Press-Republican

March 18, 2013

Three vie for two Lake Placid trustee seats

By KIM SMITH DEDAM
Press-Republican

---- — LAKE PLACID — Three candidates are running for two open seats on the Lake Placid Village Board.

Art Devlin is seeking re-election on a slate with trustee candidate David Jones, as well as Mayor Craig Randall, who is running for re-election unopposed.

Former Lake Placid Police Chief Scott Monroe is also seeking a position on the Village Board.

Village trustees serve a four-year term; the two candidates who win the most votes get the positions.

Polls, located at the Town Hall on Main Street across from the Olympic Oval, will be open from noon until 9 p.m. Tuesday.

CANDIDATE ISSUES

The Press-Republican asked each trustee candidate what he thinks is the most pressing concern facing Lake Placid in the coming term and what he would do to address it. Here are their answers:

David Jones: “The most pressing issue — and it will probably never end — is trying to maintain services in the village and stay within the 2 percent tax cap. To accomplish this, we need tight fiscal leadership.

“With the tax-cap law, it is very difficult to maintain services without raising taxes. The problem is made more difficult as our total property assessment has decreased within the past four years, and insurance and retirement costs keep going up.

“The current administration has done a great job with this.

“Another ongoing issue that has plagued village boards since I’ve been a trustee is village parking. That concern is going to be on top of the list again with the new 90-room hotel being built behind the Town Hall.

“The question becomes: Where do the beachgoers park? Where do the people who walk around the lake park?

“We will continue to work on that problem. I’m saying nothing is off the table as far as parking goes.”

Scott Monroe: “I think one of the top concerns is working to keep taxes down for the taxpayer. It is a continuing problem and should be a priority.

“What I would do to address it is to bring creative ideas to the board that we, as a whole, can accomplish working together. I do promise to bring creative ideas to the table.

“There are a few ideas I have in mind. The village has a healthy fund balance. As a result of that, Lake Placid has had a budget surplus, which helps maintain the fund balance. At some point — and I think now is that point — that money needs to get back to the taxpayer. I would like to see a policy or resolution approved that would use a percentage of any surplus from a budget year go back to the taxpayers in the upcoming year and applied to offset taxes.

“We do want to have a rainy-day account, for sure, but you just can’t keep adding to it. In addition, there should be a report at the end of the year telling taxpayers: This is our fund balance.

“You always want to do things as efficiently as possible, and this type of accountability would help improve efficiency.

“There are items to be looked into as a source of additional village revenue, for example, the parking meters — the rate hasn’t changed in a long time.”

Art Devlin: “Continuing to maintain village services is the most important and ongoing concern. We’re here to keep the village financially sound — to maintain its highly trained workforce and continue to provide services. The sidewalks need to be kept clear; we have to keep our infrastructure up and operational, and the power on.

“But we’ve got health-care costs rising by double digits every year and retirement costs rising just as fast. At the same time, we’re facing reduced state and federal financial assistance; funding is drying up.

“The 2 percent tax cap is really a constant challenge within this scenario. To address it, we need to look for ways to make the village more efficient and continue to ensure that tax dollars are spent wisely.

“Accountability and the increase of revenue are two ways to achieve that goal.”

Email Kim Smith Dedam at:kdedam@pressrepublican.com

+++++

ART DEVLIN

Party: Teamwork Party.

Age: 55.

Education: Bachelor of Science, SUNY Plattsburgh; graduate of Lake Placid High School.

Occupation: Owner, Art Devlin's Olympic Motor Inn.

Previous government experience: Incumbent, one four-year term as village trustee; member, Lake Placid Chamber of Commerce board, six years.

Civic organizations: Volunteer, Uihlein Living Center. Family: Wife, Sue.

+++++

DAVID JONES

Party: Teamwork Party.

Age: 62.

Education: Graduate of Lake Placid High School; attended North Country Community College.

Occupation: Freelance videographer.

Previous government experience: Village trustee for 22 years, 1989 to 2011.

Civic organizations: Former member, Lake Placid Volunteer Ambulance Service; former coach, Little League and Babe Ruth League.

Family: Wife, Linda: two children, Shonne and David.

+++++

SCOTT MONROE

Party: Common Sense Party.

Age: 46.

Education: Associate's degree in criminal justice, North Country Community College.

Occupation: Retired Lake Placid police chief; part-time caretaker of Adirondack Community Church and a private residence.

Civic organizations: Treasurer, Lake Placid Fish and Game Club; secretary/treasurer, Lake Placid Bowling League.

Family: Wife, Melissa.