PLATTSBURGH — Harry McManus is expected to be re-named chairman of the Clinton County Legislature at tonight’s organizational meeting.

“I think we are coming off a good year, and I don’t anticipate any changes in the leadership,” McManus (D-Area 1, Champlain) said Tuesday.

“We have a lot of interesting things ahead of us, and I am excited for what’s to come.”

The organizational meeting will be held at 5:15 p.m. in the Legislative Chambers of the County Government Center.

FOCUS ON AIRPORT

McManus was chosen as chairman last year, taking over for Sam Dyer (D-Area 3, Beekmantown).

Finishing the major expansion of Plattsburgh International Airport will be a priority for the legislature as the year begins, McManus said.

“We need to get that wrapped up and begin marketing in earnest, “ McManus said.

“We invested in the future out there, and part of that is to get another carrier, and that’s what we will be shooting for this year.”

MONEY MATTERS

The county budget for 2017 came in well, McManus said, as the tax levy went up only .35 percent, which was about 2 percent below the state-mandated tax cap.

McManus said it will be a continuing challenge to keep expenses under control.

He credited County Administrator and Budget Officer Michael Zurlo for doing a good job managing the budget.

“Economically speaking, the county is in pretty good shape, and Michael does an outstanding job, and that makes our jobs so much easier,” McManus said.

The county missed its mark in sales-tax revenue in 2016, the second consecutive year it fell short, which forced legislators to forecast for about $800,000 less in revenue for 2017.

The shortfall was largely attributed to a decrease in gasoline prices.

“We’d love to see the day when we go over our sales-tax projections again, but nobody wants to see gas prices go up either,” McManus said. 

McMANUS ATTRIBUTES

Legislator Mark Dame (R-Area 8, City and Town of Plattsburgh), who chairs the county’s Finance Committee, said McManus should remain chairman.

“I think Harry has done an excellent job as chairman,” Dame said.

“He has been extremely fair, non-partisan and pro-Clinton County, and I am pleased that he wants to remain as chair.”

In addition to selecting a chairman, legislators are also expected to re-name deputy chairman, majority leader and minority leader.

Peter Keenan (D-Area 5, Peru) will remain as deputy chairman, Robert Hall (D-Area 10, City of Plattsburgh) will stay on as majority leader, and Jonathan Beach (R-Area 2, Altona) will remain as minority leader.

NEW LEGISLATOR

Legislator Simon Conroy, who won a special election to fill the final year of the Area 4 seat, will also be sworn in again tonight.

Conroy, a Democrat, was sworn into the seat in November shortly after the election, when he replaced former Legislator Sara Rowden, who was appointed to fill the seat after Colin Read stepped down in May to run for mayor of the City of Plattsburgh.

Read won the city election, and he will be sworn in at a ceremony at City Hall at 5 p.m. Thursday along with the six members of the Common Council.

Legislators in even-numbered areas will be up for re-election this year, meaning Conroy will have to run again if he wants to retain the seat.

Also up for re-election will be Beach, Patty Waldron in Area 6 (Saranac), Dame and Hall.

Email Joe LoTemplio:

jlotemplio@pressrepublican.com

Twitter: @jlotemplio

 

Staff Writer at Press-Republican since November of 1985. Has covered just about all beats at the paper, including sports.Currently covers government and politics. Graduated from Plattsburgh State in 1985. Originally from Rochester, NY.

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