Argyle unseats Strevell in Valatie mayor race

VALATIE–Diane Argyle beat incumbent village Mayor Gary Strevell in the village election held Tuesday,  March 19. The final results in the race were 247 votes for Ms. Argyle to 108 for Mr. Strevell. Ms. Argyle will be joined on the board by newly elected Trustee Frank Bevens, who received 268 votes. Philip Bickerton won reelection to his seat on the board with 255 votes.
Mr. Strevell, whose term expires March 31, has served as village mayor for 10 years, ran with trustee candidate Lisa Hill on the Valatie Experience Party line. Ms. Hill received 104 votes.

In a phone interview the day after the election the new mayor-elect called her success a “good victory for all of us” and thanked Mr. Bevens for spearheading the campaign. Though Mr. Bevens and Ms. Argyle campaigned together, he and Mr. Bickerton ran under the Residence Party line and Ms. Argyle appeared on the ballot under the Open Door Party line. Candidates in village elections do run on major political party lines.
“We have the same vision for the village,” Ms. Argyle said of her follow trustees-elect. “We really do appreciate the support we got,” she said, adding that the residents of the village were very receptive to the candidates’ message of change and openness in government.
She said the first thing she needs to focus on is moving the Village Hall to the Martin H. Glynn School building, a process that is already underway and began in December after the village and Town of Kinderhook arranged to have ownership of the building transferred to them by the school district. The two municipalities will use the old school for their municipal offices.
The incoming may also said she need to focus on the village budget, which must be filed with the state in May.
Ms. Argyle is currently the village parks director and the chair of the Zoning Board of Appeals. She has copies of last year’s budget because she attended budget meetings, but she plans to study the spending plan to learn “who spends what where.”
She’s also mentioned the Sidewalk Link project, a plan long in the works to build a sidewalk on Route 9 connecting Valatie and the Village of Kinderhook. Construction on that project should begin this spring. Ms. Argyle was part of the committee that planned the sidewalk and she now looks forward to the project being completed on her watch as mayor.
In an email to the Columbia Paper, Mr. Stevell wrote, “I’d like to thank the residents of Valatie that continued to support me in this election. While I wasn’t successful this time, I have no regrets for the time I spent as mayor and feel that I have certainly improved our village from when I started. I hope the new mayor can be as successful as she accepts the responsibility of the office.”
Trustee-elect Frank Bevens is the president and 1st chief of the Valatie Fire Company. He has worked for the county Highway Department for 23 years.
Mr. Bickerton, a fire company member, was elected to the board in 2009. He is a self-employed carpenter. 
There were 344 machine votes and 21 absentee ballots in the Valatie election.
The next village meeting will be Tuesday, April 9 at 7:30 p.m. at the Martin H. Glynn School building.
There were also uncontested elections in the Villages of Kinderhook and Philmont.
To contact reporter Emilia Teasdale email .


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