SARANAC LAKE – Village voters elected Jimmy Williams as the new mayor on Tuesday. Trustee Kelly Brunette was also re-elected to her first full term on council, and Matt Scollin became the village’s newest council member.
The other two mayoral candidates, Melinda Little and Jeremy Evans, congratulated Williams and said that while they are disappointed not to have won the election, they still have a lot of work to do in the community.
The final tally, including mail-in ballots, was 599 votes for Williams, who ran for Republican and “Independent SL” group lines; 415 for Little, who ran in the Democratic election and “Common sense” group lines; and 207 for Evans, who ran on the “Stronger SL” party line.
Williams garnered just over 50% of the vote.
Voters could vote for two director candidates. Brunette, who ran on Democratic and Stronger SL party lines, won 982 votes; Scollin, who ran on the Stronger SL party line, won 679; and Waters, who ran on the Democratic party and “Common sense” party lines, garnered 522.
The independent lines got a lot of votes in this election. Williams won the Republican Party’s endorsement in the election, but it’s the votes on the “Independent SL” the party line that won him the election. About half of Brunette’s votes came on the “Stronger SL” party line and Scollin won only by running on that same party line.
A total of 1,163 ballots were cast in the election.
Williams said taking on the role of village chief is a “huge responsibility” and he takes it seriously.
“I think the most important part right now is proving to everyone who voted for me that they made the right choice,” said Williams. “Follow to the end. … Every Saranac Laker matters and I want to make sure they feel respected. We’ve been missing it for a while. »
He will be sworn in on April 4, but he said the work is now beginning – attending all upcoming budget meetings, meeting with department heads and picking the brains for the current board.
Williams launched a campaign to repair the souring relationship with the village. He said he will have to do this through face-to-face conversations.
He wants to build a good team to handle day-to-day operations and maintenance, but he said those difficult conversations needed a personal touch.
“We can turn the tides here into a positive,” said Williams. “I am very excited.”
He said he was glad the campaign was over and done with.
“I would much rather put my head down and work” he said.
Brune and Scollin
Brunette, who joined the council last year in an uncontested election to fill a vacant seat, said she was unsure of the results this entire election cycle and was pleased to see such voter support. to keep her on the board.
Although she ran to a party line with Evans, she said she had “no complaints” about Williams’ election and she is excited to work with all of the new village council members.
Brunette said their very first step would be to pass the new budget at their very first meeting after being sworn in. She is currently working on this budget with the Board of Directors.
“I’m excited for Saranac Lake,” said Scolin. “If things had turned out differently tonight, I would still be excited for Saranac Lake as we are about to write a new chapter in our village’s history.”
He is happy to be part of this chapter.
“It was a great experience and I am extremely grateful to the constituents of the Village of Saranac Lake for believing in me and giving me the chance to represent them on the Board of Directors,” he wrote in a statement.
Scollin thanked his running mates for making their community stronger and making the running process fun.
“Jimmy Williams ran an enthusiastic and honorable campaign and expanded the electorate”, he wrote.
He also thanked Waters for his campaign in the race. Scollin said it was good to see everyone running “problem-based campaigns” and that national issues that turn people away from politics were not an issue here.
What happens immediately now that he is elected?
“I do not know,” said Scolin. ” I have never done that. … But I will find out.
“Tomorrow, we get up and go back to work” he wrote. “I know voters will hold me accountable for years to come, and I expect nothing less.”
Evans and Little
Evans congratulated Williams and thanked Little, saying they both ran “strong and positive campaigns.”
“Saranac Lake has shown its true colors as a decidedly different place where a local race can focus on local issues, where respectful dialogue is the norm, and independent voices matter,” Evans wrote in a statement. “I’m so proud of Kelly Brunette… and Matt Scollin. … They will be excellent administrators and I am very grateful for their support, advice and hard work.
“The campaign was difficult but very rewarding and I have no regrets” Evans wrote.
He really wanted the job and lead the village in a new direction with expertise. He said he tried to lead a “new type of campaign”, a step on party politics.
He said he learned a lot of things that are important to someone in his position as CEO of the Franklin County Economic Development Corporation.
He said he wouldn’t rule out a return to try and win a seat on the board in the future.
After the election, Little said she was “Disappointed, but good. »
She really wanted to work for the village and take on a leadership role in the projects she was involved in. Before voting, she joked that if she lost she would have more free time, but she would keep busy.
She said she did not plan to continue serving on the Village Police Interface Committee, but would continue to work with the Village Housing Task Force to finalize recommendations on regulating tenancies in short term.
“Whether I apply to be considered for the permanent housing task force remains to be seen,” Little written in text.
Little started thinking about running for mayor last year. When she joined the board four years ago, she never thought she would.
“First of all, I never wanted to be a politician” she says. “I don’t really consider myself a politician. I consider myself as someone who wants to help.
She said when she first ran for the village board, she was in an undisputed race. It was a bit disappointing. She said the campaign process is informative, gives voters choice and establishes “background work” for a better village council.
After the election results were released, Little shook hands with Williams and gave her some hopeful advice.
“Do a good job,” she says.