The new supervisor of a Capital Region town defined by scandal in 2013 has set out a vision for 2014 focused on economic development.
At an open forum for businesses hosted by the Saratoga County Chamber of Commerce at Halfmoon Town Hall Thursday, Supervisor Kevin Tollisen outlined his agenda for 2014. In November, Tollisen was elected to become supervisor in January, but took the supervisor position early after he was appointed by the town board, following the resignation of former supervisor Mindy Wormuth.
Wormuth is facing charges in state and federal court in connection with allegedly stealing money from her re-election campaign and lying to investigators.
Tollisen, in his third week of his full term, called for more communication between town government and businesses. He discussed his plans to assemble a business development committee, which will have its first meeting February 1st.
"I've talked about our business development committee and the importance of strengthening the relationship with our businesses and doing things to promote businesses in Halfmoon," said Tollisen.
Tollisen said Halfmoon will list businesses on its town website.
Halfmoon Developer Bruce Tanski expressed his interest in being a part of the business and economic development committee. Halfmoon sits beside Clifton Park, a town with a large commercial sector and multiple hotels.
Tanski said the committee is a good first step in helping to attract new business to Halfmoon.
"I think people like to go to other towns because they see more activity," said Tanski. "I think we have to be more user-friendly, so hopefully these are some of the things that will change, and I think that if people know we are open for business that will leave a good taste in everyone's mouth."
Tollisen has also asked local CPA and chair of the Saratoga Chamber’s Twin Bridges Council Kevin Hedley to serve on the committee.
"I understand as a business owner the town has certain obligations, things they need to do, not everything can go the way of a business owner, but at the same time we don't need to have the government putting an obstacle for somebody trying to grow they're business," said Hedley. "And that's what he's trying to overcome, those obstacles."
Tollisen gave kudos to the town board for also working to establish resident-relations and insurance committees in recent weeks.
Tollisen said Halfmoon is also working more closely with neighboring Clifton Park. Currently, both towns are engaged in a project to improve traffic along Sitterly road, which connects Route 9 to the Adirondack Northway.
On Wednesday night, it was announced that Halfmoon and Clifton Park would share an animal control officer.
Tollisen said the town is moving forward from the political scandal surrounding its former supervisor in 2013.
"The town is moving forward," said Tollisen. "The town board that I work with has a heart for the town people and town residents and we believe that Halfmoon is a great place to live, work and raise a family, and we're going to make every effort to increase those services and do things in the best interests of our town residents."