KEENE - As the town of Keene continues to recover from Tropical Storm Irene, Supervisor Bill Ferebee is looking to fend off challenger Paul Vincent in the election Tuesday.
Ferebee, a Republican and independent candidate, said he decided to run for a fourth two-year term because he likes the job.
"I thoroughly enjoy what I do," he said. "I take pride in representing the people of the town of Keene. I enjoy what I do every day ... just focusing on everyone's needs. I don't work for the Republicans. I don't work for the Democrats. I don't work for the independents. I work for everyone."
Ferebee, left, and Vincent
(Enterprise file photos)
Vincent, an independent candidate who recently moved to Keene full-time, said he has had the idea to run for town supervisor for a while now and thought it was the right time in his life to do so.
"Basically, I think this town has a lot to offer, and I would like to make it even better," he said. "I love this place. It's a fantastic town, and I just want to see it be the best it can be."
Both candidates have been involved in the community over the years.
Ferebee was on the town planning board for two years and then the town board for four years before becoming supervisor, a position he has held for almost six years.
Vincent has served 10 years on the school board in Keene, ran the Youth Commission ski program for seven years and is a volunteer firefighter.
Dealing with the issues
Vincent said his experience on the school board, along with his 25 years working for American Management Association, made him familiar with budgeting and project management, both skills he believes will be useful in the recovery effort.
One thing Vincent is calling for is more long-term planning, which would include the establishment of an emergency fund.
"I would try to convince the board to set money aside on a regular basis for emergencies," he said. "No one runs a household without an emergency fund. Why would you run an organization without one?"
Vincent also said waterways need to be maintained better to prevent future flooding.
"The gravel bars have been left unchecked and have caused erosion and changed the course of the river," he said. "You just can't leave it unchecked. With another heavy rain there will be a similar issue, or at the spring ice melt."
Ferebee said he's been looking into funding options to get the debris in the town's waterways cleaned up and for other recovery projects.
"I've been applying for everything I can for grants to relieve the financial burden on the town," he said. "Right now that's my focus. It's not just saying, 'FEMA, I want money.' There's work involved. I have an 8 a.m. appointment on Thursday (Oct. 27) with a FEMA representative just to address more town issues, and then it's a steady search for anything else, any other grants. I have a United Way grant here that I'm in the process of writing for to help with the rebuilding of our library."
Ferebee said connections are key to getting things accomplished as supervisor.
"In this job I've found that it's all connection," he said. "It's all building a rapport with our congressmen, senator and our assemblywoman. It takes all those folks to get things."
In light of the recovery effort, Ferebee said he is still concentrating on keeping taxes down while providing the services people want.
Contact Margaret Moran at 518-523-4401 or firstname.lastname@example.org.