Town of Harrietstown Councilman Bob Bevilacqua addresses the Republican caucus Aug. 21 at the Harrietstown Town Hall after being named to run for the town supervisor’s position in the November election.
Town of Harrietstown Republicans Tuesday, Aug. 21 chose Councilman Bob Bevilacqua to run against village Trustee Tom Catillaz in the November election for town supervisor.
Democrats picked Catillaz during their caucus on Aug. 15 to run for the one-year unexpired term of former Supervisor Larry Miller, who resigned earlier this year. Town Councilman and Deputy Supervisor Barry DeFuria has been filling in until a new supervisor is elected to finish out Miller’s term. Catillaz is also a former mayor of Saranac Lake.
“Tom’s a good guy,” Bevilacqua said after the caucus was over at the Harrietstown Town Hall. “I’ve known Tom for a long time. I consider him a friend, and I’m sure we’ll be friends when this is all over ... I think it will be real close. I think we’re going to have to beat the bush and get the vote out.”
Bevilacqua was the only one who submitted a letter wishing to run on the Republican ticket, and no caucus attendees nominated themselves. He will also file a petition to be on the Conservative ballot.
“That’s going to be a definite advantage to Bob in the coming election,” Town of Harrietstown Republican Committee Chairman Joe Spadaro told the 28 caucus attendees.
Spadaro announced that there are 1,096 registered Democrats and 980 registered Republicans in the town. All agreed that this would not be an easy election given the numbers and the popularity of Catillaz, who Mayor Clyde Rabideau often refers to as the “Baritone of Broadway,” even though he lives on Ampersand Avenue.
“Everybody knows Tom Catillaz,” said caucus chairman Ray Scollin. “That’s who Bob’s opponent is going to be at this point, so we need a community to get behind Bob.”
Republicans said they expect a high turnout this year because of the national election.
“I think we should all bear in mind this fall is a national election,” said Town Councilman Ron Keough. “There are going to be some very strong visions out there along party lines, Republican and Democrat. That is going to play into local (elections). It may not as much as you think it would, but it’s going to be there for some people who do straight party votes, right down the line. And so I think we have to be very attentive looking at our numbers.”
After he secured the Republican nomination, Bevilacqua made a brief speech.
“I’ll do my best to serve the taxpayers in the town of Harrietstown to the best of my ability,” Bevilacqua said. “We’ve done a decent job in the past couple of years. We’ve got a good board, and that’s what makes the job a lot easier. It’s been a pleasure, and I hope I meet your expectations.”
After the caucus, Bevilacqua said he sees the main issue being the town-owned Adirondack Regional Airport, making sure the town keeps the expenditures low and the income as high as possible.
“The airport’s always going to be an issue,” Bevilacqua said. “Other than that, we’ve got the Lake Colby sewer project, we have repairs we’re going to have to do on the Town Hall that need to be addressed and the retaining wall behind the Town Hall has to be replaced. We’ve got a number of issues going on in the town.”
Bevilacqua spent five years on the Saranac Lake School Board, including one year as president of the board. He spent some time on the Harrietstown Board of Assessment Review. He was elected Harrietstown councilman in 2007, earning the most amount of votes in a field of four candidates.
Catillaz agreed that the airport is one of the big issues for the town.
“That has to run in the black,” Catillaz said. “That can’t run in the red.”
Catillaz has served 12 years on the Saranac Lake Village Board. He was first elected as a trustee in 1996, re-elected in 1998 and then elected mayor in 1999, serving a total of seven years at the helm of the village, deciding not to run in 2006. He was again elected as a trustee in 2010.
Catillaz said his experience as Saranac Lake mayor gives him an edge over Bevilacqua.
“We did get things done when I was mayor,” Catillaz said. “It seems like we got a lot more things done than the town. I may be wrong about that, but ... There’s a lot going on all the time, I mean you can’t sit still. You’ve got to move all the time. We always have done that in the village and that’s just what I’d like to continue to do in the town.”
If elected to the supervisor’s post, the former mayor said lowering town taxes will be a priority.
“There’s an awful lot of houses for sale in the village, an awful lot,” Catillaz said. “I have to think that part of it is that people can’t afford the taxes anymore.”
Catillaz also hopes to bring more jobs into the town.
“In the village, we did it on our own, and we need them in the town” Catillaz said. “We need their help. We need their brain power. We just want them to be part of that.”
Creating a better working relationship between the town and the village governments is also on Catillaz’s to-do list.
“We all live here. We’re all part of the same community. And for some reason we just don’t get along,” Catillaz said. “We’ve got to get over that and move forward, and I’m sure that we can do this.”