SARANAC LAKE - Two political veterans won seats on the Harrietstown board Tuesday, but a newcomer was the top vote getter.
Meanwhile, the town board will now have a Democratic Party majority for the first time in recent memory.
Retired state Department of Corrections employee Ed Goetz, a Democrat, received the most votes in a three-way race for two, four-year terms on the board, collecting 567 votes.
Ed Goetz smiles Tuesday night at the Harrietstown Town Hall.
(Enterprise photo — Chris Knight)
Veteran town Councilman Ron Keough, a Republican, was also elected to another term. He received 540 votes.
Former deputy town clerk Patricia Meagher, a Republican, came up short in her first run for elected office, but still had a strong showing. She received 515 votes.
In the race for a two-year seat, Democrat Howard Riley defeated Gerald Gillmett, who's an independent but was endorsed by the Republican and Conservative parties, 549 to 346.
Goetz told the Enterprise he was "astonished" to have received the most votes and said he was "still in a bit of a daze."
"Hopefully the voters have asked me to be their voice, and I will be their voice, and I hope that's the direction we head in," he said.
During the campaign, Goetz had said he didn't feel like the concerns of the people were being heard and said he was concerned about the town's "spending habits," particularly at the town-run Adirondack Regional Airport. He said Tuesday he plans to waste no time in getting to work for the taxpayers.
"I will take the budget apart, and I'll sit down and see where we can cut and what we can't cut," Goetz said.
Keough said he was pleased with the results, although he acknowledged it was a close race.
"I'm just happy that the voters had confidence in me to bring me back again," he said.
Keough added that he feels he can work well with the new members of the board. He said the election hasn't changed the priorities for the town.
"You have a retaining wall behind this building that needs to be replaced, the structural issues with the town hall, some issues that need to be addressed at the business park, the budget continues to be monitored, Dewey Mountain, the website, ROOST (the Regional Office of Sustainable Tourism) - the issues and the needs of the taxpayers didn't change," Keough said. "Just the people who are going to deal with how you get the job done, that's the only thing that changed."
Even though she didn't win, Meagher said she wasn't discouraged with the results because the race was so close.
"It was very tight, and a couple good guys won so I'll be keeping an eye on them," she said. "I said going into it that if I win, I win, and if I don't, I don't and I can try another time."
Riley rejoins the board after a six-year absence. He was a councilman from 2004 to 2008. He's also a former town justice and Saranac Lake village mayor, trustee and manager. He said he was happy with his showing Tuesday.
"I think my being around for so long and my experience probably gave me a leg up," Riley said.
Riley said he's eager to work on several items, including projects at the airport and finding ways to increase use of the town hall.
"There's a whole lot of projects, and I'm just anxious to work with the new board," he said.
Gillmett shook hands with Riley and congratulated him, but he left the Harrietstown Town Hall before the Enterprise could speak with him.
The election results mean the town board will now have a Democratic majority for the first time in a long time, with Goetz and Riley joining fellow Democrat Nichole Meyette. Keough and town Supervisor Bob Bevilacqua are both Republicans.
Bevilacqua told the Enterprise Tuesday night that he doesn't think party politics has ever been or will be much of an issue on the local level and that he's confident the new board will work well together.
Contact Chris Knight at 518-891-2600 ext. 24 or firstname.lastname@example.org.