Candidates Collide At Coykendall

Photo by Robin Weinstein.
Photo by Robin Weinstein.
Photo by Robin Weinstein.

The New Paltz Oracle hosted a debate between Susan Zimet and Randall Leverette, the candidates running for New Paltz town supervisor.

The debate, held on Tuesday, Oct. 29, took place in the Coykendall Science Building auditorium. New Paltz residents, as well as SUNY New Paltz students ,attended the debate.

Park Point, town and campus police cooperation, lighting on Platekill Avenue, the Good Neighbor Initiative, the town budget, consolidation and fracking were all discussed.

During his opening remarks, Leverette said he would like to improve the process of town government and operate with more transparency. Zimet said that she will use her power in government for the “betterment of our community.”

The first issue addressed was Park Point. Both candidates said they are supportive of what’s best for the college, but feel the school needs to pay the tax so the burden is not shifted to homeowners.

In regards to policing the Park Point area, Leverette and Zimet both believed that responsibility belongs to university police.

On the issue of the town’s budget, Leverette said flaws stem from the comptroller’s report of the budget allocations.

“The town needs to itemize and clarify exactly how it takes in and spends its money,” he said.

Zimet argued the comptroller’s report was based on the previous supervisor’s budget and that she has fought to get the town’s budget back in place. She also said she would rather have a budget that decreaed taxes by 4.4 percent rather than Ulster County’s budget that increases taxes by 9 percent.

On the topic of Plattekill lighting, both candidates said more lights should be present on Plattekill Avenue to make the town safer for those who walk in that area at night.

“One attempted rape is one attempted rape too many,” Zimet said.

With the Good Neighbor Initiative — a joint action between Police, Town, Village and University officials which aims to keep noise control and promote an  overal safer area around Plattekill Avenue — Leverette said people in the community should be good and  respect neighbors. Zimet said she’s heard the decrease in noise from students has been “astoundingly better” this year.

On Town and Village consolidation, both candidates said the people of New Paltz will have to make a decision on what they want for their community.

Leverette said he supports the ban on fracking, but he believes it is a national issue. Zimet said during her tenure as town supervisor, fracking has been banned in the New Paltz and she is working to have it banned in the state of New York.

In her closing remarks, Zimet said she wants to make New Paltz a “bike friendly” place, for New Paltz to have its own water system and for taxes to be lowered.

“Keeping the taxes down has always been my main focus and I’ve delivered every year,” Zimet said.

Leverette said his focal points are process over politics, transparency and a collaborative government.

The election will take place on Tuesday, Nov. 5.