Letter to the Editor:
Bob Taylor’s and John Mangefrida’s political ad, they placed in the Le Roy Pennsyaver this week, is incorrect and misleading. Decide for yourselves. John is not running for re-election for Village Board Trustee, since he is not currently on the Village Board. Trustee Jennifer Keyes and Trustee Bob Taylor are the only two running for re-election. This is conspicuous in the title of Bob’s and John’s ad, yet only Bob speaks in this ad, as far as accomplishments, to currently being a Village Board Trustee in Le Roy. Why? It isn’t merely expedient to have had this ad go to print with what is an incorrect assertion that both Bob and John should be re-elected. That is not possible for any voter or for all us to collectively re-elect them both! It suggests, falsely that they are both currently on the Village Board.
Also, while I used to deliver the D & C newspaper every morning to Bob Taylor’s house, when I was a teenager in Le Roy, and John Mangefrida and Jim Bonaquisti were in my high school graduating class in Le Roy, NY, these are not reasons one way or another for me to vote for them. In the 20 years since I returned and have lived in Le Roy, NY, having returned as an adult, I have emphasized with new Le Roy residents, and old ones, that who we elect to represent us in our local Village and Town governments, should always be the most qualified candidate(s). How long one has lived in Le Roy, NY, should not matter. Each of our candidates on Tuesday have lived here for a number of years if that is how any of us decide who to vote for. After 30 days of living in Le Roy, NY, one is qualified to vote here, and that for me is all that’s necessary to determine whether or not one is a Le Royan or not.
What we need above all else in a candidate is intelligence, integrity, and current and well thought out ideas. We need to elect people to our local public offices who are not looking for what will only lower our taxes, or make one or a few of us happy who may have clout here, but we need to elect individuals who will consider the impact now and in the future of his/her proposals and decisions. A Le Roy Village Board Trustee should not do what is only expedient now, but should also consider the future impact of his/her votes.
Bill Kettle is also running for the Village Board on Tuesday, and he and John Mangefrida are not currently on the Village Board. But it is Jennifer Keyes and Bob Taylor who are running for re-election Tuesday, two who are currently leading us, and Bill Kettle is Director of the Le Roy Business Council, and the owner of the largest building on Main Street where his gym is located (Main and Mill Streets). John said at the ‘Meet the Candidates Night,’ last week that he had been a Village Trustee in the past, but when he was or what he accomplished on the Board I don’t know.
Our two current Village Trustees running for re-election, Jennifer Keyes, and Bob Taylor, are both taking a wait and see approach to the issue of whether our switch from a full-time code enforcement officer between the Village/Town to a part-time one, is enough.
Jennifer Keyes, however is concerned that it won’t be enough, given that prior to the full-time one’s retirement there were complaints that full-time coverage wasn’t adequate. Bill Kettle has stated that for the Village a part-time shared code enforcement officer, as we have now, isn’t going to be enough. At the ‘Meet the Candidates’ Night’ last week, John cited the cost of a full-time one, and the need, we are told by the State is to consolidate and be cost effective with what services are provided by our Village. John also cited the long length of time that can pass before a code enforcement violation is resolved, no matter how much coverage we have from a code enforcement officer. He said the codes are written by the State, and they favor the property owner.
But, however long it takes to resolve a complaint or to determine that a code has been violated and then to determine whether or not the violation has been resolved, depends on whether there is enough time in a code-enforcement officers’ week to see that this is all accomplished. The more code enforcement coverage we have, the more code complaints and violations can be responded to simultaneously, and the quicker, and the more consistently our Village properties will be up to code. This is common sense.
Maybe in the Town, that which is not a part of the Village, part-time will work, but consider this. In the Village there are far more individual parcels and they are more densely situated, with far more structures on them, than in the Town. I think, as someone who has restored a large home in Le Roy, where I live, 12 - 14 Church Street(s), and who has bought and torn down a four-unit tenement apartment house that was next door to my home (what was on the 14 Church Street property until 2001), I’m in a position to know about structures, 14 Church Street having been an example, that went without much maintenance for years, had obvious code violations, and could not be saved. For years 14 Church Street was in very poor condition, yet fully rented. I bought it to eliminate this blight on my neighborhood and on the Village of Le Roy.
We need a full-time code enforcement officer for the Village. Our homes, whether we own them, or rent, are our lives often, and whether or not our neighbors (often very close to us in the Village), take care of their properties has a health/safety/financial effect on each of us. Not only that, but properties kept up are a boon to the Village that can then do more for the public because we have a larger tax base. Our tax base shrinks the more we have properties not kept up. And, our tax base has shrunk a lot in the past twenty years that I have been a resident here, having returned as an adult. The result of a lower tax base is a decrease in services we can have such as full-time code enforcement, as only one of several examples in Le Roy, NY.
A lower tax base has resulted in taxes being raised over the course of time on our properties even though they are worth less. If any of us want to sell our properties and relocate, or to downsize and remain in Le Roy, potential buyers will compare our assessed property values and the tax rate here, with other properties and tax rates in other communities. If Le Roy, NY’s properties, as seen by a potential buyer, will likely continue to lose value, and they have in the past, and if we have a higher tax rate, that buyer may buy elsewhere. Wouldn’t you?
Each of us who buys, owns, and then may list property here in Le Roy, wants to have the confidence that owning here is a comparatively good investment to where else we could live. If we want Le Roy, NY, to remain steady in all respects and to possibly grow, than we have to be concerned with code enforcement. We need a local Village of Le Roy government that supports our needs as individual property owners to be looked after. We cannot individually do this on our own, and we need our local government to effectively and consistently provide this function to all of us.
Please vote and please take the time to find out where the candidates stand on issues important to you. Voting is on Tuesday, March 18th, at the Village Hall (corner of Main & Clay Streets, Routes 5 & 19), Le Roy, NY.
Thanks for your time reading my thoughts and concerns for the Village of Le Roy, NY.
Douglas Hill, Church Street, Le Roy.