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Incumbent Faces Familiar Challenger In Ward 4

Editor’s note: This is the third in a six-part series featuring the candidates running for the Jamestown City Council.

Marie Carrubba is being challenged by the same opponent for the fourth time since being appointed to the Jamestown City Council Ward 4 seat in March 2013.

The challenger is Rick Elardo, who is employed by the Jamestown Housing Authority, Classic Brass and operator of the family-owned Crescent Inn, who will be going against the incumbent Carrubba, who is Southwestern Independent Living Center executive director, for the fourth time — 2013, 2015, 2017 — for a position on the council. Carrubba has been endorsed by the Democratic and Working Families parties and Elardo has been endorsed by the Republican and Conservative parties. Each candidate was asked the same four questions. Only Carrubba responded to The Post-Journal’s inquiry.

Question 1: Do you think the city’s proposed American Rescue Plan Act Recovery Funds Master Plan is the best way to spend the $28 million Jamestown will receive in federal stimulus funding? If you do, why is this the best way to spend the funding? If you don’t, what would you change or add to the plan?

Carrubba: Some aspects of the American Rescue Plan (ARP) Funds Master Plan are not the best use of the funds. I have concerns about added positions that are funded through ARP, but may not be able to be funded in the city’s general operating budget when ARP funds are eliminated. I strongly believe that the ARP Funds Master Plan needs to utilize more of the funds for infrastructure, capital improvements and equipment that have been consistently eliminated from departmental budget requests as they were not included to balance the city’s budget. It would also save money by reducing the likelihood that the city would have to bond for these items in the near future.

Question 2: Should the city of Jamestown opt in or out of allowing cannabis dispensaries and consumption sites?

Carrubba: The Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act, creating a Cannabis Control Board (CCB), and Office of Cannabis Management (OCM) was signed into law on March 31, 2021. The CCB is responsible for creating the regulations while the OCM is charged with its implementation. It is unclear as to whether the CCB, which recently held its first meeting, will finalize and announce the regulations prior to the Dec. 31, 2021, opt-out deadline. Consequently, Sen. George Borrello has proposed legislation to extend the opt-out deadline until Dec. 31, 2022. As the extent of the regulations for dispensaries and consumption sites has not yet been fully developed or announced by the CCB, it would be premature for any local governing body to make an informed decision whether to opt-in at the present time.

Question 3: With the Jamestown City Council voting down a proposal to operate a controlled deer hunt to curtail the population of deer in the city, what should be the next step taken by the council to try to control the deer population in the city?

Carrubba: (Jamestown Police Department) accident summary records, since 2015, have shown that less than 1% of motor vehicle accidents within Jamestown involve deer. So the underlying issue is less about vehicle and traffic safety and more about ecological damage. After speaking with several hunter safety instructors and bow hunters, it is apparent that a controlled deer hunt alone would be insufficient to reduce the deer population. A multipronged plan that includes the surrounding towns would be necessary to have any measurable impact on the deer population in the city. In order to develop a successful deer management plan, the community as a whole must then determine the extent to which a majority of residents believe that there is a significant problem, that they want to make it a priority and that there is sufficient support to proceed with the proposed plan. The answer to those questions might then necessitate budgeting funds for a safely managed program to deter deer.

Question 4: Should the city of Jamestown have a Local Preservation Ordinance? If you believe Jamestown should have one, why? If you don’t think Jamestown should have one, why not?

Carrubba: The answer is yes, but only if the plan is clearly developed, restricted to areas of the city that are worth preserving and it does not unduly prevent access or use by people with disabilities. In order to be effective, Local Preservation Ordinances need to strike an often difficult balance between the need to preserve historical buildings and the rights of the property owners to develop and use it as they see fit. Many communities have had to redesign their own preservation ordinances that were too restrictive and had unintended consequences. Some of the building costs, for historical rehabilitation projects, are cost-prohibitive for individuals and developers to even consider undertaking, thereby continuing the deterioration of the home or building and eventually ending in demolition. Historical preservation designations that are too restrictive can also impede the ability to make necessary accessibility modifications and that can prevent a person with a disability from using the building.

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