Plattsburgh mayoral candidates focus on city development, regional relationships in debate
This is an NBC five commitment. 2020. Special presentation. Plattsburgh Mayoral debate Thanks for joining us for the 2020 Plattsburgh mayoral debate on Brian Colorant today. The two candidates make their pitch to you, the voters on why they should be the next mayor of the Lake City, joining us via Zoom for this debate during a pandemic. Democrat Chris Rosen, Quest and Republican Scott BB. Thanks to both of you for agreeing to do this, let’s start with the rules for today’s debate. Each candidate will get one minute uninterrupted for opening statements will go in alphabetical order by last name. Candidates get one minute to answer each question, and if a candidate is mentioned by name, they’ll get 30 seconds for a rebuttal for closing statements. Each candidate again gets one minute uninterrupted. To make it fair. Will go in reverse Alphabetical order by last name. Let’s begin, Scott, Baby, you are up for your opening statement. Go ahead. Thank you, Brian. I’d like to thank you and everybody involved with this for including us in the conversation with much very much appreciate it. My name is Scott BB. I’m running for the office of Mayor in the city of Plattsburgh. Some things about myself. I’m a 28 year veteran of the Plastic City Police Department. I’m also a 15 year member of the District Fire Department, which is the town of Plattsburgh. In each case, I held leadership roles in both agencies as a lieutenant in the city police and assistant chief and president, the firefighters in District, the Fire Department. I’ve also spent some 35 years working with the youth in our community, in youth athletics. As a coach, participant, referee mentor, I’ve also been a lifelong resident of the area, with the exception of being born Veesbah in West Germany is my father was deployed in military. I’ve spent my entire life here. I’ve spent my entire adult life serving this community. And when we were successful in November, I hope to continue my service in the city of Plattsburgh. Scott, Thank you very much. Chris Rosen, Quest. You have one minute. Yeah. Thank you to you folks here, Wptz. And congratulations, by the way. And your your new office is right here in the city of Plattsburgh. I also want to thank my opponent. Mr Beebe. My name is Christopher Rosen quest. I’m in downtown business owner and county legislator, serving area nine right here in the city of Plattsburgh. I’m also the Democrat and Working Families Party candidate. With just a few weeks before polls open, city voters will have a challenging time choosing the right person for the city’s top job. Both my opponent and I will talk about developing regional partnerships, UH, increasing revenue through tourism and local attraction and the need for business growth. However, I’m the only candidate who has provided a clear, transparent and detailed plan for how to accomplish these goals on day one. I’m the only candidate who has the political personal relationships to begin this work on day one, and I’m the only candidate who, on day one, will bring decades of business management and budgeting skills all of those skills that are required to be a successful mayor. I look forward to a respectful and productive discussion, and again, thank you for having me. Chris, Thank you. Now let’s get to our first question. The pandemic has been devastating to the U. S. Economy. Plattsburgh Mayor Collar read, saying the city is in a fight for its very survival. The Common Council recently voted for 22 with Mayor Reed voting for it to send the city budget back to the mayor to cut by at least 10% several millions of dollars. It led to city employees and citizens playing with the council not to make any more job cuts. How can you make sure that doesn’t happen? What’s your plan to keep the city afloat? Scott BB You begin. Well, ever since the beginning of February, where I first announced my candidacy for mayor of the city of Plattsburgh, I’ve come up with an approach with priorities. Like you said, One of our priorities is getting past this pandemic that’s first and foremost. But the budget is an incredibly diverse in critical issue that everybody wants to speak about, and it deserves our full attention. The unprecedented event that occurred this past common council meeting where the mayor was returned his budget from the Finance Committee sends an unclear message for an uncertain future. To cut $2.4 million out of the budget has everybody on edge, and it has long lasting effects that we’re all gonna take need to take a look at. I think the survivability has to do with a regional approach We have to start accentuating are positives generate revenue, work cohesively with our municipal partners? To start that process, you have to repair the relationships that have been fractured during the last four years of this administration. I’m the person to get that done. I believe if we don’t start Cola’s a ZA Coalition regional partners and promote Plattsburgh regionally, we’re all gonna have problems surviving. Let’s have you wrap up. All right, Chris, you have one minute to answer that question. Great. Thank you. And no doubt you know, the regional partnerships there there and will help get us through this pandemic. But speaking specifically to the budget and the budget, uh, changes again. When? When that budget was released in June, it was pretty clear that it was certainly a ploy to gain votes. And that’s unfortunate because it was used as as, uh ah, political tool. Um, in the wrong sense and a budget of immoral document. It is a contract between the city hall and that citizens and taxpayers, and it should be treated as such. It is a it’s an opportunity to look and reflect on our priorities and how to plan for those priorities. If if the if the council proceeds with the, um allowing the mayor and outgoing mayor to make such drastic cuts. One and I’ve asked the council this is to postpone that way are looking at anywhere between a 400 to $600,000 budget surplus even with the current, Um, even with the current budget proposal, But these types of cuts that they can’t just be done with a broad brush, they need to be done surgically. We need to bring the department heads, the unions, city employees and the counselors to the table to say, How are we gonna do this is a team internally. How are we gonna do this video? How are we going to get through? How are we gonna get through this crisis? Alright, following up on that with with your budget plan, will you push for financial help from the state, the federal government? And if you get that money, how are you? How will you utilize the funding? Let’s start with Chris Rosen. Quest. Hands down. And what we’re seeing at the county level is when we first when we first made assumptions on what the sales tax numbers we’re gonna be? Well, we looked at a 20% cut in sales tax. We’re now right now in single digit cut in sales tax, which is positive. And just recently, Senator Gillibrand came and toe advocate for direct, unencumbered federal aid to municipalities. That’s something that we’re still looking forward Thio on. That may change the conversation, depending on who wins the presidency in November, and if we do end up receiving that money, we will work directly with the county to ensure that that money comes to us on. We’ll work with the town to make sure that those partnerships are in place. Toe leverage those funds. But at the end of the day, it really does come down to creating a much more clearer, cohesive, long term plan for what we’re going to do in the future in terms of both generating revenue and saving on expenses through shared services and consolidating services. Scott, you’ve called this first year of your administration survival year. How would you utilize state or federal funding for the city? Well, first of all, I consider myself a fiscal conservative and the sales tax projection up through August 31st is only a declination of 3%. For the city of Plattsburgh, the original resolution that was proposed to the Finance Committee was a 900,000 cut in public safety funds. That’s police fire building in some DPW. Now I hate to see just broad brushes across our emergency services when we’re looking at a surplus and not a declination off our $600,000 which is projected to be the surplus at the end of this year. So we really need to take a hard look if what we’re going to cut now. The shared services and a regional approach is something I’ve been advocating since February. We need to look at this as a region to survive. Direct deposit of federal funds, not through Albany, is what as a means that’s going to help us as a municipality. So if that would come to pass absolutely would be able to, uh, work with that and more positive manner. We also need to surround ourselves with experts and let them guide us through the budget prices. Let’s talk about revenue this past summer that the city, like many across the region, missed out on the chance to make revenue. The city beach was closed all summer. The city of Plattsburgh has had a history of having issues generating revenue. You both have talked about the historical attraction off Plattsburgh as a destination for visitors. How does that generate money? Do you have to spend money to make money? Let’s start with Mr Beebe. You can answer that one first. We don’t not. We’re currently not extent taking advantage of our aesthetics. Here in the city of Plattsburgh, we have a beautiful lake. We have waterfront. We have waterways were not taking full advantage of promoting ourselves. In order to do that, we need a cheerleader. We need somebody in the office who is willing to promote the city of Plattsburgh in our region more effectively than what’s currently happening. Right now. I would propose that we re arrange community development in such way that we have a greater partnership with the Chamber of Commerce. I would also look out to our regional partners like order and see if we can’t partner with them. To get the word out, we need to understand that we’re much more than a bathroom break on away from New York City to Montreal. We need people to come and see us for what we have. Our aesthetics are natural. Resource is our lake. Our beach. We’re surrounded by Adirondack mountains were in a perfect location. Thio really put ourselves on the map and make us a destination spot. And for people, the more people we attract, the more money they spend on once the border opens up. When we start generating more and more revenue through sales tax, we’re going to get on the other side of this pandemic. But one thing has to happen. First, open the border and we need a cheerleader. Chris Rosenquist. Same question to you. Yeah, so and I look at it like it’s not just the beach that attracts people here is or not. It is the beach. And the rest of our natural resource is we’ve seen an influx and bikers, for example, over the last several years coming to our region, I certainly wouldn’t consider the city of Plattsburgh a bathroom break. I’ve been working directly, uh, in partnership with the Chamber of Commerce as their legislative liaison over the last five years on their strategic tourism planning committee on there is a There is a strong drive to create ourselves not only the city of Plattsburgh, but our region as a tourist destination. And that’s part of that identity that I think that we should start to build and and and look towards the future in terms of generating that revenue. Um, you know, Scott and I both talked about, um, leveraging the old bass museum campus a zey way to also educate and attract people here and again that goes back Thio identifying the destination master plan revisiting, revising and re implementing that plan. Because that is a comprehensive plan that was developed. Thought with purpose to identify those natural resource is that we can leverage to generate revenue. E I wanna I wanna advance this a little bit. Mawr, the Crate Center and the city. Jim, they’re both closed right now because of Cove in 19. The crate center, as both of you know, has a roofing problem. Scott, you’ve mentioned this. It’s gonna cost, uh, probably in the millions of dollars toe fix the create center. What do you do with either one of those properties? Scott, Let’s start with you. Well, first of all. It makes me sad to see the building in such disrepair. The crate center was Ah ah, location. That really accentuated some recreational opportunities, quality of life issues, not only for our youth, but for the adults in our area as well. And the base gym. Now that that’s close, it takes away a number of things. Pickleball being one of them. I think we have to explore some private public collaborative efforts like we had this summer with Y YMCA. I think that’s the best way for us to get past this current crisis on work towards a more positive goal. Create center itself needs TLC. It needs some cash influx to need some repairs. Um, that has nothing to do with that. Has toe has been lack of maintenance. We have to look forward to generate, uninterested the building and work with partners to make. We have that service for us. Chris will give you 45 seconds toe. Make your point on the crate center in the city. Jim, what should be done? Thank you. Yeah. Thank you. Yeah, it is really sad. And I think Scott and I share that sentiment. You know, I grew up on the Air Force base. I moved here in the early nineties with my family and in the early eighties with my family and I grew up. I grew up on the base. I grew up playing sports little League. Uh, Pony League played baseball throughout all throughout my my youth and basketball at the at the rec center. And so it is sad to see it, um, in terms of how do we manage those things? We are seeing the y M c A. Come through with a proposal or there certainly has been a public proposal. Sent out a request for proposals to utilize that rec center. And I think that we’ll see the y m c Step into that role. We also have seen a private agency show interest in the crate for winter events, and we’ll see that develop over time as well. Um, And so in terms of the all time rushing approach, it goes back to the shared services piece looking at partnerships with the town and the county to create recreation opportunities for the entire region. Okay. And on that note, you both have talked about using your connections in the community to make the city a better place to live. The relationship between the city and the town of Plattsburgh has dissolved into lawsuits. We’re talking about the Falcon Seaboard power plant lawsuit, the land annexation hearing that will will take place soon. The communication between the two leaders of the city and the town have resolved into press releases and sound bites on television and quotes in the newspaper between the mayor and the town manager. I want to hear from both of you on Day one. What are you going to do to repair the relationship between the city and the town? Chris, Let’s start with you hands down and that you know that work has already been done. It’s not a day one thing. It is a right now thing. Both my Cashman and I. We’ve sat down. We’ve talked, we have coffee, we have phone calls. We talked quite often both fun city issues, city town issues as well as county town issues. Most recently, we you know, we just had a conversation about how the county can best support the regional municipalities with with the the decrease in the economic, uh, revenue for for communities and then also the increase in expenses that the county, um, incurs for these municipalities. So there’s already a partnership there, and that’s a partnership that has been developed, Um, to a, uh to the point of a very strong friendship, not only just with uhh Supervisor Cashman, but key members on their board as well, very close with key members on their board. And that is a relationship that will certainly be healed them they want. And it’s already been healed. From my perspective, as I go into office in January. Scott, how will you repair the relationship between the city and the town? That process has already started. My first meeting with Mr Cashman took place before I even announced my candidacy for mayor. I’ve been in this race longer than both of us. Andi started prior to standing at that podium. I also had 15 years of service to the town of Plattsburgh, and I haven’t understanding what goes on out there. The problem with the annexation and the Falcon Seaboard is it’s sad. It’s sad that the process of deteriorating instead of shaking hands and communicating with our neighbors, coming to common ground over a table and shaking hands. We’ve resulted in litigations. How many thousands of dollars have we wasted in attorney fees, investigations and litigations with our neighbor when we should be working together cooperatively to solve problems? How many thousands of dollars that we put into this process that could be used to save jobs with the pending layoffs that the marijuana has right now? So let me ask you, will you push if you’re elected mayor to keep the city out of court against the town? If we could sit down and have common ground with productive conversation? Absolutely. We don’t need toe to sue our neighbors in need to shake our hands and work cooperatively. We have the biggest unknown future we’ve ever faced in our entire existence with this pandemic. Why are we looking to sue somebody when we could be sitting down and working cooperatively? Water infrastructure, employee benefits underneath? Excuse me. Underneath Ruger Street, looking at a way to help fix the problems we both share. Why should we be suing each other when we have to work together? The prospect. Alright, Chris, Let’s hear from you. Will you keep the city out of court against the town if you’re elected mayor. Yeah, that’s the That’s always The goal is to minimize the risk of litigation, and especially when it’s avoidable. We won’t know anything about the Falcons seaboard issue until my understanding is until October 2021. And there’s nothing that we could do at this point until the court re really looks at this issue of that of that piece of litigation, the other the other side. The annexation is a little bit different with the annexation, according Thio state law. It is legal for us to do that. Is that the right thing for us to do that? I would say No, not not unless we’re in partnership with the town, understanding the impact of the town is going to have and looking at a shared approach to the annexation. But otherwise that’s that’s something that we are absolutely committed to working out to keep us out of the courts. Of course, let’s move on to the next question. Four years ago, the governor awarded the city of Plattsburgh $10 million through the state’s downtown revitalization initiative. It gave the city a jolt four years ago gave him a new vision. Four years later, nothing of significance has been built to transform the downtown. The plan for a 104 unit mixed use development has gotten major pushback. Neither of you are on the record as being a fan of the prime project. Uh, Chris, you you’ve said it doesn’t match downtown. Scott, you said you haven’t found a downtown business that’s on board with this plan. Do you let this plan go through or do you tell the state to keep their money and start again? Scott, Let’s start with you. The dry in its inception has morphed into this project known as Prime. The prime project is referring to the building that’s going on a city parking lot through my research and dealing with the downtown business and building owners. Nobody has had a positive opinion that has talked to me relating to this project. Just the opposite. They feel betrayed. They feel unheard. They feel lie to the old bait and switch. I’m not sure what it’s going to look like months from now, there’s still a proposal in the zoning board has not approved the pilots not approved, so I can’t answer what we don’t know because it’s not approved. It’s not on the board, is that I don’t have a seat at the table. What I can tell you is I’ve been on record for not being in favor of this project. When we’re successful in November, we will take a look at whatever is left for us to deal with. But right now, I am against the current proposal, as stated in my release, the social media back in July. All right, Chris, uh, the same question about the d. R. I Yeah, and I think that I think both sky I mean, like, there, there, any candidate that came out was certainly opposed for different reasons, and I and I would I would reflect and repeat that point that my opponent has made e. You know, look, that when it comes down to it, there’s there’s certainly camps of people that say, Yeah, we would like that. We would like the parking lot developed but responsibly. And there’s other people that say Absolutely not. We want to keep our parking lot. Um, the unfortunate part is when when we did get the $10 million it was it would have been nice to have that be an opportunity for growth. But keep in mind, six million of that money went into storefront facade improvements that helped our downtown businesses. It went on second floor apartment renovations that helped improve livability and available available availability of housing. Three question that I have at this point is, how do we move forward? What’s Plan B and can we did start to develop a Plan B right now and then also, what kinds of safeguards are we putting in? I did post something on my face on my website Rosen quest for Plattsburgh dot com that clearly top line seven rial ki essentials on How do we prevent something like this from happening in the future? Okay, we’ve run heavy on some of these questions, so we’re gonna cut the answers down to 30 seconds. Now, let’s get to the next question. Recently, the Common Council voted not to bring back the school resource officers to the city School district. It was a surprise move to both the police department and the school district. Some parents air pretty upset. I asked the council what’s changed in the Plattsburgh City schools to make you change your mind right now. there are studies nationally, pro and con sa Rose. I fully understand that. I appreciate that. But the only concern of this council should be what’s happening in the Plattsburgh City schools. How do these resource officers positively affect our students Each and every day? You both agree that there was a lack of communication and open dialogue between the common council, the school district and the police department. Do the sa rose need to be returned to the schools? Chris, you go ahead and answer first. 3700. 100%. I agree that if the school district wants an S r o, the first municipality that should answer that call is the city of Plattsburgh. We share the same tax base that protects our taxpayers on. That’s really what we should be looking at a zoo well, as protecting our students in the schools in understanding the reason The reason for, um that request, uh, the council’s position, I thought, wasn’t fair. I went and I spoke to each individual counselor on their position, and unfortunately, there was a communication breakdown, and I would like to have seen that result better. Scott. Same question To us. A rose back in the schools, 100% back in the schools. This is an opportunity for us to support community policing. I advocated for the program. Back in 2018 I stood up in front of the school board as a retired officer and suggested the program and supported it. Lo and behold, they put it in place. This is a mechanism that helps break down barriers to communication, protects our students, our staff, our faculty. I believe it’s a mechanism for students. Toe have, uh, a different way of connecting with law enforcement other than during emergencies. Absolutely essential that we put him back and play. All right, let’s get to our last question. November is the general election. This country is clearly divided along political lines. Right now, the racial inequalities of this country have also been exposed again. People in Plattsburgh did not sit on the sidelines. A peaceful walk in protest took place in early June. Does Plattsburgh have a racism issue? Is it a welcoming community to minorities? And do you have a plan to make the city mawr inclusive? Scott. Let’s start with you to say there’s no racism in our community would be ill informed and naive. Of course, there is the issue that I faces. I cannot answer what a 20 year old students of color walking on Ruger streets facing. So in order for me to understand that we need to have a series of conversations, we need to be educated on what is going on in our community. We need to sit at a table, and sometimes these conversations are uncomfortable. But I need to know what I don’t know. And I can’t answer questions until I’m educated in order for us to educate one another and a have a series of conversations that’s beneficial for us. You ready? We have to come together and do those. We do those things, have those conversations and make sure both sides of an opportunity to educate the other Chris. Same question. Yeah, you know, as a as a person of color growing up in this community, I certainly have experienced racism. I wouldn’t necessarily say we’re a racist community, but we do have elements just like every community has elements of race, every single, everything, communities, elements of racism. How do we deal with that as a community? Are we open and welcoming. Are we? Do we welcome people that move into our community? How are we welcoming students of color? Are people are color of color that are coming into our community, and I think that’s something that we can do a lot better with. We can certainly create more of a welcoming environment. Rapper Sunni students, period. But but I think there’s an opportunity Thio to shift a cultural conversation right here in the North country. All right, we are running out of time here for our half hour. Let’s get to closing statements. Chris Rosen, Quest Europe first. So again, thank you to you folks over there. Wptz and Thio. My opponent, Mr Beebe on. For those of you who are watching, I do invite you to visit my website Rosenquist for Plattsburgh dot com. And I look forward to connecting with you. Being raised right here in Plattsburgh has shaped me to be the person that I am today. Compassionate, caring and loving. Developing my career after graduating from SUNY Plattsburgh has shaped me to be thorough, driven and focused. Um, all of this has led me to be here with you partnering to make the difference for our hometown. And this is the community that I love. I wanna leverage my skills and develop that I’ve developed in my career and to fulfill my life’s purpose for the betterment of my community that we’re growing together. We’re still in it in that challenging time of uncertainty. Coming together as a community, as a region and as a nation is just as important as electing a mayor who has the skills and abilities to see us through these challenging times. I’m asking for your vote so that we can create the future. Have you wrapped together? Thank you and be well, all right, Chris. Thank you, Scott. One minute for your closing statement. Thank you for the opportunity. I want to thank everybody. Be dizzy. Mr. Rosenquist, I’m a lifelong resident with nearly 30 years of it of service to this community in the police department. 11 years as a manager. The Fire Department was president, an assistant chief. My service. This community, it’s documented each every one of those roles is a leadership role. I’ve been a leader of this community regardless of its coaching or in this emergency services. I’ve led men and women in crisis through ice storms and floods. And I looked to continue my service to the city of Plattsburgh. There’s a big difference between being a politician and being a leader. And with my experience all the time that I’ve spent dedicated to this community, I’m certainly no politician. I wanna thank you for the opportunity for having me today, Scott, baby. Chris Rosenquist. Thank you both for joining us today. Best of luck the rest of the way and on Election Day. Appreciate it. Thank you, Mr Much. And thank you all for watching the 2020 Plattsburgh mayoral debate here on NBC five News. Be sure to vote this November.
Plattsburgh mayoral candidates focus on city development, regional relationships in debate
Both candidates for Plattsburgh’s mayoral seat exchanged ideas on a range of issues in a debate that aired Monday afternoon on NBC5 News.
Republican candidate Scott Beebie, a retired Plattsburgh City Police Department lieutenant, is hopeful to flip the city’s highest seat.
Clinton County legislator and Democratic candidate Chris Rosenquest is running to maintain a a progressive hold on the mayoral office. He defeated incumbent Colin Read during the 2020 primary election, winning 51.3% of available votes.
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