YOUNGSTOWN – The mayor’s race is heating up in this little village of barely 2,000 people, with former Republican Mayor Norm Swann, who served from 1987 to 2001, challenging current Democratic Mayor Raleigh Reynolds.
Residents head to the polls Tuesday.
In addition, four candidates are vying for two seats on the Village Board. Incumbents Timothy Adamson, a Republican, and Beverly Van Deusen, a Democrat, face challenges from Republican Wilfred Ziegler and Democrat Stu Comerford.
Adamson and Van Deusen both seek re-election to second terms on the board, while this is the first time Ziegler and Comerford have been on the ballot. Swann, Adamson and Ziegler are also on the People’s Choice line.
The mayor and trustee positions carry four-year terms.
The polls will be open from noon to 9 p.m. in Youngstown Village Hall, 240 Lockport St.
Reynolds, 67, is seeking his first full, four-year term as mayor. He was deputy mayor when Mayor Neil Riordan died in 2011. He took over as mayor and then was elected in May 2012 to fill the remaining two years of Riordan’s term.
Reynolds retired in 2012 as an information technology specialist with Hewlett-Packard, assigned to Delphi Thermal Systems in Lockport. He has served with the Youngstown Volunteer Fire Company for the past 21 years.
“I love the village,” the Northfield Drive resident said.
“My wife, Linda, and I have lived here 42 years. Some changes are starting to take place here, and I’d like to work to move them forward.”
Reynolds said he would like to address the need for housing for senior citizens. He also pointed to the financial health of the village, referring to a report by independent auditor Patrick Brown.
“Financially, the village is sound,” he said. “The village has had a conservative approach to revenues, and we’ve been effectively controlling our spending.
Reasonable tax increases are needed to keep the village sound and up to date, but we’ve kept our budget under the two percent cap, and the board hasn’t taken a pay raise in the years since I joined the board in 2008.”
Reynolds also pointed to strides the village has made in encouraging tourism and new businesses, with the establishment of the new Youngstown Tourism Committee and new businesses like Niagara Jet Adventures, expanded services through the Dory, a new auto repair shop, the Mug and Musket opening in place of Brennan’s, Jaguar at the Bistro and Bellafaccia Skin Spa.
Swann, 64, left politics in 2001 when he declined to run for re-election. He said he stepped aside so Riordan, his longtime deputy, could take the helm.
“I’ve always had a lot of pride in the village,” Swann said. “And now I’m throwing my hat back into the ring. Everything is beautiful here, but we need more shops, more restaurants. We need some energizing.
“I think we did great things when I was here (as mayor), but there’s been a dramatic change since I left (office) in 2001,” he said.
“We’ve become an aging community, and we can’t keep raising taxes. We have to keep the services that are part of the village but control costs. We have to think out of the box and work with the schools, the Town of Porter and Town and Village of Lewiston, with the county and the state.
“We have to do positive things, but in a cost-effective way,” he said. “Everybody complains about sewer and water rates. We have to look at everything – we can’t be close-minded. We have to keep Youngstown vital and keep it going in a cost-effective way by working with the governments around us.”
Swann retired from Delphi Thermal Systems in 2007 after nearly 40 years. He and his wife, Cheryl, live on Brampton Road.
Adamson, 57, is employed by SIHI Pumps and Engineered Systems Co. as regional manager for the Northeast U.S. and central and eastern Canada. He previously served on the village Zoning Board of Appeals for more than 10 years, during which time he spearheaded the revitalization of Veterans Park.
He also serves as vice president of St. John’s Lutheran Church.
“I want to enhance our quality of life for both the young and elderly in the village,” Adamson said. “We need to keep our services – like good police protection and our DPW services. We need to have intelligent planning in order to get grants, and we need to work with other local municipalities in shared services.”
Van Deusen, 62, has worked in the Lewiston-Porter Middle School guidance office for 23 years and has lived with her family in the village for 31 years.
She also serves as treasurer of the Porter Democratic Committee and Residents for Responsible Government and is a member of several other organizations.
“I’ve always viewed this as community service,” she said. “I feel that we are making a difference here. I know how hard we all work, and we really pay attention to keeping our taxes as low as possible in these tough economic times … We try to keep up the infrastructure, keep our streets safe, keep the DPW running – all of the things that make this a nice place to live.”
Wilfred “Wil” Ziegler, 74, retired as a colonel in the U.S. Air Force in 1992 after 30 years of service. He earned a metallurgical engineering degree from the University of Oklahoma and in civilian life owned and operated a business related to the manufacturing and supplying of metal powders to manufacturers. He is a substitute teacher for Lewiston-Porter and Wilson schools.
Ziegler pointed to a number of ideas he and his running mates agree on, including: keeping taxes stable, creating a five-year plan and looking for ways to make the village more business-friendly.
He said he and his wife were happy to retire to Youngstown about a dozen years ago, “where we don’t have the hustle and bustle of the big cities. It’s a nice, friendly little community.”
Comerford, 54, is serving his third term as president of the Youngstown Lions Club, a group he has been a member of for 27 years. He has been employed by the Niagara Falls Bridge Commission for 26 years.
“I have been involved with the community through the Lions and through Niagara Pioneer Soccer League with my kids, and I think I can bring some good ideas to the board,” he said.
“I just want to work for the community – for the people who live here.”