Three candidates, including a pair of incumbents, are vying for two seats on the Eden Town Board for the next four years.
Four-term incumbent Mary Lou Pew, who has the endorsement of the town’s Democratic, Conservative and Working Families parties, is looking to retain her seat, along with two-term incumbent Richard S. Ventry, who is backed by the town’s Republican and Conservative parties. They are joined in the race by Alfredo Carias Jr., who received the Democratic endorsement.
“There is a lot more work that needs to be done,” said Pew, the town’s deputy supervisor. “I want to work on the streamlining process.”
This includes reviewing and updating codes throughout the town. She also intends to continue to assist residents with any flooding or zoning issues.
Pew also aims to continue to assist with grant-writing.
“We’re always looking to obtain FEMA grants,” Pew said, noting that through the years, the town has obtained grants to assist with flooding and storm-related issues, as well as for emergency services.
Pew said these are important because, as an example, the costs for equipment for departments such as fire, are continuing to rise.
Receiving grants, Pew said, has helped keep taxes reasonable for town residents.
Pew also vows that with her background with online development, she will work on the town’s website to make it easier to access and more informative for residents.
She realizes that it is often difficult for residents to attend board meetings, so she would like to see such information available via the Internet.
Like Pew, Ventry would like to continue on the board because he feels there is unfinished business.
“There’s a couple of things we’re in the process of doing,” Ventry said.
One of the goals that Ventry said the board has been discussing is keeping Town Hall open longer one day a week.
“I’m striving to make the town user-friendly by extending Town Hall hours,” Ventry said.
He believes that this idea is important because many people have to work until at least 5 p.m. each day, making it difficult for some people to take care of town-related matters during business hours.
At the present time, this is in discussion phase, Ventry said, and he does not know whether the board is in total support.
Ventry said he is proud of what has been accomplished during his two terms.
As liaison for emergency services, Ventry said, he assisted in an idea to allow for third-party billing in the those departments, which has resulted in a savings of between $50,000 to $60,000 a year.
Ventry, who was born and raised in Eden, is a businessman who loves working with numbers. One of the enjoyable aspects of serving, he said, is that Supervisor Glenn R. Nellis includes the board on the budget process from start to finish. He believes that this shows how well the board works together and is hopeful that voters feel likewise.
Carias, who is seeking public office for the first time, has been an active member of the community for several years as a volunteer firefighter, as well as involvement in soccer, basketball and Boy Scouts. This type of commitment is what led him to be noticed by one of the town’s major parties.
“It was the Democratic Committee that got me started into it,” Carias said.
During the campaign, Carias has found that several residents were upset about costs included with water districts in the town.
Carias acknowledged that he did not have a specific plan to help with water district costs but that if he is elected, it would be a top priority to see what could be done to find a solution that would be beneficial to taxpayers.
“Try and see what makes sense” to residents, Carias said.
With six combined terms already for Pew and Ventry, Carias feels that the town could benefit from a new member bringing different ideas to the table.
“I hope that things change with a fresh person in there,” Carias said.