With two Town Board seats up for re-election, changes could be on the horizon for the Town of Newstead.
There are several issues facing the board. Residents who live close to Braun’s Concert Cove are unhappy with the noise emanating from the concerts there, and residents who live near the Akron Airport are concerned with the possible expansion there.
The incumbents, James Mayrose, 47, chairman of the Technology Department at SUNY Buffalo State, and Richard Baran, 68, a retired Erie County sheriff’s deputy, said the board is currently working on both issues. Mayrose is on the Republican, Conservative, Working Families and Independent lines. Baran is on the Democratic and Conservative lines. In regard to Braun’s and the airport, Mayrose said, there is a balance to strike between keeping residents happy and supporting business in Newstead.
“What we’re trying to do for both entities and the people who live around those places is to make life livable for everybody,” he said.
Another issue the board faces is keeping the town financially sound, Baran said. “We have a very solvent town,” he said.
Mayrose and Baran both said that the board works extremely well together, despite the current makeup of two Democrats, two Republicans and a Conservative supervisor.
“I’ve never seen another town board get along the way we do,” Mayrose said. “I’ve never seen a partisan vote. We represent everybody in the town no matter what political affiliation they are and try to improve the town based on what’s best for the people.”
Candidate Marybeth Whiting, 52, is a former Akron-Newstead Citizen of the Year award winner, and looks to bring her many years of experience working for various community organizations to the board. Whiting is on the Republican and Independent lines.
A lifelong resident of Akron, she looks at serving on the board as a way to give back to the community, she said.
“I don’t view it as a political move, I view it as an extension of the community work I’ve already done,” she said.
In regard to Braun’s and the Akron Airport, Whiting said they are issues she needs to “explore more.”
“I need to do my due diligence looking at all of the information,” she said, “and make sound decisions that are best for the community.”
Erik Polkowski, 41, owns a small engineering firm in Akron, and has his eyes set on the future. He is on the Democratic and Working Families lines.
Polkowski would like to see more dialogue between the town and the airport, instead of both sides digging their heels in and going to litigation, as is happening now, he said. He would like to know what the airmen who run the airport have planned for the future.
“I’d like to know what their intentions are over the next 50 to 100 years,” he said. “Then the community and everyone involved would be able to better understand and accommodate their intentions.”
With the merging of the Village of Akron and Town of Newstead courts in April, and the building of the Akron Newstead Joint Municipal Facility, Polkowski said the consolidation of the Village of Akron and the Town of Newstead could be in the “foreseeable future.”
“It’s not unforeseeable that it’s going to happen, and I think it needs to be something that’s talked through,” he said.
Polkowski believes his ability to listen to both sides of an argument and make an informed decision would fit in well on the board, especially with the possibility of big issues coming down the road.
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