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North Elba Dems pick Doty, Kilburn, Rafferty as candidates

April 5, 2019
By GRIFFIN KELLY - Staff Writer ( , Lake Placid News

LAKE PLACID - On Tuesday night, March 26, the North Elba Democratic Committee selected its representatives in the race for town council. Current town Councilman Derek Doty is the party's supervisor candidate, and Bob Rafferty and Emily Kilburn are the nominees for council members.

Doty had announced his candidacy in late February. His two opponents right now are fellow Councilman Jay Rand, who is the Republican nominee, and Gary Kaltenbach, an independent. The winner of the Nov. 5 general election will succeed current Supervisor Roby Politi, who will not run for re-election.

A pair of council positions are up for grabs, and Kilburn and Rafferty make a total of six contestants. That number may drop to five after three Republicans face off in a June 25 primary: Richard Cummings, Doug Hoffman and Jeremy Mihill. Also, Rik Cassidy of Saranac Lake has said he plans to run on the independent Adirondack Party line.

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For major parties that have primaries, the slate is almost set. The new state deadline for these candidates to file petitions to run was Thursday, April 4. Independent candidates can start circulating petitions April 16 and must file them between May 21 and 28.


Emily Kilburn

This Lake Placid resident said her two focuses, if elected, would be affordable housing and short-term rental regulations.

A common sentiment stated at recent public hearings and meetings regarding short-term rentals is that they "sneaked up on us." Kilburn thinks otherwise; she says they were disregarded until recently.

Kilburn said when she was interning at the Lake Placid village offices in 2006, then-Mayor Jamie Rogers asked her to write a law on regulating short-term rentals.

"I wrote a law for it back then and put together this very comprehensive plan, but it went nowhere," she said.

In a follow-up email, Kilburn wrote, "I assume that as short term rentals weren't as prolific as they are now, they impacted fewer citizens, and (the village board and town council) didn't see the need to regulate them ... yet."

Kilburn currently works with the Lake Placid/North Elba Community Development Commission, one of the groups that helped write the new proposal for short-term rental regulations. On that, she's part of a subcommittee that would take extra money obtained from short-term rental permit fees and spend it on community development.

"One of the ideas is after administration is paid for, there would be a general fund," she said. "Maybe some could go toward landlords who need to fix up their long-term rental properties."

Kilburn studied political science at the University of Vermont and since then has worked for the North Elba Building and Planning Department, the Adirondack Community Housing Trust and the state Department of Environmental Conservation. She currently volunteers with the North Elba/Lake Placid Joint Review Board and the Housing Assistance Program for Essex County.

Another issue Kilburn said she'd like to address is road salt, sand and runoff entering local waterways such as Mirror Lake, the AuSable River and the Chubb River.

Kilburn said she is excited to see many people running for public office this year.

"It's awesome," she said. "A lot of communities don't have that.

"I've actually always looked forward to running for public office," she continued. "The question was, 'When is the right time?' Now I'm a stay-at-home mom, oddly, with extra time on my hands."

Her husband, Nick Politi, is the son of current town Supervisor Roby Politi.


Bob Rafferty

Similar to Kilburn, Rafferty said he's had his eye on public office since he semi-retired. He still owns and operates the Adirondac Rafting Company, his seasonal business in Indian Lake and Lake Placid.

"The town was a wonderful community to raise our family," he said. "Back then the town was affordable and people could make ends meet. I'm afraid we're losing touch with that now. I've spoken to plenty of younger people who say that type of life isn't as available here as it used to be."

Rafferty is originally from Sherill, in Central New York, and opened his business in 1996. He's also worked with the state Olympic Regional Development Authority.

"I was a Paul Smith's College student, and after I graduated, I stayed put," he said.

As for short-term rentals, Rafferty said he appreciates the work the Community Development Committee has done.

"I think they've collected really good information, and now some decisions need to be made," he said. "I think registration is necessary, and I would support a moratorium on future short-term rentals."

Rafferty said, if elected, he'd like to continue to manage the town effectively from a budgetary standpoint.

"The town board has done a very good job managing the budget and keeping taxes within the cap," he said. "That's a big-time challenge."

In regard to Kilburn, Rafferty said, "I think it's great to have a younger generation involved, and I'm a strong supporter for getting more women involved in local politics."


Derek Doty

Doty and Rand share similar concerns for North Elba: affordable housing, vacation rentals and updating the winter sports venues run by ORDA.

"Everybody is saying housing is too expensive," Doty said in a previous interview, "and I agree. But finding suitable lots and qualified people is a challenge, and I want to do it correctly.

"Our relationship with ORDA is instrumental for the economic viability of the area," Doty added. "Renovations are paramount to our sustainability."

Despite being in the same political party, Doty seems to have a less-strict approach to short-term rental regulations than Kilburn and Rafferty. In a phone interview Friday, Doty said he agrees with safety regulations and trying to curtail noise complaints and parking issues, but he's not fully on board with regulations that would dictate how and when property owners operate their businesses.

Even if Doty loses this superintendent race, he'd still have two years left in his council member position. If he wins as supervisor, the board would appoint someone to his council seat until the next election.

If Rand loses, he would be off the board because his council seat is up for election this year and he is running for supervisor instead.

Doty lives in Ray Brook and runs Doty Property Management, working primarily as a caretaker. In the past he has served on the Saranac Lake Central School District Board of Education and the Franklin Town Council, as well as the St. Bernard's School Education Council in Saranac Lake. For many years he was an independent butcher, running Doty's Country Road Beef in Saranac Lake.

Doty said he'd make a good candidate because of his strong ties to both villages in North Elba and his knowledge of infrastructure, construction and day-to-day operations.

Also like Rand, Doty agrees Roby Politi represented North Elba well on the Essex County Board of Supervisors.

"I think Roby has a great record of representing the town down there; I don't see changing anything in that pattern," Doty said.

Doty unsuccessfully ran against Politi for supervisor in 2011.



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