GLENS FALLS — Glens Falls and Warren County officials should not give up discussion of police consolidation just yet, said Robin Barkenhagen, the Green Party candidate for Glens Falls councilman at-large.
“I’m told that police consolidation is unpopular, but I want to find out for myself,” he said. “So I will be conducting a survey as I go door to door between now and November.”
Consolidation was one of five topics in a campaign platform speech Barkenhagen presented at the Warren County Green Party Gala on Saturday at the Gold Shade banquet hall on Warren Street in Glens Falls.
City and county officials have discussed police consolidation off and on for more than a decade, most recently in 2016, without reaching an agreement.
“We should look at any and all ways to save taxpayers money by sharing services with our neighbors,” he said.
Barkenhagen, a retail shop owner and musician, is running against Republican Jane Reid for the open citywide seat on the Common Council.
“Consolidation, as long as there is no diminution of services, is the way to go, as far as I am concerned. So I don’t disagree with that,” Reid said in a telephone interview on Tuesday. “But I am not aware that any change has happened there that is under foot.”
Reid, currently 3rd Ward councilwoman, is running on a “unity ticket” with Democratic mayoral candidate Dan Hall, the current councilman at-large.
A Democratic councilman at-large candidate has not been announced.
Barkenhagen, who initially announced his candidacy in February, also called on Saturday for broadening the city’s tax base and increasing spending for water and sewer infrastructure.
“I’d love to see us fill up our empty storefronts, and we need to find uses for the multitude of underutilized properties,” he said.
Barkenhagen called for “stepping up” building code enforcement and improving intermunicipal relations with Queensbury and Warren County.
“We need to stop thinking of Queensbury as our adversary and find ways to work together,” he said.
Reid, a lawyer, is in her fourth year as 3rd Ward councilwoman.
She previously served eight years on the Glens Falls Planning Board and 15 years on the Glens Falls School Board, including 11 years as president.
She said her campaign will focus on implementing the city’s Downtown Revitalization Initiative plan; improving water, sewer and stormwater infrastructure; recruiting new businesses downtown; and supporting the Adirondack Civic Center Coalition in achieving its plan to take ownership of the Glens Falls Civic Center at the conclusion of its five-year lease.
“My interests remain on moving forward from where we are,” she said.