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 Mark Wilder to get some insight into his views for the future of Baldwinsville. His responses are featured below:
Village Trustee Candidate
Residency: My parents moved into the area just after I was born. Except for college and a short time after, basically my whole life.
Community Involvement: Currently completing my first term on the Baldwinsville Village Board of Trustees; Former Town of Van Buren Appointment to Onondaga County Resource Recovery Agency (OCRRA) Board of Directors.
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?
With everybody’s busy schedules, I think it is inevitable for some residents to lose track of local politics and it’s unfortunate since a vote in our local village election means so much more than in a state or national election due to the relative size of the voting pool. Compared to simply casting a vote, it’s even harder to get village residents to make a longer-term and more time-consuming commitment to serve as a representative on one of the various village boards, including the village board of trustees. I think it would be great to have more candidates each election vying for trustee seats, and particularly representatives from the local business community, since it would probably bring more ideas to the village board and the competition would likely bring out more voters. I encourage eligible voters to get out and vote on March 15. I would welcome more residents to attend village board meetings and to throw their name in the hat for upcoming elections.
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.
Why should voters elect (re-elect) you for village trustee?
I have proven over the last two years that I am willing to put the time in to get the job done. I have educational, work and management experience in my background that has proven to be an asset to the village, and I try to bring real-world business experience to the table. We accomplished a lot in the last two years, but there is more I would like to complete before I exit stage left. I do not consider myself to be a professional politician. I think another term on the village board of trustees will help me accomplish the goals I had when I decided two years ago to run for the board. You can help me by taking a walk on the “Wilder” side on March 15.