various attempts.” Over the past few years, the town board has considered laws passed by other towns, but hasn’t taken action.
He would prohibit large-scale wind farms and “explore if residential scale can exist without impacting neighbors in terms of noise, ground rumble, and, of course, visual” impact, Dolin said. Some municipalities have passed progressive small-scale wind laws, he said, and New Scotland should undertake passing a law.
Of allowing for the drilling of natural gas, Dolin said, “I think we should proceed very cautiously about permitting it.” Although he was unsure whether or not drilling would be feasible in New Scotland, Dolin said the town should look into it. “You don’t want to have to close the barn door after the horses are out,” he said.
Given much of the town’s dependence on well water, he said, it could impact residents’ drinking water. He also expressed concern over the disposal of the chemical-laden water used in the hydraulic fracturing. “It sounds like an environmental nightmare to me,” he said.
Regarding the cap on the allowable size of shopping centers, Dolin said, “I’m still standing by the no-big-box position I had the last time I ran.” The push for a cap was stymied just after Dolin and his two running mates took office two years ago when the owners of more than 20 percent of the land in the commercial zone filed a protest petition, which required a supermajority or four of the five board members to vote in favor of the bill.
“We need to elect a board that will provide the necessary minimum votes for a supermajority,” Dolin said. “We need that extra vote… to change the current law.”
The supervisor is only one vote on a board of five, he said of how he views his role. He takes into account the positions of his constituents and, “at the end of the day, I rely on my 43 years of experiences here,” in New Scotland, to gauge what is best for the town and what the majority of the people want.