Wetmore re-elected to Lansing City Council, Groff wins first term | Lansing

Alderman and Democrat Joe Wetmore will return to Lansing City Council for another term next year, while Ruth Groff will be the newest face on the council after last Tuesday’s elections. Both candidates defeated Republicans Erin Worsell and Hugh Bahar, who were also seeking their first term on the council.

Wetmore received the most votes of all candidates (28.2 percent of the vote, 1,329 votes), followed by Groff (27.4 percent, 1,290 votes). Worsell took third place with 23.7 percent of the votes (1,119 votes) and Bahar took fourth place with 20.7 percent (978 votes).

Both Groff and Wetmore sat down with the Ledger to discuss their victories and plans during their tenure.

Ruth Groff

Lansing ledger: What are you most looking forward to in the position you have been elected to?

Ruth Groff: I feel it is an honor and a privilege to have been elected to the city council by the wonderful voters in Lansing. To know that I will have a say in the conservation of our community’s landscape, both environmentally and economically, is both humbling and exhilarating.

NS: What would you like to achieve during your term of office?

RG: I agree with some of the other board members that zoning is a priority to ensure future generations enjoy the same quality of life that we currently appreciate in Lansing. The updating of the zoning regulations requires a lot of foresight and consideration of our rural and agricultural areas as well as our suburban areas. These changes are protecting what we have by addressing the types of industries that are slowly invading our precious agricultural land and natural areas, as well as those that are challenging the health of our suburban neighborhoods.

Tax accountability is another area that will grab my attention. As a retired accountant, I am hoping for more financial oversight of forecasting, comparative financial data, and capital planning. All of these are means of securing Lansing’s tax revenue.

NS: What do you think are the greatest challenges for your term of office? How do you want to address them?

RG: As with any new job, there is always a learning curve. I will be the only new member on the board so in an effort to keep up with the issues I have read all I can, especially the overall plan. I will be attending training offered by the state and, more importantly, speaking to the residents of Lansing not only about their concerns and problems, but also hearing what they love about Lansing.

With all of this comes the challenge that has always been at home in Lansing, namely ruling a city made up of two very different populations – rural / agricultural and suburban. To be open-minded, to listen to all sides and to weigh the options fairly are my intentions for the next four years.

NS: What vision of the city do you hope for during your tenure?

RG: My husband and I moved here over 10 years ago after preferring this area to everyone else in the country. We chose this region for its natural beauty and culture and we haven’t regretted this decision for a moment. I want to make sure we preserve the facets that attracted us in the first place – clean water, clean air, an environmentally conscious community, valuable natural spaces, friendly neighbors and lots of local businesses.

I would also like to see an expanded network of trails in Lansing. I believe this would help strengthen our neighborhoods and allow Lansing residents to continue enjoying the beauty of our city.

Joe Wetmore

Lansing ledger: What are you most looking forward to in the position you have been elected to?

Joe Wetmore: I am honored that Lansing voters gave me the opportunity to continue my work on the revision of the Lansing Zone Code.

NS: What would you like to achieve during your term of office?

Jehovah’s Witnesses: The revision of Lansing’s zoning code has been a long process. The Lansing Comprehensive Plan is the basis, a blueprint for the development of the city. At the beginning of my second term, the city begins to write the new zone code. There will be a new zone covering the Cayuga Lake Scenic Byway (State Route 34 and 34B) to highlight the scenic nature of this state-designated route. We will also work to follow the advice of our Agriculture Committee – to divide up the current rural agricultural zone to create an agricultural zone with further restrictions on development.

NS: What do you think are the greatest challenges for your term of office? How do you want to address them?

Jehovah’s Witnesses: Lansing is also under the same development pressure as other communities in New York State. Our large open spaces are attractive to a number of property developers. Retailers want to build chain stores in fields. Solar developers want to turn our food-growing farms into farms that harvest electricity. These are the types of constraints that, if not controlled, can destroy the rural nature of our community that drew us to Lansing in the first place.

NS: What vision of the city do you hope for during your tenure?

Jehovah’s Witnesses: We have to preserve the rural character of Lansing. Lansing’s roots are in its farming community and we need to maintain this core aspect of our community. We must also pay attention to the pressure to develop in South Lansing and the way in which it maintains our character.

Lansing needs to attract developers who want to build communities, places where people can walk their dogs, ride bikes, talk to their neighbors, take the bus while enjoying the beautiful surroundings of Lansing.

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