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Voters can stop Fredonia’s downward spiral

Friends, as a taxpayer and resident of the village of Fredonia, please allow me to speak to what I heard at Wednesday’s League of Women Voters candidate debate. After two years of a Mayor Athanasia Landis administration (where the Democrats have held the majority) we are no better off than we were two years ago. In fact, we are worse off. If you have had to boil your water recently, or worse are still living with brown water, that fact is clear to you.

Of the three candidates on the Democratic side, we have one in Michael C. Barris, who according to his comments at the debate, believes that the village needs to “hire more secretaries to help get urgent news out to residents.” Not very effective. Further, he feels that a school resource officer isn’t necessary because “they didn’t need them when he was in school.”

Can you be more out of touch? Or more interestingly, we have Leslie Wille, who was most lively during the topic of environmental issues which she stated was dear to her heart “more than any other issue.” Ms. Wille, my personal issue is to be able to turn on a faucet and get clean water I don’t have to boil, as I’m sure would be the wish of any business looking to put down roots in Fredonia.

While Ms. Wille stated she doesn’t want to run “just to get a title,” she does want the job of trustee, which ultimately includes deciding on budgetary issues and taxes. The other two candidates cite their experience for the job as “writing articles on civic events”, and “budgetary experience running Hospice and hospitals using grant money” (few to none of which are bonded like municipal grants). Frankly, I see no hope for change on this ticket. Just more of the same.

The Republican side of the ticket is rich with experience, has proven results and all candidates own property in the village. Doug Essek has served one year on the board. He has proven that he makes decisions based on what is financially viable for the taxpayers, what is sound business for the village and what will move us forward. He doesn’t vote for un-bonded grant money that will trickle down to the backs of the taxpayers, and he is not afraid to stand up to often-times prickly Landis. He, like the other candidates on the Republican ticket wants to see the village run by the tenets of the charter, which calls for a “separation of government with cooperation” as Roger Britz Jr. so aptly put it during the debate.

Britz is a 30-year business owner. He has used innovative approaches to drawing customers to his businesses, made payroll for his workers and had to face the challenges of doing business in a village where business has been leaving, and he’s been successful at it; but he wants to see a change for the better and has the ideas to do so. Dale Ricker is a 20-year veteran of the village police force. He has a plan for a combined police building for both Fredonia and Dunkirk that will cut costs to the taxpayers and yet keep law enforcement autonomous to their municipalities.

Friends the choice is clear: the residents and taxpayers of the village of Fredonia don’t have the luxury of another two to four years of unproductive government that the Democrats have given us. Do you want to hope to turn on the faucet and have clean water? Do you want to be nervous that the next budget cycle means higher water and sewer rates?

If you are tired of these issues being the “new normal” I urge you to remember on Election Day that your vote is your own and it is private and doesn’t have to be for the party in which you are registered.

I urge you to vote for the policies and ideas that will make our village a viable, vibrant place to live and do business, and to vote for the Republican slate of village and town board candidates.

Melanie Mann is chairwoman of the Fredonia-Pomfret Republican Committee.

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