PHARSALIA – There are four candidates running for two open seats on the Pharsalia town council and two candidates running to complete the late Pharsalia Councilman Clayton Alger’s term.
And like in many other Chenango County towns, issues surrounding natural gas development in this small town (pop. 593) have percolated to the top on many of the candidates’ agendas. The most seasoned official up for re-election is Kenneth L. Granger, 55 years old and looking to embark on a third, four-year term on the board. The Republican said he is in favor of safe drilling.
Granger is focused on environmental stewardship every day. The 30-year volunteer firefighter and maintenance worker for Morrisville College in Norwich maintains a section of the protected Genegantslet Lake that runs across a portion of his land. For this reason, he said he understands the environmentalists’ point of view when they question whether high water volume hydraulic fracturing can be safely implemented to extract shale gas.
But, Granger believes New York will begin permitting next year and is in favor of it, primarily as an answer to the economic issues facing Chenango County.
“How can you deny these people this kind of money that could be generated from gas drilling? ... As a member of the board, I’ll do everything in my power to see that’s it’s safe. ... We can have both safety and profits,” he said.
Granger is married to Pharsalia Clerk Susie P. Granger, who is running unopposed for that office. If elected, Ken said he would continue to control spending and keep the lid on taxes for the future generations of Pharsalia taxpayers.
Darin J. Smith, 46, is entering politics again. He previously filled a two-year vacancy in 2006, and said he is running again because he caught the government bug and wants to know what’s going on in the community.