By KIM SMITH DEDAM
---- — LAKE PLACID — Elections in March have just one contested race here.
Three candidates are running for two open trustee seats. Winners will earn a four-year term.
Town Clerk Kathryn McKillip said Mayor Craig Randall is running for re-election unopposed. And Bill Hushoff is running uncontested to keep his job as village justice.
Art Devlin is seeking re-election to his post as trustee; Trustee Zay Curtis is not running again.
Former Lake Placid Police Chief Scott Monroe and former Trustee David Jones have tossed their hats in the ring for trustee seats, as well. The two candidates who get the most votes will win the positions.
Jones was asked to run alongside the mayor and Devlin on the same slate, aiming to fill Curtis’s seat.
All candidates in Lake Placid are running as independents, with only Hushoff, a Republican, declaring on a major party line this election.
Trustees Jason Leon, a Democrat, and Peter Holdereid, a Republican, won in 2011. Both hold their seats until 2015.
Elections in Lake Placid will be held at the Harrietstown Town Hall from noon to 9 p.m. Tuesday, March 19.
The key challenge facing the village in the coming term is likely sewer-trunk infrastructure, a project that has been in the works for more than four years.
The general budget for Lake Placid operations, at $5.4 million, has dropped 10 full-time equivalent positions in the past three years, largely due to attrition, according to Randall’s recently released State of the Village report.
Randall said the village now employs 80 people without any loss in services.
Additional revenue for operations has come from parking meter service, seeing an increase of 65 percent since 2009, up from $197,000 to $315,000.
Pay and Display parking meters with automated parking vouchers are located throughout Main Street. Motorists must put the vouchers on the dash of the car to show they have paid to park there.
They were installed in phases over the past four years in a measure designed to eliminate “piggybacking,” when a car used to take over the remaining time on a meter.
The State of the Village report suggests increased parking revenue reduced the amount that would have had to be raised in the property-tax levy by fully 10 percent.
The pending trunk sewer line project and power-pond dam work are projected to get under way this year at a cost of $4.8 million.
Lake Placid applied for and received a $1 million grant from the North Country Regional Development Council toward the new sewer trunk line. It already has necessary state and federal permits.
But lower property values pose a challenge for the Village Board.
Property values have continued a downward trend first indicated in 2010. Total valuation declined $13.5 million, or 2.21 percent, in 2012, the mayor’s report indicates.
Since 2010, the total assessed value of properties in Lake Placid have dropped $30 million, or 4.9 percent.
This year, the mayor said in his report, “with continuing softening of property assessments, village tax rates will continue to be adversely affected. The Lake Placid Village Board must work to find ways to control taxes while providing desired services.”
Toward that end, he said, they will continue to “examine and find” further efficiencies in operations and keep working toward increased shared services with North Elba and neighboring communities.
Nonetheless, the Empire State Games and numerous international sporting competitions at Olympic venues, conferences at the Conference Center at Lake Placid and the Ironman competition continue to draw large crowds to the region.
Slots for the race this summer are completely sold out.
Randall said Ironman and the Convention and Visitors Bureau have agreed to another five-year contract.
Other capital projects slated for completion in 2013 are sidewalk installation on Colden Avenue and along the Pine Hill access road.
Email Kim Smith Dedam: firstname.lastname@example.org