SARANAC LAKE - A current Harrietstown councilman and a former village trustee are interested in running for the seat of Harrietstown supervisor.
Bob Bevilacqua, who is in his fifth year on the town board, has submitted a letter of intent to the Harrietstown Republican caucus, which meets on Aug. 21 to pick a candidate for the position.
Meanwhile, at least two Democrats are interested in the supervisor's seat, including former village Trustee John McEneany, who has changed his party affiliation from Republican to Democrat. The Democratic caucus meets Aug. 15.
Bob Bevilacqua, left, and John McEneany
(Enterprise file photos)
The supervisor's seat has been vacant since Larry Miller stepped down earlier this year. The election in November will be for a one-year position to fill the rest of Miller's term. A full, four-year supervisor term will be on the ballot in 2013.
Bevilacqua was just elected to his second four-year term as a councilman in November. He said he had been thinking about running for supervisor at some point, but not so soon.
"I didn't really expect this to happen," he said. "We all thought (current town Councilman and Deputy Supervisor) Barry (DeFuria) was going to run for supervisor, but he said he really wasn't interested in it. Ron Keough said he was very happy to just be a councilman, and a couple people thought I would be able to do it. I thought maybe I might run after my next term, but this vacancy came up and I felt it's time I stepped up."
Bevilacqua said it would be somewhat challenging running his business, Carcuzzi Car Care Center on Lake Flower Avenue, and being supervisor at the same time, but he said he thinks he can handle it.
"I do like being on the board," he said. "It's a great board to be on. Everybody gets along. We try to be very thoughtful in our decision-making process. I've always had the taxpayers in my thoughts, when I'm thinking about what action to take. I think I've shown that over the last five years."
"We think Bob is a tremendous asset to the community," said Harrietstown Republican Committee Chairman Joe Spadaro. "He knows the history. He's a good steward of the taxpayers' money, and from what I've seen on the town board, he and the rest of them work very hard."
If Bevilacqua should get the support of the caucus and win the seat, he'd have to give up his seat as a councilman. The board would have to appoint someone to fill the position until the rest of Bevilacqua's term could be put on the ballot in November 2013.
Harrietstown Democratic Committee Chairman Tom Catillaz said his party has at least one and possibly two candidates.
"John McEneany is going to throw his name into the hat and run," he said. "He seems very eager and ambitious about it, and he's doing his homework and studying up on the issues. There's somebody else that's been talking about it, but they're not positive about it."
McEneany served on the village board for 10 years until this past spring, when he was upset by newcomer Mark Gillis in his bid for the Republican Party's nomination. He briefly considered running as an independent before opting not to seek re-election. Since then, McEneany has been hired by the village as a paid fire driver.
McEneany confirmed to the Enterprise Monday that he is considering running for Harrietstown supervisor and that he changed his party affiliation after the village election. Asked if what happened at the village Republican caucus led him to change parties, McEneany said it "wasn't the determining factor.
"It just seems the Democrats were a little more active," he said. "They seem to be a little bit more progressive in acting to try and get things to happen in the village and the town.
"Probably the biggest reason I'm considering running (for supervisor) is the village has moved in recent years into a closer working relationship with the town of Harrietstown, and I think even more can be done," McEneany. "I think it's important the town of Harrietstown join the village of Saranac Lake and any other municipality in trying to foster job creation."
McEneany cited his work with other village board members to help bring a pair of Lake Placid biotech companies to Saranac Lake. He said he'd like the town to work with the village to bring more jobs to the community.
The town-owned Adirondack Regional Airport in Lake Clear will undoubtedly be an issue during the election. Earlier this year, the town held a well-attended public meeting on the future of the airport. That followed the release of an embarrassing audit of the facility by the state Comptroller's Office and another double-digit property tax hike for town residents - the second one in three years - due largely to fluctuations in fuel sales at the airport. The town has faced growing criticism from some in the community who feel the airport has become too much of a burden on the taxpayers.
Town officials have repeatedly touted the airport's economic impact on the region, which was estimated at $8 million in a 2010 study, but they have also said the town can no longer support the airport largely on its own.
Bevilacqua said the meeting has led to people being more aware of the importance and economic impact of the airport. He said the town is also trying to address some of the concerns raised by the public.
"I see the importance of the airport," Bevilacqua said. "Some people still see it as a burden, but if you go out there and see all the traffic in the summertime, and with all the Cape Air and private plane business - there's a lot of good stuff going on out there. There's also a lot of second home owners who fly in and out of there, and who hire local people to work on their camps."
McEneany said he's a supporter of the airport because of its economic impact on the region, but he also wants to get it out of the red.
"If it's generating $8 million, we need to capture some of that benefit to help pay for the airport," he said. "My goal would be to get it off the taxpayers' dime. It needs to be self-supporting."
The Democratic Party caucus for the one-year supervisor term will be held at 7 p.m. on Aug. 15 in the village offices on the second floor of the Harrietstown Town Hall.
The Republican caucus is scheduled for 6 p.m. Aug. 21 in the basement of the town hall.