Two Democratic candidates are challenging the four Republicans seeking the four seats that represent Jerusalem, Italy, and Middlesex

Four seats on the Yates County Legislature represent the residents of Jerusalem, Italy and Middlesex. Republican incumbent legislators Doug Paddock, Ed Bronson, and Elden Morrison are seeking re-election to their seats on the legislature along with newcomer Republican Timothy Cutler and Democratic Challengers Dixon Zorovich and Barbara Crumb. Taylor Fitch, who was appointed to fill the vacant seat left when Gary Montgomery died last year is not seeking re-election.

The Chronicle-Express asked each of the candidates for some background information, and then posed the following question:

The final debt payments on the County Office Building and Court House will be paid in 2020, Beginning in 2021, the budget will be reduced by over $1.3 million. What planning should begin now to maximize the impact this will have on the budget and local property tax levy?

Ed Bronson (R), 62, is retired from his position as Penn Yan Elementary Principal. He has lived in District 1 for 21 years

Bronson says he is running to continue the work of his first two years on County Legislature.

He calls himself an active participant in county government, having served on Human Services, Finance, ProAction Board, Yates County Farmland Protection Board, County Administrator task force, and Tourism Advisory Committee.

Voters can contact Bronson at ebronson@yatescounty.org

Planning answer: “I believe the county legislature should look at all county facilities as well as the systems within our buildings. Facility priorities should be developed and a timeline to address the needs. The National Institute of Corrections study of the Yates County Jail is a beginning in this process. The impact on county budget and the local property tax levy should be minimal, hopefully, the tax levy could be reduced.

Timothy P. Cutler (R), 67, is retired and an adjunct instructor at Keuka College who has lived in District 1 five years. He has served as chair of the Jerusalem Town Planning Board, and as the interim planner for Yates County for 18 months.

Voters can contact him at tpcutler@msn.com, 585-414-0539 or on his Facebook page: Tim Cutler for Yates County Legislator

Cutler says he wants to “help county government address opportunities to preserve our quality of life, the character of our lakes and recreational resources, and enable the economic development of our county and region.”

Cutler says he has experience in managing and delivering large, complex projects on schedule and under budget as well as managing large organizational budgets. He says his experience as Interim County Planner gave him insight and experience in working with the county legislators to address difficult county matters.

Planning answer: “Besides ongoing budget challenges between 2018 and 2020, the county legislature will need to consider a combination of property tax relief, capitalized maintenance projects that have been deferred previously, as well as longer-term capital requirements for areas such as public safety, highway, etc. In all likelihood, the budget reduction will impact all three areas.” 

Douglas Paddock (R), 62, retired in 2016 from ITT Corporation/Goulds Pumps, Inc. as Director, New Product Development after 40+ years of continuous employment. He has been a county legislator for several years, living in District 1 his entire life.

Paddock says he wants to be re-elected to continue the solid financial position and sound fiscal policies that have been realized over the past years. “Changes at the state and federal levels impact county budgets; decisions need to be made with a view to the future and not just immediacy or political convenience.”

He says he offers the relevant experience that can help the county, along with experience from multiple positions of increasing responsibility. “I am also very familiar with demands made on the county by the state and federal governments and with county departments, legislative committees, operations of the county, and creation of county laws.

Voters can contact Paddock at 315-536- 8343 or dpaddock@yatescounty.org. Election-related questions can be sent to doug5591@verizon.net

Planning answer: “The easy answer to this question is that the budget should be reduced by the amount of the bond payment, thus lowering the property tax levy. However, that may not be the most fiscally responsible approach, since there is likely a need for capital projects in the future. The County Administrator is preparing, in conjunction with appropriate department heads, a long range capital plan that will address major building maintenance and road rebuild projects that may have been deferred due to budget constraints and/or may be needed in the foreseeable future (e.g. – computer system and software upgrades, etc.) In addition to the internal capital review, the county is in the process of conducting a no-cost study by the National Institute of Corrections (NIC) that will review jail operations and needs and make recommendations for improvements. Depending on results of the study, it may be prudent to make contributions to a capital reserve account for future construction needs.”

Elden Morrison (R), 73, retired, is completing his second term as Legislator, District I (Italy, Jerusalem, and Middlesex). “That experience allows for more efficient use of time — the needed background information has been learned,” he says. Morrison’s family has had a continuous presence in the Town of Jerusalem for over 100 years.

Morrison says constituents can benefit from his analytical and fiscally conservative approach. “I have and will continue (if re-elected) to expend the time necessary to do the job in the manner the voters have a right to expect.”

He says his demonstrated willingness to take political risks as opposed to “going along,” sets him apart from other candidates.

Voters can contact him at emorrison@yatescounty.org or at 315-595-2289.

Planning answer: “As your question indicates it will be three years from now when the Legislature has access to the $1.3 million. We have asked our planner and our building maintenance supervisor to apprise us of anticipated capital needs in the out years. The most obvious and immediate need is the 40-year-old Public Safety Building. Based on current information I would recommend a cessation of the practice of the boarding of out of county prisoners in our facility. This would allow capacity for an ‘on the fly’ refresh of the existing facility, hereafter to be used for local prisoners only. I hope that we can accomplish a few things with the windfall: Update the PS Building, do required maintenance on our existing building stock, and offset anticipated cost increases in employee benefits. Unfortunately I do not see a significant tax reduction. I do think that with judicious use of the funds we should be able to hold the line on taxes for the foreseeable future. 

Barbara Crumb (D), 73, is retired from human services after working in the field for over 35 years at state and local levels. She has been a Yates County resident for 37 years.

Crumb says she is running for a seat on the legislature because government is becoming more separated from the people it is designed to serve. She will use her skills to see that the public’s concerns are heard by our county legislature.

Voters can contact Crumb on Facebook at Barb Crumb for Yates County Legislature, or by e-mail at bethsiddhe@gmail.com

Planning answer: “Final debt payments on capital expenditures for our county offices and courthouse will be made in 2020, leaving the county with available assets of $1.3 million dollars. Since these costs were originally paid for in part through the county’s tax levy, county taxpayers should see that pay-off as a reduction to their current taxes, with a percentage set aside for future capital needs.” 

K. Dixon Zorovich, 47, is a grant writer who has lived in the district since April 2014. Her education and experience includes analysis of the role of brownfields in job creation at John J. Heldrich Center for Workforce Development. She also worked for New York City and was director of the Audubon Center in Greenwhich.

She has been responsible for multiple projects and working with a wide range of stakeholders, including corporate, government, philanthropic, and non-profit partners, to meet program goals.

She was motivated to run out of her concern that the current legislature does not reflect or represent all the residents of Yates County “New voices bring new ideas and solutions, and more people running for political office is good for our democracy.”

She says she brings experience in workforce development and environmental conservation, needed to develop and implement strategies that encourage economic opportunity while protecting our beautiful lakes and lands.

Voters can visit her Facebook page at www.facebook.com/DixonForYatesCounty or email her at dixon@dixovich.net.

Planning answer: “This represents an excellent opportunity to invest in our community. For example, we can build on the recent action taken by the legislature to enhance our natural and recreational resources so critical to our economy and quality of life, including actions to protect and improve water quality of our lakes and streams. We should find ways to support healthy families; in Yates County we have far too many children living in poverty and too many families unable to achieve economic stability. Planning should begin now to identify key areas in need of investment and targeted strategies that will give taxpayers the most bang for their buck. In addition, the legislature should examine the benefit of allocating a portion of the funds toward property tax relief, as well as building the Tax Stabilization Reserve Fund, a “rainy day” fund that can be used to mitigate the potential for large tax increases in the future.