I have known Jeff Branch and his family for several years; I have worked with him on countless community projects and organizations. For starters, he chose to raise his family in this community, one that he clearly is devoted to. In my opinion, Jeff puts a substantial amount of time in making the village of Saranac Lake a better place to live, grow and raise a family.
For those of you who are not familiar with Jeff Branch, he has been a board member for the village of Saranac Lake for seven years, which should be enough in itself to say what type of person he is. He not only recognizes the struggles within the village but makes an effort to seek the positivity and growth that Saranac Lake has seen in the recent years. Jeff works to promote our assets and to seek opportunities that will help the village's tax base through private-sector development that emphasizes job creation.
Living in a small community can be difficult at times; however, Jeff has the ability to not only focus on present-day issues but has the knowledge and vision of the future. While he is constantly looking inward at how are local government is working, he is also looking outward toward the future of our village, making it possible to blend the past and present to create an enriched future.
Jeff is known as a fiscal conservative. He has experience with the budget process, saves taxpayer money whenever possible. He is known to ask the tough questions before tax dollars are allocated, always looking for waste. Over the last two years, I have had the privilege to work with Jeff on many issues the village has encountered, ranging from social issues to future planning.
Jeff proposed the smoking ban in local parks for the health and welfare of our children. He was able to bring a compromise between the rights of the public and the rights we, as individuals, have.
Jeff initiated a compromised between the Saranac Lake Ski Club and a private individual to give lessons at Mount Pisgah.
Jeff brought attention to the village officials regarding the detrition of the sidewalks which started the process of the sidewalk revitalization program.
Jeff was instrumental in negotiating the rent agreement between the Saranac Lake village and the town of Harrietstown. Jeff believes strongly that working with other governmental agencies will reduce duplication of services.
Jeff is very concerned about the future of our village. He has donated his time and knowledge to the comprehensive plan committee.
I do not believe that there is a trustee who sits on more committees than Jeff. Jeff takes a simple approach to problem solving: He calls a meeting and has the participants discuss the issues; Jeff is a communicator.
In closing, let me use a quote from Mayor Rabideau: "This is the best board you'll ever sit on." So let's keep as much of this team together as possible. Please vote for Jeff Branch for village trustee!
In addition to voting for Jeff Branch on March 20, I encourage you to vote for newcomer Mark Gillis, who moved here in 2011. He and his wife have both found a love in Saranac Lake that reminds them of their hometown roots. Mark and Veronica not only built a new home so they could settle here and a raise their family here, but Mark also took an empty storefront in the downtown area and made it into a successful brokerage business.
Mark has a passion for making the future of Saranac Lake a better place to live, work and grow. We can see this in his values; just one day after moving to Saranac Lake, he and his wife were coaching youth soccer teams, volunteering at St. Bernard's School and most importantly, being a positive member who cares about openhandedness back to the community.
It is my hope that, as a community, we welcome Mark; he is clearly an involved individual, one who noticed how much potential the village has within just one weekend visit to Saranac Lake. Do not be quick to shut him out because he has only been here a year. Being a newcomer gives him the opportunity to look over the issues and challenges the village faces with a new set of eyes. He would be a great addition to the board.
Elias "Allie" Pelletieri lives in Saranac Lake and is a village trustee.