County Legislature, District 18 (Marbletown, Hurley) - BlueStone Press
December 8, 2021

County Legislature, District 18 (Marbletown, Hurley)

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Eric Stewart (D)

Eric Stewart believes that serving as District 18’s legislator would be a natural extension of the work he’s been doing on the Marbletown Town Board, where his four years would expire in January, as well as on Marbletown’s Environmental Conservation Commission and the Ulster County Environmental Management Council.

“I’ve enjoyed working on the Town Board,” he says, “and when incumbent legislator Heidi Haynes declined to run again, I thought this might be an interesting opportunity. I want to bring my experience in working on environmental issues and green energy to the legislature “

Stewart, a real estate agent with Berkshire Hathaway, says his community involvement got started when he joined the Marbletown ECC and helped with projects like LED street lighting, electronic vehicle charging stations, and promoting solar farms.

“Working on environmental issues and expanding the trail network are natural continuations of the work I’ve been involved in on both the town and county level,” he says. “We have a rail trail extension about to start that will make it easy and safe to walk from Main Street to the college. We’re also talking about extending the SUNY Ulster water line to Main Street in Stone Ridge; that would solve some serious problems people have with wells going dry and with sulfur water.

“That would open the way for another very important priority – affordable housing. That is a crisis, and we would love to do affordable senior and workforce housing, and municipal water would be a huge help. So I’d like to represent District 18 to continue and expand my work on renewable energy, water protection, trail and park expansion and serving whatever community needs arise.”

Since moving to Lyonsville in 1996 (he was born in Albuquerque and raised in West Texas) Stewart has also served on the O&W Rail Trail Committee and co-founded the re-established Rondout Creek Watershed Alliance. He’s a longtime member of the Rondout Valley Business Association, a longtime organizer of the Rondout Valley Garden Tour, and a former high school teacher.

Carl Belfiglio (R)

Carl Belfiglio served as Ulster County legislator for Esopus from 2010 to 2018, and he’s hoping District 18 voters will send him back there on their behalf now that he’s moved to Hurley. A network technician at Ulster County BOCES, he wants to address affordable housing, job creation, quality of life and taxation.

He’s accustomed to bucking the system, he says, holding public hearings about turbidity releases in the Esopus Creek in 2013 when the county Health Department was only accepting written comments. “So we had 100 people show up, and 50 of them spoke, and we typed it all up and submitted it to the Health Department in writing. But it’s still a priority – the state DEC is basically giving the city DEP a free pass to pollute.”

Belfiglio opposed the privatization of the county’s nursing home at Golden Hill, co-sponsoring a law that tweaked the Ulster County charter to make the county executive more responsible to the legislature in the wake of that decision.

“I’m also concerned about access to mental health care being gone, and part of that problem is that Ulster County’s Medicaid reimbursement rates are lower,” says Belfiglio, who’s helped secure funding for the Ulster County Eating Disorder Coalition and Awareness Inc., a substance abuse education effort.

He’d like to see Airbnb and bed tax monies be applied to housing, not just tourism, and see more scrutiny of payment in lieu of taxes (PILOT) agreements. As chairman of the Environmental Energy & Technology Committee, Belfiglio was instrumental in passing Flow Control legislation, banning fracking wastewater from county roads, and banning polystyrene packaging.

“I’m pretty good at appropriating funds to nonprofits,” he says. “I’m not always in line with my caucus, but once you get elected there should be no more parties and it shouldn’t be about your opinions of what people should want; you need to listen and find out what they actually do want.”

 

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