The Huletts Current

News & Opinion About Huletts Landing, N.Y.

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Interview with George Gang: Candidate for Town Supervisor

October 22nd, 2017 · No Comments

Today, I post a candidate interview with George Gang, Democratic nominee for Dresden Town Supervisor. Below are my questions and Mr. Gang’s responses.

1.) Could you please tell us about yourself and why you are running for Town Supervisor?

My name is George Gang living in Dresden for 38 years. I am a Viet Nam veteran and have a Business degree (BBA) from the City University of New York and a Masters degree in Public Administration (MPA) from the State University of New York .

I am currently Supervisor of Dresden. My job experiences have included managing a not-for-profit food coop, tax preparation with H & R Block and a Senior Buyer/Purchasing Agent for a local medical device manufacturer responsible for the on-time delivery of $20 million in raw materials.

I ran for Supervisor to use my vast experiences in helping Dresden to function in the 21st century in the ways the Town interacts with the State, County and most important YOU, the citizens of Dresden. The Town has made great progress and I feel that I can continue this growth into the future.

2.) Town taxes have gone up significantly in the last few years. Where do you stand on Town tax increases in the future?

When I first became Supervisor in 2014 I found the Town to be in dire financial condition. We had been raising taxes on the average of under 1% for the previous 10-years and we had depleted any fund balances we had. Our highway vehicles were very old and repair costs were very high to keep them on the road.

During the State audit in the summer of 2016 we were told that we had to stop using fund balances and to build reserves for future emergencies and highway needs.

My overriding goal for the Town has been to put us on a strong financial footing, thus increasing taxes while also decreasing expenses, where possible.

We have improved financially but still need to build up reserves. The tax increase will be at a minimum for 2018, a little over 3%, mainly due to health care expenses and highway payroll.

3.) The Town Supervisor sits on the Washington County Board of Supervisors. Could you name a few areas where you feel things in the county level could be improved? Will you challenge other Supervisors from larger towns when you feel they are wrong?

There are 17 Supervisors on the County Board of Supervisors each thinking (wishing?) they have a ‘Superior’ mind. Sometimes it is difficult to come to a consensus on important issues thus ending in little being accomplished or postponing a final decision.

All the supervisors work well together and have the best interests of their Town and County at heart. Sometimes national or state politics temporarily gets in the way but other supervisors, including myself, will end this very quickly.

Dresden is the second smallest town in the county, by population, but has an equal vote in all of the committees. At our monthly board meeting all votes are weighted with Dresden having the second lowest weight. I am known as a centrist and I always do my best to reign in the extremes. I have never had a problem challenging other Town Supervisors when they try to pull their ‘weight’.

4.) There’s a general feeling that people in Huletts landing and Dresden have that we pay a lot in taxes but we get very little in return. Is this perception correct or incorrect?

I will not even try to change people’s perception. Some people believe that any taxes are too high. All of our taxes are based on property values.

The Town of Dresden has the second lowest tax rate in the county when including State, County and Town taxes. We flip/flop with Putnam for this honor.

The State pushes many mandates down to the County and thus to the Town. We have almost no say in this process. School taxes are set by Whitehall where their vote will always override our vote.

A large portion of our Town taxes (over 80%) goes to keep our highway department running. Besides plowing in the winter our workers have built bridges, replaced culverts and have done many other tasks that a lot of other Towns contract out at a much higher cost.

I definitely disagree that taxes are too high for the return we get.

5.) What do you consider your greatest strengths?

I am an organized person. The job of Town Supervisor has many facets with all needing to be juggled for time and energy to keep the Town moving forward.

Reports, bookkeeping, budgeting and listening, amongst many others, are very important tasks of the Supervisor on the local level.

There are numerous meetings and committees on the County level all of which are important because we eventually vote on many of the issues discussed. Often these issues directly affect the Town in either taxes or services.

I feel I am also very good at bringing people together to form consensus, whether it be internally or externally with Dresden citizens or County personnel.

We are a small town but we still need to keep our roads open, taxes low and adhere to all of the rules and regulations we are burdened with. I have proven that I am the person for the job.

Editor’s note: I would like to thank Mr. Gang for his responses. Interview questions and answers are published in the order in which they are received. Any bolded areas of text outside of the highlighted question were provided to me by the candidate.

Tags: The Landing · Washington County