MALONE — Three new members were sworn in to serve on the Franklin County Legislature Thursday, and a Chateaugay Democrat was again named chairman.
Dr. Carl Sherwin (District 4), Don Dabiew (District 5) and Barbara Rice (District 7) each took the oath of office administered by County Clerk Kip Cassavaw and began their three-year terms as legislators.
Billy Jones was then named to his second term as chair and vowed that the county will have a positive and prosperous year.
“I think we have a great, progressive group that cares about economic development,” he said, adding that more will get accomplished if the members concentrate on “loftier goals” and do “not get bogged down in day-to-day stuff.”
Jones said one priority will be presenting the State Legislature with a request from the county to implement a 5-percent occupancy tax on all overnight visitors to generate funds to promote tourism as an economic development tool.
“I plan to present that in late January or February,” he said. “We’ve faced some hard economic times, but I really believe things will be better this year. I’m very confident we can get things accomplished.”
Jones said that breaking down barriers between the north and south end of the county is another goal, and he plans to push the message that “what helps one area of the county helps the county as a whole.”
He said development of hotel projects in Saranac Lake is a benefit to all taxpayers, as is the recent sale of the Cleyn & Tinker building in Malone.
Jones also pledged to continue to fight to keep the Chateaugay Correctional Facility open, even though it has been targeted for closure in July.
“We are going to keep working on that. And there is work on backup plans for those who don’t think we have been doing that, but our No. 1 priority is keep it open,” he said. “That’s a no-brainer.”