Amherst Supervisor Barry A. Weinstein says he should be re-elected to a second term because he’s done a good job over the past four years. We agree.
Weinstein, a Republican, is in a hotly contested race against Democratic Town Board Member Mark A. Manna. While Manna has experience in town government, it does not compare to the accomplishments of the current supervisor.
Weinstein touts a list of successes, including saving the town more than $20 million over the past four years, lowering taxes three years in a row, settling a $31 million lawsuit and reducing town expenses. There have been no layoffs, nor any reduction in services.
Moreover, the town has increased open space. Nature View Park was enlarged and parks were improved in older areas.
Weinstein, both a law school and medical school graduate, has brought to bear his years of experience running his own medical practice, along with decades serving as an elected official, from school board to county Legislature to Town Board and finally four years as supervisor.
If there is one area of criticism, it would be in new development.
Weinstein voted for tax breaks for the controversial Wyndham Garden hotel and residences on Main Street at South Forest Road. Without the tax abatement, he said, the town would not have gotten anything but another distressed, empty property.
That project and the Hyatt Place hotel under construction on Main Street near the Youngmann Highway have become major issues in the race.
Manna, a contract negotiator and pension trustee, has stressed resident concerns in his campaign. Their voices have been ignored, he said, when it comes to development and quality-of-life issues.
Manna said he attended meetings and asked questions about the Hyatt Place project. He says he was always on the side of residents. More than a third of his $33,635 campaign funds came from opponents of the hotel project.
For his part, the supervisor, who self-funded his campaign, said he has voted against tax abatements more than anyone else on the Amherst Industrial Development Agency in his two years on its board, and against more rezoning requests in his six years on the Town Board. However, he said, he doesn’t think development is a big issue in town. We disagree.
Still, Weinstein comes with a proven track record on taxes and reducing expenses that should earn him another four-year term.