It was especially gratifying to hear both Tim Brewer and Jennifer Switzer come out against the political antics we have seen in the town over the past few months. Both said they did not approve of the town attorney being involved in party politics and believe the Town Board should review whether its current law firm should continue.
Brewer, who is currently on the Town Board after being appointed to replace Bill VanNess this past spring, said he expects the board will look at their options in executive session.
Switzer, making her third run for the Ward 4 seat, said the town should ask for new bids and review their options, but insists that the contract needs to include a disclaimer preventing political involvement.
The politics have become an unneeded distraction in Warren County’s largest town and it’s good to see both candidates In Ward 4 are up to addressing it.
What separates these candidates is their approach.
Brewer has previously served nine years on the Planning Board and 14 years on the Town Board. He is one of those public servants who relishes rolling up his sleeves and getting to the bottom of a resident or business’s drainage issue.
Both Brewer and Switzer were defeated by VanNess four years ago, and Switzer lost to VanNess two years ago as well.
Switzer says she has simplified her message to voters this time around and is attempting to play to her strengths in municipal finance.
Switzer has previously served as the town’s budget officer for three years, worked in the city of Glens Falls treasurer’s office for three years and has been director of finance for the Warren County EDC for the past 10 years. She has also previously served on the recreation and cemetery commissions.
What she is telling voters is that she believes the town could benefit from a multi-year financial plan that would allow it to predict how much surplus it might have and what the fund balance would be in the future. She believes it might take two years to implement it.
She believes this initiative would allow the town to make informed decisions about the appropriate level of taxes and whether the town tax rate needs to remain.
“We can’t make those decisions without more data,” Switzer said.
Our board’s reaction was: You mean, this isn’t being done already? According to Switzer’s research, few towns are doing this, but she found a town similar to Queensbury that is currently doing it — Bethlehem — and believes it could be used as a model.
“Because we are so fiscally sound, this is the time to do that,” Switzer said. “I haven’t had one person say we shouldn’t do this.”
We were taken aback when Brewer told us he didn’t see any big issues facing the town. “I just want to help people,” Brewer said.
That’s when we reminded him of the political turmoil.
“I’m my own person,” Brewer responded. “I think the record shows that.”
It was clear both candidates are capable of serving Ward 4 residents well, but only Switzer could deliver the multi-year financial plan that is probably overdue for a community the size of Queensbury.