It's been six months since former town councilor took office as DeWitt Town Supervisor. The Eagle Bulletin had a chance to ask him some questions that reflect his accomplishments and challenges thus far. Here's what he had to say:
What have been some of your biggest accomplishments since you've taken office in January?
I've been evaluating alternate energy technologies for town facilities to offset high utility costs. The zoning code update was a big step in the right direction after 40 years. We still have about dozen items we need to address in the code. One of
particular importance is the establishment of conservation overlay districts along Butternut and Ley Creeks, and critical habitat designations along the Onondaga escarpment. This will form the basis for environmental protection and future flood control strategies which we need to develop.
Look for a referendum this fall; I have proposed legislation to consolidate the Receiver of Taxes with the Town Clerk's office as recommended by the State's Commission on Government Modernization and Efficiency. We are communicating with the county, village of East Syracuse and school districts about potential future sharing of services in a variety of areas.
Is there any particular achievement you're most pleased with?
I have worked aggressively to acquire greenspace and new parklands; there should be several announcements forthcoming this fall.
In the long term, I like to see a central park for Dewitt that connects Jamesville to East Syracuse all along Butternut Creek and Route 481.
What are your biggest challenges?
The budget is the greatest challenge. We are committed to not raising the town's property tax for 2009. Yet fuel and energy, pension and health care costs are all on the rise.
Our employees are still working without a contract, the negotiations were left unattended until I took office. It is going to take time, but I am trying to establish a set of fair policies and practices for employees, and a budget process that holds the line on taxes.