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Chatham gets new mayor; Speed re-elected in Philmont

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    Contributed photo John Howe
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    Contributed photo Clarence Speed
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    Douglas Cropper
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    Larry Ostrander
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    Boehme
March 20, 2019 04:59 pm

Voters in four villages in Columbia County headed to the polls Tuesday to cast their ballots for mayors and trustees.

In Chatham, John Howe was elected mayor with 234 votes, incumbent trustee Peter Minahan received 207 votes and Jaimee Boehme had 167 votes.

Howe said he appreciated the voters who participated in the election.

“I am humbled being chosen as mayor,” Howe said. “I ran unopposed but there was a rather nice turnout. There were about 275 votes, which is a pretty good turnout. I am a lifelong resident here and I have paid attention to elections over the years, and I am very fortunate to have the support that I have from the community.”

Much of the village board is new, but there are a number of projects Howe wants to tackle as he comes into office.

“We are starting out with a fresh board, with two incumbent members, so it’s a relatively new board and it’s hard to set an agenda at this point, but there are a number of issues to look at,” Howe said. “Fiscal management is one of our priorities, and there are a few initiatives coming up — like the 150th anniversary of the village of Chatham, and a few other items, like construction of a new water tower, which started a year ago and has to be finished.”

Jaimee Boehme is a newcomer to the village board.

“I want to move the village ahead from where we are right now and work together with the board to move forward and make sure everything is going smoothly and we are in the right direction again,” Boehme said.

Incumbent Village Trustee Peter Minahan could not be reached for comment.

In Philmont, incumbent Mayor Clarence “Skip” Speed won re-election with 164 votes. Longtime trustee Douglas Cropper was elected to another term with 193 votes and fellow incumbent Laurence Ostrander was the highest vote getter with 222 votes.

For Speed, this will be the beginning of his 18th year in office.

“It’s rewarding. It makes you feel good,” Speed said of his re-election.

There are a couple of projects he is looking forward to.

“We are trying to get a new sidewalk put in on Church Street, from Highland Avenue down to the Claverack Town Park,” Speed said. “We also want to get the warehouse on Canal Street leased out or sold — that has been a thorn in our side for a year or two. It’s one of the last mills in Philmont. We have an RFP (Request for Proposal) that we published and we have people putting in bids for what they want to use it for, so hopefully that building will go to a good use. Right now it is empty.”

Cropper said he has been on the board for roughly 17 years.

“I would like to thank the voters for coming out. I appreciate their support,” Cropper said. “I and the rest of the board will continue to work hard for the people in Philmont. We have been deemed a ‘climate-smart community’ and we already have projects in the works, like converting street lights to LEDs, we have an electric car-charging station going in behind the library, and we will make our sewer-treatment plant energy efficient through a grant.”

Ostrander will begin his fifth term on the Philmont Village Board.

“I want to thank the voters for their confidence that I will make the right decisions for the village,” Ostrander said. “I want to complete the BOA (Brownfield Opportunity Areas) grant. We have been through the first two steps, and the next step is to identify projects (and areas) that we could clean up with the grant.”

There were two uncontested races in Columbia County on Tuesday.

In Kinderhook, incumbents David Flaherty and Dale Reiser were re-elected with 57 and 56 votes, respectively.

In Valatie there were uncontested races for mayor and two trustee seats. With 68 ballots cast, all three incumbents won re-election. Mayor Diane Argyle received 64 votes, Trustee Frank Bevens 66 votes and Trustee Larry Eleby 62 votes.