The Planning Board asked all candidates for the Town Board and Highway Superintendent positions to describe their qualifications, goals, and how they would protect the Town from impacts of hydraulic fracturing. Their responses are printed verbatim below (in alphabetical order). One candidate did not respond.
CANDIDATES FOR TOWN BOARD
Name: Roberta Holcomb
I have been a resident of Richford for 22 years during my youth and moved back to Richford in 2008. At this time I am fully employed in corporate America working for AT&T. During my 30 years working for AT&T I have an Operations and Engineering background and currently work in New Technology Development at AT&T Labs(formerly known as Bell Labs). I also currently work in Agriculture, farming organic vegetables and working with family members raising horses and beef. I served 6 years in the US Navy as a Radioman and previously ran my own small business in PA for 12 years, Morning Glories, a Bed and Breakfast. I do have some experience in small government having served on the Board of Directors of Hilltop Village Association in Beach Lake, PA. . During my 12 or more years of service in the Village I held the office of Vice President and of President of the Association and was responsible to the villagers for maintenance and repair of the village roads and water (well) system for the private community of about 40 homes.
Name: Ken Miller
I am Ken Miller, a crop and hay farmer, and also work at LoweÕs in Ithaca as an assembler, hardware, and tools associate. I am seeking reelection for a second term as councilman to represent you on the Richford Town Board. I grew up in Dryden on the family dairy farm, earned a BS degree at SUNY Cortland, and served as an officer in the United States Marine Corps. I have lived in Richford for more than 25 years. I am a member of the American Legion (37 years) and Farm Bureau (30 years). I have attended several training sessions for representatives, by the County and Association of Towns. I want to continue representing the farming community and rural interests. I would like to see our community remain rural. I am a less government type of person. One of the most difficult situations facing our town is the budget and the amount of tax we need to collect. It is a struggle, but the Board is doing its very best.
I have been asked to include actions I would try to take to protect the Town from the impacts of hydraulic fracturing. I view gas exploration as being positive for our residents, schools and Town, where as the way the question is posed by the planning board, it assumes it will have negative impacts. We all know there are risks with anything we do and we need to minimize them. The exploration companies have been working hard to find better ways to minimize risks and I applaud them. The SGEIS has had much input from different sides of the issue (negative and positive), the scientific and environmental community, and the exploration companies and State Officials. It paves the way for exploration and should take us forward as an ever changing and flexible document. Answering the question then: Our roads, water and environment do need protection. A road agreement with exploration companies needs to be established. Since roads cross municipal boundaries, I feel that the State should step in with guidelines or mandates for road protection, so each Town throughout the state are in sync with each other. Fresh water ponds are a must by the companies to reduce traffic and depletion of our aquifer. The most important protection residents need is from those that would spread false information and untruths about gas exploration in order to scare residents into believing it is completely unsafe. Providing education and the scientific truths about exploration would be something I plan to work on. Pursued properly, gas exploration can be very healthy and profitable for our residents, schools and Town. I also believe that solar energy should be explored for our Town, as other Towns and Counties have pursued.
I am asking for your vote this November and your help in keeping Richford a rural and vibrant community.
CANDIDATES FOR HIGHWAY SUPERINTENDENT
Name: Michael L Holt Sr
Occupation: Highway Superintendent for Town of Richford
Qualifications (experience, education and training): Came to work for Town in 2000. Took over Highway Superintendent in 2009. Nov 16 Newark Valley Central took training at Cornell School for 3 years. Training for Tioga Soil and Water. Been to Albany Highway School for 2 years.
Goals while in office: Will be doing same thing I have done for 4 years looking out for tax payers. Try to keep taxes down. Do the best job I can do for town and be there on full time as I have been for four years. Try to keep best roads I can for residents and buses in winter months. Purchase parts and supplies best price I can find. ItÕs not up to me to decide on fracking. It will be up to me to take care of roads for tax payers when it happens.
Name: Michael F. Hunt
Occupation: Self-employed; Construction and Excavation
Office Sought: Highway Superintendent
What are your qualifications for this position? (include experience, education, and training)
In 1987 I began working for the town of Berkshire highway department. I worked for the highway department for seven years. The first five years I was employed as a highway worker rebuilding and maintaining roads. The last two years of my employment with the town of Berkshire I was Highway Superintendent. At the end of my term I opted to not run for superintendent again but rather to start my own excavation and construction business. From 1993 to present, I have owned and operated Hunt Excavation and Construction. Some of my daily tasks include overseeing and supervising my jobs from start to finish, working with town officials to obtain various permits, compiling materials lists and obtaining quotes from at least 3 vendors to ensure cost effectiveness, operation of heavy equipment to include an excavator, bulldozer, backhoe, skid steer, etc. In addition, I have a Class A driverÕs license. I have also attended the Annual School for Highway Superintendents provided by Cornell University for 2 years. In the nineteen years IÕve been self-employed my business has flourished and continues to be successful today. I am successful today because I take great pride in my work and work closely with my customers to be sure their needs are met. Based on my 27+ years of work experience, I believe I am the best person for this position.
What are your goals while in office? Please include what actions you would take to protect Town Roads from the impacts of hydraulic fracturing.
If I am elected I will have only the tax payersÕ and the townsÕ best interest at heart. I am a resident and tax payer that has live in the Town of Richford for over 35 years. If I am elected for this position the tax payersÕ can be assured that all Richford highways will be built, maintained and/or repaired with the highest integrity and the least inconvenience to the residents. I will see to it that the costs are kept to a minimum without sacrificing the quality of work to be completed. I will maintain awareness of all weather conditions and provide or make provisions for necessary extra maintenance. I will supervise the department personnel to achieve top quality workmanship along with employee job satisfaction and high moral. Although hydraulic fracturing is not an issue for the State of New York at this time, if and when it does become a consideration, I will interpret and comply with all State and Federal regulations to ensure that our towns highways suffer minimally if at all. In short, I will go above and beyond to best meet the needs of the residents and our town.
On September 10th, I lost the primary election by 16 votes. I am still running for Town of Richford Highway Superintendent on a write in vote. Beginning the week of October 14th, we will be going door to door to show voters a sample of the ballot and to educate them on how to vote me into office by way of write in. I look forward to meeting many of my fellow Richford residents and I appreciate any and all support in the General Election on November 5th.