Gardiner Supervisor Marybeth Majestic and current board member Franco Carucci will seek office again this year after receiving the endorsement of the Gardiner Democratic Committee.
However, longtime board member and former supervisor Laura Walls decided not to seek re-election.
Environmental expert and retired school superintendent Michael Hartner beat out Tuthilltown Spirits founder Ralph Erenzo for the Democratic Party’s endorsement for Walls’ seat.
Julia Hansen, who was appointed acting Town Clerk through 2023 after Michelle Mosher retired after 28 years of service at the end of 2022, got the nod to run for the three years left on Mosher’s term.
Majestic, who has been serving as supervisor since 2016, feels a lot has been accomplished during her seven-plus years in office.
“What I am most proud of are the infrastructure improvements,” Majestic said. “Replacing the Clove Road Bridge, replacing the pavilion and basketball court at Majestic Park and improvements to the Wallkill Valley Rail Trail, including the new bridge at Forest Glen Road crossing. Painting and repairs to the town hall building, new front and rear stairs, and new energy efficient doors. Also, the new Riverbend Trail at the transfer station. And this year, improvements will be made in the sewer district.”
Majestic also was proud of passing an updated Comprehensive Plan, a Natural Resource Inventory and a Community Preservation Plan. She also listed the enactment of a one-time real estate transfer tax as an accomplishment.
“Also, the wonderful work that has occurred working with Gardiner’s Climate Smart Task Force, specifically the Trees for Tribs project at the transfer station, the Arbor Day tree plantings at the park and town hall, the Greenhouse Gas inventory as well as Community Choice Aggregation and street light conversion,” Majestic said.
The supervisor added: “Working with our Open Space Commission, we have monitored the town-held conservation easements to assure that they are being maintained properly.”
Majestic said the main concern in Gardiner is dealing with the pressures of increased development.
“Gardiner is one of the most beautiful towns in Ulster County and we are just 75 miles from New York City, which presents quite a challenge,” she said.
Majestic felt her strength as a supervisor was her ability to listen to all sides of an issue and make fair decisions to benefit all of Gardiner.
Carucci has been a board member since he was appointed to a vacated seat in May 2019. He then won the election to his first full four-year term later that year in November.
Carucci is a certified project manager. He works for Siemens Healthineers and runs projects of varying complexities for the healthcare service organization.
Carucci listed his top five policy goals for the next four years.
• Management of the town’s campgrounds, especially in order to improve the impact on nearby residents. This will include improving code enforcement.
• Acting on the goals from the town’s Comprehensive Plan by addressing identified zoning changes. This will help code enforcement have better clarity in addressing zoning violations.
• Preparing and implementing a town emergency preparedness plan. The last plan was from 2001 and doesn’t address many of the challenges faced in Gardiner today. The project has already started and the hope is to deliver some content by the end of the year.
• Expanding the town’s park footprint while improving and enhancing existing parks.
• Continuing to help build on initiatives to combat the impacts of climate change.
“I’m running for office again because I feel that as a Town Board, we have accomplished much already, but there is more unfinished business,” Carucci said. “Plus, it’s always wonderful to experience the fruits of your labor.”
Hartner has been on the town’s Board of Assessment Review since 2017 and on the Board of Ethics since 2019. He chaired the town’s Environmental Conservation Commission (ECC) for 2021 and 2022. After serving the maximum two-year term as the chair, Hartner remains on the ECC and continues to chair the Drinking Water Protection Committee.
In the late 1980s and early 1990s, he served for two terms on the New Paltz School Board.
In 2012, Hartner concluded a 38-year career in the field of education, retiring as the Superintendent for Springs School District in East Hampton, N.Y.
Hartner currently serves as a volunteer mediator for Small Claims Court matters with the Dispute Resolution Center. His hobbies include biking regularly with friends at Mohonk, Minnewaska and on various rail trails. He enjoys playing the guitar and doing projects around the house. He has been a member of the Paltz Club since 2013.
“I’ve grown to appreciate the uniqueness of Gardiner in terms of its natural beauty, its recreational opportunities, and the civic-mindedness of the people who live here,” Hartner said. “We have more than our fair share of skilled and hard-working employees and volunteers, with impressive recent accomplishments such as the 2022 Comprehensive Plan, the Natural Resources Inventory, and the Community Preservation Plan.”
While Hartner said all those were positives, he said the town has also had to deal with its fair share of controversy.
“Recent examples include Lazy River, the cell tower, the Awosting Club, short-term rentals, code enforcement issues, and some employee discontent as evidenced by statements at recent Town Board meetings,” he said. “My own work and volunteer experiences have put me in a position where I believe I can contribute to the resolution of contentious issues like these, and I’d consider it an honor to be elected to represent the people of Gardiner at the town’s highest level of government.”
Hartner said an important issue facing Gardiner is the water supply in the central hamlet and the surrounding area. He said the ECC’s Drinking Water Protection Committee has found that the water table in the hamlet appears to be on the decline.
He said data from five wells show a decline of between 1.2 inches and 21 inches per year from 2016-2020 despite the fact that there was above average rainfall in two of those years and average rainfall in the other two years.
“That’s a concern, but it’s not conclusive,” he said.
The ECC committee has been working with a hydrogeologist to study 10 locations and will continue to monitor the situation.
Hartner said an additional water source may need to be found if the town approves affordable housing in the central hamlet and revenue-generating businesses in the Steve’s Lane area north of the hamlet.