To the editor:
For the past four years, I have had the honor of serving on the town board with Jim Greenfield, Steve McGlynn and Rick Keyes. During that time, we have faced some significant issues. First we were introduced to hydrofracking. They, like me, attended information sessions to become educated about the process, heard from advocates on both sides of the issue and met with counsel to learn about the most effective laws to protect the environment and rural character of our town, ultimately leading to a local law effectively banning the process.
We looked at the transfer station and how we handled the disposal of solid waste for oh so many years. Rather than continue business as usual, we looked at alternatives to try to reduce expenses and maintain the service residents have come to expect. Change is always difficult, but Jim, Steve and Rick met with employees and solid waste disposal companies and made it happen resulting in an average 20 percent reduction in operating costs and reducing the town’s liability by eliminating significant hours spent hauling trash to Auburn and Seneca Meadows.
Then there is the elephant in the room — the transfer of operations of the community center to the YMCA. As a board, our goal was to transfer operations with the least impact to members. So we turned over the keys to the building leaving all equipment in place with the verbal understanding that the town would need to be compensated for its assets. Early on, we agreed we would do whatever we could so long as it was legal and ethical. We sought guidance and advice from multiple sources — the state comptroller’s office — the overseeing authority for all local governments, towns, villages, school districts, fire districts etc., the town attorney, a law firm jointly hired by the owners of the facility and the town. The guiding principal from every one of those sources was that we were prohibited from simply giving away town assets and needed to receive “fair value,” a vague legal term open for interpretation. After numerous meetings, discussions and negotiations, over two and a half years, we were unable to reach an agreement on what constituted “fair value.” We brought an action in State Supreme Court where we asked an independent justice to make that determination.
These are just some of the issues Jim, Steve and Rick have faced in the past four years. Day to day there are many more including facilities maintenance issues, employee and staffing matters, and ongoing matters like the former Stauffer Chemical site cleanup and completion of the Western Gateway project. Rick, Jim and Steve approach every issue with integrity and resolve, always keeping in mind that they represent the entire town and not special interest groups. That is why I am voting for them on Nov. 5 and you should too.
Skaneateles Town Supervisor