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Jim Manley

Candidate for West Seneca Town Board

Lines on Ballot: Republican

Age: 65

Number of years living in town: 30.5

Occupation/Employer: retired records management clerk and webmaster for the Town of West Seneca.

Top campaign platform agendas:

• Campaigning has provided the opportunity to meet with many residents and learn of their concerns. One of the biggest issues facing homeowners is property taxes. While the rise in property taxes may be considered modest, increased taxes is a huge burden on all residents, especially our senior citizens and lower-income families. I intend to roll up my sleeves and work as hard as I can, working alongside residents, other Town Board members and department heads, to find the most economical and efficient way to guide our town into the future. We must find a way to fuel economic growth and find ways to lessen the tax burden on our homeowners. While we know that our town is a great place to live and raise our family, we must aggressively market our town to attract new business, thereby expanding the tax base. With local assets such as a willing labor force, available sites in North America Center business park and vacant plazas, close interstate highways and rail lines, I will work with civic and business leaders to help stimulate new growth in our community. Not just any business but finding the right business for the right location.

• I believe strongly in updating and following the Comprehensive [Master] Plan for the future growth of our community. Using the Master Plan provides us with the guidelines and policies for the proper growth in our community. The Master Plan was adopted after many years of input from our residents and needs to be followed to control how land is to be used in our town. We must use the Plan to eliminate “spot zoning,” and any decisions made while deliberating zoning changes must respect the rights and quality of life that our homeowners deserve.

• Continued priority on the town’s infrastructure – maintenance of our highways, bridges and sewer lines. Neighborhoods that continually have flooding problems during rainy periods must take precedence. I intend to work with our town engineers to explore every possibility to alleviate these problems.

• West Seneca has an aging population and we have an obligation to help our senior citizens live a better life. I will make every effort to ensure that any program and grants that would benefit our seniors be explored and made available to them.

• We need to make certain our veterans are never forgotten, said Manley, an Air Force veteran of the Vietnam War who is active in veterans’ affairs.We must ensure that they have knowledge of and access to all of the GI benefit programs to which they are entitled. We can do this by setting up a resource center in town and hosting outreach programs. Programs where veterans can meet and connect with agencies designed to help them seek education and employment opportunities, as well as medical care.

• Neighborhood quality-of-life issues. Work with the code enforcement officer and building owners to maintain properties and encourage the sale of empty properties to interested parties. Abandoned houses and storefronts with boarded-up windows, broken fences, piles of garbage and overgrown grass pull down the values of properties around them. Seek federal assistance funding designed to improve communities. Explore every legal avenue to persuade banks to sell abandoned properties.

Biggest issues facing the town:

Property taxes are at the top of the list when it comes to voter issues. Simply put, they want their property taxes reduced.

As a town, we have to get taxes down to a manageable level by moving forward in a fiscally responsible manner and examining all options when it comes to spending. We need to be efficient in not only how we perform but also streamline the planning stages.

Let’s look at the processes we use to govern the town and consider what we can to do make them cost effective and faster, with less complexity. We need to broaden the tax base by attracting new businesses into our town.

Running our town is like running a business. For us to be successful, we need to make money. West Seneca needs to develop plans that capitalize on our unique strengths and capabilities, such as an ample work force, location to big cities and large population areas, transportation hubs and low-cost power. Using those strengths, we can increase our tax base by attracting new businesses.

Growth in new business not only generates more tax dollars, it can provide the opportunity to create additional jobs that support our town and local economy.

We need to restore the confidence of West Seneca residents by making them an integral part of the decision-making process. We need to commit to lowering taxes while providing first-rate services to our residents and make our community an attractive place to live, work and raise our family. The only way that trust in government will improve is if the people believe that their elected representatives are acting responsibly and ethically. I will do my best to answer their call.