PLATTSBURGH — Before a standing-room-only crowd Tuesday night, the three city mayoral candidates discussed their economic plans, the need for an improved Community Development Office and opportunities to partner with SUNY Plattsburgh.
The forum in Krinovitz Auditorium on the SUNY Plattsburgh Campus, sponsored by Vision2Action, was not intended to be a debate, and the candidates took turns answering questions posed by panelists Joe LoTemplio of the Press-Republican, Pat Bradley of WAMC North Country Public Radio and Brian Molongoski, an editor for Cardinal Points, the SUNY Plattsburgh student newspaper.
Democratic candidate Mark Tiffer said the city needs to look toward the future.
“It’s important for us to have a staffed Community Development Office,” he said.
Though the city has received grants in the past few years, he said, they’re only a fraction of what is possible.
“We don’t have a department that’s seeking those opportunities,” Tiffer said. “We have to be creative, find different revenue sources.”
Jim Calnon, the Republican and Independence party candidate, said he doesn’t think another person should be hired for the Community Development Office, though he would like to dedicate an employee to community events like First Weekends and the Independence Day celebration.
“The very first thing we have to do is deliver essential city services at an affordable price,” he said. “I think the economic developer for the city is the mayor.”
Calnon plans for rational negotiations with unions and said the unions trust him.
“We have to look at how we invest money in the future,” he said.
He also said the budget needs to be managed by someone who has the ability.
“I will manage the funds so we keep our tax rate from growing.”
Chris Rosenquest, who’s running an independent campaign for mayor, said Plattsburgh is missing grant opportunities.