By ADAM ATKINSON
CANTON – Incumbent town supervisor David T. Button will run for re-election on Nov. 7 as a Republican and Conservative.
Button intends to formerly announce his candidacy at a Rotary Club meeting next week, but in an email to North Country This Week Friday, he highlighted the work of the town council over the last few years and cited what he felt were top priorities moving forward.
“I’m proud of what our team has been able to accomplish in the past four years,” Button said.
“Canton’s tax rate remains one of the lowest in the county. Of the 45 municipalities, we have the sixth lowest rate at $2.55. Lower than Gouverneur, Potsdam, Lisbon, Ogdensburg and Massena,” the supervisor said, adding that the town has remained under the tax cap for 4 straight years.
Button said the town has completed and filed its municipal audit with the state comptroller on time for the past 16 years. He pointed out that the public can see exactly how the town spends the resources it allocates at www.openbooknewyork.com.
The supervisor said the town has done more road maintenance and construction in the past four years, at 21.2 miles, than any other period in the past two decades. Button said the previous best was 16.6 miles. The town has slowly ramped up the percentage of the overall budget devoted to highways to achieve the new record, the supervisor said.
Other accomplishments of the board cited by the supervisor, include improving delivery of emergency services; garnering a state CFA Grant to do major waterfront revitalization to reclaim blighted properties and promote smart waterfront growth; receiving a St. Lawrence Health System’s top award in 2017 for improving health care; protecting SUNY Canton's autonomy and SLU's vitality; working with eight other municipalities on the Grasse River Blueway Trail; working with both villages on the first comprehensive plan in over 40 years; and working with the Village of Canton on economic development initiatives.
Button said the town was a finalist for All-America City status in 2013 and 2014, and that Canton recently made the list of “10 Coolest Small Towns In New York” by OnlyInYourState.com.
The supervisor said he felt there was still more to do, however, including continuation of commitments made to waterfront clean-up and recreation programs; building a shared services, highway department complex for the county, town and village; keeping administrative overhead low; and enhancing resources for the town’s emergency service providers.
Consolidating services is one of the biggest issues of the future facing the town, said Button in a phone call Friday. He said the town will continue to work with the villages and county on that issue.
“The state will not allow municipalities to continue to operate – even running as lean as we are now – and receive state aid without demonstrating cost savings,” said Button. “Getting a smaller footprint in Canton is absolutely critical.”
“We are always looking for additional ways where we can continue to save the taxpayers money,” he said. “And we are going to continue to turn over every leaf to find cost savings for our constituents.”
“Things have changed in our community. We once were able to disagree without getting disagreeable with each other. If we had questions for each other, we would seek out the people with the answers before jumping to conclusions. After elections were over, we got down to work. I want a hand in restoring that kind of community. I think most people want that, too,” Button said in his written formal announcement.
“I’ve got kids that live here and grandkids that live here. We are committed to Canton,” Button said.
The supervisor said he wanted to be part of finding a way to build a community that will encourage other people to want to live and work in Canton for generations to come.
“For these reasons, I am seeking a fifth term as Canton Town Supervisor,” said Button.
“The Town of Canton is a large organization. We have 26 employees and operate on a budget of $2.7 million. But we never forget who we work for,” said Button. The supervisor urged the towns citizens to notify him of ways to improve the community.
“This is a group effort. I look forward to working with (the residents) for the next four years to make great things happen in Canton,” said the supervisor.
A long-time public servant, Button has served as town supervisor, chief executive officer and chief financial officer from 2002-present, Canton village mayor from 1991-1995, and Canton deputy supervisor from 1989-1991.
In a professional capacity, Button is currently a lecturer at SUNY Canton, working there since 2011. He was previously the president of the Shooting Stars Communication company in Woodway, Texas, from 1999-2009. From 1986-1999 he was president and general manager of B & B Broadcasting Inc., in Canton. He worked as an adjunct faculty member at Clarkson University from 1989-1991. In the 1980s and 1970s he worked as broadcaster for various television and radio stations in Texas.
He serves on several Canton town committees and governmental organizations, and has received the NYSARC Community Spirit Award in 2017, the state university Distinguished Citizen Award in 2013 and the VFW Citizen of the Year award in 1991.