Saranac Lake Trustee Presents Open Letter to Harrietstown Board

Saranac Lake Village Trustee Paul Van Cott recently delivered a letter to the Harrietstown Town Board regarding the possiblity of Annexing Trudeau Institute to the Village of Saranac Lake…  We asked Paul to Join us for a conversation about the letter, and about the Local Development Corporation..

<<<< CLICK HERE TO LISTEN – K&J – 100312 – Paul VanCott on Annexing Trudeau and Local Development Corporation >>>>

Here is the text from that letter;

Dear Harrietstown Town Board:

When Trudeau Institute approached the Village and asked to start a dialogue about the pluses and minuses of annexing into the Village, it seemed to me a perfect opportunity to join with the Town of Harrietstown to help an existing, large employer look at its options for strengthening itself in our community.  I do not have a fixed position on annexation of Trudeau, but I welcomed the opportunity to talk with Trudeau about its future here.

I was also excited about the opportunity to work with the Harrietstown Town Board on this important topic – it seemed to be a no-brainer.  Trudeau was looking for information and support from the community in answering questions about its options.  There are numerous subjects to be discussed between the Town, the Village and Trudeau, some easy and some more difficult.  But having all three parties openly discussing the issues and looking for solutions seemed to be an obvious way to provide the most help to Trudeau.

You refused to enter in a dialogue with the Village Board about Trudeau, suggesting the Village was “moving too fast.”  This, even after Trudeau, in an e-mail directed to the Village and the Town, confirmed its interest in the 3-way conversation.

Even worse, without the support of the Town for such a conversation, Trudeau was left wondering about the Town’s perspective on issues that could potentially affect the Institute’s future in our community.  This is not how we help existing businesses do better.

I was shocked as your attorney made it clear—on your behalf—that the Town Board would likely oppose annexation, without any discussion with the Village or Trudeau.  By taking this approach, in my opinion, the Town Board missed an important opportunity to represent the town in dialogue concerning one of our largest employers.

I am reaching out to ask you, the Town Board, to reconsider your approach.  I ask that you speak for yourselves and not rely on your attorney to speak for you.  I am hopeful that instead of just saying “No” and “Talk to my attorney”, the Town Board will say “Yes” to constructive dialogue about the future of Trudeau Institute in our community.


Will you sit down with the Village of Saranac Lake to help Trudeau Institute explore the options for its future in our community?   Our attorneys may have a role in those discussions at some point, but the first step is for our elected boards to commit to having a constructive and positive dialogue together with Trudeau Institute.

I look forward to your response.



Paul Van Cott, Village of Saranac Lake Trustee

Cc:  Village of Saranac Lake Mayor and Trustees

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