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Mayoral candidates answer questions

Art Devlin, left, and Jamie Rogers (Photos provided)

Art Devlin

Occupation: Motel owner

Position sought: Village mayor

Party: Republican, Teamwork

Why are you running for this position?

¯ Because I care deeply about the village I was born and raised in

¯ To continue the work that we have put in place for the last 12 years

¯ To see the Main Street, water plant, World University Games and other projects that the village has in the works brought to a successful conclusion.

What are your qualifications?

¯ My 40-plus years in business with 28 of those years as owner and operator of the Olympic Motor Inn

¯ The past 12 years on the village board, with the last eight years of which being deputy mayor

¯ My bachelor’s degree in business management from SUNY Plattsburgh

¯ My 23 years of service to volunteer organizations such as Mercy Care for the Adirondacks and the Lake Placid Ecumenical Food Pantry.

What are your main goals?

¯ Continue to spend every tax dollar wisely and stay within the governor’s tax cap.

¯ Retain our highly qualified department heads and their support personnel, both paid and volunteer.

¯ Continue to keep our infrastructures and equipment up to date.

¯ Maintain our village services.

¯ Continue the fight to retain village residents living here and make it possible for those wishing to live here, to do so.

¯ Continue to make the village government more transparent.

What do you think are the three biggest problems in the village, and how do you propose solving them?

1. Workforce/affordable housing: Through continued work with the land code, review board and vacation rental permit process, to monitor and observe the three new housing projects to make sure we derive the maximum benefit for both village and town.

2. Maintaining a balanced budget while retaining our qualified workforce and our plant and equipment while staying within the governor’s tax cap: Spend all tax dollars wisely, and continue to look for more government efficiencies and shared services. Continue to treat all village employees fairly, and continue the floating preventative maintenance program and reserve funding for major equipment purchases.

3. To make sure that future growth is a good fit for the people of Lake Placid: Work closely with the Lake Placid/North Elba Community Development Commission and comprehensive plan. Work with the destination management plan spearheaded by the Regional Office of Sustainable Tourism. Continue to refine the vacation rental permit to ensure that vacation rentals are good neighbors and not a problem. Work with mobility grant to address public transportation, sidewalks and bike lanes.

Other comments:

For the past 29 years at the Olympic Motor Inn, my style of leadership has been to seek out as many opinions and ideas as I can and then work as a team to get the desired results. I am also a delegator and like to bring as many people to the task as I can. It not only makes for a better job, but it also helps to train the next generation of workers. If elected mayor, this is the style of leadership I will bring to the village.

I would like the voters to know that for the past 12 years, I’ve done everything asked of me and more as a trustee and deputy mayor.

If elected mayor, I fully understand that I will be putting in more time. For those of you who know me, I give 100% to everything and take pride in the work that I do. The bottom line is that I will put in the time it takes to get the job done. I am fully aware that I will be spending a lot more time here in the winter.

Jamie Rogers

Occupation: Currently working for Tri-Lakes Marine restoring antique wooden boats

Position sought: Village mayor

Party: Common Sense

Why are you running for this position?

I love this community. I care deeply about the health and future of our beloved home. We have been treading water for 12 years without vision or advancement. It is time to live up to our potential. It is time for change! I have always been forward thinking and have always had a vision for our future. I believe I am the one qualified to get us there.

What are your qualifications?

I served on the board for nine years: three as village trustee, two as deputy mayor and four as mayor. In my four years as mayor, we completed Mid’s Park, Mill Pond Drive and the repaving of Main Street. We implemented several parking upgrades and expanded public transportation. We introduced multiple energy efficiency projects including the very successful Boy Scout Light Bulb Program. This program saved our community 2 megawatts of power annually, at a time when we were facing serious power issues. We completed a $14 million sewage treatment plant upgrade. While this upgrade was necessary, we had another related issue. We worked with local, state and federal officials to secure funding for an equally important upgrade to the main trunk sewer line. And for the first time in the history of the village, we implemented asset management planning and multi-year budgeting.

What are your main goals?

My main goal is to promote the well-being and future of Lake Placid. In order to accomplish this, the board needs to work together, seek input from our department heads and, most importantly, be transparent. Communication is key. We need to listen to our residents and visitors. We also need to expand on cultural and economic diversity. I will strive to make sure today’s decisions will improve this community’s future. I have a proven track record of accomplishing my main goals.

What do you think are the three biggest problems in the village, and how do you propose solving them?

I don’t think in terms of problems. I think in terms of short-term and mid-term challenges. The solution to any challenge is to build a diverse team. Diversity in opinions and thoughts is what breeds creative solutions and innovative ideas.

For the short-term challenges, the most pressing will be the Main Street construction project. Not only will this directly impact the businesses, it will impact their employees and families as well. Having been through one Main Street project already, I know that you have to be incredibly organized. Parking areas and public transportation are critical and need to be well coordinated. It is imperative to communicate as much information as possible with residents, businesses and visitors to ensure that Main Street remains vibrant and that our businesses survive during this project. I know there is work being done on a communication plan, not only for the Main Street project but also for government communication as a whole. I plan to provide as much support to this project as possible. I have also reached out to Stowe and Waterbury, Vermont. These two communities, very similar to ours, have just completed their own two-year Main Street revitalization projects. I have reached out to them to get their thoughts and ideas and to see how we could learn from their experience. I received some great feedback, including some very creative ideas to promote the local businesses, which I believe we should adopt.

The other immediate challenge that needs our attention is Mirror Lake. We need to continue efforts to address the salt issue. Some progress has been made as we saw the lake turn over this fall for the first time in several years. We also need to move quickly to remove harmful Styrofoam from underneath docks. Addressing these two issues is just the start. We need to be diligent in the long-term stewardship of preserving this lake for years to come. I look forward to working with the town, the Mirror Lake Watershed Association and the Ausable River Association. I have a long history of working with all of these organizations.

As for mid-term challenges, I will continue to look at workforce housing, short-term rentals and parking.

Parking has been an ongoing challenge since the first nickel was dropped into a meter. As former mayor, I worked hard on solutions to this very issue. I implemented permit parking, which at the time was meant to be an affordable management tool. Unfortunately, it has since been turned into a revenue source creating hardship for Main Street employees and residents. I believe we need to address this. As deputy mayor, I initiated our public transportation system within the village. “Take the Free Ride!” As mayor, I expanded it to the entire community. We need to embrace the latest technology, such as mobile apps, to enhance the system even further. I do believe it is time for a parking garage on Main Street. However, it needs to be done thoughtfully with the community and environment in mind.

In regard to housing, again, I believe we need to be creative in our thinking to find a balance between workforce housing, short-term rentals and full-time residents. Camoin Associates prepared a Housing Needs Assessment for our community in early 2020. One of the most striking points to come out of this assessment states, “The Town of North Elba and Village of Lake Placid are facing a workforce housing crisis.” I serve on the board of directors for the Homestead Development Corporation. In response to this need, we have a project in progress to build six houses and 16 condominiums on donated land. Each unit will be sold at cost. We believe that this is a viable model that the community can build upon for the future. Another point that was identified is that our “Community is Losing Families and Children and its Population is Aging.” We must find a way for younger generations to live and thrive in this community. The Camoin Housing Needs Assessment has valuable information that will help us achieve this goal.

Other comments to voters:

The village has a general fund budget of $6.6 million. The general fund covers all costs except water, sewer and electric, which are separate funds. The fund balance, which is money left over at the end of each year, is now $6.1 million. This is well beyond what the Office of State Comptroller recommends for any fund balance. This means that over the last 12 years, we as taxpayers have been overtaxed.

We all love this community. It’s time to get its well-being and future in balance. I am ready to give my best to these challenges.

Resume

1999 to 2003: Village Trustee

2003 to 2005: Deputy Mayor

2005 to 2009: Mayor

2005 to 2009: Served on the following during my term as Mayor.

¯ New York State Conference of Mayors Executive Committee

¯ Governor’s Commission on Local Government Efficiency and Competitiveness

2009 to 2019: Employed by Adirondack North Country Association.

¯ New York State Energy Research and Development Authority — administered multiple energy efficiency grant programs

¯ Clean Energy Communities Program — lead coordinator for seven northern counties in New York state. This program provides assistance to local governments in completing energy efficiency upgrades.

2009 to current: Essex County Industrial Development Agency board member. The primary purpose of this agency is to provide business loans and assistance to Essex County businesses.

2009 to current: North Elba Board of Assessment Review and current board chairman.

2019 to current employment:

¯ Steve Sama Construction Inc., carpenter

¯ Tri-Lakes Marine, LLC, boat restoration

2020 to current: Homestead Development Corp., charter board member. The mission of this organization is to provide solutions for workforce housing.

Volunteer work: Lake Placid-North Elba Appearance Committee, North Elba Tree Board (chair), Ecumenical Food Pantry, Lake Placid Volunteer Ambulance Squad, former member of Lake Placid Rotary Club and Paul Harris Fellow recipient

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