Press-Republican

Politics and Elections

October 31, 2013

Disaster recovery figures in Jay elections

AUSABLE FORKS — Frigid night air and a crisp breeze didn’t keep voters away from the election forum here this week.

The Plattsburgh Area League of Women Voters invited all town-office hopefuls to talk about issues facing Jay voters.

With orderly precision, candidates lined up at a table fitted with a league banner, handmade in red, white and blue felt.

OVERCOMING DISASTER

Some officials are running unopposed. Among them are Town Supervisor Randy Douglas and Town Clerk Beatrice Pelkey.

She described her work as a labor of love, even going the extra mile to hand-deliver paperwork, fetching signatures for birth certificates, for instance, when people can’t come into town.

Pelkey, who said she is widely known as simply “Bea,” has been the clerk here for 20 years.

Douglas has served 10 years in office, and the past few years have been fraught with natural disasters.

The Town of Jay is one community that has had to pull together to overcome storm damage from Irene and its springtime predecessor in 2011.

Douglas said his No. 1 objective is to follow through on what is a five-year recovery effort. His second objective is to keep government spending down. But the Town of Jay, he said, has maintained a 1.6 percent tax-levy increase for nearly a decade, even before there was a state-mandated 2 percent cap.

HIGHWAY POST

The struggle through recovery only seems to have brought the already tight-knit town closer together.

Many officials waxed somewhat poetic, even tearful, in thinking back on what they’ve accomplished in the past few years and in looking ahead to what they think might be best for what most called “our town.”

Running for re-election as town highway superintendent, Chris Garrow said he has worked through five major floods with the Highway Department in Jay, setting a course through 10 Federal Emergency Management Agency projects and 52 separate applications for damage related to Irene alone.

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