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July 29, 2016
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Town of Lumberland Town Board candidates talk

Two candidates—David Leamon and Martha Tully—will vie for one seat on the Lumberland Town Board. The River Reporter posed the same questions to the candidates. Learn their positions in the interviews presented here.

Martha Tully

What are the three most pressing issues in the town?

1. Keeping taxes low. With the looming possible double-digit county tax increase, it is more important than ever to keep taxes low now and in the future.

2. Economic development to increase our tax base. We need to address the issue of not just being a tourist economy but a year-round economy.

3. The town needs to protect the health of its residents and environment from gas drilling and the water contamination, air pollution and economic impacts that would result. There is no evidence to support that fracking is safe.

What will you do to address those three issues?

1. I would like to see the town’s utility expenses be reduced and be more eco-friendly, particularly by converting to solar energy. Municipalities have received state and federal grant money to obtain bulletproof vests, radios and communication towers and funding for emergency shelters. The town budget needs to be managed by eliminating wasteful spending and investing in projects that will benefit the community—like creative purchasing and limited consolidation. Every department needs to be reviewed and budgets scrutinized. I have seen the fiscal responsibility but I have seen the wasted spending.

2. We need to induce businesses to come to Lumberland in order to serve the needs of our residents. I am not looking to see a Walmart superstore come here, but rather mom-and- pop businesses. Grant money is available to attract businesses through the Industrial Development Agency. I would like to see affordable housing for our seniors. I plan on having an open line of communication with residents to obtain input as to how they would like to see Lumberland grow and what businesses would benefit them. I would also like to see a community farmers’ market, which would help draw people in to patronize existing businesses.

3. We need to continue to support the ban on drilling and support our surrounding communities who have similarly passed bans on drilling.

What is your position on hydraulic fracturing within the town?

I am against hydraulic fracturing. Natural gas is not a renewable energy. We need to look for alternative energy sources such as solar, wind and geothermal. Towns across the nation have preemptively passed local drilling bans or strict zoning laws to protect their citizens. The EPA has found that wells and aquifers have been contaminated as a result of fracking. Rural communities are being transformed into industrial zones. Governments have failed to enforce existing drilling regulations.

Why have you decided to run for town council and what do you hope to accomplish?

I want to be involved in the budgetary sessions and to do what I have done for over a decade when it comes to zoning and planning and getting involved in the growth of the town. I want to be the voice of the people. I am not the type of person who sees an opportunity for improvement and looks around for someone else to take action. I can utilize my experience and knowledge working with various townships to bring creative and efficient ideas to the table and work with the other members of the council to accomplish this.

Martha Tully is a full-time resident of the Town of Glen Spey who relocated three years ago from Suffolk County, NY. She is married and holds an AAS in Interior Design and an AAS in Paralegal Studies, both from Suffolk County Community College. She is a paralegal since 1995 with over 10 years of experience in dealing with various functions of town governments in New York including municipal planning, preservation of natural resources and historic places, code enforcement, public safety, enactment and enforcement of local laws and administrative procedures. Tully can be reached at tully12737@frontier.com.

David Leamon

What are the three most pressing issues in the town?

1. Reducing the property tax burden by spending less and spending smarter. While families have had to tighten their belts more and more over the past four years, the town has spent taxpayer money like sailors on shore leave.

2. Reducing crime. Protecting the safety of our residents is of paramount importance. Burglaries and theft are on the rise, which left unchecked will embolden criminals to commit more crimes of increasing seriousness.

3. Encouraging job creation. A key to getting businesses to come to Lumberland is lowering the costs and red-tape hassles of doing business here. Under the recently enacted zoning law, you can be thrown in jail for parking a vehicle at your house that has business lettering on it. That doesn’t exactly encourage folks to set up shop here.

What will you do to address those three issues?

1. I will use my knowledge, skills and experience gained from successfully fixing broken and bankrupt companies for over 10 years to identify cost-savings opportunities, eliminate wasteful spending and negotiate tough but fair contracts with town vendors and other parties, all towards ensuring that the town maximizes the value it obtains for every tax dollar it spends.

2. I will work with the chief constable to have our constables regularly conduct patrols and increase their physical presence within the town. I will reach out to the sheriff’s office and state troopers in an effort to get them to be present more often in town. I will also focus on pursuing federal law enforcement grant programs that provide rural communities with modern equipment and technology.

3. I will work to lower property taxes and fix provisions of the zoning code that discourage businesses from coming to Lumberland. I would also look into privatizing some jobs currently done by town employees. For example, the town hall and Circle Park custodian services and lawn maintenance services should be put out to bid to private contractors, with a preference given to Lumberland-based contractors.

What is your position on hydraulic fracturing within the town?
It is absolutely vital that we do everything we can to make sure our community and regional water supplies are not polluted through fracking and other heavy industrial use. Although I strongly support the rights of individuals to develop their private property as they see fit, the problem with fracking is that when things go wrong, it affects everyone, not just that property owner. Current fracking technology and practices continue to pose too great a risk to our water supplies to permit it at this time, or in the foreseeable future.

Why have you decided to run for town council and what do you hope to accomplish?

I am running because Lumberland’s town government has devolved into a toxic culture of bullying, secrecy, back-room dealing and nepotism that needs to be fixed. What I hope to accomplish is restoring transparency, honesty and accountability to town government, so that we have a healthy and ethical foundation on which to tackle the very real problems Lumberland and its residents face.

David Leamon is a full-time resident of the Town of Glen Spey who relocated from New York City in May 2009 and is originally from Texas. Leamon has practiced law for over 10 years, representing a nationwide business client base. His practice focuses on business turnarounds, restructuring and related litigation, and on providing general counsel and special project counsel services. He holds a law degree and an MBA and is a West Point graduate and former U.S. Army combat arms officer deployed overseas. Leamon can be reached at dleamon@spamex.com or at www.facebook.com/groups/voteforleamon.