John O'neilJohn O'Neill has served five terms as a Village Trustee, and is running for a sixth.  During his tenure on the board he has taken a special interest in municipal services, acting as the Village liaison to the Town of Lansing, monitoring Village roads to make sure they are in compliance with State laws, and working with Lansing Fire District officials on the new Oakcrest Road fire station.

He has lived here with his wife Germaine for 13 years.  While serving in the Army he completed a Masters of International Policy and almost completed a Masters of Public Administration.  O'Neill says those studies have helped him in the international and public arenas.  After retiring from the Army he and others opened a contract with the Federal Highways Administration (FHWA).   That work provided experience he applies to Village roads, bridges, and other related projects.  He talked to the Lansing Star this week about his candidacy.

Lansing Star
Why are you running and what will make you a good Trustee?  What qualifications do you bring?

John O'Neill I was interested in the Community Party of the Village of Lansing because the people in it didn’t pay any attention to the national parties.  The Community Party pays attention to our neighbors. I liked it!

Lansing Star
What key challenges do you see the Village facing in the next two years?

John O'Neill The key challenges in the next two years as the positions of Mayor and Deputy Mayor will be vacant in the elections for 2015. My concern is the continuation of the present plans for the Trustees and the Village as the new Mayor and Deputy get used to their positions.

Lansing Star
The land in the northeast/Dart area that was purchased and Poison Ivy Point are almost parks.  Should action be taken to make them public areas now, or is it something for the future?  Why?

John O'Neill In the last year the Trustees approved the purchase of the 23 acre plot from the Dart people. This plot is between Dart Road and Northwood Apartments and is destined to be a park with the playground for the children, basketball nets, etc.  I think that the park will be ready in 2015.

johnoneill_400John O'Neill

Lansing Star
As you canvass for the election, are Village residents happy?  What are they asking for and what do you plan to serve those needs?

John O'Neill The canvass for the election shows that the residents are ready for more sidewalks and bicycle paths. The people on Craft Road are looking for a traffic light on Craft and Triphammer for their traffic safety. The traffic light with be installed in the late summer of 2014.

Lansing Star
Is there room for business growth any more?  How will you support it (if you do)?

John O'Neill The Village has a little bit of space for business growth. The Trustees and the Planning Board have a good view of business spaces.

Lansing Star
There has been a lot of talk for years about the potential of developing Sundowns Farm and what would happen if it were developed.  Hypothetically if it were to be sold for development what would you like to see there?

John O'Neill The Sundowns farm is about 400 acres and the planning is low-density (large lots) housing. Walking trails will be planned. A ravine will be developed and the walking trail, also. Also, there is a graveyard and that will  to be preserved.

Lansing Star
What practical value do you see for the Comprehensive Plan and what are you doing to help complete it?

John O'Neill Our Comprehensive Plan is almost ready. I think that the Plan is very good and updated. The Village is prepared for the future.

Lansing Star
Lansing has been split up by the post office, the phone company and the school districts.  I think all the Village residents have Ithaca ZIP codes and phone exchanges.  A lot of people move to the Town because of the quality and size of the schools there.  For Villagers, some are in the Lansing district and some in the Ithaca district.  Would you favor redistricting so that all of Lansing (including all of the Village) is in the Lansing school district?  And why?

John O'Neill Concerning the school situation, the Ithaca School District didn’t appear that re-arranging the bounds is possible. I wrote to the District when they 'arranged' the new boundaries but they didn’t respond to me. I think that the District is a big gorilla at the table and we haven’t had a chance.

Lansing Star
Village officials say the Village will never merge with the Town and there is no cost benefit in doing so. Town officials say there is a cost benefit and the cultures and values of the municipalities are much closer together than they were when the Village was formed.  How do you stand on merging, and why?

John O'Neill In the beginning of the Village the Town of Lansing doesn’t have any policies to control the malls and the Rt. 13 development. And now the Town has too much conflict and problems to bother with the Village.

Lansing Star
What about Town taxes?  The Mayor has been trying to get them reduced for Villagers.  Where do you stand on that issue, and what will you do to work on it?

John O'Neill For years and years the Trustees were hoping that the Town of Lansing will reduce the taxes for the Village. This year the Town has reduced the tax for the Village about 5%. The Trustees hope that in the future the Town can reduce the Village taxes to about 50% of the present time.

The Village Elections will be held from noon to 9pm at the Village of Lansing Office, 2405 N. Triphammer Rd., Ithaca, NY.