Amsterdam City Council Candidates: Lifetime Zone Residents Focus on Planned Growth


Photo caption: Candidates running for Amsterdam city council are shown. From left to right: Deborah Tessiero (D), Brent Phetteplace (R, C), David Thibodeau (R, C). Photos provided

CITY OF AMSTERDAM – Three permanent residents of the region who are running for two vacant city council seats each believe the city should focus on planning for future growth and development while keeping an eye on sources of revenue to avoid having to impose a municipal property tax.

Incumbent city council candidates David Thibodeau and Deborah Tessiero and newcomer Brent Phetteplace will face off on election day.

Each of the candidates supports the continued development of the city by ensuring appropriate planning.

“The development of the city is proceeding at an appropriate pace. Commercial and residential development is important, provided it is properly planned, ”said Tessiero, a Democratic candidate seeking her second term.

Phetteplace, a Republican and Conservative candidate who is currently chairman of the town planning council, said it was exciting to see the level of interest from developers of all sizes in the city where “well-written” zoning bylaws protect landmarks. residents.

“They give up certain rights in exchange for a well-defined plan to protect the value of their property,” said Phetteplace.

All three applicants have expressed interest in securing a grant to extend the water and sewer lines from the city line to support continued commercial and residential development around the Highway 30 corridor.

Residents of surrounding neighborhoods would benefit more from service extensions that could solve surface water problems for homes with septic tanks and leach field systems, according to Thibodeau, a Republican and Conservative candidate running for his third term. .

Another widely held view is the belief that development support is crucial to continue to expand the tax base of cities.

“Broadening our tax base,” said Thibodeau, “will prevent the city from having a tourist tax. What, let’s face it, no one wants to see. I think the city has done a good job in the past and I think that in the future we can have a development that will be done properly.

The trio also share a concern over the threat of solar development in rural and residential areas of the city where large green spaces attract residents. Tessiero signaled his support for clean energy sources when properly located, but said the technology should not “encroach” on the city’s natural beauty or farmland.

All three candidates were involved in the recent development and passage of a local law amending the city’s zoning regulations to limit solar development to commercial and mixed-use manufacturing districts.

Phetteplace led Planning Council in its review of existing zoning bylaws to develop updates recommended to City Council. Tessiero and Thibodeau both supported adoption of the proposed recommendations.

“Our overall plan states that our long-term goal is to create a balance between agricultural and residential housing options for residents,” said Phetteplace. “This new law reflects the values ​​of the comprehensive plan and the inhabitants of the city of Amsterdam.”

Whether to allow dispensaries and marijuana consumption sites in the city in accordance with the state’s recreational pot legalization is an issue facing city council right now. Tessiero and Thibodeau said they plan to follow the majority opinion expressed by residents through an informal survey conducted by mail with the eventual passage of a local law refusing to allow potty salons while allowing dispensaries. .

“I was a big fan of knowing what the thoughts of the townspeople were on this,” Thibodeau said.

While allowing dispensaries in the city does not guarantee that such a facility will one day be authorized by the state to open locally, Thibodeau has indicated that the city’s upcoming action will leave open another possible source of tax revenue. in the future, in accordance with the wishes of the residents.

As a result of the action planned by the city council, Phetteplace noted that the town planning council must develop recommended bylaws defining the zoning districts where dispensaries would be a permitted use.

Although the candidates share a lot of commonalities, Phetteplace, as a current member of the Tribes Hill Fire Department, suggested that city council should create incentives to encourage the training of new volunteer firefighters in city departments. in order to avoid future gaps in coverage or the need to employ time-consuming staff.

“In the not-so-distant future, the city may be forced to pay firefighters and emergency services. Many departments in our city are facing a shortage of volunteers and the average age of the people who serve them is over 65, ”said Phetteplace.

Filling seats on the city’s planning, zoning and assessment review boards as they become vacant would be another priority for Phetteplace if elected. As well as improving information technology at City Hall and installing cameras to more easily comply with the requirements of the State Public Meetings Act when remote meetings are held due to of the pandemic.

Improving safety through the installation of Amsterdam High School sidewalks at Wallins Corners Road and lowering the speed limit to 30 miles per hour on Midline Road would be future items on the ‘bucket list’, added Phetteplace .

Tessiero is also interested in improving safety if he is re-elected by continuing to install LED street lights along busy Miami Avenue, which could be achieved with minimal financial impact associated with the technology. energy efficient.

Developing policies and procedures to more effectively utilize the Sanford Stud on Route 30 for public events and private rentals is another priority identified by Tessiero given the significant investment in site rehabilitation and preservation. local history since its acquisition by the city.

Each of the candidates would bring a unique experience in the service of the city and the community. Thibodeau, a longtime city resident, worked for the city’s roads department for 35 years before being elected highway superintendent for two terms. After his retirement, Thibodeau felt he had more to give to his community and succeeded in getting elected to city council. He currently holds the post of Assistant Supervisor.

“I have been involved in the running of the city for 45 years in one capacity or another. I believe that experience really matters. Over the years, I have spoken to many wonderful people in the city. I have heard and responded to their concerns and will continue to do so if I am re-elected, ”said Thibodeau.

Tessiero grew up in the city of Amsterdam and later moved to the city after marrying her husband, Bart. She was a stay-at-home mom to her three children for many years before working as a special education teacher’s assistant for the Greater Amsterdam School District from 1997 to 2011.

Tessiero has long been active in the community, previously serving as the Commissioner of Democratic Elections for Montgomery County and a former member of the Cranesville Volunteer Fire Department Auxiliary. After serving the city and its people as a deputy clerk for five years, Tessiero managed to get elected to the city council.

“I have first-hand experience in a range of everyday city topics,” Tessiero said. “I ask the voters of the city to re-elect me for another term. I care about our community and our neighborhoods. I care about our financial future. I am a good communicator. I am not influenced or coerced by the decision-making of other board members or a political party. Vote for me, because I am a good human with good morals, honesty and empathy.

Phetteplace grew up in Tribes Hill and then moved to the city in 1996. He has worked as a real estate broker for Judith Ann Realty for the past 27 years. He served on the City Assessment Review Board for two decades until his appointment to the Planning Board in 2017.

Phettplace has a long history of community service in the area and is currently a member of the Rotary Club of Amsterdam, the Board of Directors of the Sanford Home for Women and the Scout Assistant of the 5048 Scout Troop in Amsterdam.

“I was fortunate to have grown up in a small community where so many people have taught me the values ​​of community service and how, as a city councilor, the legislative decisions I make will be for the common good of us. all, ”Phetteplace mentioned. “I’ve never been afraid to step out of my comfort zone and get involved.”

Contact Ashley Onyon at [email protected] or @AshleyOnyon on Twitter.

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