Preston challenges Ashworth for Wilmington supervisor

WILMINGTON Four-term Wilmington Supervisor Jeanne Ashworth is facing a challenge from life-long Wilmington resident Randy Preston this election. Ashworth offers experience and dedication Ashworth is seeking her fifth term as Wilmington town supervisor. It has been my experience you are best served by someone who knows how to find partners and has a record of dedication. When a project leader is changed before completion, the town is exposed to misinformation and incompetence, said Ashworth. Ashworth said the chief issue facing the community were the joint Wilmington-Whiteface Mountain water project, revitalization of the AuSable and Lake Everest, and updating local land use codes. The towns aging water system leaks thousands of gallons daily. She said that by replacing and expanding the waterline out to Whiteface, the town received a $2,000,000 in grant funding, and has negotiated for New York State to pay the balance of $4.7 million. Our share, $723,641 is covered by a no interest loan paid over 30 years: every dollar we spend will be matched by nine dollars in state and federal dollars, said Ashworth. Addressing the silt filling in Lake Everest is another priority, for which the town has received two grants. The first is $25,000 for local waterfront revitalization, while a second grant of $41,500 is to determine the best method to use to restore and deepen Lake Everest. Updating the towns local twenty-year old land use codes are another concern for Ashworth. Because our land use codes didn't require private developers to continue to meet town waterline or highway standards, the residents of Juniper inherited private water lines that do not meet code and Deepwood built a drive too steep for fire engines and other large service vehicles. It is in the interest of public safety that we update the land use codes, said Ashworth. She said she has procured funding through a $250,000 shared community grant. Ashworth said she hoped work on enhancing services for residents, and had a long list of projects she wished to start or continue. This would include seeing affordable housing as part of development projects, affordable health care, public transportation, youth program with increased opportunities, improving energy efficiency in town buildings and vehicles, explore alternative energy opportunities, upgrades at the beach, protecting water quality of Ausable West Branch, exploring more recycling at the town transfer station, aiding local business vitality, increasing town government efficiency, expanding the town web site, improving senior housing, lowering taxes, and to preserve Wilmington's community spirit. Ashworth, running as a Democrat, has received an Eleanor Roosevelt grant in support of my campaign and is supported by the Democratic Women of Essex County and the Democratic Committee of Essex County. I am asking for your vote based on a record of accomplishments, said Ashworth, adding that the supervisors job is a full-time one. I am totally committed to and enthusiastic about Wilmington. Being an effective supervisor requires experience. Our town is involved in many complex projects that have evolved through knowledge of past efforts. Preston seeks to provide direction for Wilmington Preston has owned a business in Wilmington for 21 years, served on the town board as a councilman. He seeks to unite the town. I really care very deeply for the town and I am concerned that we have become any other town USA. Wilmington is not like any other town we have the AuSable River and Whiteface Mountain right in our back yard, said Preston. Preston perceives divisions within the community as effecting the functioning of the town. The feed back I have been receiving is the townspeople are ready to move forward and need a strong leader to lead the charge, said Preston. He has been heavily involved in the Wilmington Fire Department for the past 30 years, serving as chief for 11 years. He is past chairman of the board of fire commissioners. As a grant writer for the department, he secured over $400,000 in funding for the department. He also assisted Lake Placid and Jay Fire Departments with grant writing. Preston cited the Visitors Bureau purchase of signs and banners as a good example of the town working together. I think the Supervisor should be the one bringing the people together to accomplish these things, said Preston. If you look at the main Town sign the paint is all faded, the old Welcome to Wilmington sign is still up after it was ran over by a car. Things like this really bother me as it would be so easy to take care of these things. Preston said a top priority was to create a town plan, layout priorities and creating a schedule for upkeep and maintenance. The town needs a plan, there is no plan for upkeep on our buildings or parks, no vehicle replacement plan, everything is crisis management. This is no way to run a million dollar business, said Preston. Preston said a long-range town plan would also help control the budget by planning for years down the road. Preston said the chief issue facing the community was the six million dollar Wilmington/Whiteface water project. This project has grown its own set of legs, this has dragged on for three years, and still not a shovel of dirt has been turned. It is a complex project but there is no reason that the Wilmington part of the project could not have been completed long ago, said Preston. Preston said delays have resulted in having to cut the Wilmington part of the project almost in half to due the increased costs. This needs strong leadership to move this forward. There is a great amount of development pressure on the town, local people have been priced out of Lake Placid and the shift is towards Wilmington, we need to make sure that the interests of the Town are protected, making sure Roads, water, and other utilities are installed correctly, said Preston. Preston added that he would also like to set up a town beautification program, where a different small project would be done. Although running as an Independent, Preston has been endorsed by the Essex County Republican Party. I feel I can bring the townspeople back together, there is a significant amount of talented people who live in Wilmington, who if asked would be able to contribute a great deal to our community. The message I have received from visiting the townspeople is that they are very anxious to move in a forward direction and I am the best candidate to lead them there, said Preston.

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