Fredonia: Our choice for trustees

High taxes. High water bills. An unfriendly business climate. Lack of development.

That sums up Fredonia for the last 15 years when you look at how the Village Board has managed its affairs.

The reason? Village government continually makes itself the priority as the economy in northern Chautauqua County suffers.

One only has to look to the Chadwick Bay Regional Development Corp. For the first time in years, there is significant progress on a north county regional water district. Who is missing from the table? The village of Fredonia, which has a water system that could be on the verge of a disaster.

Trustees were just as stubborn in their attitude when they approved the hire of a new Department of Public Works laborer. Even though the department’s supervisor embarrassingly could not give specifics or details on the job description, the board bowed to his wishes and added to an already oversized payroll.

Maybe the election next week can bring change. Four candidates are vying for two positions on the Village Board, which has recently had a number of 3-2 votes. This election can tilt the current power structure, which appears to be the faction of Trustees Joseph Cerrie, Janel Subjack and Adam Brown against Trustees Thomas Brown and Marc Ruckman.

While the Browns will be finishing their four years – with Thomas Brown being the much more accountable and effective of the two – Susan Forrester-Mackay, Phyllis Jones, Michael Vinciguerra and Mary Jane Starks seek the pair of open positions. In addition, Justice David Prince is running unopposed.

We salute the efforts of Mackay in the past as trustee and as a key member of the Festivals Fredonia committee. Her work has made a number of events possible throughout the years.

Working with her on the committee was Starks, whose father Louis A. Mancuso was one of the great past village leaders. She aims to make Fredonia a “thriving community that we all can be proud of, one that people want to actively be a part of and a place in which future generations want to live.”

But looking forward, we need some fire on the board. Too often, village leaders quietly and unconfidently trudge down the same path every year, raising taxes, fees or both.

Our endorsements are strongly for Vinciguerra and cautiously for Jones. Vinciguerra has been on this path before – he was defeated in 2009 – and was a firm believer in consolidation and shared services. He also won’t accept lame excuses for filling positions like three members of the current board did.

Jones, a Democrat, could be politically pressured into voting along the lines of Cerrie and Subjack in important matters. However, we know she is a dedicated, hard-working community member and volunteer who has helped build organizations and vital non-profits. She will be a difference maker.

Polls in the village are open from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday.