WATERLOO — There will be at least two new faces on the Town Board next year.
But there could also be as many as four new faces on the five-member board, depending on the outcome of Tuesday’s election.
Six candidates are vying for three board seats and Supervisor Gary Westfall is not seeking re-election. Neither is board member Herb Meyer, appointed to the seat vacated by Lisa Hochadel’s resignation.
The Democratic slate consists of newcomer Jerry Withers for supervisor, incumbents Jamie King and Bob Rodger and newcomer Tyrone Thomas for the board seats.
The Republicans counter with newcomers Howard Strader, Steve Mueller and Christopher Orlick for the board seats and county supervisor Don Trout for town supervisor.
King, Thomas, Mueller and Strader will compete for the four-year terms. Rodger and Orlick will vie for the unexpired term.
The Seneca Meadows clay mine at North and Burgess roads has been a contentious issue, as has the town’s proximity to the Seneca Meadows Landfill in Seneca Falls.
Here’s a look at the candidates’ positions (Mueller and Strader did not respond to Times’ questions):
A first-time candidate, Withers said the three most significant issues facing the town are landfill odor complaints, the clay mining moratorium and keeping property taxes low while maintaining services.
He advocates a “clear and concise’’ tracking system for odor complaints that is independently monitored, and making the clay mine moratorium permanent. “We do not want our land scarred for the ages without any real benefits to the town.”
He said keeping property taxes low despite the pending loss of landfill revenue requires planning and preparation now “while this is still years away.’’
Withers said the landfill should shut down in 2025 as per the original agreement, noting the majority of voters don’t want an extension. He said the landfill and clay mine do not fit in the tourism-based economy that is the county’s future.
“If Seneca Meadows could transition from a landfill to a recycling facility, I am sure it would be much more acceptable to the community,’’ he said.
He said he would encourage a diversity of viewpoints and be proactive rather than reactive, governing by consensus when possible.
He sees the county’s top three issues as employee retention and training, county infrastructure projects and county and town revenue sharing.
Withers said the town needs to set policies and pass local laws that are future oriented and foster economic development, without causing environmental problems.
Trout said one of the three most significant issues facing the town is zoning and land use matters. He wants to ensure that town laws are not prohibitive of the “Vision Waterloo’’ comprehensive plan adopted this year.
Another issue is housing and infrastructure. Trout said the town needs to use landfill money for new water and sewer districts that will attract new businesses and residential development.
He also favors a plan to keep developing relationships with local municipalities on sharing services.Regarding the landfill and clay mine, which is in the town of Waterloo, Trout said the town has already taken a legal position of support for the clay mine, with support from the Zoning Board of Appeals and the State Supreme Court.
“While the Fourth Department Appellate Court has had the opposite opinion, I cannot agree. I believe our relationship should be one that only helps taxpayers,’’ he said.
He said he would promote “an open door” policy. “I want to know any complaints and problems. I hope to be very approachable. I cannot solve a problem I don’t know about.”
On the county level, Trout said the opioid crisis is the biggest problem. He pledged continued support of the sheriff and his staff, with assistance of mental health and substance abuse professionals.
Water and sewer districts in the south end is another pressing issue. “I feel we should continue the current plan of hiring a director of public works and implement a team to service the districts with the hope of creating a water and sewer authority.”
Rodger said the top three town priorities should be implementing the new comprehensive plan, which he said is a a map to “grow the future of Waterloo;’’ completion of local water projects and the Four-Town water project; and keeping costs down.
“The board has worked very hard to address these three issues and plan for more infrastructure improvements for the future,’’ he said.
Noting that the landfill is in the town of Seneca Falls and outside the town’s oversight, the clay mine in Waterloo “will always be an issue as long as clay is being mined.’’
“Hopefully, the town, its citizens and the clay mine owner can work together to resolve any issues that might arise,’’ Rodger said.
He noted the town and village currently share services, equipment and personnel and he supports that continuing.
The Meadow View clay mine, economic growth and keeping taxes down were listed as Thomas’ top three town issues.
Thomas said the three main parties with knowledge about the clay mine are current board members, Concerned Citizens of Seneca County and landfill officials.
“If elected, I would familiarize myself with all of this and make an educated decision that would best represent the people of Waterloo,’’ he said.
On economic growth, he said the town needs to encourage and create incentives for businesses to come to Waterloo and keep existing businesses here. Both would provide jobs and keep taxes down.
“We need to continue to look for grants such as the Community Development Block Grant homeowners program that help people maintain their homes,’’ Thomas said.
Bringing new businesses in and sharing services with other municipalities and being fiscally responsible will keep taxes down, he added, noting he supports continued work on shared services.
Thomas said Seneca Falls controls the landfill’s opening and closing. “As long as the landfill is open, the town of Waterloo and the landfill need to coexist for the benefit of the people of Waterloo.”
King’s main issues are finishing zoning code updates, maintaining contact with Seneca Meadows concerning odor issues and keeping expenses down for taxpayers.
He said the zoning updates dovetail with the recent comprehensive plan and together direct the town’s future.
King advocates using landfill money wisely and continuing to remove $20,000 a year from the budget for that fund.
“The goal is to have all of the landfill money out of the budget the year the agreement expires.”
He said the town should keep an open dialogue with Seneca Meadows regarding odor. He noted the town voted to issue the landfill a mining permit in 2015. “Based on the existing town code, Chapter 80, the Town Board has no choice but to issue the clay mine permit.’’
The town and village have been working together for years, King said — sharing work forces, equipment and jointly purchasing specialized equipment for the water and sewer departments.
“With our new comprehensive plan, soon to be finished zoning ordinance, the recent property reassessment and the use of landfill money to bring water services to new areas of the town, I feel the town is well prepared to face the future,’’ King said.
Orlick said the three most significant issues facing the town are the lack of funds, citizen engagement on important issues and the social and economic demographics.
“With any small town, there is not a lot of [money] to work with, so I feel that budgets need to consider every possible reduction in order to provide the necessary services to its citizens,’’ he said.
The town needs to invest in social, human, community, physical, financial, environmental, political and interactive capital in order to thrive financially and socially.
“Keeping citizens informed of the necessities of the community and involving them in the decision making process is also necessary for growth.”
Orlick acknowledged that the landfill is in Seneca Falls, but Waterloo often gets the brunt of its stench and noise.
“I feel the community benefits agreement with the landfill should be renegotiated to give Waterloo more money. In the meantime, Seneca Meadows should follow up to ensure it is following all health and environmental guidelines,’’ he said.
Orlick also advocates exploring ways to help people improve their homes and provide affordable housing, especially for senior citizens.