Opinion: Tirion seeking seat on Potsdam Village Board
To the Editor:
My name is Monique Tirion and I am running for Potsdam Village Trustee as a Democrat. I have been a resident of Potsdam Village since 1987 when my husband Daniel ben-Avraham joined Clarkson. Our son Yoel was born here and is a graduate of Potsdam Central School and Clarkson.Over the years I have taught part-time at Clarkson and volunteered in various capacities, including the Coop, at SOAR and with the Potsdam library's literacy program, while pursuing my research interests in biophysics.
I arrived in Potsdam shortly after the Village completed two remarkable engineering feats: the construction of the Rt. 11 overpass as well as two municipal dams. The overpass permits easy transit through the village and created a walker-friendly downtown, while the hydroelectric dams provided the village with cheap and reliable energy and income for nearly three decades. I suspect Potsdam's vibrant downtown and active art, education and dining culture are partly a result of these daring and visionary developments.
Today we face the triple challenges of rapidly rising costs for basic village operations; increasing complexity that preclude easy fixes for infrastructure breakdowns; and an increasingly litigious environment that strain the village's finances. Our administration has tried valiantly to stay ahead of the curve by cutting costs, such as the elimination of the village court, and by applying for state and federal funding to finance essential infrastructure repairs and revitalization efforts.
However, cutting costs in order to help balance the budget without increasing taxes eliminates the least essential, but most fun items, such as use of the beach. Grants provide temporary reprieves but do not eliminate the threat of increasing taxes to cover the rising costs of insurance, retirement and health care of our workers and retirees.
We need to increase our revenue stream. We need both hydroelectric dams to be operational and contributing power as well as income to our village, instead of costing the village tens of thousands of dollars annually to sit idle. If income from sales taxes increases, the demand from property taxes will come down. If we could lower our property taxes, we might entice new home building in the village, as at the end of Bradley drive where at least one new home has been built recently and several more lots lay idle.
More readily accessible information portals pertaining to the various revenues inflows, such as from our airport in the general fund and the hockey games in the recreation fund, likely brings new ideas to further strengthen our finances. Information portals will additionally increase the likelihood that no action undertaken by village government violates the increasing number of mandates and guidelines under which we now operate.
I hope to contribute proactively to strengthen and improve life in Potsdam, and look forward to working with all members of our community to make that happen.