In a swearing-in ceremony Jan. 1, Lake George Supervisor Dennis Dickinson takes the oath of office, administered by his brother-in-law, state Supreme Court Justice of Warren County, David Krogmann. Lake George Mayor Robert Blais holds the bible.
LAKE GEORGE -- State Supreme Court Justice David Krogmann gazed over the dozens of local people packing the historic courthouse Sunday Jan. 1 to witness the swearing-in ceremony for three new leaders of the Town of Lake George.
"This old building reflects the importance of history -- which can guide us in the future," he said, referring to the former Warren County Courthouse, built in 1845. "Through this ceremony, we witness the strength of our democracy, here and elsewhere across the country," he added. "This signifies the transition of power by choice of the people."
Lake George Town Supervisor Dennis Dickinson and town board members Marisa Muratori and Dan Hurley were sworn into office Sunday. Defeating three entrenched Republicans in the November election, the trio were members of the upstart Lake George Citizens Group party. They now represent a new majority on the legislative panel.
Lake George Mayor Robert Blais, who's been in office nearly 41 years, held the Bible as Krogmann, brother-in-law of Dickinson, administered the oath of office to the new town leaders.
"We'll do everything we can to earn your trust and faith," Dickinson said immediately after taking the oath, which concluded with lengthy applause from the audience.
Later, Blais offered his thoughts about the significance of the local transition of power.
"We're looking forward to a good relationship between the town and village governments," he said. "Asking me to participate in this ceremony is symbolic of what we think the future will bring -- great cooperation."
Dickinson said top priorities for the town included upgrades to the sewer system outside the village.
With the village relining its sewer mains last year, which reduced groundwater infiltration substantially, the town's portion of the sewer flow -- and thus its share of operational costs -- has increased.
Dickinson said he also plans on appointing a group of citizens to evaluate existing zoning and regulations, and make suggestions for changes. Dickinson, who is a professional engineer and surveyor, has represented local developers in the past, and has advocated changes that he said will upgrade the stock of multi-unit housing in town.
Also, Dickinson said he was looking forward to implementing the Exit 21 Corridor reconstruction plan, which calls for a new streetscape, sidewalks and landscaping on Rte. 9 from Northway Exit 21 north to the village line.
He said he and the board may seek to have a series of informational plaques installed along the route.
"We've got a lot on our plate," he said. "But what we can accomplish depends on the money we line up. We can do anything we find the money for."
Outside the courthouse, Hurley said he was still experiencing joy over being elected, as he was a Democrat running in a town that has a 2-to-1 Republican voter enrollment.
Marisa Muratori, a former village board member known for her environmental activism and smart-growth ideas, said she was looking forward to serving her community. She's been named liason to town planning and zoning, town courts, and the local transfer station.
Muratori said she might seek to give the transfer station new roles -- as a collection point for clothing and food drives, and perhaps a place to swap perennials.
"But the biggest thing is I want to help make the town government inclusive, and get the citizens involved," she said. "It makes for a better community -- and it's more fun that way."
Among those witnessing the swearing-in was Warren County Board of Supervisors Chairman Dan Stec. He noted that he was two years old when Dickinson was elected Lake George Town Supervisor the first time -- about 1980 or so.
Stec said he chose to attend the Lake George swearing-in because the local election had been high profile, and the county's fortunes were so dependent on the town's vitality -- particularly its tourism.
"Of all the town election races, the one here was the most attention-grabbing in the county," he said.