Wednesday, February 28, 2024

Radici owner Mankouski has Moreau GOP nod for Town Board vs. 2 incumbents

By Zander Frost, Chronicle Staff Writer

Carly Mankouski, who co-owns Radici Kitchen & Bar in Glens Falls, is running for the Moreau Town Board.

Carly Mankouski
The town Republican committee endorsed her and incumbent Alan VanTassel. Lone Democrat John Donohue is also seeking re-election.

More candidates could run too, as the petition filing deadline has not passed.

“I’m very excited to be unanimously endorsed by the Moreau Republican committee,” Ms. Mankouski texted Tuesday in response to a Chronicle inquiry. “There are so many exciting things happening in town and with support, I intend to keep the momentum going,” she added.

The top two-voters getters will win seats, so Ms. Mankouski is up against both Mr. VanTassel and Mr. Donohue.

Mr. VanTassel said, “I’m all for more people wanting to be involved. And she’s a strong candidate, because she cares about our community, cares about recreation…things I care about.”

Alan VanTassel
He added, “We lack a female on the board. And it’s not that it’s a requirement, obviously. Any gender is great, but we’d love to have diversity and we love people.”

Mr. Donohue said of the competition, “I welcome it. If I don’t get challenged, there’s no accountability.

“If the voters think I did a good job, hopefully, they’ll vote me back. If they think they want to go in another direction, they can go in the other direction.”

Mr. Donohue quickly pivoted to criticizing Town Supervisor Todd Kusnierz in his conversation with The Chronicle.

John Donohue
“I think that there should be accountability. And I think that’s the problem we have with the supervisor. He’s run opposed the last two times.”

Mr. Donohue contends the Republican Mr. Kusnierz runs the board as a “one man show…he’s got an enabler on each side of him” and uses “bully tactics” and “personal attacks.”

Mr. Kusnierz retorts, Mr. Donohue “decided to put politics ahead of the public.”

“At every board meeting, he feels compelled to go after me, yet he would like to characterize my responses as a bully. I think it’s the other way around,” he said.

Mr. VanTassel dismissed the depiction of a Kusnierz-dominated board.

“JD is present enough, been in enough meetings…to know that that statement cannot be accurate….Just because in a board meeting, we looked like we might all align doesn’t mean that there wasn’t a lot of work to get to that spot.”

Mr. Kusnierz praised council candidate Ms. Mankouski.

“That kind of business acumen, who cares about continuing to move the town forward with all the successes we had…wants to work with us to reduce taxes, and grow our recreational opportunities. …She’s an ideal candidate,” he said.

Mr. Donohue, who took office in 2019, said his reelection platform is focused on the Republican-controlled board’s lack of “honesty,” “integrity” and “transparency.” He said he wants to see “more people involved in the process.”

Mr. VanTassel said his goals when he joined the board were economic and recreational development, and “to keep the town physically sound, i.e. low taxes for our residents, and good balances in the appropriate budget categories. And we’ve accomplished all of that.”

He cited the universal playground, waterfront initiatives, and bringing “the Big Bend Trail home.”

“We’re going to continue to focus on those basic things… [residents] want a nice, safe community to live in, they want recreational opportunity. They’d like to see jobs for people to be able to stay…” he said.

Mr. Kusnierz, also up for re-election, has no opponent yet but one is expected.

“I always conduct the business as supervisor as though I will have an opponent. I welcome opposition, because without opposition, quite frankly, the media doesn’t pay attention to all the great things that I have accomplished with my colleagues on the board.”

What are those accomplishments? “We have eliminated the fire protection tax, which has saved our taxpayers… over $2.3-million,” said Mr. Kusnierz.

He said he’s achieved his promise of sewer infrastructure to grow the business district in affordable way. “With my colleagues on the board, we were able to get approval through the voters to spend up to $16 million for that project. That was the estimated cost at the time. And with that package, I was able to secure a 30 year zero interest loan, about up to $12-million. I haven’t had to use that maximum amount of money, and I got the authority for up to $4 million in grants. You can’t get a better deal than that.”

He said, “In the district alone, we’ve seen over 12 parcels exchange hands to the tune of about $9.25-million…

“With all the naysayers, that we’re wasting our money by trying to get infrastructure and business in the district. And I gotta tell you the facts counter those claims.”

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