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City and Town-Bassett

In August we lost two key department heads with the retirement of Effa Sullivan and Dave Comfort. Our challenge will be to find replacements who are as skillful and dedicated as Effa and Dave were. Change, as I shared last month, is inevitable. It is our job to make change an opportunity to become energized and challenged with new ideas and innovation.

This month has been like all others with a never-ending list of e-mail, snail mail, meetings and day-to-day management issues that have kept me busy. Each decision must be done with the understanding it will help us achieve economic stability by expanding our tax base to help keep the cost of services under control. New businesses also bring jobs and opportunity for residents of the town and the Champlain Valley.

The Strategic Tourism and Planning Committee, that I am also a member of, has hired a special consulting firm to develop a Destination Master Plan. In the past, I have spoken about the town's new master plan and how it will guide our decision making for a number of years to come. The Destination Master Plan will help guide the Strategic Tourism Planning Committee and how the occupancy tax, and other funds that leverage regional tourism, will be spent. The strategic planning process will identify strategies to leverage our marketing plan, helping us to become more of a destination for tourism, a major part of our economy. This project compliments our goals and vision for the future that will bring new opportunity to our region and to the town.

The economy has not responded as fast as we wanted but there are still plenty of reasons to remain optimistic. We continue to work with new development projects and new investors. Our Planning and Codes and Zoning Board meetings have been busy with a growing number of new projects that are coming or interested in coming to the town. This is good news for everyone and, though we are just coming to the end of summer 2010, I am confident a number of new projects will begin in the spring of 2011! We must keep our focus and make decisions that will bring prosperity now and in the future. We will not let short-term thinking, often an easier path to take, get in the way of our vision of the future.

Remember to drive safely and watch out for the children as we begin another school year.

Bernie Bassett is supervisor of the town of Plattsburgh.

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