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Village of Lansing Trustee Randy Smith

Three of the five Village of Lansing Trustee seats were up for election in April, but a fourth became vacant when Gerry Monaghan resigned a year before the end of his term.  The three seats were filled by incumbents running unopposed, and Monday the board supported Mayor Don Hartill's appointment of Randy Smith to fill the remaining half of Monaghan's term.  Hartill said that Smith will be a welcome addition to the board, who will continue to represent the neighborhood behind the Ithaca Mall where both Monaghan and Smith live.

"Randy Smith has agreed to serve the rest of Gerry's term," Hartill said. "He comes from the business world.  That's an area we don't have very much coverage from."

Smith says he loves the character of the Village, and wants to participate in maintaining it.  This is Smith's first municipal position, but he has served on the Ithaca Y Board for over a year.  He likes the small population and that it is the kind of village where people know each other and care about their community.  He notes that other places around the country that he has visited recently endure what appears to be uncontrolled sprawl, and he wants to insure that the Village does not suffer the same fate.

"It's a nice little quaint village," he says. "You've got people who want to come in here and change and develop it.  I just got back from Atlanta, and I was in Cincinnati recently... all these areas are growing rapidly.  They try to pack as many houses or apartments into s as small space as possible.  That seems to be what's going on around the country, yet this little village has its own character and I think we want to try to keep that character and not pack everything in here.  Lansing is a great little village with a cute personality.   I know a lot of the people here, and everybody likes what this village has. There are young families, senior citizens, there's Cornell, there's non-Cornell, and nice, well-kept neighborhoods.  I want to be part the evolution of the Village.  It's going to be interesting to see what happens over the next few years."

Smith and his wife have lived in the Village for two years, coming from Cayuga Heights, and, before that, South Hill.  They have  four grown daughters, and five grandchildren.  He came to Tompkins County in 1972 while working for NCR.  Soon after he became a major part of Deanco, Inc., which was based in the Village on Triphammer Road.   After many years the company was sold, and Smith joined Incodema, which started 18 years ago with three people including Smith.  Since then it has grown into four companies with over two hundred employees.  He is the company's sales manager.  The Freeville facility produces state of the art 3-D printing in metals.  Smith works from Incodema's original Cliff Street office where the company does prototype metal stamping.

"Companies from all over the country come to us when they're developing a new product and they need the prototype metal part of it done right now, within a week, he says. "3-D printing is the same, with rapid turnaround.  It's cool to start out with a company in the beginning. You gamble that maybe some day it will be something, and it has.  It's worked out for us nicely."

As he settles into his role as trustee, Smith says he is asking the same kinds of questions he would ask in business.  He took note of the recent Village tax increases that will keep the budget sustainable without more rises in the foreseeable future.  And he says he wants to learn more about where Village revenue is coming from and how local business is faring in the context of helping maintain sustainable revenue for the servises the Village provides.

"In business, that which you don't measure you don't control," he says. "I don't know how much money comes in from businesses -- I don't understand all that yet.  What does that mean? Where does that lead?  Where's your income coming from?  What is the threat for this village?  What's going to go away?  How do you protect it?  How much vacant land is there?"

Smith is supportive of the current board's goals for the Village, maintaining and improving the community.  At the moment he is the only Trustee who is not a Community Party member, although he doesn't rule out joining in the future.

"One of Don's primary things is there are no potholes in village roads," he says. "He just wants the village to be pothole free.  I notice things like that.  I think it's about controlling the character of this village and not let it be taken over by a bunch of developers like you see in all the other places I've been recently.  You see so much change going on now, as you get older you do want to get involved.  You want to help guide where it's heading.  I don't come here with a particular agenda.  I want to help the Village with planned growth."

Smith also says he support's Hartill's opposition the the natural gas moratorium that has been imposed on the Town and Village of Lansing.

"Certainly the world is going green down the road," he acknowledges. "We're not going to get there over night.  People that say that windmills and solar energy is going to replace electric and gas in five years don't understand the infrastructure behind the scenes. They don't understand that certain technologies like battery storage don't exist yet to facilitate this.  You need some combination of these things to get you through the next 20 to 25 years."

He jumped right in Monday, participating in board votes, but doing more listening than talking at his first board meeting.

"I'm looking forward to the opportunity to serve the Village, and help it go through it's next growth spurt, and working with colleagues here," he says.

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