By Jay Behrke
TOWN OF WALLKILL – Supervisor Dan Depew serves the Town of Walkill with dedication and passion, and his office door is truly open to anyone who might need his assistance or to bend his ear – as I found out the last two times I visited him there, and our interview was interrupted and postponed to accommodate local walk-ins. Depew cares about his constituency in a way that many politicians and civil servants describe, but few legitimately attain. As proof, the Orange County Partnership conferred “Most Valuable Partner” honors on the Town of Wallkill in June, lauding the town’s economic resurgence and business-friendly strategy.
“In many towns throughout the county, taking six months to a year to get planning board approval; here in our town, if the company is willing to do everything that we want them to do and we can tee it up so it’s shovel in the ground ready to get going, it’s going to happen in two to three months.”
When first elected in 2012, Depew admitted circumstances were less than ideal, though now his town has become a economic model for other struggling municipalities.
“When we started here, we were $2 million in debt, we were taking out loans from banks to make payroll, infrastructure was a complete mess, the tax rate was unstabilized.” he recalled. “And, like most of the country, there were pretty dismal business opportunities for growth and expansion in the region. We set a mission four and a half years ago to say ‘What can we do to turn this around? Let’s start working on it.’ And it was a complete team effort.”
Depew was elected Town of Wallkill supervisor in 2012, previously serving as 18th District Orange County legislator from 2006-2012, and as a Town of Wallkill Councilman, Fourth Ward, from 2002 until 2006. He’s a local boy, having graduated from Pine Bush High School, Orange County Community College, and the State University of New Paltz, where he majored in Political Science.