Just over two years ago, Village of Baldwinsville Mayor Joe Saraceni approached me with a request for me to run for an open seat on the village board as a member of the Citizen's Party. The mayor felt that since I had investigated and cleaned up numerous environmentally-damaged sites over the course of my more than 25 years working with environmental cleanup companies, I could use this experience to the advantage of the village as it considered what to do with the potentially contaminated former Department of Public Works facility and former Baldwin Canal land the village owns along Lock Street.
Due to some overly conservative views on the village board at the time, the village was essentially paralyzed over a fear of what it might find if an environmental investigation were performed in this area. The mayor also felt that my management experience could help the village as it considered other development opportunities for underutilized properties along the waterfront, and challenges that could face the village due to possible loss of funding from the state and federal government.
During my two years as village trustee, not only have we been faced with budget cuts on the state and federal level, we have effectively dealt with the loss of over 12.5 percent of our annual revenue stream due to the unanticipated reapportionment of county sales tax revenue. Due to the hard work of the various village department heads and the village board, we recently passed a budget that, while making significant spending cuts, will continue to provide the residents of the village with the high levels of service to which they are accustomed. We have also made considerable progress toward the redevelopment of several districts in the village and we are looking forward to continued development this year as the land surrounding the old Harrington Fire House property is given a much needed face lift. We also successfully completed the environmental investigations along Lock Street revealing no significant environmental issues and thereby have opened the door to redevelopment of this area.