Gary Salisbury, Knox highway superintendent candidate

Gary Salisbury

KNOX — With streambank restoration projects behind him, Republican Gary Salisbury is hoping to keep the town’s highway department on track. Salisbury, 49, is running unopposed on Conservative and Independence Party lines for another term as the Knox highway superintendent, a full-time job.

“We’re just going to keep doing what we’re doing. We’re just going to try to improve what we can,” said Salisbury, who, since 2003, has instituted strict record-keeping and scheduling for the highway department.

The biggest challenge Salisbury foresees is financial, with costs rising against revenues. He is now working through forms for federal and state funding to reimburse the town’s expenses on repair projects needed after Tropical Storm Irene in 2011.

“Looking back, it was so much cheaper back then,” Salisbury said of materials needed for  rebuilding the base layers of roads in past years.

“What I’m trying to do now is all of our paved roads; I’m trying to keep up to date on sealing those roads,” said Salisbury. “A lot of our roads are chip sealed, so they should be done every five years or so,” he said. He said an increase in state money this year will allow him to get to more roads.

A Knox native, Salisbury worked as a mechanic at East Berne Auto after graduating from Berne-Knox-Westerlo High School, then for the Knox highway department before being elected as its superintendent.

“I was there for 16 years and just felt I could move the department forward,” said Salisbury.

The roads have been prioritized by traffic flow and the town’s trucks are replaced and maintained on a schedule to avoid extra maintenance costs, he said.

“I would say we’ve pretty much covered all of them,” Salisbury said of the base reconstruction of town roads. “Right now, we don’t have roads that I would consider in rough shape.”

Salisbury has had problems with the radios used by the Knox Highway Department where other Hilltown highway departments’ transmissions interfered with Knox radios, especially during the winter.

“This summer, we’ve had some other issues with the radio as far as interference, that type of thing,” said Salisbury. “But they said that they were working on putting up a new tower of some sort, a repeater, I guess is what you call it…From what I can tell, it seems like it’s better right now.”