Ballston Spa election 2021

Ballston Spa Village Trustees Shawn Raymond, left, and Ben Baskin, right

BALLSTON SPA, N.Y. — The recent village election to fill two seats on the Board of Trustees was hotly contested among five candidates, and after a recanvassing of all the ballots from election night by the board of elections the standings remain unchanged.

Final totals show incumbent Trustee Shawn Raymond with 359 votes, Ben Baskin with 336, Mary Price-Bush with 326, Sean Mulvaney with 244, and Robert Bush Jr. with 226. The recanvassing changed two candidates’ final tallies. Price-Bush’s election night total was reduced by three votes and Mulvaney gained one vote.

The mid-month election also gave voters a chance to fill an opening for town justice. In that race candidate Michael J. Morrissey, running unopposed, collected 580 votes.

The March 16 election for the Trustee positions was undertaken as a nonpartisan race with the two major political parties withholding endorsements at the request of Mayor Larry Woolbright.

Raymond is a Civil Engineer and a 22-year village resident His 20-plus-year civil engineering career includes expertise in building design/construction, pedestrian/bicycle infrastructure and highway and traffic engineering.

Baskin has been a village resident for 17 years. He is a non-profit and public health professional with a background in senior services and served as president and treasurer of the Ballston Area Community Center (BACC). 

The two men ran on four main campaign issues; preserving village character, promoting smart growth, providing fiscal responsibility, and protecting village services. In email correspondence with both, they listed their goals and hopes for what they would like to see accomplished by the four-member board and village mayor.

As a newcomer to the board, Baskin said any goals for him for the first year will come out of discussions with Woolbright and the rest of the Board of Trustees. The goals he has in mind, he said, are not items that board members can come up with individually. 

Two priorities Baskin noted that the mayor and board have mentioned at earlier meetings include identifying funding sources for sidewalks and complete streets and studying the best options for rehabilitating and reviewing the uses of town hall and other village buildings.

“I look forward to working with the mayor and board on these important issues,” he said. “It is not possible for me to say, before I’ve even taken office, how far we will get on which items.  I’m not in charge; I’m part of a group and the group will decide.”

He added that anyone who has dealt with elected boards is fully aware things tend to take longer than expected.

“I can promise residents that I will jump in with both feet and work hard to move the village’s agenda forward,” he said.

As an incumbent on the board, Raymond broke out his visions for the village administration as goals and hopes.

His goals include doing studies/inventories of existing water, sewer, and stormwater infrastructure to determine their condition and the costs of any needed repair or replacements, restructuring of resident’s water usage recording/billing in order to determine if there are losses due to aging infrastructure, replacing the village water tower, and the hiring of additional staff for the Department of Public Works.

Additional goals include an equipment replacement program for DPW, pursing opportunities to relocate the police and courts, creating a highway maintenance program, and crafting legislation/funding to fill in the gaps in sidewalks, crosswalks, and ramps.

Raymond’s hopes included investigating grant opportunities to allow the relocations of the Department of Public Works to a larger site allowing the existing property to go back on the tax rolls and consolidating the village fire departments into one improved location to prevent duplication of resources and costs and returning existing property to the tax rolls.

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