Deb Malaney will face challenger Bill Grinnell in the Republican primary Sept. 10. Regardless of the outcome of that vote, both will remain on the ballot for the Nov. 5 general election on the independent line.
After four years on the job, Deb Malaney is just beginning to feel comfortable as Ticonderoga’s town supervisor.
“I’m finally at a point where I feel I’m effective on the town level, as a county representative and as advocate on the state and federal levels,” Malaney said. “There’s so much to this job; there are so many diverse responsibilities — water, sewer, police, assessments, codes enforcement, youth needs, senior citizen needs, quality of life issues, cultural activities, economic development, social issues.
“The first two years there was a steep learning curve,” she continued. “The last two years have been about developing relationships with our county, state and federal legislators. It’s been a blur.”
With that experience, Malaney feels she’s well prepared to lead Ticonderoga into the future. That’s why she’s seeking a third two-year term as Ti supervisor.
Malaney will face challenger Bill Grinnell in the Republican primary Sept. 10. Regardless of the outcome of that vote, both will remain on the ballot for the Nov. 5 general election on the independent line.
Malaney said her greatest accomplishment as supervisor has been holding the line on taxes. Ticonderoga has always met the state’s 2 percent tax cap on her watch.
“The biggest success of my tenure is the huge savings of taxpayer money with grants and cost cutting efficiency measures that allows us to maintain our critical services and programs and keep town employees working,” she said. “We have secured over $10 million in grant funding for town improvements, treatment plant and infrastructure upgrades, completed seven critical sewer and water replacements at little cost to taxpayers, upgrades to airport runway, road, and a fuel base operation coming. Many town wide improvements to parks, walking trails, including the new Alexandria Avenue trestle and sidewalk project. We’ve applied and received grants for energy efficiency in town buildings, for Lake George stormwater runoff protection and a myriad of planning grants. We’ve done much new infrastructure work and more to come, Meyer Street, St. Claire, John/George Street, Park Avenue, Streetroad.
“We’ve had other notable successes that are of true benefit to the town in economic development and human services; Silver Bay is now providing quality youth programming, the summer program and Backpack Program to feed our hungry children, town creation of the Ti Alliance and the cultural arts initiative,” she said. “We have new rehabbed downtown buildings and new businesses in the Industrial Park and downtown. The economic development and social improvements have really made a difference in Ti.”
There have been disappointments in her first two terms. Malaney said her greatest disappoint was the closing of the Lowe’s store.
“The past four years were bursting with challenges,” she said. “The town board inherited difficult legal matters, Killicut Mountain, highway department issues, state DEC violations, (state) department of health violations, Gooseneck water replacement project,the boilers blew in the Armory and Community Building. We faced Hurricane Irene and repeated 100-year flooding rains that compromised our old infrastructure. I remember wondering if swarms of locusts would be coming next.
“Another challenge is keeping Ti a safe, clean, affordable place to live and work,” she said. “It’s a herculean effort for rural municipalities, especially during a weak U.S. economy.”
The town is in the early stages of a $13.6 million project that will convert Ti’s water source from Gooseneck Pond and Lake George to primarily groundwater, although it’s likely some Gooseneck water will still be used.
That project follows state and federal mandates that the surface water sources either be updated or replaced. The cost of updating the present system is $30 million, Malaney said.
“We really don’t have a choice,” the supervisor said of the project. “We are under a tribunal order to take action. The days of taking water directly from a lake are a bygone era.”
Projects to divert storm water from the town sewer system and to replace aging infrastructure are also in the works, Malaney said.
The next two years will also be crucial to Ticonderoga’s economic future, Malaney believes. The North Country Community College proposal to utilize the vacant Lowe’s store on Wicker Street and convert it to an applied technology center could be a tremendous boost the community, she said.
“I’m very excited about the potential NCCC applied technology curriculum at the Lowe’s building,” Malaney said. “A consortium of four colleges is discussing the possibilities of repurposing Lowe’s to offer a variety of degree programs, including new green technology with a focus on biomass energy resources.”
The START-UP NY program could lead to businesses locating in Ticonderoga. That state program gives tax breaks to businesses aligned with the academic mission of a college campus, college or university.
Participating companies in START-UP NY will not pay any taxes for 10 years. Employees in participating companies will pay no income taxes for the first five years.
“With this, the potential for additional incubator businesses would be very promising,” she added. “This project and the additional business opportunities it creates would have a great impact on our continuing efforts to revitalize Ti.”
The economy and jobs will always be Malaney’s top priority, she said.
A graduate of Ticonderoga High School, Malaney worked 15 years in sales and marketing in the Albany area before returning to her hometown in 1990. She operated Aidan’s Lair gift shop until taking a marketing position at Fort Ticonderoga in 1995. She became Ticonderoga Area Chamber of Commerce executive director in 2001 and remained there until taking a marketing job with the Best Western in 2007.
She was elected and served as a Ticonderoga town board member 2002-2005 and has sat on the Ticonderoga Economic Development Committee, the Ticonderoga Montcalm Street Partnership, Essex County Quality Destination Committee, the Lake Champlain Regional marketing Committee and many other boards and panels.
Malaney said the job of supervisor has its highs and lows, but it’s a job she wants to keep.
“After much thought, I decided to run for another two year term,” she said. “It’s a labor of love fraught with challenges and successes, but I love Ti and I’m committed to the people and community and proud to serve them. We have plenty of challenges ahead with budgets, finding quality affordable water sources, and more, but in my four years as both a town and county level supervisor, I’ve developed the skills to keep the town moving forward and have the track record to prove it.”