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Mayoral races highlight March elections

SCHUYLER COUNTY--The contested races for mayor in Watkins Glen and Odessa highlight the March 19 village elections. There are also several contested trustee positions on the ballot.
The REVIEW&EXPRESS sent a questionnaire to each of the Watkins Glen and Odessa mayoral candidates. The profiles include the candidates' comments about short term and long term goals for their respective villages.
In Watkins Glen, Trustee Laurie DeNardo is facing Luke Leszyk for the mayor's position.
The information below is from the candidates' profile questionnaire.

Party Affiliation(s): Democrat and Independent/People's Choice
Previous political experience: Current village of Watkins Glen Trustee, 2015 to present
Occupation: Human Resources Director, Cornell University, 34 years
Why do you think you are the best candidate for this position?
I have the relevant experience, dedication, education and background, I keep our residents at the forefront of every decision. Now is the time for me to serve the community as mayor and work hand-in-hand with our dynamic village board to lead the village into the future.
What three issues do you think are vital for the village to address short-term, in the next 3-6 months?
1. Strategic financial planning with a focus on building a plan for infrastructure improvements, water at the top of the list;
2. Creating a staffing structure to meet the needs of our residents;
3. As a cohesive board, strengthen the communication and public input process for residents considering how to sustain the quaintness of our village, support local businesses, to build a village for the future of our children and grandchildren.
What longer-term issues do you think are most important for the village to address in the next 6-12 months?
Through my commitment to the village I have developed a strong rapport with our local and state agencies to bring more resources to the village. My proposed initiatives as mayor for the future include reviewing the sales tax and room-tax revenue agreements, building a capital improvement/financial plan, getting the garbage trucks out of our town, blocking the incinerator plans, initiating a tree replacement program and seeking designation for Watkins Glen as a Southern Tier Clean Energy community.
Working as a cohesive board, we will protect our police and fire departments, work to institute a sidewalk audit with funding replacement plan, review parking and zoning laws, upgrade our deteriorating streets and initiate a vacant property analysis as it pertains to our tax base. We will monitor appropriate development and protect our municipal resources.

Party Affiliation: Republican
Previous political experience: None
Occupation: I have owned and operated Admiral Peabody's Lakeside Lodging on Seneca Lake for the past three years.
Why I believe I am the best candidate: As a retired Naval Officer I have leadership experience. As a retired state trooper I have experience in understanding public safety and as a small business owner I understand their needs.
Three issues that are vital to the village in the short term:
• There are several key positions in the village that are currently open that the current administration is unwilling or unable to fill. I will get them filled.
• The current administration has been unable to reach an agreement with the neighboring towns of funding fire coverage. I will get that agreement done before it adversely affects our budget.
• I will get a handle on the short term rental application process that is confusing and unenforceable.
Three issues that are vital to the village in the long term:
• I will put together a 10-year infrastructure plan to fix our crumbling streets, water and sewer services. The focus has to be on more than just our main street.
• I will establish a monthly column on a social media platform. Too often the residents have been left out of the conversation.
• I will ensure that our Clute Park revitalization will benefit all our residents and guests and not just a few.
As a leader I can bring the board together and put us in the right direction. No one person should decide the future of our village. It takes a team effort to include our residents.

In addition to the Watkins Glen mayor race, voters will also have a choice for:
(4 yr. term)
Expiring Terms of Gary Schmidt and Nancy Woodworth
Nancy Woodworth
Brian T. Eslinger
Louis Perazzini
Nancy Woodworth
Brian T. Eslinger
Louis Perazzini
(4 yr. term)
Expiring Term of Connie Fern Miller
Steven M. Decker
Steven M. Decker

In Odessa, residents can vote noon through 9 p.m. at the village municipal building, 300 Main St. For the mayor's race incumbent Gerald Messmer III is facing David Patterson. The information below is from the candidates' questionnaire submitted to the newspaper.

Party Affiliation(s): Independent
Position Running For: Mayor of Odessa
Incumbent: One year
Other Offices: None
Occupation: U.S. Army Lieutenant Colonel (Retired), business owner
Why do you think you are the best candidate:
I have over 33 years of leadership and extensive project management experience to manage the water and sewer issues to bring solutions to Odessa. I will fight for Odessa.
What three issues do you think are vital for the village to address?
1. We need to fix our water issues now.
2. We need to bring the sewer system to Main Street to allow economic growth.
3. We need safer streets, sidewalks and a push to slow down traffic in the Village.

Party Affiliation(s): Republican
Position Running For: Mayor
Previous political experience: None
Occupation: Building and Fire Inspector, 5.5 years
Why do you think you are the best candidate for this position?
I have common sense and the ability to communicate with people.
I understand the issues and have the ability to solve problems.
I get people involved and create a team environment to solve problems.
What three issues do you think are vital for the village to address short-term?
• Create better communication
• Communicating and listening for public needs
• Create short-term realistic goals
What longer-term issues do you think are most important for the village to address in the next 6-12 months?
• Understanding and improving the infrastructure of Odessa
• Attract more families to come and live in Odessa
• Work closely with the Odessa-Montour Central School District to increase and sustain cooperation
Other: Have Odessa be an open and transparent government
Also in Odessa, two trustee positions are available and three candidates are on the ballot:
O. Anne Centurelli
Aubrey Tomassi
Marcel Veilleux
In the village of Burdett, the following candidates will be on the ballot:
Mayor: Dale Walter
Trustees: Linda Arcangeli, Judy Mangus

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