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Interview: Robert Gallagher for Rosendale town council

This lifelong Rosendaler, age 48, is seeking re-election to the town board, following one term as Republican councilman — preceded by two terms as supervisor. He first took office in 2004. The High Falls resident takes a no-nonsense approach towards politics.

Gallagher stepped down as supervisor for career reasons. “It is a full time job. I couldn’t afford to do it anymore,” he explained. “I still wanted to be involved,” however, so he became a councilman instead.

“My issues are all about procedure and finances,” Gallagher declared. “There are a lot of things that were accomplished during my term as supervisor that have fallen by the wayside.” He is critical of the ZRC’s proposed zoning code revision. “It really infringes on property rights,” Gallagher objected. “There was a consultant hired who tried to direct them on a path,” he added. “I think it was a waste of money.”

The biggest issue is Williams Lake, Gallagher notes. “Our opposition changed their tune after the caucus,” he said, disbelieving recent Democratic statements of support. “They’ve thrown up roadblocks. That needs to be hammered out,” he remarked. “This thing has been going on for five years now — a process that needs to follow procedure. You have an environmentally sound company that wants to build this project. They want to be the right neighbor.”

Gallagher warned the HRVR resort investors at Williams Lake may pull out in frustration. “We have a bunch of people that are directing the candidates from the Democratic Party — it’s basically Save the Lakes and the local chapter of the Sierra Club,” he accused. “After a while, you’ve got to say ‘let’s cut our losses and move on.’ Is that going to happen? I hope not. Because I do know for a fact there are non-profit organizations that have offered money for that property, and I’d hate to see [Williams Lake] taken off the tax rolls.”

Regarding Joppenberg, Gallagher commented, “The families that owned Joppenberg wanted to sell the property. I have no problem with OSI buying it,” he noted. “My problem is finances and procedure coming from the town. That’s what [councilman] Ken Hassett and I were saying — we didn’t have the money, it’s simple math. It doesn’t take a mathematician to figure out.”

Either way, Joppenberg is an accident hazard, Gallagher observed. So is the trestle — expected to soon be gifted to Rosendale. “My personal vote would go to not accepting [the trestle], because it’s a liability.”

Projects such as Williams Lake, and senior housing, can bring investors for local groceries and pharmacies, currently lacking in Rosendale, Gallagher suggested. Attracting development requires proper administration. “We need to concentrate on our infrastructure, and we haven’t — that’s one thing I don’t think our counterparts will concentrate on. Government isn’t supposed to be this hard, and it wasn’t hard. It just needs planning, and I don’t think [our opponents] have the capability to plan.”

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