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ELECTION: 3 vie for 2 seats on North Elba Town Council

November 3, 2017
By GLYNIS HART - For the News (news@lakeplacidnews.com) , Lake Placid News

Voters in the town of North Elba have a choice of three candidates for two positions on the town council on Tuesday, Nov. 7. Incumbents Derek Doty (Democratic Party) and Jack Favro (Community Party) have been joined in the race by local attorney Brian "Liam" Kennelly, also on the Democratic ticket.

All candidates were asked the same questions:

1. How long have you lived here?

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2. Why are you running for town council (again)?

3. What special skills or experience do you have that make you the best candidate?

4. What challenges are facing the board in the upcoming term?

5. What achievements on the board or in community service are you most proud of?

6. What are you hoping to achieve during your term of office?

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Derek Doty

Doty has lived in the town of North Elba for 60 years, or his whole life.

"I am running again primarily to finish ongoing projects that will have very positive impacts on the town," said Doty.

He said he hopes that in the next two years the council will make significant progress on the problem of diminishing numbers of long-term rental units to house people in the workforce and their families.

Current issues that Doty has his eye on include the building of a biodigester to handle organic wastes at the town transfer station, and the acceptance of a vacation rental permit system.

"As a property manager," Doty wrote in an email, "I bring a level of expertise to the board that centers around an understanding of infrastructure and day to day operations that quite often prove beneficial to board decisions. We are a very diverse board with each member contributing a unique strength."

Doty wrote that no great feats are achieved by a single board member and that working as a group is the key to success, "even though each person may lead any issue to fruition." During his time on the board, he said it has worked on efficient budgets, good employee relations and prudent purchasing.

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Jack Favro

Favro, a native of Lake Placid, has lived here for all but three years of his life.

Asked what inspired him to run again, Favro responded by email: "Being a native, I realize how hard it can be to make a living and provide for a family in North Elba. It's not only hard for a young family, it's also hard for seniors. I've committed myself to give back to the community and work to make it the best place to live for all residents.

"I've learned that government needs strong diverse leaders, who can discuss issues, come to an agreement and then move forward to a common goal. I'm proud, inspired and at the same time humbled to be part of the current board that puts the community first.

Favro's service to the community includes membership in Lake Placid's fire department, including serving as chief. As the U.S. Olympic Training Center director, Favro is responsible for a $4 million budget and 40 to 200 workers at a time.

"I know first-hand what it is like and how hard it is to get your first house in North Elba," Favro wrote. "My first house required a total rebuild and a lot of helping hands from my family to make it livable." To solve the affordable housing crisis in North Elba, Favro wrote that the board should implement a vacation rental permit program, "the purpose being to ID rental units, ensure safety standards and require local management." He'd like to establish a housing council to identify homes that can be obtained and refurbished to be affordable for the local workforce. He'd also like to host a forum to define the community's needs and define what is affordable.

During his four terms on the town council, Favro is most proud of eliminating the highway tax for Lake Placid and Saranac Lake village residents, having an equipment replacement plan in place for all departments, updating all town office computers, having large fiber-optic lines installed into the town hall for future internet expansion, consolidating positions within the town "to become more fluid and service minded," securing $5.6 million in grants for the Lake Placid Airport and a $713,000 state grant for Newman Park, the lacrosse fields, the lake steward program, passing veterans' and seniors' tax exemptions, consolidating all water and sewer districts, stabilizing the town-wide tax rates and trimming Olympic Regional Development Authority payments.

In the future, he would like to find a solution for disposal of food waste at the transfer station, "through a biodigester system or an alternative method," as well as finding a way to recycle construction and demolition materials, possibly into fuel, "with a goal to lessen C&D on site."

Other plans are to continue support for world-class tourist and athletic events, and rebuilding the North Elba section of sidewalk around Mirror Lake in Lake Placid.

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Brian "Liam" Kennelly

Brian "Liam" Kennelly graduated from Lake Placid High School in 2000 and returned to practice law in 2011.

Asked what inspired him to run, Kennelly wrote, "A strong passion to better my community especially to keep young people from moving away and attract young families to live and work locally.

"I run my own successful small business and have represented clients before numerous Town planning boards," Kennelly wrote. He said he is most proud of starting his own law firm in the town where he grew up.

"The most important challenge facing the Town of North Elba is the utter lack of safe and affordable housing," Kennelly wrote. "My apartment building burned down in July, 2015 and despite having sufficient resources I was unable to find comparable housing. Most of my neighbors who lost their homes became internally displaced and were forced to leave the area. Many of these victims were the young and educated people this community needs to survive and thrive.

"The town must use every tool at its disposal to address this issue, including the leasing or selling of town property."

Kennelly sees the opioid epidemic as a public health crisis affecting the entire community.

"The Town needs to support its first responders and provide healthy alternatives to drugs and alcohol," he wrote.

Another item Kennelly would like to act on is to establish a community space, similar to the community center the town of Franklin plans to build in Vermontville.

"North Elba desperately needs a community space to facilitate diverse events as well as provide young people with safe activities."

 
 

 

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