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Three candidates running for Saranac Lake mayor participate in forum

Saranac Lake
Pat Bradley/WAMC
Harrietstown (Saranac Lake) Town Hall (file)

A forum this week brought together the three candidates running for mayor of Saranac Lake.

In August 2021, Saranac Lake Mayor Clyde Rabideau announced he would retire at the end of his term on March 31st after a dozen years. The village has a council-town manager form of government. Although a part-time position, the mayor plays an integral part in crafting village policies.

Democrat Melinda Little is currently deputy mayor. She says two things set her apart from the other two candidates.

“I have a different type of leadership style and I do get things done. I’ve started three companies. I feel that I am the most qualified candidate as well, not only because of my life and business experience, but because I have been on the village board I can hit this running.”

Republican and Independent Jimmy Williams is a local businessman. He perceives serving as mayor a duty to the community rather than a political position.

"I'm running for mayor because I want to repair the relationships between locals and local leadership. I want to bring honesty, integrity and transparency back to local government.”

Franklin County Industrial Development Agency CEO Jeremy Evans is running on what’s called the Stronger SL party. He said he is the only candidate who has experience converting ideas to action.

“Whether it’s creating the village’s first website, securing financing for village infrastructure, making code changes to promote sustainable housing, negotiating fair labor contracts, expanding broadband options, supporting small businesses I have done it and I’m the most qualified.”

Questions were submitted by the public and Saranac Lake school students and compiled to reflect village priorities. Leading off with housing needs in the village, Democrat Little said a plan that has yet to be addressed is the biggest priority for the village.

“The map is laid out to some degree in that plan. And the first piece of that is going to be to put together a housing task force which like the other village working groups will be tasked with implementing that plan.”

Williams said he appreciates the effort put into the plan but action is needed.

“It’s time that we implement some of these ideas. Part of that is repairing relationships with property owners in Saranac Lake. We also need to partner with the private sector. And then finally we need to take advantage of any and all state and federal funding.”

Jeremy Evans said housing was a challenge when he moved to Saranac Lake 14 years ago and it remains a key problem for the village.

“I’m a planner by trade but it’s time to be done planning and start acting. So first Short Term Rental regulations I think are imperative. I want to encourage the development of granny flats or mother-in-law apartments. And then we need new multi-family housing.”

Tuesday’s forum was sponsored by the Adirondack Daily Enterprise and the Saranac Lake Area Chamber of Commerce.

The village election is Tuesday, March 15 the and polls in the village will be open from noon until 9 p.m.