Mr. Speaker, today I rise to recognize the work of a tireless village mayor in New York's 25th Congressional District, Mayor Mary Alice Bellardini of the Village of Homer. Mayor Bellardini retired as Mayor on March 31st after fourteen years at the village's helm. Prior to her initial election as mayor in March 1987, she served as a Cortland County Legislator for almost seven years.
During her tenure, the Village of Homer prospered. She is credited with renewing the village's historical preservation and planning efforts, improving its public water system, expanding economic development efforts and beautifying the Main Street corridor, establishing weekly summer band concerts on the village green, improving public safety operations, and reopening the Water Street bridge as a pedestrian walkway.
I have always regarded Mayor Bellardini as a strong partner in my work in Cortland County. Married to Harry Bellardini, the former Cortland County Republican Party Chairman, Mayor Bellardini is a proud Republican though always anxious to work in a bipartisan manner on behalf of her constituents. She has worked especially close with Democratic Village Trustee Virginia ``Ginny'' Swartwout--a twenty-six year veteran of village government, who also deserves special recognition for service to her community as she retires from her post this year.
Besides her work on behalf or the people of Homer, Mayor Bellardini is committed to community service. She served as President of the New York State Conference of Mayors from 1995 through 1996. She still holds positions on the Boards of Directors for numerous organizations, including Alliance Bank, Central New York Blue Cross/Blue Shield, Excellus, Inc., the Home Store, and the Cortland County Business Development Corporation. Last year, Governor George Pataki named Mayor Bellardini to serve on a select Advisory Committee to the Quality Communities Interagency Task Force for New York State.
A lifelong Cortland County area resident, Mayor Bellardini has three children and five grandchildren. Though Mary Alice believes that it's time for ``a fresh face and new blood'' in the village Mayor's Office, I am certain that her accomplishments and dedication as Mayor of Homer will live on for generations to come.
I congratulate her on her retirement from public life, thank her for her over twenty years of service as an elected official, and wish her well in all of life's future pursuits. Her daily presence and involvement at village offices will certainly be missed.
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