St. Lawrence County chairman won’t seek second year as board chief
By JIMMY LAWTON
CANTON -- St. Lawrence County Board of Legislators Chairman John Burke says he will not continue on as head of the board in 2017.
“It’s not my intent to be chair after the first of the year,” Burke said. “I believe in term limits and I think there are members of the legislature that can do an excellent job and should be given a chance.”Burke, R-Norfolk, says at this time he has no one in mind for a nomination to replace him.
Burke assumed the chair in January 2016 after a he and fellow Republicans Travis Dann and Larry Denesha and joined with Democrats to oust then-chairman Joseph Lightfoot, R-Oswegatchie.
Burke says stepping down as chairman does not in any way lessen his commitment to constituents and he intends to continue his work as a legislator.
“For myself, I feel like I can do the same amount of work that I do now by being a regular legislator,” he said.
Burke says he is hopeful the new chairman will be able to heal any wounds that have been created over the past few rears and build on what has been accomplished when he had the helm.
“I have enjoyed what I have done. There are 15 people on the board and there may be individuals who can do better in uniting the board. I am hopeful that we can tap into some of that talent that is out there,” he said.
Burke assumed the position amidst a fiscal crisis. The county has struggled to maintain a balanced budget as sales tax has nosedived at the same time healthcare costs have continued to rise. As chairman Burke has attempted to find ways to balance the budget that would not cut services by implementing a strategic committee.
The county’s recently passed budget lowered the tax rate by 9 cents and eliminated 10 jobs through attrition.