On Nov. 7, voters will be casting their votes for two seats on the Skaneateles Town Board.
Incumbents Connie Brace and Claire Howard are seeking to continue their service to the town and community by being reelected.
What follows is a series of questions and answers with both candidates.
The are endorsed by the Skaneateles Party as is Janet Aaron, who is running for town supervisor.
Howard and Brace are being challenged by Republicans Mark Tucker and Kevin McCormack as well as Independent Dessa Bergen.
These candidates were asked the same questions during the primary and the responses from all candidates can be found at eaglenewsonline.com.
My family moved to Skaneateles in 1968 having fallen in love with the area when we rented summer cottages on the east side for several years. I can say that I have lived here for 50 years, and that I have been a lake swimmer for 56 years! I graduated from SCS, married my high school sweetheart, and we raised our three children here. Two of our kids have remained here and are raising their children here as well.
My career paths have been diverse. I began with a BA from SUNY Binghamton in piano performance and went on to help found the Skaneateles Festival in 1980. After serving on the board of directors for four years I became the festival’s general manager for the next 10 years, overseeing its growth to its current size. Budget management, grant writing, personnel oversight, advertising, fund raising, and public relations were all skills required in that position. I learned on the job. In 1990 I returned to school to study nursing, something I felt called to do. By 1996 I had my MS and Nurse Practitioner certification. Today I run my own business in Skaneateles, Adult Health and Psychiatric Services of Skaneateles, PLLC. My career in healthcare has fostered good listening skills as well as a sensitivity to all aspects of human health, including close attention to our environment.
Four years ago I was motivated to run for office because of my concern for the environment. I believed then and I still believe that our lake and its surrounding land must be better protected. This time around I bring to the board four years of experience fighting for more protection. The first two years in office my primary focus was work on the Joint Comprehensive Plan. The second two years a big effort was put into formulating a new Open Space Plan with huge assistance from the CNY Regional Planning and Development Board, from whom I also secured a $45,000 grant. I would like the opportunity to see both of these projects through to secure completion and adoption. Both give our community a vision for the future and direction for moving forward.
The biggest issue I see facing our town is the toxic algae bloom and the implications for human health, our economy, our policies. We will need to join forces with many individuals, organizations, and government entities to bring about the changes that need to happen. Other issues of importance include affordable housing for young families and seniors, attracting businesses to our town that provide jobs and economic stability, maintaining fiscal responsibility by spending tax dollars wisely, paying our town employees fairly, and keeping watch over development within the watershed. We have a diverse community and all must have a voice and be heard.
In my view the future health of our community will be driven by the health of our lake. I would like to see fewer “McMansions” and more restricted development within the watershed. In accordance with our Comprehensive Plan, development should be encouraged to the north of our town and to some extent in our Eastern Gateway. We are monitoring one tributary to the lake; more need to be done. Long haul trash truck traffic through our village and on our lake roads remains a problem; it is a threat to the lake, pedestrians, visitors, merchants, and our way of life. We need continued advocacy on this issue. The need for municipal water by many town residents with inadequate wells is pressing. Communication and cooperation with our village government is key in this area (as well as in many other areas) and will improve.
My running mate, Connie Brace, and I bring diversity to the town board.Our different career paths and life experiences have enabled us to bring vision, responsibility, sensitivity, and balance to the Board. We promise to continue to work hard for you to reach our common goals.
My Central New York roots go back generations in the Munro family, but I was also fortunate to grow up in an historic home on Franklin Road. This deep heritage is the foundation of my love for our rolling hills and pristine lake. I graduated from Skaneateles High School and Denison University. My professional education and career began in Denver, Colorado until the Finger Lakes called me home. My husband, Paul Higman, and I have lived here for 27 years, raising two SCS grads in the process.
I am a registered architect and associate partner with QPK Design in Syracuse. Representing QPK, I directed the design of the Skaneateles Early Childhood Center and the Skaneateles Village Hall. Taking a page from my work in “Green” design, five years ago I helped found Sustainable Skaneateles with the goal of fostering environmental awareness. My experience has proven invaluable to the Town Board. I personally guided the Austin Pavilion renovations to house the Skaneateles Nursery School while keeping shared use for other community needs.
Completing four years as town councilors, Claire Howard and I have a great working relationship with our next supervisor, Janet Aaron; our future Town Clerk, Julie Stenger; and our Parks Manger, Sue Murphy. I have enjoyed this work, and I believe our residents will benefit from our continuity and experience. Previously, my volunteer work has included: treasurer for the Song Ski Team; working with SCS lacrosse and soccer boosters; managing Presbyterian Church building renovations; and assisting Baltimore Woods’ building project.
Our work is not finished. The town board has critical projects facing us: lake protection, the Stauffer brown field in Skaneateles Falls, mapping changes to the mining overlay district, public water districts, solar projects, development guidelines with potential zoning changes. My professional background will help The Town Board navigate these projects. I pay attention, listen, and collaborate to pursue the right decisions within our means toward the best outcomes for the community. I offer the time and energy to propel valued projects forward, as evidenced by the Skaneateles Nursery School.
The algal blooms in the lake have stunned all of us. We need to uncover the facts. The Skaneateles Party Facebook page is collecting data you can use. Collectively, we can find strategies to address nutrient run-off and tributary management, while protecting the viability of our farms. We will join with our sister lake-front communities to demand that our County, State and federal agencies support funding for critical lake protection projects. I will work hard with our residents, our farm community, the Village Boards, the Skaneateles Lake Association, the Finger Lakes Land Trust, and the other lake watershed communities. Please read on!.
The first goal: heal the lake! But there are many others. Janet Aaron, Claire and I have strong relationships with the village board, so we can work cooperatively to benefit our community, particularly infrastructure. Redevelopment of the Stauffer property, with other degraded properties in The Falls, should move to the forefront of our sights. They have waited too long already. As a Climate Smart Community, the town board is working to reduce energy costs, but there is more to do. Fostering energy independence can also be a “draw” to The Falls. Also, please check out the goals in Randal Arendt’s report for the Eastern Gateway (see the Town website “news”). While maintaining the character of our communities, we can access resources from our regional planning agencies to achieve these goals.
7. What else should voters know about you when making their decision for the election?
I ask tough questions and stand up for fiscal responsibility. With passion, energy, and intelligence, I will continue to nurture our Town as the beautiful home it is now and will b
Nov 18, 2017
Nov 18, 2017
Nov 18, 2017