By Jeffery Smith firstname.lastname@example.org
CORNING - Independent candidate Mark ReSue will challenge longtime incumbent Republican Jim Nelson in the Nov. 7, general election for the City Council’s 7th Ward seat.
The two recently answered several questions at the Steuben County League of Women Voters open forum at the Southeast Steuben County Library.
“I have served on the City Council for over 20 years,” Nelson said. “Prior to that I was a police officer with the City’s Police Department. I worked on numerous committees and spent time as the Deputy Mayor. I have a sound understanding of the City Manager form of government and the role of the City Council. I enjoy serving the needs of my constituents and want to continue the tremendous progress we are making. Conditions in our neighborhood are improving and I am glad to be a part of the progress. Also, the Northside business district has seen tremendous investment. We still have some more work to do, but I am pleased with what we have accomplished.”
“I’m registered as a Republican but I am running as an independent. I didn’t want to attach myself to any one given party,” ReSue said. I believe in this form of office you need to look at the individual themselves and who would best help the community. I recently attended the New York Conference of Mayors workshop to help me better understand the roles and ethics involved in taking this position. I’ve lived in the Corning area my entire life and I care about the city’s future. I have a young family and I believe it takes a strong community and everything within that community and whatever the community has to offer to raise a young family. So this is my main reason for running for the office.”
What do you think the most critical issue facing the city and how would you address this if elected?
“There are a few issues. We need to continue fixing our infrastructure, improving housing, and expanding our tax base,” Nelson said. “If elected I will continue my support for the Infrastructure Strategy, the housing Strategy, and the economic development strategy now being developed. This is the type of long range planning that is helping us make great improvement. We are paving streets, and that really shows in my ward. The housing strategy is addressing blighted houses. The City worked with Steuben County to clean-up a rundown house on Kingsbury Avenue which is now underway. And, the economic development strategy that is now being developed will help us expand our tax base to control property taxes and create new jobs. I was a big supporter of our Master Plan and I fully support these individual long-range plans.”
“There are three issues I would like to touch on, one of them obviously being infrastructure, but with the word infrastructure we obviously are talking about a lot of different things within the city,” ReSue said. “Taxes is one of them. I think we need to keep our taxes low without impacting any of the city services that we already provide and we need to continue the infrastructure development within the 7th Ward. We’ve done great leaps with the city road repairs and I think there is a lot more to go. Second I think we need to focus on the housing. We need to work together with the housing committee, the developers to meet the needs and improve our neighborhoods. Thirdly I’m going to touch on something no one else has touched on. It’s a big focus, it’s the crime within the city. After speaking to many of the neighbors within the community it’s obvious that the neighbors have the same concern that I have. I think there are a lot of things we can do to try to help the situation. I would like to see maybe some of the landlords having a drug free clause written into their rental agreements and also some community awareness and involvement. There’s many ways things we can use to change this and the key is to just be more involved.”
What do you regard as your greatest contribution to our community?
“Twenty-five years ago, I supported the city manager form of government and I have stayed on the City Council to help make it work,” Nelson said. “Since that time, we have improved our financial standing, avoided double digit tax increases, brought in over $35 Million of grant funding, and made our operations much more efficient. Just look at how much Denison Parkway, Market Street, and Bridge Street have changed. This doesn’t happen by itself. It happens because of careful planning and the partnerships that have been built since we hired a city manager. Having professional government with dedicated well trained employees has transformed our City. I am proud to have supported it and want to continue to be a part of this progress.”
“”I haven’t had as much time in the past years to be as involved as I would like to be in community organizations, especially with having a young family, school and sports,” ReSue said. “But I did work for a local EMS service for a great many years and I’ve also been a volunteer firefighter, but I have to say my greatest contribution to this city would be me standing up here wanting to become a part of the Corning City Council and make a difference. I do care about the future of this city. I do have a huge learning curve to overcome, but I’m willing to take that task.”
How will you promote civility and cooperation at city council meetings?
“Overall I believe that we all get along well on the City Council,” Nelson said. “We certainly know each other, we care about each other, we’re all willing to listen to what the other one has to say. I think we also have a mutual pact that we agree to disagree. We’re not always on the same side of (everything). We are a bipartisan organization. The ultimate goal is to reach a decision and a conclusion that’s in the best interest of the people of the City of Corning. That’s what we are here for.”
“I believe you have to respect other people’s views, and I do believe tension within is alright as long as it’s being maintained in a professional manner,” ReSue said. “I’ve never read anything in the paper or seen anything on the news broadcasts when the police had to attend (city council meetings). Civility is easy to do.”