Chris Marx. (Photo by Lauren Thomas)

Chris Marx, a New Paltz native, has been cross-endorsed by both the Democrats and Republicans for the position of superintendent of highways, a job currently held by Mike Nielson who is not running for a second term.

Marx said that he was “asked to run by Mike [Nielson] and others,” and the more that he considered the post, the more sense it made. “My job now [owner of Auto Transport] takes me out of town 99 percent of the time,” said Marx, who graduated from New Paltz High School in 1982. “I have two elderly parents that have a large piece of property that they could certainly use a hand with, plus my wife and two kids whom I want to spend more time with.” Plus, Marx knows the ins and outs of the Highway Department, as he used to work for the Town, and before that for the Village Department of Public Works (DPW).

“I know what it’s like to be in a truck plowing for 14 hours straight, or to pave roads, the unique areas where we have constant problems with water. I know the roads, the equipment, and I have Mike to assist me in making that transition. Sure, there’ll be a lot to learn, and I enjoy that. If I have a question, I’ll go to the person I think might have the answer, or more information or a different insight than I do. Ultimately, the buck stops with me, and I have to make the decision – but not before consulting with others who have a lot of expertise.”

If elected — which is the logical outcome, as Marx has no opposition on the ballot — he said that his top two priorities would be “furthering communication with taxpayers and town residents. I think it’s important that they have accessibility to the highway superintendent. We have a great crew, but I know from my years owning a business, people often want to start at the top, then work their way down.”

Marx wants to be a full-time superintendent and said that he has already hired a new “employee to drive the truck I used to drive, beginning this January,” for his Auto Transport job. “I think it’s important that the highway superintendent be accessible and here when things are difficult or someone has a problem.”

His other main priority is “fiscal responsibility. Mike has done a great job managing that budget, but costs keep going up, and I want to provide the same level of services people are used to, without having to increase their taxes.”

Marx went on to say that he has already begun the transition, with lots of assistance from Nielson. “New Paltz has really been at a disadvantage, because they change their superintendent of highways so much: every two years. That’s difficult on a department like this. I do know that Mike has upgraded a lot of the equipment; we have some key new vehicles, which will be a big help.”

As for the talk of merging the Town Highway Department with the Village DPW and the Town’s Department of Buildings and Grounds, Marx said that he is “open to that. If they can show that it will save taxpayers money without reducing services, then I’m all for it, as a superintendent and as a taxpayer.” ++