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Supervisor and superintendent running for office

Five-term Horicon Supervisor Ralph Bentley has announced that he is running for re-election this fall and Highway Superintendent Paul Smith is running for his first full term in that position. I came up through the ranks, with 16 years on the town board, Bentley said. He was born and raised in Horicon and lives in town with his wife of 22 years, Dianna. Bentley said some of the towns accomplishments since hes been in office include the new community center, town hall and library building. Hes upgraded needed equipment, ball fields and roads while raising taxes less than 3 percent each year. Some years it went down, Bentley said. The town is ready to open bids for a new highway garage this week, and both Bentley and Smith hope the bids are under $1.2 million, the amount theyve allowed for the project. The towns biggest loss has been the Brant Lake General Store, which burned in August. Bentley said the town helped to secure a $375,000 restoration grant from the state to help owners Valerie and Steve Steinman rebuild. At the time, another developer was putting together plans to transform the former town hall into a general store, so the Steinmans refused the money and have since moved to another county. Were one of nine towns in New York north of the Catskills that theyre calling a boomtown, Bentley said. Our property values have gone up over 150 percent. Lake George, Chester and Hague are the other towns in Warren County that have the same dubious moniker. The property values are preventing businesses from opening in town, Bentley said. He said the parcel where the general store once stood is priced at $385,000 and the former town hall is on the market for over $600,000. Then you have to build, stock with inventory before you open, he said. It would cost a million dollars before it was done, its just not economically feasible to start a business here. Bentley said that in the past four years, one new home has been built in Horicon for every 11 permanent residents. And theyre mostly high priced second homes, he said. The entire Northway corridor has been booming since 9-11, he said. Bentley said the town is addressing these issues in its new master plan that is being developed. Were working on the master plan to address the future of the town for locals and second home owners, he said. We have to find affordable housing so our kids can stay here. Smith has been highway superintendent since September when he was appointed to fill the vacancy left by Jerry Granger who retired. Smith was on the ballot in November and now is running for a full term in November. His goal is to maintain town roads at minimal cost to taxpayers. While hes overlooking the new highway garage project, he said that his crews have been doing most of the excavation work to save money. He hopes to be in the new building by the fall, using the old building for cold storage. I worked for Warren County DPW for 15 years, so I have lots of background, Smith said. He has added computerized sanders to some of the snowplow trucks that cuts down on the use of sand and salt without risking slippery roads. That reduces cleanup in the spring, too, he said. Smith is also looking at a five-year plan for highway equipment, planning ahead for needed purchases. We dont purchase anything, even an oil filter, without checking prices and shopping around, he said. Its amazing how much a phone call can save you.

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