Village businessowner Maria Beltrametti will challenge long-time incumbent Stephen Brescia for his seat as village mayor in the elections on March 19.
The polls will be open at the senior center, 36 Bridge Street, from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m.
If elected, village business owner Maria Beltrametti promises to abolish the village court, oversee the budget and monitor proposed building projects in the village and town.
Beltrametti said she wants to focus on daily operations that promote local businesses and improve the quality of life for village residents. She said village government should maintain and bolster sidewalks and landscaping in the village, which will promote Montgomery as a walkable community where residents and visitors can shop, dine and play.
“In terms of enterprise of the village, it’s basically a non-profit organization that’s designed to keep our streets clean and safe and attractive so that we can all enjoy them so that people come to the village and our businesses will prosper, and to do that I think we have to focus more,” Beltrametti said.
Beltrametti said she is collecting signatures for a referendum that would abolish the village court, which spends more than it collects. The projected cost of the court is approximately $119,000 in the 2018-19 fiscal year—about 2.6 percent of total appropriations—and is projected to collect only $31,000 in fines and forfeited bail, according to the Village of Montgomery annual budget.
“That’s a very big gap,” Beltrametti said.
If Beltrametti collects enough signatures, the referendum might be placed on the general election ballot. If the vote doesn’t pass the first time, she said she would pursue other avenues to abolish the court.
She said she would also oppose any attempts at consolidation with the town or other villages, instead treating the village as a sovereign entity.
Beltrametti said she would also like to see an elevator installed in the village hall to make it more accessible for village residents. She would also like to move the library to the larger Wesley Hall, where the Montgomery Village Museum is currently housed.
Beltrametti said she would also focus village spending and request an audit by the state comptroller.
An opponent of the Medline project, Beltrametti said she would attend all Town of Montgomery planning board meetings pertaining to Medline and raise her concerns for the project. She said she will also make sure building projects in the village are properly regulated.
Medline is a 1.3-million-square-foot warehouse proposed on the east side of NYS Route 416 and north of Interstate I-84, just outside village limits. The medical supplier will move 320 employees to the facility and hire between 150 and 200 more.
This is her fourth attempt for village office. Beltrametti ran for village mayor in 2015, village trustee in 2017 and mayor in 2018.
While she has never been successful in her bid for office, Beltrametti said she has an intimate knowledge of village government because of her attendance at village meetings.
Beltrametti owns Recycled Style, a vintage and recycled clothing store on Ward Street, and has been a village resident for 10 years.
“I don’t have any other interest except for the health of my family, my dog, my business and I’m here all the time,” Beltrametti said. “So, there’s no question in my mind that I have more opportunities than anybody to make a difference.”
L. Stephen Brescia
If elected, incumbent Stephen Brescia promises to improve village infrastructure, revitalize the downtown business area and keep a close eye on the Medline project.
Brescia said he will focus on upgrading village infrastructure, such as water systems and sidewalks. He and village staff will also focus on projects already underway, such as the renovation of the municipal lot behind village hall and the village water works building.
“I think we’re already doing a lot of the right things that we already do and we’re going to continue to do them,” Brescia said.
Brescia is also looking forward to completing the village municipal lot behind the village hall, which is currently under construction.
With several businesses in the village closing shop, Brescia said he would like to focus on regenerating the business district. While the details are still in the works, Brescia said the downtown district should be revitalized with projects such as sidewalk repair.
“It’s already inviting, we do a lot of business in downtown Montgomery, but we want to try to enhance that,” Brescia said.
Brescia said he would also like to maintain a stable tax rate for village residents.
With many residents concerned about effects of the proposed Medline project on the village, Brescia said he is concerned about the impact of traffic on village residents and will continue to follow the project at the town level.
“I’m concerned about the traffic as well as many residents and we want to hear that during the public hearing process and the planning process at the town level,” Brescia said.
Brescia joined the village board as a trustee in 1987 and has held the position of mayor since 1990, for a total of 32 years on the board. Brescia said his experience in village government gives him an advantage because he knows how to run a village.
“I’ve seen the lay of the land around me for a long time and I know how to use the resources around me as a team,” he said.
Brescia is also the chairman of the Orange County Legislature and secretary for the Orange County Industrial Development Agency. He said his experience at the county level helps him when running village government because he has a strong network of people and resources to rely on to complete village projects.
“I know a lot of people, I have a lot of intercourse with so many different agencies and I know how to get things done expeditiously,” Brescia said.
Brescia said many employees and department heads have also worked for the village for many years, and he works as a team with employees to complete projects in a timely manner.
“When you’ve been working together that long, many workings of village government become second nature,” Brescia said. “It’s like you almost know what the other person is thinking sometimes. It’s like a well-oiled machine.”