Village elections in Dundee, Dresden, Rushville March 18

Gwen Chamberlain

YATES?COUNTY — Leadership in villages around the county will be changing following March 18 elections.

In Dresden, Trustee Loujane Johns  is running unopposed for mayor. A vacant trustee seat will be filled by write in votes and when elected, Johns will appoint someone to fill her vacant seat on the board.

In Rushville,  the future of the Justice position won’t be clear until after March 11, the deadline to file a petition to keep the justice position.

Anticipating there would be no candidates  for the position following Roger Bootes’s announcement that he is retiring from the post, the Village Board adopted a resolution  to abolish the position.

The resolution gave village residents 30 days — until March 11 — to gather 72 signatures — 20 percent of the voting population — and turn in a petition asking for a referendum

The two incumbent trustees in Rushville, Charles Elwell and John Sawers, filed petitions to run for re-election. They face a challenge from Rainey Jones of 30 Main St. The two top vote-getters win.

Dundee Village residents will elect a mayor and two trustees.

Craig Prior, the incumbent mayor, is being challenged by Trustee Fred Cratsley Jr. for his seat and Greg Wright and Warren Smith are running for the two trustee seats that are open. One of those seats is currently held by Cratsley and the other is held by Dana Gibson, who is not seeking re-election.

Each of the terms is for two years.

Prior says his priorities include continuing the work that’s begun on improvements to the sewage treatment plant and other infrastructure. Using over $800,000 in state funds, the village is making repairs to a sludge holding tank in the sewage treatment plant and making other repairs within the plant to make the system operate more efficiently.

Prior says there is other work to be done on the village’s infrastructure. “And with the economy, it’s not going to be nice. The infrastructure is in such bad shape, but it’s going to take money to fix it,” he says, explaining the village board has established capital reserve accounts. “But they need to be enhanced,” he said. Continuing to apply for state grants and seeking federal stimulus will be on Prior’s agenda if he’s re-elected. “We need to make the village a better place to live,” he said.

Prior says while he knows there has been some community discussion about relationships between himself and the fire department, he’s still a member of the department and that’s just one issue. He said he hopes residents vote for the betterment of the community.

Before becoming mayor, Prior served as a trustee.

Prior, 44, has been a resident of the village his whole life. He is the Deputy Highway Superintendent for Yates County. He and his wife Susan, have a son, Nathan. They live on Bigelow Avenue.

Fred Cratsley Jr., who has served one full term and one partial term on the village board as a trustee, is challenging Prior for the mayoral post.

Cratsley says his priority is improving communication between all the village departments and the village board. “I want to restore that communication between everyone and continue with the ongoing grant program in the sewer department,” he said.

He also says the village needs to begin planning for improvements to the water system. But, he notes, “The hardest part is we have such a small core of industry. We rely on the residents to pay for things. And it’s going to take a longer time to do it with the economy the way it is. It will make it harder.”

Cratsley says being mayor of Dundee has been a goal for some time, and after talking with his wife, he felt this was the best time to run. “I felt the relationships between the fire department, street department and board was getting tense and the morale was getting down. A lot of the volunteer members of the fire department and ambulance corps were leaving over petty things. I’ve got to bring back the volunteers.”

Recalling some of the community events from his childhood, Cratsley says he would like to restore some of the fun from the past. “It seems like we don’t have any spirit,” he says.

Cratsley wants voters to know he’s an open-minded person. “I’m willing to take anybody’s comments. I want open communication to be there without any chance of it coming back to haunt them,” he said.

Cratsley, 32, is employed by the Barrington Town Highway Department. He and his wife, Kim have three children, ages 5 to 10.

He has lived in the village his entire life. In addition to serving as village trustee, Cratsley is president of the Dundee Junior League Baseball, president of the Yates County Junior Soccer League and is the fundraising director for the Junior Scots football program. He also helps with boy scout events.

He and his family live on Bridge Street.

Warren Smith expects to learn a lot as soon as he’s elected to the village board. “I’ve got some ideas, but with the economy the way it is, I don’t know how much control trustees have,” he said.

Smith would like to see more jobs in the village in addition to more industry and small specialty shops.

He is active in the Barrington Rifle Club and helped organize Dundee’s Touch of Christmas events in the early years.

Smith, 51, is a mechanic at the Bradford Central School.

He and his wife, Karla, live on Union Street. They have lived in Dundee 22 years, and they have a daughter Allison, who is in college and a son Tim, who is in the Navy.

Greg Wright served on the village board in the 1970s, when Jay Nelson was mayor.

He says one of the issues he’d like the village and other municipalities to look into is paying tax bills in installments. “There are people who are struggling. Why not offer a payment system without penalty? It would be easier for people to budget rather than coming up with a lump sum,” he said.

He said he would also like to see more cooperation between the village and towns of Starkey and Barrington. “There’s too much bureaucracy. We need less restriction...Let’s make it easier for people to live, not harder.”

Wright would also like to see more spirited community activities. He has some ideas to add to the annual Dundee Day to make it more attractive.

Wright, 66, has been a resident of Dundee all but about six years of his life. Although he’s retired as a bus driver with the Dundee Central School, he continues to drive on a substitute basis.

He and his wife, Debbie, have four grown children.

Village residents who are registered voters can cast their ballots from noon to 9 p.m. Wednesday, March 18 in each of the three village halls.