Decreased revenues, reduction/elimination of sales tax money, an already over-burdened taxpayer base - How do you propose getting village spending in line with revenues?
Although it was a significant challenge, in my opinion, the village board successfully dealt with the recent loss of county sales tax revenue in this year's (2011-12) budget. We were able to cut costs in various departments and we will be looking for more opportunities to cut more in the future by possibly combining services with other governmental entities and by doing business more cost effectively. But cost cutting can only go so far while maintaining the high level of service village residents are accustomed to, and, in future years, there will undoubtedly be additional economic challenges passed along to the village by the county, state and federal governments. The key is really for the village to position itself to increase revenues. That's why I have been such an ardent advocate of re-development of under-utilized districts in the village. The property the village owns along Lock Street is an excellent example. Not only can the village get an infusion of cash through sale of the property to a qualified developer, but the eventual residential and possibly light business development will expand the tax base and lessen the burden on the village tax payer.
What issues are facing Baldwinsville? How do you propose handling these issues?
Loss of revenue streams, increased operational costs (e.g. fuel), empty store fronts, under-developed areas along the waterfront, old zoning practices that resulted in too many curb cuts and inefficient traffic flow patterns. These are all examples of challenges the village faces. As we look to the future, the village board of trustees and other village boards need to focus on smart growth development that maximizes the waterfront and other resources the village has, and improves traffic flow patterns. The village needs to open the door for business opportunities that stress these concepts and the board of trustees needs to work together as we have in the past two years to aggressively pursue opportunities that decrease costs and increase revenues. I think anybody who has paid attention to state and federal politics will have observed how sometimes opposing political parties argue just to try to make the other party look bad and too often the result is no real progress. In years past, the village's political parties may also have been unfortunately wrapped up in too much "politics." I hope the days of confrontation for the sake of party advancement in the village are gone and the board of trustees will continue to function in the future as it has in the past two years. After all, we ultimately all need to be rowing in the same direction.