Councilman Harry Colgan will appear on the Democratic, Independence and Working Families ballot lines in the November 8, 2011 election
I am a 33 year retired IBM employee with a very eclectic experience. I started as an engineer and shortly moved to the employee training environment. From there my experience included Regional Training Manager, Branch Manager, Management training instructor, and new employee recruiting as well as many varied assignments. After retiring from IBM I ran a small home business. For the last 4 years I have been a member of the Red Hook Town Board. I am also currently serving as the Vice President of the Northern Dutchess Alliance.
What experience and/or training has prepared you to serve in the position you seek?
I have many years experience in general management as well as varied experiences with problem solving assignments in business. As a town board member, I have been actively involved in the creation, passage and implementation of the Centers and Greenspace zoning. With this new zoning in place, we have reduced potential development and sprawl by 60% while protecting our farms and rural character.
At the same time, I have worked to hold the line on tax increases during this period of fiscal stress. As the Vice President of the Northern Dutchess Alliance I have promoted the implementation shared services with neighboring municipalities as the way to reduce the cost of government.
Please share your thoughts on property taxes and any specific related changes or policies you support and will work to pass if elected.
I believe the current property tax system is an unfair and inequitable form of taxation. I believe we need a ceiling on this form of taxation to relieve the pressure on people with low and fixed incomes. A tax cap that limits what a person pays in property taxes based on their income would deliver the relief we need. I have worked to push Albany for such a cap and will continue to support one.
Would you have voted for the recent rezoning plan also known as Centers and Green Spaces plan and why or why not?
The recent zoning changes are the implementation of the vision of the community as expressed in the Comprehensive Plan – one of the prime responsibilities of the town government. As one of the authors of the Centers and Greenspaces zoning I did support it and voted for it. By doing so we have reduced future sprawl by 60%, something that will save us money in the long run. It also enhances the business opportunities for farmers while preserving our town’s rural character.
What is your position on the new highway garage project?
The current highway garage is long overdue for replacement and has become a potential health hazard to town employees. Shared services is an concept that is in its infancy, but is at the future of cost saving in government. The Red Hook highway garage is being built with this in mind. We have been in talks with our villages and have designed the facility in concert with the Red Hook village board with an eye toward sharing the facility with cost savings to both municipalities.
Choose one more important issue facing our town today and how you will handle it.
Managing the finances of the town is near the top of the list. All decisions of the board must continue to be made with cost in mind.
Shared services is the best way for us to lower our town taxes. For the last four years, I have been pushing for a new way for Red Hook to do more with less — saving tax dollars while delivering better, more efficient town services by entering into cooperating agreements with neighboring municipalities. Governor Cuomo is strongly pushing shared services, calling “New York’s antiquated system of local government” an “oversized and inefficient bureaucracy” and “a luxury taxpayers cannot afford.”
After a close look, it’s clear we can do a better job for less money with shared services. We’ve already cut budgets to the bone, so this is the only way to prevent higher taxes without cutting major services. I will continue to champion this program in my next term.
Why should voters pick you on election day?
I believe I have been a strong advocate for all the people of Red Hook for the last four years, and if re-elected I will continue to do so. Red Hook has accomplished much in the last four years and won many awards for our groundbreaking work in protecting our land and saving taxpayer dollars. We cannot afford to turn back. I look forward to helping Red Hook keep moving in the right direction.