Unopposed Voorheesville slate repeats 2010

VOORHEESVILLE — Village elections will go to incumbents later this month, as three open slots go uncontested.

Mayor Robert Conway, 60, is seeking his third four-year term as mayor, after previously serving as a village trustee for four years. He is currently the human-resources manager for the City of Rensselaer.

“I enjoy doing what I’m doing. We still have some work to do that I’d like to see finished before I call it a career,” Conway said.

Trustee Richard Berger, 62, is running for his fourth four-year term. He serves as the deputy mayor. He works at the Capital District Psychiatric Center in Albany.

“I’ve enjoyed doing it,” Berger said about his work on the village board. “I’d like to continue to serve.”

Trustee Jack Stevens, 64, is running for his third four-year term in his second incarnation as a village board member. Stevens served three years as a trustee before beginning a six-year stint as mayor, before switching roles again in 2006. Before that, Stevens served on the village’s zoning board of appeals. Stevens retired from Verizon in 2005.

The mayor’s salary, which did not include an increase in the 2013-14 budget, is $14,132 per year. Trustee salaries, also frozen for the year, were $6,182 each.

Over the last four years, Conway met with residents requesting help in creating a quiet zone for train whistles in the village. Conway, the former commissioner of human resources for Albany County, continued communications with the county executive’s office to pursue funding for a quad-gate railroad crossing system required for the quiet zone to be implemented.

“The county has agreed to pay for the quiet zone study,” Berger said this week. After a new engineering study is completed, work on the proposed gate system could begin.

Berger serves as liaison with the fire department, with which he has volunteered for 45 years, and animal control. He is a lifelong Voorheesville resident.

Stevens, who did not respond to requests for comment before press time, serves as the board liaison with the Voorheesville Area Ambulance Service. Stevens clashed with the VAAS repeatedly over the last few years, eventually calling for the village to seek ambulance service vendors from outside the village.

The village is currently negotiating a final contract for 2014 with few changes from that signed belatedly in 2013.

“I’m hoping we’re working out the deals with the ambulance,” Berger said.

Conway said that the village budget has been watched closely by board members and village employees. He said that he wants to be re-elected to see that the village “stays on a pretty solid financial footing,” as he expects it to be with careful financial planning.

“Keeping the village at a 2-percent cap is a major accomplishment, and what people have come to expect,” Conway said about the statewide tax-levy limit. “What we’re able to purchase and do…the fire truck – we paid cash for that. We didn’t have to borrow for that.

“We did bring the Maple Avenue sewer project online,” Conway continued. “For a small village, we’ve done some fairly major projects.”

Conway said that the smaller of the village’s two sewer systems, near the village hall, may need to be addressed in the next four years, as it currently functions as a leech field. Conway wants to improve the infrastructure near the system in case it needs updating, he said.

The village is also discussing with the town of New Scotland a town-wide ambulance service, Conway said.

“One project we have scheduled to start in spring is a park down by the newly-opened rail trail — an area we’d like to enhance…and turn it into a park area,” Conway said. The village is considering installing picnic benches, a small parking area, and physical access to the rail trail there, Conway said.

Berger had few comments about other issues in Voorheesville.

“There’s really not much going on in the village,” he said this week. “We’re trying to keep everything going as it’s been going. I’d like to see the village stay the way it is. People move here because they like the way it is.”

Elections will be held on Tuesday, March 18, from noon to 9 p.m. at the Voorheesville firehouse at 12 Altamont Road.

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