Uncontested race results: Harrietstown, Jay, St. Armand, Tupper Lake
There were a number of uncontested races for local town and village offices around the Tri-Lakes this year.
These candidates ran for office unopposed, so they were guaranteed the seats they ran for. Still, hundreds of voters turned out to support them on the ballot.
Below is a roundup of the results of uncontested races in Tupper Lake, Harrietstown, St. Armand and Jay.
Tupper Lake mayor
Mary Fontana was elected to lead the village of Tupper Lake after running unopposed on the Republican and independent Integrity party lines, taking over the village’s helm after Mayor Paul Maroun, who has held the office for the past 13 years, announced that he was not seeking reelection in July.
She was guaranteed this spot, but 296 people turned out to vote for her on Tuesday. There were also eight write-in votes. There are still also 57 absentee ballots to be counted at a later date.
Fontana, 34, is currently a Tupper Lake Town Council member, but will resign from that post after the town adopts its budget in the coming weeks. She has served on the town council for nearly eight years and spent several months as the interim town supervisor last year after Clint Hollingsworth, who was elected as the town supervisor in November 2021, died from cancer in February 2022.
Maroun initially positioned to oppose Fontana on the ballot for a seventh term, but after she won the Republican Party nomination with a 28-17 vote at the GOP caucus in June, he was not on the ballot and did not seek the Conservative Party’s nomination at a caucus it had planned later in July.
He said after years holding the pressures, frustrations, responsibilities and criticisms of leading the village, he had enough.
At the GOP caucus in June, Fontana said she hoped Maroun would be a “mentor” and let her “shadow him a bit.”
“Past leadership is not to be criticized, but I believe our village government is ready for a fresh perspective,” she wrote for an Enterprise candidate questionnaire.
Fontana said Tupper Lake’s “top issue” is its poor drinking water quality.
The village already has plans underway to potentially solve this issue, but it may be a long process to finally get clean drinking water. Fontana said she hopes to better communicate with the public about the water issue.
“Board meetings occur monthly and have historically not been well attended, I believe we can find new ways of communicating with our constituents to share progress and encourage public participation,” she wrote in the questionnaire.
Coming from the town government, she spoke about getting the two Tupper Lake governments to work together better to save money and build together. Despite efforts to heal the divide, the town and village have had a contentious relationship over the years.
Tupper Lake trustees
David “Haji” Maroun and Leon LeBlanc, both incumbent candidates for the village board of trustees, were elected on Tuesday.
They were running unopposed and were guaranteed these seats. On Tuesday, 225 people voted for LeBlanc and 220 voted for Maroun, both on the Republican Party line.
In an Enterprise candidate questionnaire, Maroun said his main goals on the board are to lower the taxes and make the community safe. He said the biggest problems in town are the police department, which has struggled with low staffing; the water supply, which has been producing discolored water; and housing, as Tupper Lake has been affected by the affordable housing shortage.
LeBlanc has spent around 17 years on the village board, he said. In that time he’s seen the large projects from proposals to completion. Some take time, but he said he supports them all.
“Paul left a lot on the table. I’m gonna miss him,” he said. “We had a lot of good ideas and I hope that we don’t put them on the shelf. It needs to move forward.”
Some of the projects he’d like to support and see move forward are the revitalization of the abandoned Oval Wood Dish factory, the Waterfront Revitalization on Raquette Pond, the building of a new hotel and reopening the Big Tupper Ski Area.
Some of these projects have been discussed for years and would take years more to come to fruition, but LeBlanc has faith in them to eventually come around.
He recalled supporting the Adirondack Rail Trail for years and years, and now trains are pulling back into Tupper Lake and the rail trail is under construction, nearing completion by 2025.
LeBlanc said he hopes for better collaboration between the town and village. He also said the water situation has had setbacks but may have a way out soon.
Tupper Lake town council
Tim Larkin and Crystal Boucher, both newcomers to the Tupper Lake Town Council, were elected on Tuesday. Councilors Mary Fontana and Tracy Luton did not run for reelection, and as Larkin and Boucher ran unopposed, they were guaranteed these seats.
On Tuesday, 397 people voted for Boucher and 392 voted for Larkin, both on the Republican Party line.
Boucher said she wants to continue the town board’s “strong momentum” and believes her ability to listen, analyze and weigh other’s views and opinions will make her a good addition to the board.
She promised to be a steward for all taxpayers and a thoughtful council member.
Larkin has experience in government from his time previously serving on the village board. Now, he said he’d like to work on sorting out the water districts between the village and town. As a member of the Tupper Lake Business Group, he has also talked of wanting to build recreational trails and improve the quality of life in Tupper Lake to attract more young residents.
Tupper Lake staff
Mary Kay Kucipak Strack won election to be Tupper Lake town clerk on Tuesday. She was running unopposed but still garnered 507 votes — 430 on the Republican line and 77 on the independent Maple Leaf Party line.
Town Highway Superintendent William Dechene won re-election after running unopposed with 492 votes — 418 on the Republican line and 74 on the Maple Leaf Party line.
Village Justice Chris Delair won re-election after running unopposed with 291 votes on the Republican line.
Ashley Milne won a second term on the Harrietstown Town Council and Jeremy Evans earned a seat on the board.
They were guaranteed these seats. On Tuesday, 516 people voted for Evans and 506 voted for Milne.
Evans and Milne both got endorsements from both the Republican and Democratic parties. Milne is a Republican and Evans is independently affiliated.
After initially planning to run for his first full term on the board, Harrietstown Councilman Jeff Denkenberger decided not to run in July.
Both Milne and Evans have experience in government.
Milne previously worked for the New York state Assembly, U.S. House of Representatives and Scottish Parliament. She is currently a research consultant for Adirondack Research, working on addressing the childcare issues facing the Adirondack region.
Evans has a Master’s degree in Public Administration and served more than six years on the Saranac Lake Central School District Board of Education. He is currently the CEO of the Franklin County Economic Development Corporation.
Milne said the current makeup of the town board is quiet but effective, and the members all work well together. She describes herself as a voice for the people who don’t speak up and someone who steps up to solve problems first.
In a candidate questionnaire, she said in another term on the board she hopes to address the broadband and childcare deserts in the area, to promote inclusivity in the community through events and provide economic sustainability for small business owners like herself and her husband, Andrew.
The key issue Evans described in his candidate questionnaire was housing, which he called a “crisis.”
“We know we have a crisis and although town government can’t solve it we must do everything we can,” he wrote.
He hopes to lead the town to work closely with the new Franklin County Land Bank.
Evans also said the rising costs of living and of operating the town are a challenge.
“We have to keep the cost of government in check so that the town doesn’t become unaffordable for residents,” he wrote.
He believes he can find grants and ways to share services to cut costs to taxpayers.
Evans also said he wants to improve town parks.
St. Armand council
Karl Law won a second term on the St. Armand Town Council and Donna Whitelaw earned a seat on the board.
They were running unopposed and were guaranteed these seats. On Tuesday, 129 people voted for Law on the Republican line and 121 voted for Whilelaw on the independent Integrity party line.
Law said he was “completely green” going into his first year as councilman five years ago. He thanked the voters who “took a chance” on him then. Before this election, he said: “I’m not green anymore.” For the past two years he has served as the town’s deputy supervisor.
His main goal is to stay under the 2% state tax cap with the town’s annual budget, and said he’s been successful thus far.
In the coming years, he hopes the town can upkeep its roads with an ongoing battle between and “amazing highway department” and “brutal” winters.
He hopes to work with the state Department of Environmental Conservation to get a sufficient parking area around Moody Pond Road for hikers going up Mount Baker.
Whitelaw, who has been a member of the St. Armand Veterans Task Force, said she thinks the board has been doing a “wonderful job” and she wants to be a part of that. She’s an avid volunteer who said she wants to continue to build “community spirit, safety and prosperity” in St. Armand.
Patrick M. Devlin was elected town justice on the Republican party line after running unopposed. He garnered 276 votes, and six write-ins did not sway his win.
Olivia Dwyer, who ran on the Democratic and independent Jay Together party lines, and incumbent Thomas McDonald, who ran on the Republican party line, also secured their four-year terms on the town council after running unopposed. Dwyer received 267 votes and McDonald received 224. There were 16 write-in votes in the race.