To be the supervisor of the town of Lake George, you need a unique and varied skill set.
Beside the traditional tasks of budgeting, holding down taxes and keeping up the roads, Lake George’s supervisor needs to be well-versed in environmental threats to the lake from invasive species, interstate runoff and aging residential septic systems while also being the master of marketing and tourism promotion demanded by the hospitality industry.
For the past six years, Dennis Dickinson has filled that bill quite capably.
Town Board member Dan Hurley believes he can do a better job. We were impressed by his command of how the water and sewer department works, which, considering his 56 years in construction, should come as no surprise.
Every Town Board would be lucky to have someone like Hurley filling that role on the board. He is a valuable asset and has lived in the town since 1968.
What shocked us was when Hurley said Dickinson has gone wrong by collaborating too often with the village.
He cited one specific instance when the village got it wrong over the replacement of some expensive pumps, but that was corrected before the money was spent.
We believe the town and village are a shining example of how inter-municipal cooperation should work, and most of the credit goes to Dickinson and longtime village Mayor Robert Blais.
There are times when Dickinson may seem headstrong and uncooperative, but our read is he has provided Lake George with a comprehensive way forward and is willing to listen when problems are presented.
Dickinson told us about the ongoing town survey of residential septic systems between Bolton Road and the lake. They have surveyed 467 systems and are in the process of reviewing what upgrades are needed, while convincing homeowners that the investment will lead to a steep increase in their property value.
It was also good to hear that Dickinson, as chairman of Warren County’s occupancy tax committee, has been meeting regularly with 20 members of the business community on how the occupancy tax money should be spent.
While he acknowledged he has told the group their demands for changes by Jan. 1 are unrealistic, he said he believes they have presented valuable information that can be used to fundamentally change how the county funds tourism.
Dickinson talked about a plan where a convention and visitors bureau could be developed and implemented in the next two to three years.
“We are listening,” Dickinson said. “There is just no way to satisfy everyone.”
Dickinson also listed the Gateway Project, parking meters on West Brook Road — they have generated $50,000 in revenue in the first year — and the consolidation efforts with the village as efforts he has championed.
He sees further opportunities by sharing services with the highway department and getting the village’s grounds department to spruce up the new Gateway corridor with flowers and shrubs.
Born and raised in Lake George, this is Dickinson’s second go-around as supervisor. He also served as supervisor from 1979 to 1983 when he was just 28.
“This is my community service,” he said.
Hurley still has two more years on the Town Board, so he isn’t going anywhere.
Lake George currently has a winning team and residents would be wise to keep it in place and return Dickinson to the supervisor position for another term.