Corinth election for Mayor, 3/19, referendum on new village hall

By Mark Frost & Zander Frost, Chronicle Editor & Staff Writer

Village of Corinth voters go to the polls on Tuesday, March 19, with a suddenly competitive election. Current Deputy Mayor Dean Brown is running for Mayor. He is unopposed on the ballot but now faces a write-in opponent, Terry Miller, a former village trustee.

Also on the ballot — after a petition drive — will be Proposition 1, on borrowing up to $1.75-million to move the current village hall down to 97 Main St. into what long ago was First National Bank.

Foes of the project collected signatures and forced the referendum. “We needed 282 signatures, but we got 354!” a leader of the effort wrote to The Chronicle.

Running for mayor — Dean Brown, above, is the current Deputy Mayor. Terry Miller, below is running as a write-in.
“We are asking people to Vote No on Prop 1. In addition, we are supporting a write-in candidate for Mayor, Terry Miller.”

Mr. Miller says the village board rebuffed citizens’ requests for a referendum, prompting the successful petition drive.

Mr. Brown says, “It was my view that the people may not be interested or they may be interested in doing a referendum. That’s something that the public needs to do. And I believe that the public should decide those things, not politicians.”

The village board approved spending up to $1.75-million for a new village hall.

“I think that was a mistake of the board to do that,” says Mr. Miller.

He says the priority should be “curbing spending. To do that kind of possible spend, getting the bond for that, to me is something that we really need to look to stop.” He said the village hall plan would also take the building off the tax rolls.

Mr. Brown called the $1.75-million figure “a top end number… and potentially could have been much less than that.”

He said that if approved, “we’d have to negotiate on the price, we’d have to do an investigation to see if the property was actually worth whatever the owner was asking.”

He noted that co-tenant “the Post Office would be paying $48,000 a year, which would certainly reduce the price.”

Mr. Miller suggests that if the village hall is moved, put it in the firehouse.

“I brought that up the meeting,” he said. “I think it could be a doable thing, even if we had to add a small addition to it. It’s a village property. It’s, in my opinion, the nicest building in the village.”

Mr. Brown said they “would have to do a study on that. At this point, I wouldn’t be able to comment on that,” adding, “I know that the Fire Company is full. We have a lot of equipment there. We have a few offices for our fire chiefs and other officers but not very many.”

Mr. Miller comments, “I really want to understand the cost of running that fire department, so I’m going to be looking into that” as well.

He said, “I would really like to see more transparency in the village, from the board to the village taxpayers, and I think that we really need to work on curbing spending here, being a bedroom community without really any manufacturing. Our tax base is really just real estate tax coming in.”

Mr. Brown, the deputy mayor, says, “The way we do government has to change, we have to be much more collaborative in the work that we do.

“These new generations, whether it be kids my grandkids’ age, teenagers, they look at the world different than we do. The top down, authoritarian, I’m the leader and you’re the follower — that stuff has gone out the window now.

“So, much more collaborative, much more communicative, much more open to, as I’ve been doing, sitting in the local Stewart’s, just sitting and talking to people.

As to personal background, Deputy Mayor Brown said, “I’m a hometown boy who grew up and went away and went to university and then had an opportunity to come back home.”

He said, “Primarily, I’ve been a pastor of churches, both in Canada and here in the United States.”

He is currently pastor of Spirit of Life Community Church in Porter Corners.

He headed the Open Door Mission in Glens Falls for a short time.

“The town and village of Corinth were really instrumental in my formative years,” he says. “I’m doing what I’m doing not because I’m looking for a power trip or I have an ego issue. I’m doing it because I want to give back to the community that has done so much for me.”

He said he grew up in Glens Falls and is employed at Finch Paper. “I’m an asset manager there. And before that I worked at Essity, used to be SCA [in South Glens Falls]. I worked there 43 years.”

As for attempting a write-in campaign, Mr. Miller said, “Several people came to me, wanted me to run as just a board member… And then I knew some of the people running. I thought to myself, well, they probably got enough people there for the Republican side. So after several conversations and a lot of people calling me, I decided to” run for mayor.

Mr. Brown said he is not surprised to have a write-in opponent.

“It has nothing to do with Terry…In our village over some recent years people have been elected through write-in ballot rather than going through the normal process of a caucus.”

In fact, Mr. Miller served as an appointed trustee but lost the subsequent election to a write-in candidate.

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