WATERLOO — The village’s 2,820 registered voters will elect a mayor, two trustees and a village justice to four-year terms in the March 18 election.
For the first time in memory, there is a three-way race for mayor.
Incumbent Mayor Ted Young, a Democrat also on the Working Families Party line, is seeking his third, four-year term. He is being opposed by first-time candidates Robert Dwello, the Republican and Revitalize Waterloo Party candidate, and Bill “Beezer’’ White, the Conservative and Independence Party challenger.
There are also contested races for the two trustee seats held by Democrats Joshua Mull and Bonnie Hosford. Mull and Hosford are on the Democratic-Working Families lines. They are being challenged by Republican-Revitalize Waterloo candidates Donald Babcock and Les Marquart, both first-time candidates.
For village justice, incumbent Democrat-Working Families Justice Dean Mattoon is being challenged by Republican-Revitalize Waterloo candidate Conrad Struzik.
As of Friday, nearly 100 absentee ballots had been returned, with more possible.
Check Monday’s Times for more on the candidates running for trustee and village justice.
Here’s a look at the candidates for mayor:
Address: 32 W. Wright Ave.
Years in office: 8
Prior elected office: Town Supervisor, six years; Town Board member, two years.
Job: Retired from NYSEG
Education: Waterloo High School; four years in military, including one year in Vietnam.
Family: Wife, Judy; two children; and two grandchildren.
Q: As the incumbent, what do you see as major accomplishments during your time in office?
A: We have managed village business and commitments prudently while keeping tax increases under the mandated tax cap. We have enhanced public safety and the safety of officers by upgrading security cameras, weapons, tasers, vests and vehicles. State-of-the-art electronic systems and computers in police vehicles provide real time information and improved response time.
More than 30 jobs have been created at Summit Milk Products and several new downtown businesses are slated to open in the spring. We have completed a $6.5 million wastewater treatment plant upgrade and slip-lining. Working with the state Environmental Facilities Corporation, we were able to get subsidized rate funding, saving the village about $1.8 million over 29 years.
Q: What are the village’s biggest challenges and how do you think they can be addressed?
A: Downtown revitalization. We have secured grants to begin a village-wide comprehensive plan. We have a microenterprise assistance grant program to help retain and attract new businesses and jobs. We have a grant to study the North Virginia Street block downtown, and we are working closely with developer Lee Bieber to ensure the success of his efforts to restore the downtown business district.
Q: If re-elected, where do you see the village going in the next four years?
A: With the 150th anniversary of Memorial Day in 2016, we plan to build on our heritage so the village expands its recognition as the Birthplace of Memorial Day. With our current efforts downtown, I envision a thriving, walkable downtown area that our residents and visitors can enjoy and will hopefully support.
Q: Do you feel you work well with the rest of the Village Board?
A: I feel that I have an excellent relationship with all board members. Our accomplishments have been and will continue to be team successes.
Q: What would you say about your opponents, Mr. Dwello and Mr. White?
A: During my eight years as mayor, neither of my opponents have shown an interest in village business. If either was serious about becoming mayor, I would have thought that they would have attended board meetings to get some insight about what is going on. Mr. Dwello has never voted in a Waterloo village election, but at least attended one meeting for about 10 minutes. There is a big difference between political rhetoric and reality. It’s hard to have all the answers without even knowing the questions.
ROBERT “ROB’’ DWELLO
Address: 36 N. Seneca St.
Prior elected office: None. Appointed member and chairman of Town Planning Board.
Job: Police officer in the village of Newark
Education: Waterloo High School (1993), Finger Lakes Law Enforcement Academy.
Family: Married, four children
Q: As a challenger, what motivated you to run for mayor?
A: Living in the village for over 10 years and raising my family here, I have seen a drastic decline in the value of Waterloo. It simply isn’t what it was 20 years ago. Waterloo has incredible potential and in my job, complacency can get you killed, which is not the outcome I want to see this village come to.
Q: What is your vision for the village, should you be elected mayor?
A: First thing, I would audit the books. I want to make sure all money is accounted for and being given to organizations or assets that it is supposed to be going to. I plan to put the well-being of village residents and property at the top of my list. I am committed to working with the Police Department, ensuring that officers are given the best resources to combat a growing crime problem. Other goals would be growing together as a community, utilizing our parks and expanding tourism through the canal. It is essential that taxes be kept as low as possible and residents get what they pay for.
Q: What are your specific concerns with the incumbent mayor, Ted Young? Or Mr. White?
A: As people travel through the village and see dozens of for-sale signs, I believe they can associate the several problems the village has to the complacency of the current mayor. I believe that politics should be set aside and not be a career. For Bill White, I would prefer to see him on the ballot legally. If he cannot obtain a place on the ballot lawfully, I am curious as to what legitimacy he would use if elected mayor.
Q. Do you feel the village is headed in the right direction or not?
A: I do not think the village is headed in the right direction. If it was, I do not believe there would be a competitive, three-way race for mayor. Clearly, village residents want some type of positive change.
Q: What do you see as the village’s main challenge?
A: It has many challenges. If strict zoning laws are enforced, village streets are maintained and more resources looked into for combating the growing crime problem, the for-sale signs will come down and the village would have tax growth to invest back into the community. It is difficult to prosper when residents want to move out.
WILLIAM “BEEZER’’ WHITE
Address: 105 Brookside Drive
Prior elected offices: Fayette Town Justice
Job: Vice president of administration, Western Regional Off-Track Betting
Education: Waterloo High School, job-related college credits.
Family: Girlfriend, Colleen Booth.
Q: As a challenger, what motivated you to run for mayor?
A: There are many ways to serve your community. It is my feeling that this is the best way for me to do this and the right time to bring a renewal of actual leadership in the village.
Q: Do you have any specific criticism of the incumbent mayor?
A: Not really criticizing, but it seems that complacency has become the norm. I plan to bring renewed enthusiasm, creativity and energy, which would lead to significant positive results for our community.
Q: Any issues with the Republican candidate?
A: I’m mainly concerned with his lack of knowledge about our community, its people, its problems, its possibilities and its history.
Q: Do you feel the village is headed in the right direction?
A: It could be, as Waterloo has a great deal to offer. If efforts are targeted in the right place, we could see beneficial results.
Q: If elected, what would be your priorities?
A: Landlords need to be responsible for the proper maintenance of the properties they own. We can require them to do so. We need to make every effort to pursue state and federal grants available to communities such as ours. We are missing many opportunities to help make Waterloo an even better place to live, work and play.
WHERE TO VOTE:
The sole voting location will be at the Waterloo Fire Department, 39 E. Water St. Voting will be from noon to 9 p.m.
Those eligible to cast ballots must be registered with the Seneca County Board of Elections, be at least 18 years old, be a citizen of the United States and be a resident of the village for at least 30 days before by March 18.