The Putnam Examiner

Village of Cold Spring Mayoral and Trustee Election Preview

We are part of The Trust Project

Two candidates are vying for the mayoral position in Cold Spring and three candidates are running for the two open trustee seats. The election is March 18.

Dave Merandy – Mayoral Candidate and Marie Early – Trustee Candidate

Running together on the People’s Party line, mayoral candidate Dave Merandy and trustee candidate Marie Early have deep roots within Cold Spring and even have relatives who have served on the Board of Trustees. Early’s father was mayor at one point and Merandy’s grandfather was a trustee. Now the two are hoping to replicate that family history. “The primary motivating factor for me was my feeling that I could make a more significant contribution in the village as trustee,” Early, who currently serves on various volunteer committees, said. Merandy, who is currently a Philipstown board member and grew up in Cold Spring, said he’s been indirectly and directly involved with the village for 14 years and has familiarized himself with the issues through his wife and current trustee (who isn’t running again) Stephanie Hawkins. Merandy said he has a “romantic vision” for the village, in which he wants to maintain the qualities Cold Spring has always had and get the village government working as a cohesive unit again. Merandy wants to set up a task force made up of residents immediately, if elected, to collect viable information regarding certain issues facing the village in the future. “We’re going to have to address a lot of issues that are on the table and we really just need a lot more information to make our decisions,” Merandy said. Merandy and Early both listed off several capital projects, some of which are health and safety issues that need attention. Old dams, constructed in the late 1890s, need repair, a water treatment plant needs upgrades and a new firehouse is also needed. “We have a list of five or six capital improvement projects which total over $10 million,” Early said. “So the challenge is what do you do first.” Early said fire safety is near the top of the list, noting the water mainline that goes to Haldane schools within the village does not provide the Needed Fire Flow required to fight a fire in those buildings. Both voiced support for a new firehouse. “You have to have respect for them because they are vital to us and they’re a volunteer fire company which saves us a huge amount of money,” Merandy said. When evaluating the current village board, which is due for an overhaul regardless of who wins, Merandy believes the board has done a good job, but it’s a governing body clearly divided. He also believes as mayor he would throw more leadership into that position. There also seems to be lack of communication between board members and the community. Early said she would initiate a newsletter on the village website that summarizes pertinent issues that occur at meetings. When addressing the Butterfield project, Early said while the project is going to happen, fine-tuning the proposal is the next step. Merandy said when the project started, residents were on board with the clean up and development of that site, but there were still concerns over the mass of the buildings. Merandy said that continues to be a concern of his, and questions if the project is going to fit into the community. “I think it should have been a smaller project,” Merandy said. He also thinks parking and traffic might prove to be inconveniences for residents. Merandy was on the Haldane Board of Education for ten years and president for five years. On the Philipstown town board, he has served for three years. “On paper my experience seems limited, whereas my opponent has a long list of what he’s done,” Merandy, who works construction locally, said. “People have to judge whether that’s worth it or someone who has been fighting for them for the last 13 years has more validity to it.” Early is currently on village zoning board as the chairwoman and the vice-chair of the code update committee. Though they are running together, both vow to think freely. “We’re likeminded but we’re also independent,” Merandy said. “I know Marie is not going to agree with everything I say and I’m not going to agree with everything she says.”

Barney Molloy – Mayoral Candidate and Bob Ferris – Trustee Candidate

Working in conjunction and running on the VOTE party line together, mayoral candidate Barney Molloy and trustee hopeful Bob Ferris want to move the village forward. “I’ve watched our village decline, (during) board meetings we can’t seem to get everybody agreeing on projects or something that needs to be done,” Ferris, a 30-plus year resident, said. “There are a lot of issues in the village right now that need to be addressed,” Molloy added, asserting there is a “skill deficit” in village government, and there isn’t enough proactive planning. He said it seems as though “we kind of race around putting out fires, dealing problem to problem.” Molloy, who has 20-plus year of management experience and Ferris, who has worked in the Sheriff ’s Department for more than 30 years, both believe their past qualifications will help them manage the village efficiently. Among some of the pressing issues, Molloy, currently the village planning board chairman, rattled off infrastructure problems with the sewer, water systems, and dams, as well as the highway garage and need for a new firehouse. The boat club and the waterfront are another couple of issues, Molloy said. Specifically discussing the possibility of a new firehouse, Ferris said he doesn’t think there has been enough communication between the fire company and the village board. Improving the firehouse has been talked about, Molloy said, for the last ten years. He said, “One way or another, we’re going to have to address the issue and find a way to pay for it.” When addressing the Butterfield project, Ferris said he was “very impressed” with what the project has become and is for it “110 percent” because it’ll bring the village into the 21st century and hopefully rake in tax revenue. Molloy, who has an active role in the Butterfield proposal, said the project would bring the opportunity for county services to come to the west side of Putnam and bring in new businesses, on top of providing a place for seniors who have been “shunted aside” for too long. “As importantly as all those things are, it’s going to provide the opportunity to stabilize our tax base and generate additional revenue in the village, which we desperately need,” Molloy said. In evaluating the current village board, Molloy didn’t offer many complimentary words, noting there is a lack of clarity, productivity and consensus within the board. The planning board would approach the village board over certain items, and have to wait months to get an answer, which frustrated planning board members, Molloy said. Along with trustees Cathryn Fadde and Michael Bowman, Molly said if he and Ferris were elected, it would allow the village board to hit a reset button to move forward. Ferris agreed, calling village government a business and that teamwork is necessary to actually get things done. In order to be more accessible to residents, the two want to enact office hours on weekends where board members rotate to listen to concerned citizens. Ferris, a veteran, has multiple civic duties now, including co-chairing the Haldane school district safety committee and serving on the village parking committee. The sheriff ’s investigator worked in the Narcotics division for eight years and the past ten years with the Bureau of Criminal Investigations. “Working for the people and the people are us. I live in the community,” Ferris said. “Qualifications says it all for this board coming up. We need strong management and we need strong employees.” Molloy, who has lived in the village for three years, serves on the DEC Hudson River Estuary Management Advisory Council, the village code update committee and emergency planning task force, and the NYS greenway planning committee. He was a past senior aide for the Westchester County Board of Legislators. “Think of an election as a job interview,” Molloy said. “Who has the skills, who has the experience, who do think is going to be best able to safeguard your interest and protect your investment.”

Fran Murphy – Trustee Candidate

As someone who has always thought about getting into politics, Fran Murphy determined this election cycle was the best time to take that step forward. Sticking out as the only Cold Spring trustee candidate running without a mayoral mate, Murphy saw what happened last year with a set of two candidates running as teams and how it was essentially two people running against two people. Murphy said, “I feel the time for a team is when the whole board is full so you have a team of five, notateamoftwoandtwo.Iwanttobe independent.” Murphy said the message she’s conveyed is her willingness to “get to the facts” on issues facing the village, and make decisions based off of that and not spouted misinformation. A capital plan that spans over 20 years is one initiative the village needs to undertake, Murphy said, because right now it appears the village keeps rushing to repairs only when they absolutely have to. One project Murphy wants to see completed is the sidewalks along Main Street that has been ongoing for years. “It’s a quality of life, it’s safety issue so it’s one of the things that we need to get done within the next year,” she said. One major question Murphy mentioned is whether the village needs a firehouse and if it must be located on Main Street. Before Murphy were to sign off on a new firehouse, she wants to receive data from the fire company that details if it can be sustainable for the next 20 to 30 years. “We need to look at other avenues, we need to look at becoming a fire district, joining with (a neighboring fire company.)” When discussing the Butterfield redevelopment, Murphy said residents have given as much feedback as possible, but regardless, not every resident is going to be satisfied. “We’re at the point now where we just need it to move (forward.) We’ve done as much due diligence as we can.” As for locating a senior center at Butterfield, Murphy said she doesn’t know if it necessarily has to be located there, but an improvement is needed for area seniors. If elected, Murphy wants to better communicate with residents, using different social media and traditional print platforms to reach a wide range of concerned citizens. She said one problem in the village is the lack of information that reaches residents. Murphy has volunteered in the village office for two years and is also on the recreation committee. The 15-year village resident retired two years ago from her job as the director of graduate admissions for the business school at Bharuch College. “I will make sure that I keep my promises, I will make sure that the villagers hear what they need to hear,” she said. “I will do my best to make a team of the five people that become the board.”

We'd love for you to support our work by joining as a free, partial access subscriber, or by registering as a full access member. Members get full access to all of our content, and receive a variety of bonus perks like free show tickets. Learn more here.