AUBURN | Heading into his fourth straight mayoral campaign, Tim Lattimore sees himself as the underdog contending for Auburn's top elected position.

The 65-year-old won the seat in 2003, his first attempt, but was defeated by present Mayor Michael Quill in a 2007 re-election bid. Lattimore, who won a seat on the Cayuga County Legislature in 2009 and then secured re-election in 2013, lost another mayoral run against Quill in 2011.

Lattimore, a Republican, believes the city's political enrollment does not lean to his party's favor. Nevertheless, Lattimore formally launched his latest mayoral campaign, taking on Quill for a third time, with an event Thursday outside the Daikin Applied factory. Daikin is set to close its Auburn facility by the end of this year.

"We talk about Auburn's hometown history: Our hometown history is that we've had 40 or 50 great manufacturers and maybe we've got 10 left," he said. "We need to build a base again to relieve the homeowners."

Prior to his mayoral term, Lattimore also served as a city councilor and a member of the Auburn and Cayuga County planning boards. In a prepared statement, Lattimore said the area needs aggressive pursuit of new area industries and alternative income sources — which, he believes, starts with the mayor's efforts.

Lattimore said he would use the mayor's position to entice more manufacturing companies to the area while pursuing renewable energy initiatives, such as repurposing the city's landfill acreage into solar paneling or attracting a new tenant into Daikin's closing facility.

He criticized the current city council's decision to vote against applying to the NY Prize initiative, which offered potential grant funding toward the development of a microgrid energy project. Further, Lattimore said city residents cannot endure another "'steady-as-she-goes' approach" to budgeting that spends more than what's affordable to taxpayers.

"(The mayor)'s got to do it full-time. It's not just a ceremonial chair," Lattimore said. "The mayor's chair is a powerful economic development tool."

Staff writer Greg Mason can be reached at (315) 282-2239 or greg.mason@lee.net. Follow him on Twitter @CitizenMason.

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