Otisville Village Trustee Bob Clouse Runs for Reelection

By Cara Ding
Cara Ding
Cara Ding
Cara is an Orange County, New York-based Epoch Times reporter. She can be reached at cara.ding@epochtimes.com
March 15, 2023Updated: March 15, 2023

OTISVILLE, N.Y.—Four-term Otisville trustee Bob Clouse is running for reelection to move the village forward while preserving the past for generations to come.

He’s one of four candidates vying for two trustee seats up for reelection on March 21; other candidates are trustee Lance Davoren, former trustee Bob Bennette, and political newcomer Michael Dwyer.

Clouse said his top priority is to maintain the sound financial shape of the village, much of which is owed to the retiring Democrat Mayor Brian Wona.

When Wona got first elected 16 years ago, he faced a dire financial situation with little reserves left, which was largely the doing of former clerk Barbara McDowell.

McDowell pleaded guilty in 2011 to stealing about $75,000 over four years from the village.

Epoch Times Photo
The village hall in Otisville, New York, on Mar. 1, 2022. (Cara Ding/The Epoch Times)

Clouse said Wona cleaned up the financial mess and got the village into a stable fiscal shape over the years, a legacy he wants to preserve and build on as a trustee.

Democrat Isaac Palmer and Republican Brian Carey are vying for mayor this year.

While keeping taxes stable, Clouse wants to push for new improvements within the limited financial means of the village, he said.

He has some ideas to develop the Veterans Memorial Park, perhaps adding a playground, a few bocce courts, or an ice-skating rink.

As the village liaison to the water department, Clouse said he’s looking at grants and loans from the state for the water main replacement project, which he hopes to continue to work on as a trustee.

The replacement is about 40 percent done and likely needs another million dollars to finish, he said.

The next project on his water infrastructure agenda is to replace the old 200,000-gallon storage tank, which could cost half a million dollars, he added.

Epoch Times Photo
Campaign signs for village elections in Otisville, New York, on March 7, 2023. (Cara Ding/The Epoch Times)

The village earns significant revenue from selling water to the nearby Otisville Corrections Facility, a state prison with about 1,000 inmates, almost the same size as the town population.

Should the prison close one day, Clouse said, it would have a big impact on the town finances.

He said he’s looking at a potential annexation of the prison land from the Town of Mount Hope. That way, even if the prison gets shut down, the village can redevelop the site for alternative revenues.

Clouse not only has plans to move the village forward, but also preserve the past, he said.

A history buff, he was the chair of the village centennial committee and developed a yearslong celebration program with members in 2021.

If reelected, he plans to preserve the oldest house in Otisville on Main Street with the help of the current owner; the house was built in the 1700s.

Epoch Times Photo
Veterans Memorial Park in Otisville, New York, on March 1, 2023. (Cara Ding/The Epoch Times)

He also works as a volunteer to help redevelop the old Otisville school into a community center and rehabilitate the hundreds-year-old headstones in the cemetery.

A lifelong Otisville resident, Clouse attended the old Otisville school from kindergarten all the way to 12th grade before it was combined into the Minisink Valley Central School District.

He worked as a therapy aid and nurse at the now-closed Middletown State Homeopathic Hospital before an injury at work forced him to retire.

Clouse first ran for trustee in 2015 and has been reelected every two years.

Starting in March, the trustee term will be four years instead of two in the past.