CHATHAM – Four people are running for two seats on the Village Board Tuesday, March 20. Polls will be open noon to 9 p.m. at the Tracy Memorial on Main Street in the village.
George Grant hopes to keep his place on the board. With board member David Chapman not seeking another term, former mayor Paul Boehme is running for a seat, joining Mr. Grant on the Village People’s Party. Lenore Packet and Adrienne Morrell are running on the Chatham United Party line.
Mr. Boehme was on the board as trustee and then as mayor from 1980 to 2011, except for two years in the early 1990s. He has lived in Chatham all of his adult life and worked for the state for many years in the insurance department in accounting.
He says he’s running for the board, after being defeated as mayor by Tom Curran last year, to bring back transparency to the village government. He pointed out in an interview with The Columbia Paper that there have been no special budget meetings this year, and by this time last year his administration has hosted three.
“We have some big stuff coming up,” he said of the $1.6 million sewer upgrade project and water tower repairs that the board has not discussed with villagers. He said that last year his opponents claimed there was no open government but it “hasn’t been happening” with this board either. “People should be made aware of what’s happening,” he said.
Mr. Grant has served on the board for nearly 20 years, most of those years as Water and Sewer Commissioner. He is a life-long village resident who works as a landscaper and does property maintenance.
As the commissioner, Mr. Grant was instrumental in finding a low cost way to replace water lines on River Street, correcting a long-time issue with rusty water there. He also was involved in the decision to put in a new water main and replacing pipes in the village during the state’s major street and drainage project a few years ago. He researched and proposed to the board at a meeting last Thursday night that the board purchase a used rodder and a jetter for cleaning out street drains at a cost of $6,000. The board had planned to buy new one for $40,000.
Mr. Grant supports having special water and sewer meetings to discuss the issues. “I just wish there was more openness,” he said of the current board. Mr. Grant also mentioned the $1.6 million sewer plant upgrade. “At least I have some knowledge and can keep an eye on (the project),” he said.
Mr. Grant expressed how grateful he was to the village residents for supporting him as board member. “There is not enough I can do to repay them,” he said of volunteering hours to the board.
Ms. Morrell has lived in Columbia County for seven years and in the village three years. She, her husband, Jon, and their two children live on Kinderhook Street and both her children attend the Chatham schools. Ms. Morrell is a member of St. James Church.
She is an executive assistant for the Director of the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute in Williamstown, MA.
This is Ms. Morrell’s first time running for political office. “I am running for the office of Chatham village trustee because I want my voice to matter along with every other resident in Chatham. I want to get things done here in a transparent and open manner, communicating more with residents as we look for solutions to our problems. I want to explore every opportunity for finding funding resources for the growing expenditures of the village as we must keep in mind the 2% tax cap. I also would like to create a village beautification fund to help enhance the charm Chatham already has,” she wrote in an email.
Ms. Packet also responded to our questions by email. “My husband, Bill, and I purchased a home on Payn Avenue 18 years ago and raised our two children, Nick and Claire here in Chatham,” she wrote.
Ms. Packet has owned and operated the Chatham Preschool, also on Payn Avenue, for 26 years. She has served on the board of the Chatham Central School PTA, The Columbia Greene Board of Realtors and volunteered for community activities such as Crellin-Morris soccer program, the school ski club and community theater groups.
“This is my first time running for public office and I chose to do so because I love the area and the people who live here. We are a talented community and it is a place where people can grow and flourish. I hope to help keep our taxes in control and see that we continue to be fiscally responsible. It is important to me that all the members of our village are heard, respected and that their ideas and concerns are addressed,” she wrote.