Current Auburn City Councilor Terry Cuddy has worked the past four years to make city hall more accessible to the residents of Auburn. Now, the Democrat is seeking re-election and wants to "see through" what he started during his first term.
"Four years ago, my motivations were to address what I thought was a city that was going in the wrong direction," Cuddy said. "I wanted to restore the functionality of the city."
When he joined the council in 2013, the city's financial situation was poor, as the city was facing a multimillion-dollar budget deficit, the city didn't have a comptroller or a full-time codes department and the council at the time had a contentious relationship with city staff, Cuddy said.
"It just seemed that there was a lot of negative energy, a dark cloud that got in the way of progress," he said.
The Democrat said Auburn has made improvements since 2013 — the city's finances are more stable, a comptroller was hired and the city's code enforcement department is back to full time. But he also acknowledged the challenges still facing the city today.
The Cayuga-Onondaga BOCES teacher said his main priorities if he is elected for another term are water quality, improving Auburn's neighborhoods and promoting industry and tourism in the city.
Cuddy, a member of Save Owasco Now!, said he is advocating for a long-term, comprehensive solution to combat harmful algal blooms and improve the welfare of Owasco Lake, which is Auburn's public drinking water source. The Auburn native also said he wants to continue to combat the abandoned "zombie" properties is Auburn's neighborhoods.
"Downtown has become more welcoming and we want to focus on taking that energy and begin to address some of the issues in the neighborhoods," he said.
Additionally, the 45-year-old wants to see the city become a more welcoming place for businesses and industry.
"We've had some success since I've been on the council," Cuddy said, citing Tessy Plastics' expansion into the Auburn Industrial Park and NUCOR Steel's $30 million investment into its Auburn plant. "This is a city that supports what they have but also looks for new opportunities."
As for why he would be a good candidate, Cuddy said he is "very good at working with people, trying to find common ground, find a solution."
"A lot of time there's been disagreement, and I've been very successful at creating an environment where policy can happen and gridlock can be overcome," he said.