Franklin County Legislator Paul Maroun announced this week that he is running for mayor of the village of Tupper Lake.
The Republican from Tupper Lake said his main reason for running is to make sure the proposed Adirondack Club & Resort becomes a reality.
He said he supports the resort "110 percent" and that he would "push farther and harder than the village is doing."
He called Tupper Lake a "dying community" and cautioned that Sunmount, a state run home for the criminally insane and one of the only large employers in the area, might shutter its doors one day given the state's fiscal predicament.
The state Adirondack Park Agency is in the process of reviewing the Adirondack Club & Resort proposed for a ski area in Tupper Lake and expects to make a decision this fall, months before voters in Tupper Lake would choose their next mayor.
But Maroun said he has reasons to believe the project might not get through the APA process on time, although he didn't offer any specifics. Even if the project is approved before the election, he said the work doesn't end there.
Maroun said he would work with all the departments in the village to make sure accommodating the needs of the resort would be a smooth transition.
If elected, Maroun said he intends to stay on as county legislator, at least initially. He said he has the time to take on the duties of mayor of Tupper Lake as well, a position he considers an even more effective bully pulpit from which to sing the praises of the big resort.
"I'm not sure why it is but when the mayor speaks they get a lot more publicity than the legislature," Maroun said.
Maroun said Mickey Desmarais, who has been mayor for six years, has been too critical of the resort project. He criticized Desmarais for retaining an independent firm called the Hudson Group to study the pros and cons of the project, including its impact on municipal services like sewer, water and electricity.
Maroun said the Hudson Group was biased against the project and came up with too many negative findings.
Desmarais defended his record in an interview with WNBZ. He said he strongly supports the resort but believes his job isn't to be its lead cheerleader. He said he's confident the resort will be approved, and that his job is to make sure the village's interests are considered in the process.
"I would look pretty incompetent as a leader of this community if I didn't ask these questions," he said.
He said the village doesn't have all the answers yet because the resort's needs for sewer, electric, and other municipal services are still being ironed out.
Desmarais said his main goal is to make sure the ski area gets reopened and fully developed rather than subdivided.
Desmarais said he plans on expanding on these issues in greater depth during a village board meeting next week. Residents who aren't able to attend can watch it live on public television.