Onondaga County Legislative Assembly Districts 1 & 13 (Baldwinsville) – Eagle News Online

BALDWINSVILLE – Two candidates are running for the 1st District of the Onondaga County Legislature, which includes the Town of Lysander and part of the Town of Clay.

Two candidates are running for the 13th district of the Onondaga County Legislature, which encompasses the towns of Camillus, Elbridge and Van Buren.

The 2021 general election will take place on Tuesday, November 2. For more information on polling stations and early voting, go to ongov.net/elections or contact the Onondaga County Elections Board at 315-435-8683.

Read on to meet the candidates (listed alphabetically).

Ward 1

Brian may

Brian May (incumbent)

Republican, Conservative

May is the CEO of a local financial institution and lives in Lysander.

How will your experience serve you in government?

Whether in healthcare, social services, agriculture or business, every member of the legislature brings perspectives that contribute to the policy-making process. I draw on the knowledge, skills and experience acquired during a career spent exclusively in the private sector, where results and responsibility are everyday. These skills have proven invaluable in my ability to contribute both as a policy maker and as the majority leader of the legislature.

What do you think are the biggest challenges in your community?

One of the biggest challenges facing local municipalities today – village, town, and especially county – is staying above the fray of emotionally charged partisan politics seen at senior levels of government. Local government is closest to our citizens and provides the services most needed. Local government leaders must keep the viability, relevance and sustainability of basic services high on their agenda. I am proud of my leadership role in the Legislature’s handling of the severe economic challenges presented by the pandemic, which involved extremely difficult financial decisions to keep the county running and vital services intact. There is no room for politics in these situations. We must continue to provide and improve services for taxpayers while keeping costs low and sustainable.

What are your ideas for meeting these challenges?

“Sustainability” is a buzzword. It is also a mandate when it comes to leading local government. More than half of local revenue supporting the county’s $ 1.4 billion budget comes from sales tax. As the economic drivers of our community change and evolve, it is imperative that the county government change and evolve with them. Strategic initiatives and investments that build on strengths (tourism) and improve weaknesses (manufacturing) are critical to keeping the county’s share of property tax bills low. We also need to listen better than ever – residents place great importance on the safety and well-being of the public, they want local government to be affordable, and they want the services they need. These priorities require sustainable sources of income that benefit our economy by increasing employment, increasing tourism and improving the quality of life for all who live here.

Justin neal

Justin neal

Democratic

Neal is a pharmacist who lives in Baldwinsville.

How will your experience serve you in government?

I have held leadership positions in pharmacy and healthcare for the past 15 years. I learned the double challenge of managing budgets while providing patient services. Onondaga County must manage the needs of its citizens while managing the costs to keep it running. My experience in both will allow me to help find that balance.

What do you think are the biggest challenges in your community?

Transparency and fairness in government have been a challenge in Onondaga County. In 2019, my opponent and I both signed a pledge to support “a non-partisan and independent redistribution”. Not only did that not happen, but this week the legislature rushed to appoint a redistribution committee to stay in power. For those who think county government is out of touch and inefficient, too focused on Amazon, aquariums and football fields rather than keeping our county affordable, we need a change. We cannot expect to keep the same lawmakers in office for more than a decade and expect different results. If we want to see change, we need change.

What are your ideas for meeting these challenges?

I would follow through on my promise to do everything possible to ensure fair elections and transparent government. No more gerrymandered lines. I would ensure that anything that comes from the county executive is not approved by the legislature. I question these programs to make sure that the tax incentives we provide are commensurate with the benefits to the community. We’ve all learned that behind-the-scenes transactions often lead to extended tax benefits that don’t end up paying off. We are recovering from several difficult years and have strained the county’s resources by cutting funding for essential services. We need to make sure that the needs of the community are met and that the county departments are adequately funded. It is disheartening to see the same legislature vote to fund aquariums and football fields a year after voting to lay off 250 county employees.

Ward 13

The Messenger has not received a response from Democratic candidate Sara Aaserud.

Ken Bush Jr.

Ken Bush Jr. (incumbent)

Republican, Conservative

Bush is an undertaker. Follow “Ken Bush Jr. Onondaga County Legislator-13th District” on Facebook for more information.

How will your experience serve you in government?

Having previously been a city councilor and city supervisor and now as a county legislator, I have gained the knowledge and experience to help people. Additionally, my work with the Onondaga County Soil and Water Conservation District Council, County Fisheries Advisory Board, and DEC Region 7 Fish and Wildlife Management Advisory Board shows that I have a great appreciation for environmental issues.

What do you think are the biggest challenges in your community?

One of the biggest challenges in the 13th arrondissement concerns employment opportunities. I am encouraged that the county’s economic growth appears to be heading in the right direction. However, the issues surrounding I-81 and its removal if that happens will affect us. Public safety is a concern and I am a strong supporter of local policing and the creation of community policing services. The costs of government operations are always a challenge and luckily at the county level, the property tax rate has not increased in recent years. Public transport has become an issue with Centro’s reduction in its bus service.

What are your ideas for meeting these challenges?

When it comes to economic development, cities and the county must work together to establish sites for job growth throughout the county and to provide the necessary infrastructure. Proper zoning should be a top priority. Controlling government costs is always a challenge and every major spending decision must be viewed in light of long-term costs. Inflation is going to be a problem for both taxpayers and the government. Sales tax revenue is a major source of funding to run the county government and if the economy improves it will help increase sales tax collections. State funding is expected to increase and this will help Centro to add more recently disrupted bus lines.

About Elaine Morales

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