Coventry’s supervisor contenders pledge to unite citizenry

COVENTRY – The two candidates vying for supervisor of the Town of Coventry share a vision for uniting citizens, one that provides a more fiscally transparent government and improves communications from the town council.

Coventry is currently splintered on several fronts, they say, not the least of which is over a regional utility company’s proposal to build a natural gas pipeline through the town. The public franchise proposal, by Leatherstocking Gas Company LLC, came before the town board in June and again in July and is still unresolved. Large numbers of residents on both sides of the issue crowded the town hall and others picketed outside during the public hearings.

Supervisor candidate George Westcott, who was town justice in the early 2000s, said Coventry had “lost its friendly nature” and was “broken a part” with infighting on the pipeline and natural gas drilling in general.

But even before hydraulic fracturing and water safety questions put this tiny town of 1,255 people in the news, its residents were already reeling from a property reassessment project in 2009. The latter led to three-term Supervisor Janice O’Shea being voted out of office. And instability has reigned, as exemplified by incumbent Supervisor John Phelan’s loss in the Republican Party primary in September.

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