Shawn Raymond

Letter to the Editor: More Can Be Done in the Village

Some of you may recognize my name as I ran in the previous election cycle. I have lived in the village for 19 years and have come to truly appreciate the character and charm of the village that is unique in the Capital District. I have enjoyed the sense of community that makes this village special. Some of you may recognize my name from coaching soccer for BARC, working with friends, neighbors and the Village Board to help make Kelley Park playground come to life, and also working along side the Board of Education when Malta Avenue Elementary was slated to close and as a member of the Malta Ave. Task Force participated in the decision to keep the school.

In recent years, I volunteered my services to Smartgrowth Ballston performing peer review of studies associated with the planned development district just to the south of the village border. The news of Walmart deciding not to develop in that area has avoided a significant impact to the transportation infrastructure and potential business opportunities within the village and the reason I got involved. It is vitally important to maintain the character of Ballston Spa while promoting new growth. An updated comprehensive plan is necessary to take advantage of new opportunities and help existing development stay current with the needs of residents and business owners. Although the village is mostly developed already, there are locations within the village that have the potential for new development and to be re-purposed (Angelicas, Tippy Bowl, etc.).

One of the greatest assets the village has is that it’s a walkable community. This is not only highly desirable to existing residents, but many new residents have moved to the village for that very reason. Continuing to complete new connections while maintaining existing sidewalk/trails will make the village an even more desirable place to live, work and visit. This type of transportation infrastructure has funding opportunities which I intend to pursue if elected.

As many of you know village taxes have increased significantly. The current Village Board voted last year to raise taxes by approximately 6% with some of that increase going to address the need to improve/replace aging sewer and storm water systems. I have 20 years experience in civil engineering and have worked in the private and public sector at the municipal and state level. I feel that I would be able to aid the Village Board in making good, cost-effective decisions going forward upgrading and replacing these systems if elected.

In addition, I feel there is more that can be done to provide information to the residents of the village in regards to the activities of the Village Board and general information. We live now in an age of information at your fingertips. I feel to best represent residents is to provide access to information important to residents; such as budgets, capital projects, events, proposed development, village comprehensive plan, meeting agendas and minutes, etc. A good way to accomplish this would be to fully utilize the potential of the village website. Community outreach and advisory councils on issues the village faces would also enhance collaboration and use one of the village’s greatest resources; it’s people. I will make it a priority to provide increased access to village information and the board’s process if elected.

I am running with two running mates this election cycle. I think this reflects a revived participation in government. Please vote on March 21st; a democracy only works when we participate.

Shawn Raymond
Ballston Spa

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