Booth vs Krasner, Part III
Wayne Booth will be seeking his sixth two-year term as supervisor of the Town of Newburgh this fall, facing a familiar opponent in the process. The incumbent revealed his plans this past week, in an interview with the Mid Hudson Times. His opponent, once again, will be Stephen Krasner, his opponent in the past two town elections.
Booth, a Republican, grew into the job following “apprenticeships” as code compliance officer and town clerk. In all, he has served the Town for 22 years thus far.
During an interview this week in his office at Town Hall, Booth was asked to provide insight into obstacles and opportunities he foresees during his next term.
Obstacles? He points to the past five years of reduced revenues, brought on largely as the result of the national housing downturn.
“We were one of the first municipal boards to realize the situation and make adjustments,” he said. “And we’re not out of the woods by any sense of the word. I see no evidence of a great turnaround in the national economy.
“We just have to look for added revenue,” he said.
He acknowledges that the bankruptcies of Roseton and Danskammer power plants continue to challenge the town. But he said he believes that Roseton has the potential to provide expanded service.
Danskammer is another story. Where the Town of Newburgh and the Marboro School District have received some glimmer of hope from the bankruptcy judge, Danskammer’s future is impossible to read.
On several occasions, the supervisor has pointed to the large sections of land still open for development in the town. Over a period of time, they can provide increased assessments to help ease the impact of the loss of the Dynegy properties.
Booth pointed to heavy commercialization of the Town of Newburgh, at the crossroads of Routes 300 and 17K, as the opportunity to rebuild the town’s tax base.
The slowed economy has hindered the planned development of Marketplace at Newburgh. The Marketplace, once thought to be imminent, is now about two years behind schedule.
A more immediate boost to the economy will come with the 10-year, $101 million NYC DEP Bypass Tunnel project under the Hudson River. That project couldn’t have come at a better time.
“The tunnel project will have direct benefits to local contractors and union employees and indirect benefits to other businesses as the money trickles down in our area.”
Booth said his promise to the voters is to do the very best job that he can while keeping government transparent.
One of his first acts as supervisor after his first election was to open up Town Board meetings to allow more input from citizens.
“I’m not a self-serving guy,” he said.
He said he is proud of his relationship with his friends and town employees.
“I try to treat everyone fairly,” he said.
We asked him about steps he envisions leading the town over his next term of office.
“We need to watch where the town expends its revenues,” he said. “We need to make sure that we get the most out of every tax dollar.”
He praised the attitude of town employees.
“They serve the public well,” he said, “and they have managed through tough times. Our common goal is to improve service and work to maintain the relationship with our workers.”
Recently, the town negotiated a difficult agreement with the PBA to allow the town to increase its police force by hiring 12 part-time accredited police officers. Those officers will allow the town to reduce overtime while not adding the expense of health benefits and pensions for the part-time officers.
“It wasn’t an easy sell,” he said, expressing gratitude to union leadership for recognizing the Town’s situation.
“We have a lot of hardworking public servants. We’ve been doing more with less for a long time,” he said.
“We’re actually good at it.”
Krasner, a Democrat, said he will formally launch his third campaign for supervisor this spring.
“Our town faces significant challenges in the coming years that call for progress and pro-active solutions if we are to move our community forward,” said Krasner. “A dozen years of the same leadership have brought us higher taxes, archaic and ineffective management and a host of questionable practices and behavior. The dynasty of the current regime in Town Hall must give way to new ideas, energy and an adherence to integrity in leadership to ensure the Town of Newburgh thrives into the future. I believe the majority of folks in our town are ready for a change in our elected leadership and I intend to make sure they have that change on the ballot when they go to vote at the polls this November.”
Krasner works in the legal industry as a senior paralegal in complex litigation matters. According to his campaign website, he founded and led a bipartisan advocacy group in the town and served in the United States Peace Corps for 27 months in South America.
Krasner received his Master’s of Science degree in Nonprofit Management from New York’s Milano School of International Affairs, Management, and Urban Policy in 2007. In 1999 he earned his Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Hartford.
He has lived in the town since 2007.
By ALLAN GAUL