Mar 09, 2011 Erin Wisneski Uncategorized
It has been four years since any political seat in the village of Baldwinsville has been contested – this year there are four candidates vying for three trustee seats and two candidates vying for one justice seat.
Incumbents Mark Wilder and Dick Clarke, as well as former village Trustee Rick Presley, who retired from the position in 2009, are on the ballot, in addition to new comer Mike Shepard. Trustee Carrie Weaver will not seek a third term.
Village Justice Elijah Huling Jr. is being contested by justice candidate John Murphy, Jr.
The mayor’s seat is also on the ballot, but incumbent Joseph Saraceni is not being contested.
This year, candidates for trustees’ seats and the mayor’s seat will run for three-year terms, while village justice candidates will run for four years.
The election will be held Tuesday March 15 and polls will be open from noon to 9 p.m. at Village Hall, 16 West Genesee St. in Baldwinsville.
The Messenger recently caught up with trustee candidate Mike Shepard to get some insight into his views for the future of Baldwinsville. His responses are featured below:
Village Trustee Candidate
Residency: I grew up on Syracuse Street and lived in village the majority of my life. I left the area for another suburb for a while but my heart never left Baldwinsville. Once my oldest child completed high school, it was our goal to come back so my youngest could have the benefit of attending school in Baldwinsville. I am so proud and happy to have grown up here. I wanted the same for my children so when the time was right, we came back home. My family and I currently live in Baldwin Hill.
Community involvement: For the last 12 years, my community involvement has been based mostly in coaching youth sports and child development. I spent six years as an executive board member and as scholastic coordinator in the Pop Warner Football organization.
It has been four years since a village trustee seat has been contested. In your opinion, why has there been a lull in political involvement and what has prompted the call to action?
I would not consider the lack of contested village trustee seats as a lull in political involvement. I believe it has more to do with the community’s satisfaction with the current direction of the village and what has been accomplished over the last four years. It is truly a testament to the current village board and the great work they all have done. Under the direction of current mayor and fellow Citizen Party candidate Joe Saraceni, the trustees in place over the last few years have worked hard to stay unified and put the needs of village residents first.
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?
No one is immune to the current economic difficulties we all face. More often than not, families are finding more creative ways to make more with less. As a parent of a child in college and another at Durgee Jr. High, I understand all too well the strain decreased revenues can have on families.
In an effort to get village spending in line with decreased revenue, I would put my efforts toward shared services and aggressively negotiate future village contracts from items such as insurances and personnel. Every line item of spending needs to be considered. In an effort to minimize the future tax burden on village residents, I would also put my efforts toward attracting new “tax paying” businesses to move into some of the vacant store fronts and properties currently available in the village.
What issues are facing Baldwinsville? How do you propose handling these issues?
In the last 10 years, there has been an amazing transformation in the village. The addition of Paper Mill Island has transformed the village into an entertainment and social destination. Now, with the planned development of the Village Square, there is a critical opportunity to tie the whole business district together. The area of concern that needs to be addressed is keeping the momentum of the current development and ensuring that there is a sustained level of retail activity that will attract new business to the village business district.
Why should voters elect you for village trustee?
I ask the village of Baldwinsville residents for their support on Election Day with the hope we share the same optimism for our future. There is no other place I would want to raise a family and call home. The development and beatification of our village has begun as most can see but there is still so much more that can be done. The biggest quality I have to offer is a vision for a greater Baldwinsville at the same time being fiscally responsible to the tax paying citizens of the village.