Lebanon town supervisor James Goldstein and challenger Susan Galbraith squared off at a forum for candidates on Saturday Oct. 10 in Randallsville.
Goldstein stressed his years of mediation between natural gas companies and local government to promote responsible gas development in the area, as well as his emphasis on open government.
Galbraith, who is running on Republican and independent party lines, cited her experience in Georgetown studying and fighting the possibility of a hazardous waste dump, as well as 8 years of experience as DeRuyter town supervisor.
She said that the issue of responsible natural gas development requires a variety of viewpoints and input.
"I strongly feel that no one individual, however well intentioned, however intelligent or diligent can cover all the bases on this complicated issue," Galbraith said.
Galbraith wants to form a committee of interested and involved people who would consider and act on issues relating to natural gas exploration and development.
During his tenure, Goldstein said, Lebanon received $400,000 in federal and state aid for ice, snow and flood repairs that would otherwise have doubled local taxes. He also negotiated a road agreement with natural gas company Nornew to repair $550,000 in road damages caused by heavy traffic due to natural gas development.
Galbraith warned that in obtaining funds from natural gas companies, the town could lose its independence.
"I would not wish to be beholden to them in the future," she said.
Galbraith also wanted to make Lebanon town government more open to the public. A Web site, Galbraith said, could be a valuable resource for those who cannot attend meetings or come to the town's 8 to 11 a.m. office hours.
Goldstein said that, while a Web site could be a valuable resource, continued maintenance and updates could be costly and would be necessary to keep the site useful.
Throughout the forum, Galbraith continually returned to the importance of a committee to discuss natural gas development.
Lebanon needs a large, diverse committee to handle the complicated issues, not just one "go-to guy," she said.
Elections will be held Nov. 3. For more information on county elections and polling places, visit co.madison.ny.us/boe.