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Three candidates vie for county seat in Van Buren

Jim Scaramuzzino, left, Derek Shepard, center, and Bob Warner are candidates for the 13th District Seat in the Onondaga County Legislature.

Jim Scaramuzzino, left, Derek Shepard, center, and Bob Warner are candidates for the 13th District Seat in the Onondaga County Legislature.

Derek Shepard

Republican

What makes you qualified to serve as county legislator?

Before and during my term on the Van Buren Town Board, I spent eight years in a private sector executive position managing a multimillion dollar budget and 40 great employees. My four years on the Van Buren Town Board has given me a valuable opportunity to bring private sector efficiency to municipal budgeting, public sector personnel management and resident relations. I know that in business, the books must be balanced and the customers must be satisfied. When elected officials do their jobs properly, public service is no different. In any public service position I am honored to be elected to, I will never forget the universal principles I learned in private industry.

Why should residents vote for you?

The residents should vote for me because the town government I help manage is operating in a more streamlined and efficient manner than it was four years ago. Our board voted to share our assessor with the town of Lysander, to contract dog control to the Town of Camillus, to merge the tax receiver’s position into the town clerk’s duties and to save 50 percent on engineering costs by hiring a dedicated town engineer instead of paying unnecessarily for an entire firm. These are just a few examples of the sorts of measures I supported and which helped us to reduce the town tax rate by 7 percent last year while other governments were in crisis and forced to raise taxes. If given the chance, I will work to bring these and other efficiency measures to county budgets.

In your opinion, what is the number one issue facing county residents? Van Buren/Camillus residents? How would you help to resolve the issue(s)?

As I have stated many times during my campaign, the biggest issues facing the county are clearly the property tax burden and state mandates driving county costs. Homeowners like me have seen extraordinary increases in our property tax bills and escrow payments. As county legislator, I will employ the sort of strategies I described earlier as well as work to force aggressive competition between our vendors and continued consolidation of operations within county government or with other governing bodies.

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