City Council candidates roll into final stretch

Running for Watertown City Council, Councilwoman Lisa A. Ruggiero gives an introduction at a meet-the-candidates forum at the Italian American Civic Association on Oct. 8 in Watertown. Kara Dry/Watertown Daily Times

WATERTOWN — Councilwoman Lisa A. Ruggiero says she’s not afraid to ask a lot of questions to find out about city issues.

She needs the information to make a decision on how to vote on issues and to let residents know what’s going on in city government.

“I’m not a yes person,” she said, adding that she does her “homework” before making a decision.

Sometimes those questions have led to hotly debated discussions, she said. In one instance, she asked a question during a debate last winter about plans to take the fire department’s heavy rescue truck permanently off the road.

But Mayor Jeffrey M. Smith slammed down his gavel and told her she was out of order.

“I think people like me asking questions,” she said.

She’s the only incumbent running for council this election. The city needs to keep her on council because she would be the most experienced council member, she said.

During her four-year term, Councilwoman Ruggiero said she’s satisfied with what she’s been able to accomplish on council.

She supported a zoning rewrite and the city establishing comprehensive and strategic plans for the city’s future.

Even though there was some opposition to its $3 million cost, she’s proud to support the reopening of the Thompson Park pool, which has become popular with city residents. She supports making repairs to two other city pools.

Her other fulfilled campaign promises include reestablishing the city’s Neighborhood Watch group after years of dormancy and improvements to several city playgrounds, she said.

Recently, she saw a need for a master plan for Thompson Park and got City Council to approve the proposal.

She opposes a plan to go to single-stream recycling because of its cost. The councilwoman would like the city to find a company to create a solar project on the old city landfill. It would generate revenues for the city, she said.

She will fight to keep the fire department going to medical calls, stressing the fire department can get to a call within three minutes. It’s an issue that council members will probably have to make in the future.

Lisa Ruggiero

Age: 60

Education: B.A. from Ithaca College with a degree in French and minors in business and Spanish

Profession: Licensed broker for Hefferon Real Estate

Family: Husband Chuck, two stepsons

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