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SCHUYLER COUNTY   ADVERTISEMENT

Schuyler Candidate Profiles for the Nov. 5 general election

The candidate profiles cover the contested elections that will appear on the Tuesday, Nov. 5 ballots. Uncontested races and write-in candidates are not listed. The information was supplied by the candidates in response to the REVIEW&EXPRESS’ questionnaire that was sent to the candidates in the past three weeks. If a candidate’s comments are not listed, the newspaper did not receive a returned questionnaire. In some instances, responses have been edited due to space considerations.
All candidates were asked two questions:
1.) What is the most important issue facing Schuyler County?
2.) What are your top three priorities if elected?

Schuyler County

DISTRICT 1 (CATHARINE AND CAYUTA)
Candidates on the ballot:
Michael Burns
Barbara Halpin
Glenn R. Larison
(Vote for one)

MICHAEL BURNS
Education: B.A. Psychology: SUNY Geneseo, M.A. education: D’Youville College, additional coursework in design, geography and sociology.
Prior government experience: Current chair of the town of Catharine planning board.
1.) Schuyler County needs a moderate, pragmatic voice in the county legislature that will focus on building small businesses and farms.
2.) My first priority is to expand the transparency of Schuyler County’s government. An “open source” government is more responsive to the wishes and needs of citizens regarding taxes, development, public safety and more. My other priorities include promoting local businesses within and beyond the county borders, especially our small farms and tourism industry. I love the abundant wildlife habitat that allows great opportunities for hunting, fishing and other outdoor recreation and pledge to protect these natural assets.

BARBARA HALPIN
(Incumbent)
Education: Bachelor of professional studies from Empire State College.
Prior government experience: Town of Catharine zoning board of appeals member; Schuyler County legislator 1991-1997 including one year as chair; Schuyler County legislator 2010-present.
1.) There are several and it is difficult to rank one as more important than the other. High effective real property tax rates. Assessed values continue to rise but the tax base isn’t expanding enough leaving those who have lived in Schuyler much or most of their lives paying ever increasing taxes. A lack of reasonable paying year-round jobs. A lack of housing. There are multiple layers of government that could reasonably be consolidated.
2.) Reduce the size of governments overall by consolidation, smarter implementation and increasing the tax base through focused economic development, both of which should serve to decrease tax rates. Focused economic development will also serve to increase the number of good jobs. Focus on policies that will serve to maintain the qualities that are important to Schuyler residents but at the same time increase the standard of living.

GLENN R. LARISON
(Incumbent)
Education: High school, 45 years in business.
Prior government experience: Twelve year member of the school board, 15 years county legislature.
1.) The ever increasing need for more taxes. We need to still function and serve the public. Research problems that confront us and respond in the best interest of all.
2.) Budgets that are transparent that provide opportunities for economic growth. 2.) Resolutions that enable continual growth for the local businesses while protecting local resources. 3.) Provide safety and security for all residents and support those most needy among us.

DISTRICT 2 (SOUTH HECTOR)
Candidates on the ballot:
Shirley Barton
Van A. Harp
(Vote for one)

SHIRLEY BARTON
Education: B.S. from Cornell University in microbiology. Teacher certification from University of Rhode Island.
Prior government experience: No elected office.
1.) Our county is continuously challenged by large, out-of-state corporations, having gained equal footing in the courts of our land by having “personhood.” With the promise of good jobs, the reality of the petroleum mining industry brings boom and bust impacts, while destroying our agricultural and tourist-based businesses. This large industry’s goal is to sell our resources to off-shore countries, bypassing Americans, for it really is a “free market” out there.
2.) Support small businesses, honestly and openly. They are the country’s job creation engines. We should encourage these enterprises across the county and in every town. 2.) Sustainable energy. It is crucial for our nation and for our county and towns. We can develop coalitions that have a single purpose, to save energy for our future children to thrive with solar arrays on every building and solar heated hot water systems. 3.) Sustaining and increasing community services for our citizens. We should be focussed on getting funding sources, foundations, grants, etc. The older citizens deserve help, given their past service to our communities.

VAN A. HARP
Education: BBA, University of Toledo. Leadership and Executive Development, Federal Bureau of Investigation.
Prior government experience: Thirty-three years in the Federal Bureau of Investigation; served in five field offices in Little Rock, Ark.; Detroit, Mich.; Pittsburg, Pa.; Cleveland, Oh.; Washington, D.C..; and two assignments at FBIHQ.
1.) I believe Schuyler County must have disciplined, engaged leadership to overcome the fragmented and unfocused approach to governance; e.g. budget and spending control in order to address voter and county needs rather than “wants.”
2.) Disciplined and engaged leadership working in concert with the public, all legislators and town and village leaders. 2.) Open and responsive engagement with the public to identify, prioritize and fix today’s difficult issues. 3.) I have the “ability and will to act” for “we the people.” I will not simply talk about problems. I will analyze, study, research and engage the public, policy makers and relevant leaders to identify core solutions to today’s difficult civic problems. Then I will gain consensus and positively act for the peoples’ interests.

DISTRICT 3 (NORTH HECTOR)
Candidates on the ballot:
Michael Lausell
John R. White
(Vote for one)

MICHAEL LAUSELL
Education: Law degree from Syracuse University.
Prior government experience: None.
1.) The most important issue facing the county is how to stimulate economic development. I support the continuing diversification of our local agriculture and efforts to encourage small business development.
2.) Advance the planning and design of a new water treatment facility to replace the antiquated existing plants in Watkins Glen and Montour Falls. We have no choice, we are under a consent order, and it is essential this project be completed to allow for continued growth. 2.) Study public transportation options to neighboring counties to facilitate access to existing jobs. Tompkins County has an unemployment rate that is half of ours. We should exploit that. 3.) Implement single stream recycling countywide to generate revenue from the materials sold and reduce our costs of disposing of solid waste.

JOHN R. WHITE
Education: Twelve years, Trumansburg Central Schools.
Prior government experience: Board of Education, Trumansburg Central Schools, nine years, vice-president July 2009-July 2011, president July 2011-July 2013. Policy and finance committee member. Not for profit board of directors member last 12 years.
1.) The economy is job one. Working with state, and private entities seeking creation of meaningful and lasting employment opportunities. One job at a time. While tourism is a great draw, with financial benefit to the Schuyler community, its employment opportunities are generally seasonal. My attempt would be year round employment, with living wage pay the rule rather than the exception.
2.) Clear, open and transparent government: Efficient use of resources between all levels of government. Live video feed of all county legislative meetings to include each committee meeting, via the internet for community members. Proper utilization and sharing of sales tax revenue, between county and town governments. Schuyler County in the past shared such revenue with each township. Due in part to mounting expenses at the county level, along with diminished revenues, the legislature restricted by 20 percent the amount it shared in 2013. Lastly, an open working dialog between town and county governments, as both are representatives of its constituency.

DISTRICT 4 (HECTOR AND MONTOUR FALLS)
Candidates on the ballot:
Paul Cartwright
James W. D. Howell Jr.
(Vote for one)

JAMES W. D. HOWELL JR.
Education: Lansing high school. SUNY Delhi.
Prior government experience: Manager of the Schuyler County Watershed Protection Agency for more than 30 years. Commissioner of the Finger Lakes Parks and Historic Preservation Commission. Village of Montour Falls zoning board of appeals, planning board and trustee for four years.
1.) I believe the most important issue facing the county is sluggish growth of the tax base. The governor and his staff have identified Watkins Glen and its surrounding communities as a great place for economic development in tourism. The Southern Tier Economic Development Zone has already received millions of dollars earmarked for the growth of this region, which is set to launch.
2.) “Project Seneca” is an aggressive project geared toward the development of the Seneca Lake waterfront involving the entire shoreline within the village of Watkins Glen. I serve on this committee with several other forward-thinking people to enhance the economic health of our community. Secondly, I strongly support term limits for legislators of three terms and out. Thirdly, the county’s fund balance or savings account is precariously low to the point where tough decisions will have to be made to strengthen the budget to prevent borrowing to stay under the state mandated tax cap.

Schuyler Towns

All candidates were asked one question:
1.) What are your top three priorities if elected?

DIX SUPERVISOR
Candidates on the ballot:
Harold Russell
Scott Yaw
(Vote for one)

HAROLD RUSSELL
(Incumbent)
Education: AAS degree in business administration.
Prior government experience: Eight years as town councilman and deputy supervisor, four years as Dix town supervisor.
1.) I will continue to support our fire departments, promote agritourism and recycling. Completion of the Project Seneca Consolidation study and the improvements to our infrastructure, when completed will benefit our community and the environment. Controlling taxes and streamlining costs begins at the local level.

SCOTT YAW
Education: Associates degree in criminal justice and certification in automotive from Corning Community College.
Prior government experience: Town of Dix councilman from 2006-present.
1.) Promote transparency in all aspects of town operations with emphasis concerning expenditures, contracts and growth. Manage spending and advocate for shared services and establish a better working environment with other governmental agencies and service providers. Support keeping Camp Monterey open to save jobs and minimize local expenses.

DIX TOWN COUNCIL
Candidates on the ballot:
Jeffrey J. Meehan
Craig W. Gardner
F. Joe Hammond
(Vote for two)

JEFFREY J. MEEHAN
 (Incumbent)
Education: Two-year college.
Prior government experience: Eight years as town councilman.
1.) I will do my best to see our tax dollars are being spent correctly.

HECTOR TOWN COUNCIL (four-year term)
Candidates on the ballot:
Daryl Anderson
Melissa Chipman
Debra Reid
Michael J. Bergen
Beverly N. Morley
Alvin J. White
(Vote for three)

DARYL ANDERSON
Education: Masters in education from Syracuse University.
Prior government experience: None.
1.)  I would move immediately to protect the health, water and economy of Hector from the dangers of hydro-fracking. I would pursue initiatives to expand the tax base and encourage small-business and small-agricultural enterprises throughout Hector. I would work to restructure the format of town board meetings to increase the level of participation by and communication with the people of Hector to provide more open and responsive government.

MELISSA CHIPMAN
Education: Eight years private elementary, four years public high school, four years college FLSM 1996.
Prior government experience: Two years in the social security department.
1.) Open, honest and responsive government. 2.) Pass a moratorium on horizontal hydraulic fracturing. Then take a second poll or survey to determine what the majority wants. 3.) Improve access to Hector’s recycling and maybe include better recycling for all of Schuyler County.

DEBRA REID
Education: AAS human services.
Prior government experience: Thirty years as a human services professional at the county level.
1.) I would like to see more open and responsive government. I will work with the citizens of Hector on communication surrounding recycling, smart energy and communication in general.

MICHAEL J. BERGEN
(Incumbent)
Education: Odessa-Montour Central School and SUNY Morrisville.
Prior government experience: Hector town council for eight years and Schuyler County planning commission for six years.
1.) I will continue working for better roads. While state and federal money gets lower, I will work to upgrade old roads and maintain new roads. I will keep the budget and taxes low. The town of Hector is one of the largest towns in the state. I will continue to do the best job for the people and maintain the current services. I will do a better job responding to people’s requests. I would like to see more interaction between the residents and the board by organizing a way for people to get their concerns to us and addressing them.

BEVERLY N. MORLEY
Education: High school, former real estate broker, New York State certified tax assessor, assessor seminars at Cornell University.
Prior government experience: Town of Hector tax assessor for 33 years.
1.) Low taxes. 2.) Safe and good repaired roads. 3.) Work in the best interest of all the taxpayers.

ALVIN J. WHITE
(Incumbent)
Education: High school graduate from Odessa-Montour, some college.
Prior government experience: Town council for 16 years, six years Schuyler County planning committee.
1.) First, I will work to keep the town taxes low but also provide the same services. I will work with the county representatives to assure the town maintains its fair share of the sales tax and assure unfunded mandates aren’t passed on to the town. My second priority is the town must maintain a long-term road maintenance and equipment replacement plan to budget appropriately and to provide adequate roads. Finally, I will work for less government and maintain individual and property rights.

HECTOR TOWN COUNCIL (two-year term)
Candidates on the ballot:
Bo Lipari
S. David Poyer
(Vote for one)

S. DAVID POYER
Education: High school graduate, two-year technical school.
Prior government experience: Town councilman for 12 years.
1.) I have a five year plan to address our roads, to assure they are improved and maintained. I want to keep our tax base at the cap rate without losing any services to our residents. I am open to listen to anyone who wishes to discuss town issues, to listen with an open mind and do the right thing for the majority of residents.

TYRONE TOWN COUNCIL
Candidates on the ballot:
Christopher Bason
Alan Hurley
Pamela Grimmke
 (Vote for two)

CHRISTOPHER BASON
Education: Graduate of Hammondsport Central School.
Prior government experience: None.
1.) My top three priorities when elected are: Communication—Communicating with taxpayers is of the utmost importance in our township. People need to know what decisions their elected officials are making to better our township. Unity—getting all the political parties to work together is a must if we are to resolve our township problems. We must unify to do this. Audits—Our township has not had an outside, independent audit in years. This is not acceptable. Every businessman knows you must have an audit to know where your business stands and to find a better way to go forward.

ALAN HURLEY
Education: Did not provide.
Prior government experience: Did not provide.
1.) First I would focus on controlling spending through analyzing the town’s budget, and make improvement by way of the town’s second issue, the lack of a independent audit. Our town hasn’t had an independent audit in more than 10 years and counting. The last issue I will focus on, is the town’s meeting process which is lacking in awareness, public information offered  and public participation due to back room meetings which do not comply with the New York State open meetings law.

PAMELA GRIMMKE
(Incumbent)
Education: Bachelor of science in nursing.
Prior government experience: member of Tyrone town council from 2010-2013.
1.) In addition to finding ways to diminish increasing financial challenges, there are three areas  very important to the residents of the town of Tyrone that I will focus on if elected: attraction of small businesses to our rural community, preservation of our varying valuable watersheds, marshlands, lakes and streams, and increased provision and access of our residents to health services, specifically in-home assistance and home health care.

CAYUTA TOWN COUNCIL
Candidates on the ballot:
William Barrett
Ted Dudgeon
Steven Brown
 (Vote for two)