Aug 31, 2011 Erin Wisneski Uncategorized
The Town of Lysander Supervisor seat is open for election this year. Two candidates, incumbent Barry Bullis and opponent Fred Burtch, are competing for the Republican nomination in the Sept. 13 primary.
The Baldwinsville Messenger recently interviewed both men to get a better understanding of each candidate’s qualifications and viewpoints. The following responses are from Bullis:
Barry W. Bullis
Address: 3429 Grey Birch Dr., Baldwinsville
Education: Franklin Academy, Malone NY
Hudson Valley Community College, Troy NY
Work Experience: A. J. Montclair, Inc. – General Contractors, Construction Manager, Chief Estimator (1995 – 2000)
Ridge-Ed Pipeline, Inc., Construction Manager, Chief Estimator (1990 – 1995)
Bullis Construction Co., Inc., President, CEO (1982 – 1990)
PGB Industries, Inc., Vice President, General Manager (1979 – 1982)
Olin Construction Co., Inc., Foreman, Superintendent, Estimator, 1972 – 1979
Parsons, Brinckerhoff, Quade & Douglas Engineers, Field Inspector, Office Engineer (1969 – 1972)
Political Experience: Town of Lysander Supervisor (1995 – Present)
Lysander Republican Committee (1974 – Present)
Chairman Lysander Republican Committee (1982 – 1995)
Onondaga County Republican Committee (1974 – Present)
Onondaga County New Young Republicans Club
North Area Republican Club (co-founder)
Lysander Republican Club (co-founder)
Community Involvement: Baldwinsville Kiwanis Club; Past and present: Pop Warner Football; Seneca River North Little League; Baldwinsville CSD Athletic Boosters; Baldwinsville Chamber of Commerce; Baldwinsville Oktoberfest Committee Volunteer; Baldwinsville Marching Band Support Group – Past President; Baldwinsville Theatre Guild; Cross Lake Seneca River Association; Northwest Neighbors Rural Preservation Co.; Baldwinsville Canal Corridor Initiative Committee; Member – First Presbyterian Church (past Youth Fellowship Advisor, Current Chairman – Budget & Finance Committee)
What do you think are the major issues facing Lysander? How do you plan to address those issues?
In a single word, taxes. The challenge of town government is to maintain the services and programs that residents want, and have come to expect, without raising taxes. In my opinion, Lysander is one of the most efficiently and cost effectively run towns in Onondaga County. Due to our fiscally responsible policies, our current town tax rate of $1.32 per $1,000 of assessed value is 48 cents less per $1,000 than it was eight years ago and is currently among the lowest of the 19 towns in Onondaga County.
This is not to say that our spending has not gone up. With fuel, equipment, pension and insurance cost all escalating, our overall cost of operation rises annually, yet our infrastructure and capital improvement needs cannot be ignored. Throughout my tenure, I have been very successful obtaining grants and outside funding for projects such as the Whispering Oaks Sewer Improvements Project and the Dexter Parkway Drainage Improvement Project. Although it gets harder and harder to obtain grants, it is possible with research and persistence.
We have been fortunate that our increase in tax base has kept up in proportion to our increased cost of doing business. I believe that this can be attributed to the fact that Lysander has a very well developed master plan and continues to be a desirable place to live. Developers want to develop here, builders want to build here and people want to live here. Projects like the Timber Banks Planned Unit Development bear witness to that philosophy. The Empire Center for New York State Policy (See-Through NY) ranks Lysander 39th lowest out of 908 towns in the State of New York for total spending per capita. Keeping taxes low by using “smart growth” planning principals to expand our tax base while pursuing outside funding sources for capital and infrastructure projects is my answer.
What are your thoughts regarding the Transfer of Development Rights program?
Our Transfer of Development Rights Program (TDR) is, in my opinion, one of the best things that has ever happened in Lysander and I am proud to have been able to support and promote it. One of the things that make Lysander such a desirable place to live and work is its mixture of residential, industrial, commercial and agricultural land uses. We are close to a major city, yet we have an abundance of productive farms, over 9,000 residential parcels, a thriving industrial park and a close proximity to major shopping centers all while maintained a “rural flavor.” Our TDR program will insure that this “flavor” continues forever by preserving our viable farmland and preventing the “urban sprawl” seen in so many other towns.
What are your thoughts regarding the InBev PILOT agreement?
I support a PILOT agreement with AB as I supported the settlement of the tax litigation brought by the company last year. There are those who do not agree with me and say that settling the lawsuit by agreeing to a plant value of $75 million was enough and do not give any more. I want to see AB stay in Lysander forever. I am willing to support any PILOT proposal that is reasonable and that will enable the Baldwinsville brewery to be as competitive as possible within their industry and to prosper. I am not willing to turn my back on a company that contributes greatly to our local economy.
How will you work to reduce the tax burden on Lysander residents?
Much has already been accomplished on this subject. We have formed a coordinating assessing unit with the town of Van Buren and currently share the same assessor. We have reduced staffing levels at the town park as well as in the tax receiver’s office supplementing staff requirements with other departmental staff during peak collection periods. We have successfully initiated the concept of “cross training” departmental staff so that existing staff can help in other departments during busy times, eliminating the need for additional personnel. We have partnered with Onondaga County on a number of cost saving issues relating to purchasing, snow plowing and storm water management.
Moving forward I am already at work on the feasibility of sharing dog control services with a neighboring town as well as additional staff reductions and health insurance co-pay options to be implemented through attrition and collective bargaining. We have also been collaborating with the various fire departments and fire districts that serve the Lysander community and support the fire services study currently in progress. It is my hope that taxpayer savings will be achieved as a result of this initiative and I commend all participating entities for their efforts.
Why should voters elect you?
The first reason why people should re-elect me is because I have 16 years of experience as supervisor and a never ending commitment to serving the residents of Lysander. I care deeply about the growth, success and integrity of our town. I will continue to lead Lysander by advocating for an open, honest, efficient and fiscally sound government. The residents deserve my time and attention regarding any and all concerns they may have, and I will do everything in my power to assist in resolving concerns in a quick and responsible fashion. I have always been accessible to the public, and I will continue to make myself available any hour of the day or night, any day of the week. I will continue to make the position of supervisor about representing the people, listening to their concerns and assisting them in finding solutions.
The second reason people should re-elect me is because I have the resources, institutional knowledge and an established network of colleagues at the local, state and federal levels of government that are committed and devoted friends of Lysander. With more than 30 years of political experience, I know what areas of government to contact for assistance. I speak with federal, state and county officials regularly. We have an established rapport. I have the support of my colleagues, and I look forward to a continued partnership that will benefit all who reside in Lysander.
The third reason people should re-elect me as town supervisor is because of my goal oriented approach. Lysander is not only one of the most desired places to live in Onondaga County, it is one of the most highly rated towns in all of New York State. This did not happen overnight. My goals are simple: 1) to keep the taxes in Lysander among the lowest in the state 2) to maintain an appropriate rate of growth 3) be accessible to the residents’ needs and 4) maintain a cooperative, responsible and interactive town board that functions with the highest levels of integrity.