Heated races for mayor and trustee positions in Margaretville

By Julia Green
Voters in Margaretville will go to the polls next Wednesday to cast their ballots in the mayoral election for the village, as well as to fill two seats on the board of trustees.
In the mayoral election, voters will have a choice between John VanBenschoten, who has served as a village trustee for the past four years, and Carol O’Beirne, the executive director of the Central Catskills Chamber of Commerce. Current Margaretville Mayor Bill Stanton announced in January that he would not be seeking another term.
VanBenschoten, whose family roots in the area trace back to the 1880s, has said that his experience on the village board is a key to helping resolve the issues that come before a village government. He has identified the key issues facing the village as: negotiations on a fire protection agreement with the Middletown-Hardenburgh Fire District that is equitable to both sides; completion of plans for a sewer use extension; and a resolution to the eminent domain proceedings that resulted from a dispute with a property owner regarding the Bull Run Stream. He added that, if elected, he would continue working with the Catskill Watershed Corporation on its infrastructure and making the appropriate determinations regarding repairs and upgrades.
O’Beirne also cited the Bull Run stream as among the issues that need to be addressed, and said that she sees tax issues and the economy as the most pressing issues facing the local community. O’Beirne and her husband have been full-time residents of the area since 1983.
Also on the table are two trustee positions in Margaretville, for which there are only two candidates on the ballot.
Incumbent trustee Iris Mead has served on the board since 2003 and works as the events coordinator at the MARK Project. She identified the contract with the Middletown-Hardenburgh Fire District as a key issue, as well as the completion of the village’s comprehensive plan, the proposed freezing of tax rates on state-owned land, and the resolution of the issue regarding the Binnekill stream and the village’s related dispute with a property owner.
The other candidate on the ballot for a trustee seat is Margaretville resident Wallace Patterson, who runs Sunstone Marketing and who has been active in his support of Belleayre Mountain and the Crossroads development.
He voiced the necessity that the village establish a place for itself as a destination, which he argued could benefit from the proposed development in Highmount.
A 2006 graduate of Rochester Institute of Technology, Patterson attended Roxbury and Stamford central schools. His parents own Teathyme Herb Farm in Margaretville.