As Colonie Town Supervisor Paula Mahan seeks a seventh two-year term, long-time town resident George Scaringe is mounting a challenge.
Scaringe, a Republican and lifetime town resident who has been active in real estate and politics in Colonie, says although Mahan has enjoyed a great run, more than a decade in office, time is ripe for change. "I think the town hall has lost its way. They had a tax increase this year where no other municipality in the County of Albany had tax increases. It seems like there's just a little clique up in the town Hall that just runs Colonie. I've witnessed people go to open meetings and get chastised by some of the office-holders or some of the officials. I just don't think it's right. I see fighting going on with contractors and developers and advocacy groups which I think has to be, try to be corrected."
In her recent State of the Town address, Mahan, a Democrat, defended past tax hikes by linking them to public safety and says she's always on the lookout for ways to boost Colonie. "We work very hard to prioritize the needs of the town to ensure your dollars are being spent wisely. Plus, we've re-doubled our efforts to obtain grant money to help us achieve new goals, and we're now working to create a funding stream to help us preserve open space, such as farmland, environmentally sensitive areas, and waterfront."
Overall, Mahan painted a picture of a tranquil, prosperous, citizen-involved community of about 80,000. “Our neighborhoods are safe and welcoming, our schools are excellent, our business climate is thriving, and there’s a great spirit of community and citizen involvement at every level. In addition, we have great services and we continue to focus on opportunities for our seniors and young people."
Mahan says Colonie is on a roll with infrastructure improvements, development initiatives which include tearing down the long-vacant Tobin's First Prize meatpacking plant, and rebuilding Exit 4 connecting the Adirondack Northway to the Albany International Airport.
Scaringe believes Colonie should come up with a plan for "smart development." "Something to try to take care of the traffic problems in the town. As far as Tobin Packing Company goes, I used to work at Tobin Packing Company, and I'm happy to see that a developer, a friend of mine, is one of the principals and is finally gonna take it on take it down and put a project in there. I think it's gonna be good for the area."
Mahan weathered a 2017 challenge from Republican Frank Mauriello, an Albany County Legislator. Scaringe favors an overhaul of town politics. "I'm gonna be an advocate for term limits. I don't think people should be in there forever, their lifetime job. I think that you need fresh ideas every once in a while."
Mahan maintains Colonie has remained solid on her watch. "...and financially, we continue to be on firm ground. Our budget is balanced and our fund balance keeps growing. We're actively investing in our most critical infrastructure as well as in our parks and recreational facilities."