Almost 40 residents filled the auditorium of the Manlius Village Center Feb. 12 as local political candidates voiced their ideas about village improvements. The election will take place Wednesday March 18.
Mayoral candidates and current village trustees Marc Baum and Mark-Paul Serafin took the podium, addressing issues such as consolidation, spending and their future vision of Manlius on the whole.
Both candidates spoke in favor of consolidation, but Baum emphasized opportunities beyond consolidation, utilizing shared services. As examples, he mentioned infrastructure issues as well as the fire department.
"I think there's opportunity within the fire department for shared services, but I think you have to do it right, you have to take it in a manner that the community says this is what we're willing to do," Baum said.
On another subject, Baum mentioned an electronic services study that was proposed to the board by the Fayetteville-Manlius school district. The study, which met with resistance from trustees, would have defined whether or not the village and district could consolidate services in that area.
"There's a great opportunity to save a lot of money and work together," he said. "I think that goes beyond traditional consolidation."
Serafin, who serves on the shared services committee, said he believes everyone he's worked with has the mindset to work together whenever possible, "to keep our tax rate at a level that is fair, and to keep our spending where it needs to be." Using the proposed joint fire district as an example, Serafin said the municipalities could realistically achieve that goal, and do it by keeping service and safety at the forefront.
When asked how each would spend federal stimulus money, both Serafin and Baum agreed the village infrastructure needs improvement, noting backed up sewer lines and flooding as two great issues to be fixed.