Former mayor is ready to serve again
PENN YAN--With the upcoming Penn Yan village election March 18, former mayor Leigh MacKerchar wants to continue what he began 12 years ago. MacKerchar is running unopposed for the mayor position, as current Mayor Bob Church is instead seeking a two-year trustee term vacated by Michael Christensen earlier in the year. MacKerchar said some of his top priorities going into his new four-year term include greater cooperation and shared services amongst the townships.
“In serving before, that’s 12 years ago now, I started forward with a lot of things and I see that they are still going that way in some areas,” MacKerchar said. “There’s a piece of property up by the disposal plant we purchased way back when. We still intend to move the village barns up there. We want to consolidate and talk to the other entities like the townships and the school and see if there are any opportunities to share services up there.”
MacKerchar said he would like to “get back to basics on a lot of things,” adding there are a lot of good people to work with at the village. He said some of his long-term plans include street repairs and the replacement of water lines within the village. MacKerchar said it was one of the projects he was working on back when he was mayor previously the village is still working on today. He also said he would like to work on expanding the recreation program and coordinating with other entities in the area.
MacKerchar said he had a few instances as mayor before that made his job more difficult.
“Probably the most difficult thing was we had a grant opportunity that came up real quick for parks and recreation money,” MacKerchar said. “We thought it would be a great idea to tie in Indian Pines to the trail. Well, you’d have thought we had done something awful. We had people up in arms about that thinking we weren’t being honest with them. We had an informational meeting as soon as we could at the grange.”
When discussing future challenges facing the village, MacKerchar said intermunicipal cooperation is one of the things the village needs to focus on. He said there are some deals like Jerusalem’s wastewater treatment agreement he was involved with before he would like to get settled.
MacKerchar said he was excited about the two new hotel projects within the village, adding Church and the board have done an excellent job with each project. He said he was not concerned with there being enough demand for rooms, adding people are coming through the village more frequently than before.
“It’s not just summer anymore,” MacKerchar said.
MacKerchar said he was enthused about the former Penn Yan Marine site development as well.
“It will be good to add to the tax base,” MacKerchar said. “I think they got a real good deal for the village there. I don’t see any real problems with it. [...] The village took the bull by the horns and did it. There are plans to continue the trail out there, which I am very, very glad about. Another one of my concerns is Penn Yan needs to be a little more pedestrian friendly.”
MacKerchar said the village has a lot to offer to developers, including the cheap electric rates and space available in the industrial park. He said he will work with groups like the chamber of commerce, industrial development agency and the county. MacKerchar said there is a lot more cooperation going on at the county level than there was during his first term as mayor.
“It’s very encouraging to see the cooperative nature and the atmosphere that is going on up there,” MacKerchar said.
In regards to Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s proposed tax cap freeze, MacKerchar said it’s a good idea but ties the hands of everyone at the county level on down. He said it would be nice to foster cooperation between municipalities and he thinks the village can do that. However, he said he does not think the results will be what it should be at around a $30 rebate per taxpayer.
“Some people will be a little disappointed when they get their $30 check in the mail,” MacKerchar said. “It’s not a bad idea for everybody to work together though.”
MacKerchar said as far as sharing services he would like to see more done at the recreation level. He said the village and county do not have much of a recreation program and he would like to see more done between Penn Yan, Milo and Jerusalem in that regard.
As far as the village’s current relationship with the county, MacKerchar said it is much better than it was during his first term in office.
“I think they finally realize that Penn Yan is part of the county,” MacKerchar said.
As far as the village budget goes, MacKerchar said he does not forsee any large tax increase while he is in office. He said there are always places the village can save and taking advantage of grant money can be a great help to the village.
MacKerchar said he believes the village has a good board as well and he looks forward to working with them. He said he does not know if he plans to serve multiple four-year terms, but he said he will not rule out the possibility.
“We have the six committees there, and I plan on sitting down with them and setting priorities I want to work with each committee and we will go from there,” MacKerchar said. “A village is only as good as its board of trustees.”