Town Board member faces town supervisor in Malta primary
MALTA Growth and how the town deals with the arrival of high-tech industries are at the forefront as two veterans of Malta town government compete in a Republican primary for town supervisor Tuesday.
The contest has eight-year incumbent Supervisor Paul Sausville being challenged by Town Board member Peter Klotz.
Klotz, who has been on the Town Board for six years, said Sausville isn’t dealing well with the financial troubles threatening the Luther Forest Technology Campus or with the Town Board majority’s plan for the downtown area.
Klotz said the town needs to rethink rules written for the technology campus when it was first approved in 2004 — rules many officials say are limiting its potential to market building lots and threatening the park’s future.
“We’re in a different world, and Paul has become stuck in the rules that were there before,” Klotz said.
Specially, the campus can’t offer local tax incentives to attract new businesses, even though the main state incentive program that existed in 2004 has been eliminated. The tech park’s supporters say the inability to offer incentives has prevented the 1,414-acre park in Malta and Stillwater from landing new tenants, and that is leading to the park’s financial failure.
The tech park’s only tenant is the GlobalFoundries semiconductor plant, but Sausville says that may be enough. If GlobalFoundries follows through on a proposed expansion, it could employ 6,700 people — three times what it employs now — by 2020.
“Sure, we only have one industry, but it’s a mega-industry,” Sausville said. “I’m not sure that building out the tech campus is the biggest goal we have.”
Sausville also said he is the more experienced candidate. The 73-year-old is a professional engineer who is retired from state government, and he is in line to chair the Saratoga County Board of Supervisors in 2014 if he is re-elected. Before becoming supervisor, he served many years on the town Planning Board and Town Board.
Klotz, 56, a Lutheran minister, is pastor of St. Peter’s Church on Route 9. He also served for years on the town Planning Board before being elected to the Town Board in 2007, and has been a volunteer for 25 years with the Malta Ambulance Corps.
The town Republican Committee has endorsed Sausville.
A decade ago, Klotz opposed plans for the technology campus, but says it’s here now and the town should be following through on its growth planning, not reacting negatively to growth.
“Some of those decisions we can’t remake,” Klotz said. “GlobalFoundries is here, and the growth is coming.”
Klotz favors the established plan under which the town works to concentrate commercial growth in the downtown area, to keep other parts of the town rural or residential.
“We have a plan in place,” he said. “Paul’s alternative of hamlet zoning is a way of replicating Clifton Park. ... To panic and go back to the ’80’s really isn’t going to work.”
Sausville, however, said the fast pace of growth is one of the major concerns he hears about from residents while campaigning.
He was the only Town Board member to vote in February against adoption of a new “form-based” downtown zoning code, which is intended to encourage high-quality, dense commercial and residential development in the downtown. Sausville criticizes the code as “rigid.”
“It’s resulting in the destruction of the sense of place in our downtown area,” he said. “I don’t think it’s the right vision for Malta.”
Dense downtown development, he added, will have financial impacts on town government because of increasing costs for services like emergency medical and fire protection.
“You should see the worry people have about our future and our loss of sense of place,” Sausville said.
Regardless of the GOP primary’s outcome, both Klotz and Sausville are expected to have lines on the November ballot. Klotz has the Conservative party nomination, though under an “opportunity to ballot” primary Tuesday, he could be beaten for the nomination by a write-in vote. Sausville has the Independence party ballot line in November.
Cynthia Young is the Democratic candidate for town supervisor.
Also Tuesday, two men are competing in Republican and Independence primaries for a town justice seat.
With Judge James McKevitt retiring, attorney Steven Gottman is in contests for the nominations of both parties with Elwood Sloat, a retired state police major.