Voters in the town of Willsboro will choose between two current members of the government to serve as supervisor.
Incumbent Supervisor Ed Hatch is running against current town Councilman Shaun Gilliland in the Tuesday, Nov. 5, election.
What do you bring to the position that will benefit the residents of the town?
Hatch: My experience in the position. I have accomplished a number of items in the community that were necessary like addressing the sewer plant and water consent order. We have also been closing out accounts that owed the town over $700,000 and I have been able to reduce the taxes.
Gilliland: I think I have fairly extensive experience in the military, in government and in business. I think that I am quite qualified for the job with 25 years of Navy experience, I have managed large budgets and I run my own business which has been very successful. I have had success here as a fire commissioner, member of the planning board and on the town council. I bring some new and fresh perspective to the town hall and a new way of solving problems.
What do you believe is the state of the town right now?
Gilliland: We are a tremendous town with great people and a lot of talent. There is a mix of people who have been here all their lives and relatively new residents. We are situated in an area that has tremendous potential because of natural resources and its potential for business. We are not moving ahead right now; we are just kind of existing. The town needs to have a vision and move forward on that for economic development. We need to pull ourselves up by our bootstraps and go in the right direction.
Hatch: We are very good right now. The state gave us a very low stress rate, which means we are financially in good shape. All of the major problems in the town are now under control and have plans in place to address them.
What is the biggest issue facing the town of Willsboro?
Hatch: Sewer and water are the big issue right now. We have a plan that I think will resolve the problems at very little cost to the taxpayers.
Gilliland: The biggest issue is the overall management of the town government. We need planning and practicality in management of purchases, of capital equipment and making sure that all of the funding we ask the taxpayers to provide is being managed in the best possible way. I don’t think the town council and supervisor share the same goals. I am a team builder and want to move everybody to work for the same goals and objective.
How do you manage the quality services of the town while continuing to deal with the 2 percent tax levy cap?
Gilliland: Since I have been on the town board, I have been a strong advocate of staying under the cap. I worked hard as a fire commissioner to reduce expenditures while finding optimum ways to provide the services the residents needed. The supervisor is the CFO of the town, but he is only one vote on the board. What it takes is talented leadership, good management and team building.
Hatch: I think that I have addressed that. We have made the cuts in the budget that we need to. We have a substantial road and water program in place that have been built into the budget with the tax cap in mind.
Willsboro is the political hotbed of the North Country, with several races contested by multiple candidates. In the race for town council, incumbents Nancy Huestis and Charles Lustig are facing challenges from Lane Sayward, Lorilee Sheehan and John “Jack” Thompson.
For town highway superintendent, the retirement of Pete Jacques has led to a field of five candidates vying for the position, including Travis Crowningshield, Jason Morgan, Dean King, Daniel Koenig and Bryon Scott Moran.
Four candidates seek the position of town justice, a field that includes Reginald Bedell, Paula Lincoln, Gregg Dickerson and Clarence Russell.
Two candidates also seek the position of town clerk as Bev Moran has announced her retirement at the end of the year. The candidates are Richard Sayward and Bridget Moran.
Voting for Willsboro residents in both districts will take place at the Willsborough Visitors Center, 3743 Main Street, from 6 a.m. until 9 p.m. Nov. 5.