Outgoing Warren County Supervisors pose Dec. 16 behind a cake shaped like Warren County, baked as a gesture of their service to area citizens, presented to them after their last public meeting they’ll be presiding over. The cake was baked by thurman Supervisor Evelyn Wood.
Six years before Elvis expired and only two years after man landed on the moon, a worker at International Paper Co.’s Ticonderoga mill decided to run for Hague Town Highway Superintendent.
In a town that is a Republican stronghold, the young man ran as an Independent, and he beat both a G.O.P and Democratic candidate.
This November 1971 election started the long tenure of public service for Dan Belden, who 20 years later became the Supervisor of the Town of Hague. His service in this post extends through Dec. 31.
Belden and five other outgoing Warren County supervisors were praised Dec. 16 for their service to area citizens. Also recognized were Queensbury supervisors Fred Champagne and Bill VanNess, Johnsburg Supervisor Sterling Goodspeed and Lake George Supervisor Frank McCoy.
Belden, due to his length of service and deep knowledge of public works issues, was in the spotlight at the county meeting, the final session of the year.
After the meeting, Belden reflected on his career. He said he was proud of his 20 years as Hague Superintendent of Highways, upgrading roads and keeping town equipment in top shape.
Following Richard Bolton as Town Supervisor, Belden pursued an approach of accomplishing as much as he could while keeping the budget lean.
To that end, he routinely pursued all the grant money he could, Belden said Dec. 16.
“I brought in $20 million for the town of Hague citizens,” he said.
In that vein, Belden identified his top accomplishment during his tenure as developing a sewer system in Hague with federal and state money.
Also a leading accomplishment, he said, was not only building a new town hall in 1988, but paying it off not long afterwards.
Projects like these were accomplished while keeping taxes low, he said, noting that Hague has not levied a town general tax in five years, a tradition that’s to be continued for 2012.
But his premier accomplishment, he said, was reaching out to townspeople.
He said that during all his 40 years of public service, he’d take time to listen to local citizens’ needs and respond to their concerns.
“I always answered questions and returned phone calls from day one, and that was 24-7 including weekends.”
During his years in office, he ran D.D. Belden Construction, which concentrated on dock construction and home building.
Belden which he retired about six years ago. In recent years, he’s continued a property care and monitoring business, opening and closing camps, and taking on light repairs.
Belden said he chose to retire at the close of 2011 because it coincides with landmark year for him. Two months ago, he celebrated his 50th wedding anniversary.
Following Belden in the Supervisor post will be Edna Frazier, who has served as Hague Deputy Superivsor for four years.
Belden said he looks forward to taking on a more relaxing schedule and spending some time with his six children and four grandchildren, as well as vacationing in north Carolina.
This spring, he may work time in the consulting business, perhaps pursuing grants for individuals and organizations, he said.
“I think I’ve done my work for the town,” he said. “But I’ll be keeping active.”
Horicon Supervisor Ralph Bentley said he and other area citizens wish him well in his retirement.
“We’re all going to mis his expertise — he’s so knowledgeable about highways and public works,” he said.
Warren County Board of Supervisors Chairman Dan Stec said Belden had for decades worked hard to bring county leaders together to achieve progress.
“Dan’s a statesman and consensus builder,” he said. “He’s always had the best interests of all of Warren County at heart.”