Press-Republican

Local News

October 31, 2007

North Elba supervisor candidates debate

LAKE PLACID -- What happens at the county level in Elizabethtown may play a big role in defining the Town of North Elba's race for supervisor.

Monday night at the Hilton Lake Placid Resort, supervisor hopeful Robert "Roby" Politi squared off with incumbent Shirley Seney in an hour-long debate organized by Mountain Communications, which runs several radio stations, including WNBZ and Rock 105.

Seated side by side in front of an audience of 50 people, candidates answered questions from a panel of three reporters -- Kim Smith Dedam of the Press-Republican, Jacob Resnick of WNBZ and Rich Rosentreter of the Lake Placid News -- during a forum moderated by WNBZ News Director Chris Knight.

Both candidates agreed that more affordable housing was needed, consolidation of services between North Elba and Lake Placid was important, and that smart growth was a key facet to the future.

SALES-TAX REVENUE

But when the candidates were questioned about failed efforts to bring more county sales-tax revenue back to North Elba, the candidates differed in their opinions.

Seney, a Republican who has held the supervisor position since 1995, said it isn't possible to recoup more county sales-tax revenue.

"Rather than trying to get back some of the sales tax, we need to start working on a plan that would generate some income through bed tax of vacation rentals or something like this that would reduce the cost to our taxpayers," said Seney, noting that North Elba generates more than 90 percent of Essex County's sales-tax revenue. "It's a no-win situation when it comes to trying to recoup. I'd love to say that I'm going to be the supervisor that does that, but I wouldn't be telling the truth if I said that."

But Politi, a former Lake Placid mayor, magistrate and town councilman who is running on an independent party line, indicated that more could be done by the North Elba supervisor in terms of getting better return on sales-tax revenue.

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