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Incumbent Johnsburg board member runs unopposed in his first election bid

NORTH CREEK For Johnsburg town board member Ron Vanselow, Tuesday's election will likely have a predictable outcome. Ironically, Nov. 4 will also mark Vanselows first formal bid for a seat on Johnsburg's board, after being appointed to the position in January. Realizing that a lack of opposition does not necessarily constitute a public mandate, Vanselow is confident that his performance over the last year has spoken for itself. I think that maybe people are willing to give me a chance, he said. With that, he points to three main areas of concern that were a focus during his 2008 term on the board. Among them are overcoming multiple years of double-digit tax increases, the effect of rapid property development on the region, and the overall responsiveness of town government. I think in this past year we've made great strides in addressing all of those items, Vanselow said. As an example, he said this year will mark the first in recent memory that Johnsburg is projecting a slight tax decrease for 2009. I believe most towns are going to try to hold the line on their budgets this year and at the county level it seems like a lot of sacrifices will have to be made, he said. I don't know how that is going to hurt people and the delivery of services but I think we will see the impact. Vanselow has been among an active group of Johnsburg officials and citizens that have worked on budget and tax issues since early this year. We believe this budget will be painless, he said. Focusing on issues like property development, Vanselow said the national decline in the housing market has relieved some of the pressure on the town. But despite the challenges, the pressure has also made the town better prepared to ask more questions of potential developers. We are trying to be a little more thoughtful about how we approach agreements with developers, he said. As someone that believes that government should respond to the needs of its citizens, Vanselow also said Johnsburgs attentiveness has vastly improved over the last year. I know each of us on the board is trying very hard to get citizen input and participation, he adds. To support this opinion, he points to efforts like the Johnsburg budget committee and the economic advisory committee, along with increased community participation at town board meetings. People are asking more questions and hopefully getting satisfactory answers, he said. It has been a challenge and we have had some difficult things to deal with. Sometimes things move along slower than we would like them to but we are moving along in a good direction. Vanselow was appointed by the Johnsburg Town Board for a one year term after Sterling Goodspeeds election to the supervisor position in November of 2007. His appointment was highly controversial at the time, with many influential public figures speaking out against Vanselows personal political views. He will face another election campaign in November of 2009, this time for a full term on the board. If you look at how the board handled the vacancy last year you can see how they looked beyond political party issues and chose the person who they thought could do the job, Vanselow said. It says a lot. While he appreciates the apparent vote of confidence he has from the community, he also acknowledged that competition is what makes for a healthy democratic process. I am really looking forward to May or June to see who the potential candidates might be, he said. With budget and finance concerns weighing heavily on everyone's mind this election season, Vanselow simply sees them as part of a broader issue facing this small Adirondack community. I think the over-riding issue facing us is the quality of life in this town, he said. The town of Johnsburg is really something special and there is no one thing that makes or breaks it its all a package.

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