Plattsburgh is too expensive, and city lawmakers must cut costs, say three men running for Common Council Ward 2.
William "Bill" Ferris, Mark Tiffer and Steven Williams all want the seat being vacated by Councilor Michael Kelly.
Ferris hadn't considered running for Common Council until the local Republican Party asked him.
"I own a house in Ward 2 and a business in Ward 2, so it seemed like a good fit. I have experience running a business and with employees and overhead."
Ferris said he hopes he can make a difference in Plattsburgh.
Expenses and overhead are among the biggest issues the city faces, he said.
Ferris said the State Retirement Fund, which is dependent on stock-market success, is getting costly, and medical benefits are a huge draw on the system. The trick, he said, is to keep expenses in line.
"We need some type of fiscal responsibility, unlike the state and federal government. They spend money they don't have, and that causes problems down the line."
Plattsburgh and its taxpayers can't afford that, he said.
"Like our own income, we can't spend more than we make and not get into some type of trouble."
Plattsburgh is known for its inexpensive electricity, Ferris said, but also its high taxes.
"I know one of my neighbors who bought a house behind me and lived there a year and now wants to sell because of the taxes. There are a lot of houses for sale in the city, and people don't want to live in Plattsburgh because of taxes."
Ferris wants to cap taxes, keep Plattsburgh safe and environmentally friendly, ensure responsible development and expand the tax base.
Tiffer said he is running for Common Council to help make Plattsburgh a growing and thriving community.
It's important to create a clear vision for Plattsburgh's future with attainable, short-term goals, he said.
"As a lifelong resident and active community member, I worry about the sustainability of our community," Tiffer said.
"Plattsburgh should be a city where college graduates have career opportunities and young families want to raise children."
He thinks the two biggest issues facing the City of Plattsburgh are affordability and cooperation. Currently, he said, homeowners carry a large burden of the tax base.
"The city needs to expand its tax base through new development and investments to lessen the burden on homeowners. There needs to be incentives for redevelopment and investments in order to bring jobs and families into our community."
Regional leaders and representatives must work together toward mutual goals, Tiffer said, and an improved level of discourse between the town and city is important. City officials and union leaders should be able to negotiate without court hearings and arbitrations.
"I believe we are all adults, and, with proper dialogue, the city can better collaborate with the various entities that exist in our community," Tiffer said.
"How can we expect outside investments if the city is perceived as uncooperative or self-serving—"
Williams is passionate about the city and not pleased with some of the directions it is heading. Taxing and spending are top on his mind.
"If elected, after one year as being representative of Ward 2, on Jan. 1, 2012, anyone who doesn't think I am doing a good job representing Ward 2 and can garner signatures from 51 percent of registered voters of Ward 2 and bring them to the council by Feb. 1, 2012, I will submit my resignation to the mayor."
Taxes and finances are the biggest issues the city is facing, Williams said.
He said he'll fight to reduce property taxes and advocate and practice fiscal restraint by holding the line on frivolous spending.
"I will work with the Town of Plattsburgh and County Legislature to streamline government services and reduce costs on taxpayers.
"I will continue to foster growth in the city's center through downtown and waterfront development."
E-mail Stephen Bartlett at: firstname.lastname@example.org