1. The Legislature has explored building a new county office building to replace the aging structure downtown. What do you think should be done? 

Kathleen Gorr: I don't think I'm in a position to comment on that because I don't know the specifics. 

Charles Ripley: I'm not too crazy about the idea of spending millions of dollars on that, but at the same time we have to get that asbestos out of there. Perhaps we should look at an alternative to getting that out of there rather than building a whole new building. That's going to be a tremendous tax burden on the residents of the county. ... There should be less expensive alternatives to doing that. 

2. How can the Legislature ensure more stability with the Cayuga County administrator position, which has experienced considerable turnover in the past decade? 

Kathleen Gorr: I think whenever you hire someone you need to look at their background very closely and you need to make sure that the communication is what is should be to that person. I don't have any specific recommendations for this situation at this point. ... Sometimes you want to get things done quickly, but you have to tell yourself to slow down and take your time. Do it right. 

Charles Ripley: I think that Keith Batman has been doing a good job since he's been acting as administrator. ... So should we not put a new administrator in there? I think it depends on the individual. You want the person who is going to do the best job, whether they are Republican or Democrat or Independent. ... I tried to find out why (Suzanne) Sinclair was let go, but mum's the word. There's a lot of issues there that people need an explanation for. I think people have the right to know that. 

3. What should the Legislature be doing to address the harmful algal bloom and invasive species problems affecting local water bodies? 

Kathleen Gorr: (We should) really get the facts out to the public. ... Then we need to address the cost and we need to work with different people in the county — people who prepare the roads, farmers, people who live on the water. I would like the approach of getting people together and saying, 'Here's how you can help' as opposed to mandates. You're going to have mandates in some shape or form for many problems, but I like the idea of a collaborative approach. 

Charles Ripley: We've got to get more involved. ... Somehow we've got to — probably through legislation — do something better to keep stuff from getting into the lakes to help prevent that. ... Being that I was a small farmer, I am totally for a dryer manure. Liquid manure — it upsets me. It's on the roads, you get the runoff into the ditches and where do the ditches go? Into the nearest water body. That's bad. We have to have stricter regulation on it. ... The farmers need better means of transporting stuff and more regulations on when to spread (manure) and what to do after you spread it.

4. Working with leaders in all municipalities, Cayuga County will be asked to submit a shared services plan to the state in 2018. What types of services should this plan target? 

Kathleen Gorr: Road maintenance and public safety. And certainly there is a lot of emphasis on the lake now, especially the Great Lakes. So in terms of testing and information dissemination about our lakes and water bodies, which includes our streams and rivers, we definitely need to share services. 

Charles Ripley: I would like to see a district justice rather than a town justice. ... As it's set up now, the justices know everybody in the town, so if you try to get an impartial decision on something it's tough. ... This would also help save on justices in the budget. ... I also think that down here in (Summerhill) we could do a lot better job on the county roads than the county can. I think we could take better care of our roads down here. ... (Road maintenance) should be more shared between towns and districts and even other counties. And I think some towns could combine (planning boards) because we're having a hard time filling the positions. It would make it easier for everybody if we had a little bit broader input on towns of similar size and terrain. 

Staff writer Megan Blarr can be reached at (315) 282-2282 or megan.blarr@lee.net. Follow her on Twitter @CitizenBlarr. 


Crime and Courts Reporter