ALEXANDRIA BAY — The incumbent and deputy mayor will square off for the mayoral seat in the general election on Nov. 5.
Democratic candidate Steven E. Jarvis, who has served as mayor for two years, and Republican candidate Geoffrey A. Hillick, who has served as deputy mayor for two years, both emphasized one key platform: bolstering village infrastructure. The two mayoral hopefuls also said they value transparency and want to improve the village’s fiscal management.
Mr. Jarvis said he wants to continue the progress the village Board of Trustees has made toward maintaining and improving infrastructure during his tenure. Under Mr. Jarvis’s leadership, the board worked with the Development Authority of the North Country to create an asset management plan, kicked off the installation of new water lines along Church Street and repairs to Casino Island from the 2017 high waters.
The mayor also said he would like to execute other projects, such as replacing the deteriorated water tower on Rockwell Street, upgrading the water and wastewater treatment plants and fixing rough sections of streets such as Market Street and Avery Avenue.
“There’s a lot in our village that needs to be worked on, and I hope we can get together and make that happen,” he said.
Mr. Hillick said he not only wants to improve the roads, water and sewer systems, but also enhance, or better maintain, the docks, golf course and parks. He also said he wants to incorporate a satellite office for village police in the former Alexandria Bay Chamber of Commerce building, 28 Market St., when the local Rotary Club eventually refurbishes it, adds new restrooms and an information center.
“We’ve had nothing but positive responses on it,” he said.
Both candidates also expressed different ways they want to reduce village spending toward major repairs.
Mr. Hillick said he wants to allocate more money towards regular maintenance and inspection of village assets to reduce the amount of borrowing for restorative work. Mr. Jarvis said he wants to capitalize on more grant funding opportunities and establish reserve accounts for the general, water and sewer funds to reduce the amount of borrowing, which could lower costs.
“We’ve never set any money aside to get in a reserve account,” Mr. Jarvis said. “Legally, we want to start setting aside” money.
The two mayoral hopefuls also want to preserve, if not improve, transparency with residents. Mr. Hillick said he wanted to end the use of cellphones to conduct village matters and discuss it at the village office so more documentation would be available to residents. Mr. Jarvis said he opposed some previous dealings from village officials, which he described as “ good ol’ boys” performing “backdoor hand shakes,” and worked to ensure residents were cognisant of official business and expenditures.
The deputy mayor said he also wants more engagement with average residents, adding that he believes village officials have sometimes neglected them. Mr. Hillick, who regularly meets with the department of public works and police, said he wants to ensure he and his fellow trustees are assigned department liaison roles that best suit their talents, and prevent infighting that halts progress.
“I’m a macro-manager. I don’t micro-manage anything. You’re only as strong as you’re weakest link,” Mr. Hillick said.
When asked about their thoughts on economic development, both Mr. Jarvis and Mr. Hillick said they want to continue working with the local chamber as it hosts activities and events that attract visitors to the area. Mr. Hillick said he wants to work with the chamber to develop ideas for festivities that would help extend the shoulder tourist season for businesses.
“The village government, whether you’re a trustee or the mayor, really does not have a lot of say in how people run their businesses,” Mr. Jarvis said.
The JARVIS FILE
Steven E. Jarvis
Experience: Mayor, village trustee, employee with the state Department of Corrections
Education: high school diploma from the Alexandria Central School District
Community service: volunteer firefighter and emergency medical technician
Family: Diane M. Jarvis, wife, and three grown children
The Hillick file
Geoffrey A. Hillick
Experience: deputy mayor, member of the village zoning board of appeals, contractor
Education: Associate degree in construction, technology and general studies from Tompkins Cortland Community College and high school diploma from Alexandria Central School District
Community service: member of the Alexandria Bay Rotary Club, member of the local Free Masons and co-founder of the Alexandria High School trap team
Family: two children