Johnson endorses Clarke for position of town supervisor

Letter to the editor

— To the editor:

You learn a lot about Tom Clarke when you meet with him the fourth Tuesday night of every month for more than 10 years.

As a member of the Cazenovia wastewater treatment plant board, I watched Tom stay calm in critical emergencies that would have overwhelmed others. I marveled at how he protected a multi-million-dollar pubic asset, Cazenovia’s wastewater treatment plant, and kept it running efficiently despite its advancing age.

As chief operator of the treatment plant for 27 years, Tom proved to be a master at budgeting. He juggled the treatment plant’s annual operating costs while keeping an eye on long-term maintenance efforts, a combination that kept sewer levy increases to a minimum.

Although few are aware of it, Tom singlehandedly spent three years successfully securing and implementing a $600,000 matching grant from the New York Department of Environmental Conservation to build a composting facility at the wastewater treatment plant. The composting effort eliminates the expensive and environmentally sensitive problem of getting rid of what is politely known as “sludge” and turning it into a clean, dry, odorless product that many local gardeners swear by.

Recently he quietly served as a key advisor to the village of Cazenovia providing both knowledge and information that helped secure a $325,000 state grant that will keep storm water runoff from rooftops in the village’s historic business district from entering the wastewater treatment plant. During his two-year tenure as Cazenovia’s mayor, he also spent time negotiating in Albany as he guided the implementation of the New York Small Cities grant that paid for improvements to Cazenovia’s downtown.

As a former department head within the county hierarchy Tom probably has more experience than any other current or past candidate at working with the Board of Supervisors. He knows how the town supervisors think and work. There will be no learning curve when he takes office.

He knows the county, he knows the town, he knows the village and the challenges each faces. He has broad experience as a consensus builder — the kind of experience that will be needed as the town and village move ahead with managed growth that is business-friendly while being sensitive to the community’s historic and rural traditions.

Magnifying Tom’s impact, of course, will require a team effort with the election of Liz Moran and Bill Zupan on Nov. 8.

It’s a combination that will serve the town well.

Eric Johnson


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