Former Village deputy mayor Jean Gallucci is no stranger to town or village politics and their inner workings. Prior to running and getting elected to a four-year term as Village Trustee (she lost a second bid to become mayor this past spring), Gallucci worked for nine years in various positions in town and village hall, serving for several years as the village’s clerk/treasurer.
Asked why she was so quick to throw her hat back in the ring, Gallucci said that she was interested and concerned as to how governor Andrew Cuomo’s two percent tax cap on local governments and school districts would affect New Paltz residents. “I was curious as to 1) how projects would get completed, and 2) how local budgets would be designed — i.e., could the cap be overridden? Would localities consider doing this?” said Gallucci. She claims to be open-minded and “inquisitive,” and feels that unlike the other candidates running, she brings something “unique to town government during these trying economic times,” because she has “literally worked in the trenches for both municipalities, learning the trade, worked beside candidate [Susan] Zimet and Mayor [Jason] West during portions of my tenure at both the town and the village, and have an intimate knowledge of both governments’ budgets.”
If elected, she said that her top priorities would include reviewing areas of the “Consolidation Study to recognize which shared services could be implemented immediately. We can implement certain cost-effective measures and increase efficiency without waiting for a referendum,” she said.
“Also, to help restore the tax base to all our residents, I believe in the exploration of new business opportunities in several corridors, including Route 32 North and Route 32 South [gateways], as well as South Putt Corners Road. We already have a strong potential project for the Route 32 South corridor; with Susan Zimet and Jason West sharing a vision of intelligent development; we should explore these other gateway corridors as potential avenues to increase our tax base, while also considering reducing our carbon footprint.”
As for lowering taxes, Gallucci echoed many of the other candidates for office, believing that cost savings could happen if “the town, village, school district and college can work together to consolidate certain services, purchases, equipment et cetera. We all use the same vendors of the Office of General Services [for lowest bids], and perhaps some additional cost savings can be found in bulk purchasing.”
She added that “Inclusion and discussion will help us reach a beneficial consensus. Governor Cuomo seems to favor consolidations and the reduction of local governments; however, stop someone on the streets of New Paltz and they’ll tell you, ‘We are a different kind of place.’ New Paltz is different, so we should approach the state for help.”
As for her feelings on the Floodplain Laws and proposed Wetlands ordinance, Gallucci said that she feels there is “a purpose for both the Floodplains Law and the Wetlands Law within the Town of New Paltz. The topography is different from that of the village, with the exception of those parcels around the village’s central core. I have reviewed the laws and have spoken with many people, but I will be looking to the long-term board members, public input and the town attorney for guidance.”
As for skill sets to do the job, Gallucci’s résumé is long. She has trained with the Association of Towns, New York Conference of Mayors and New York State Government Finance Officers’ Association. “I am skilled in the New York State Comptroller’s guidelines, state and federal grant reimbursement programs and processes, Civil Service regulations as related to human resources, contract review, procurement policy, insurance requirements and cash-flow issues,” she added, noting that in her 20 years in New Paltz she has volunteered for many local events and civic boards and is “committed to open government, candid discussions, fiscal responsibility, our local community and the welfare of all residents.”
As for the greatest challenge facing New Paltz, Gallucci said, “New Paltz is a beautiful community. People want to be here, and those who live here want to stay. However, the taxes are too high. I think by working inclusively and collectively — we all have the same goal — we can reenergize the status quo and find some creative solutions to help our neighbors stay in their homes.”