LAKE PLACID - Voters will have three choices for two open seats on the village Board of Trustees when they head to the polls Tuesday.
Art Devlin, Dave Jones and Scott Monroe are vying for four-year trustee terms. Devlin and Jones are running as a team with Mayor Craig Randall, who is unopposed in his re-election bid. Bill Hulshoff is running unopposed for another term as village justice.
The News interviewed the three trustee candidates this week. They were each asked the same set of questions, and their responses have, in some cases, been edited for length.
Lake Placid News: Why are you running?
Devlin: For the exact same reasons I ran four years ago. Lake Placid has been very good to me. I'm at a point in my life where I can give back, and that's what I want to do. The only difference now, running four years later, is I have that much more experience from four years on the board and I want to put that to good use.
Jones: I'm running because the mayor and Art Devlin asked me to run with them as a team, and I felt very honored. Lake Placid has been my hometown all my life - born and raised here. ... It's strictly love of community. The only reason why I'd even consider running is my love of Lake Placid.
Art Devlin is owner of Art Devlin's Olympic Motor Inn, which he bought from his father in 1992 to prevent another developer from buying the property and turning it into a strip mall. Devlin, 55, joined the village Board of Trustees in 2009, when he ran as a team with Mayor Craig Randall and Trustee Zay Curtis, who will step down when his current term expires.
Dave Jones is a freelance videographer who also does some part-time construction work. Jones, 62, has more than two decades of experience in local politics, having served on the village Board of Trustees from 1989 to 2011.
Scott Monroe has 24 years of law-enforcement experience under his belt. For six of those years, he served as chief of the Lake Placid Police Department; he retired in 2011. Monroe, 46, currently serves as dog control officer for the town of North Elba, a position that pays $10,000 per year but doesn't include any benefits.
Monroe: My main reason for running is I don't agree with the concept of three people running together as a team. I believe the board should consist of five independent individuals with their own individual views, thoughts, concepts - and they bring those to the table and the five of them work together as a group.
Lake Placid News: Why should someone vote for you?
Monroe: Any issues that come up, I'm going to investigate myself, educate myself on that issue and I'm going to make the best decision that I think is in the best interest of the people of the village of Lake Placid. I'm not necessarily going to do it because another board member wants to - it's going to be my own independent view as to what I think is right for the village. I don't think that's necessarily being done at this time because there is always a unanimous vote on just about everything. I'm not hearing other view points coming out on the board.
Devlin: Four years ago we were asked to come into office and run because they did not like what they saw and the directions the village was going in. We ran as a party of three, and the village put a lot of trust in us. I feel we have done everything they have asked of us, and I feel we've come through with flying colors. ... I feel there are many pressing issues that will continue to go on in the village and will continue to go on for years to come. I feel that we want to continue doing what we did for the last four years.
Jones: I think experience matters. I do have a 22-year history with running the village. I served under all six mayors since Bob Peacock. I do have a history: I can recollect things, what other boards have done and avenues to pursue. I'm an honest man. I'm transparent.
Lake Placid News: What are the biggest issues the village faces in the next four years?
Jones: The toughest thing is to maintain services and keep the taxes down underneath the 2 percent tax cap. That's a challenge in any government, at any level, statewide. The 2 percent tax cap is very difficult, especially when salaries generally increase every year, health insurance costs are increasing, assessments are going down - so it's a very difficult thing. I think the current board has done a tremendous job keeping those taxes underneath the 2 percent tax cap.
Monroe: One issue is always taxes: to try to keep them in check and not to raise them. The trunk line sewer project is something that's obviously going to affect the taxes. Parking is always an issue. But I would say that taxes is the one main thing. The village needs to keep those intact by creatively going through the budget, finding things and re-doing them and trying to find revenue. Or, worst case scenario, you may have to find things that you may have to cut.
Devlin: We need to look for ways to make the village more efficient and continue to ensure that tax dollars are spent wisely, provide reasonable wages and benefits for our skilled village employees, continue to keep our infrastructure up, continue to search for answers to traffic flow in the village and parking concerns, continue to find ways to maintain village services while remaining under the 2 percent tax cap, and finish the trunk sewer line.
Lake Placid News: Is the village doing a good job of keeping taxes down while keeping up with infrastructure projects and other needed expenditures, like equipment purchases?
Devlin: Infrastructure was our biggest challenge coming into office. ... The biggest concern was that our mandate obligations, our shrinking funds and our contractual obligations would eat up our entire budget. We had to do something or we wouldn't keep our infrastructure up. If you look around, we finished the lift station on Station Street, our village parks in conjunction with our service clubs have been kept up, a new roof at the electric department, sandblasting and protecting the digester tanks at the sewer plant and making sure that plant is kept up - the minute you let things like that go, it becomes replacement costs at triple or four times the cost of maintaining it.