Valerie Lounsbury, Rensselaerville supervisor candidate
RENSSELAERVILLE — This is the second consecutive unopposed election for Valerie Lounsbury. She wants to finish what she’s started, two years into the job.
“I didn’t feel like I would feel good about myself if I just walked away and left it half done,” said Lounsbury of the town’s fiscal progress. The nearest obstacle, around election time, is the budget, which she said would again test the state-set cap. Lounsbury included the zoning law and an alternative to the town newsletter as items she would like to see through in the next four-year term.
“We’ll have a new town clerk, and she will be seriously missed,” said Lounsbury, referring to Town Clerk Kathleen Hallenbeck’s retirement. “I think that’s going to take all of us working together to help the new town clerk fill those shoes that Kathy has filled so wonderfully for the last 40 years.”
Lounsbury is currently treasurer for the Bayard Elsbree Memorial Park and has served as a councilwoman, secretary to the planning board, and as a fire policewoman for the Tri-Village Fire Department. She was tapped in February 2012 when Democrat Marie Dermody resigned in her third year as supervisor. Dermody cited the culture of the town board, after an election took away her Democratic majority, as hindering her progress in the position.
Lounsbury ran unopposed in November 2012 to fill out the last year of Dermody’s term and will run for a full four-year term next month.
Lounsbury, who worked previously as a private accountant and a receptionist, said the cap on town tax-levy increases isn’t sustainable for Rensselaerville.
“What we do every year is we look at what we have spent year-to-date, the budget figures we had last year, and what is anticipated as what is needed for this year, and we figure out whether we can leave it as it was, whether we will make an increase,” said Lounsbury when asked for her budgeting guidelines. “We try to never increase anything unless it’s absolutely necessary.”
She said voters could expect her to continue her work of the last two years, of fiscal restraint and commitment to services. Asked what plan for the newsletter she favored, Lounsbury said, “something that would not cost the town too much money.”
Lounsbury said she is not interested in Rensselaerville allowing hydraulic fracturing, concerned about its risks, but was reluctant to comment on any future zoning regulations.
“I may have one opinion tonight, but, when I hear other people’s opinions, when you’re forming something as important as the zoning regulations, I think you have to keep an open mind,” said Lounsbury. “Especially as a member of the town board, as the supervisor, I have to keep an open mind to what my constituents are saying.”
Lounsbury said it would be premature for her to say what changes should be made to the board of ethics procedures.
“We took the regulations that were in effect, we used them, and we just feel that there are areas where we could improve the regulations,” said Lounsbury.
An enrolled Republican, Lounsbury has Conservative, Independence Party, and her own party’s endorsement.
“I think that, if you are an individual who is considering what is best for your friends and neighbors in the town and the community where you live, there’s nothing wrong with running on more than one ticket,” said Lounsbury of cross endorsements.