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Meet the Candidates Night gives local residents a glimpse of future leaders

MAYORAL CANDIDATES – Incumbent Mayor William Krebs spoke as his opponent, Thomas Czechowski, looks on. Photo by Jeffrey Barnes.

SPRINGVILLE — Approximately 200 Springville residents turned out to hear four board of trustee candidates and two mayoral candidates speak on their platforms at the inaugural Meet the Candidates Night on March 10, held at the Springville-Griffith Institute auditorium.

The event, moderated by Springville Journal editor Lizz Schumer and sponsored by the Journal, in conjunction with the S-GI social studies classes, gave the community a chance to hear the candidates present themselves side-by-side.

Springville Mayor William Krebs and challenger Thomas Czechowski spoke first on a set of advance questions that dealt with economic development, distressed properties, the town’s energy and utility sources, streetscaping and Smart Growth.

Krebs supports Smart Growth, as the village’s first proponent of the strategy, and also said that economic development requires cooperation of the village, county and state governments to work together with grants and other entities to help create a village that has, as its core, the furthering of economic development and working as a whole community. He also re-emphasized what he called the success of the village’s municipal water and electric systems, as well as the waste-water treatment plant, and said that those entities have saved Springville money over both local and national rates. In keeping with the board’s ongoing actions against distressed properties, he acknowledged that those can often be a very individual issue, with many factors at play, including not only village authorities, but county and state taxes as well, and must be dealt with accordingly.

Czechowski expressed opposition to the concept of Smart Growth, saying that he favors governing by consensus, and “bringing fun back into government,” including hosting informal gatherings to hear the input of village residents.

His platform also includes looking at alternative sources of energy, like buying back the dam, green energy and taking another look at water fluoridation. He agreed with Krebs on many points, including a number of his assertions on distressed properties, but noted that he thinks the village residents need less government and more individual attention, more support for local businesses and less of what he called “entrenched” politicians. After a short break, board trustee candidates Terry Skelton (the incumbent), Rob Laskowski, Samantha Skura and Rob Moriarty spoke on the same topics. Many of those candidates echoed each other’s positions, in many respects presenting a united voice in support of helping reduce the number of distressed properties in Springville, supporting local business, working to ensure that Springville continues its low-cost water and electric bills and works toward streetscaping and wayfinding, in a variety of ways.  Skura, who lives in an upper apartment on East Main street, said that she considers one the assets she brings to the village to be her youth and enthusiasm for the area. “I intend to stay here, to raise a family here,” she said. She said that she has fresh ideas to share, and hopes to inject those, as well as a female voice, into the board. Moriarty, a longtime local businessman, said that he knows local business and its needs, as one of its own, and has seen how the village works on that level, for many years. As a resident and a local worker, he brings a businessman’s attitude to the table, and a seasoned voice, with it. Laskowski, who has sat on local boards before, including the Children’s League, said that while he may not be as well-voiced in some details like Smart Growth and the village’s specific codes and policies, he knows how boards operate and cares for the community, and thinks he can share that care and passion with the board, as well. Skelton cited the current board’s ongoing success with programs such as the NY Main grant, the Community Development Block Grant program, Smart Growth and the village’s consistent budgeting as proof of his strong candidacy, and said that he hopes to continue that success, as trustee. He showed his familiarity with the board as he referenced many of its ongoing programs with knowledge and insight, often echoing Krebs’ sentiments, as well. The village elections will take place on Tuesday, March 18. Watch www.springvillejournal.com, @springvilleny or www.facebook.com/springvillejournal for up-to-the-minute election results.

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