There is only one contested race among the three Niagara County villages holding elections March 15. It pits Republican and Conservative candidate Michael McAvoy against Democrat Stephen Smith for a trustee seat in Wilson.
Wilson Trustee Gerald Kadryna has declined to run for re-election to another four-year term.
McAvoy, 68, a retired physical education and health instructor in the Lockport school system, has lived in Wilson for more than 50 years.
This is his first time running for village office. He is a past president of the Wilson Lions Club and headed the recreation program for the town and village for two decades.
“There has been some controversy and problems the past several years,” he said. “There was the attempt to dissolve the village, which was fairly contentious. There have been budgeting problems and problems with personnel – wanting to get rid of people. And, we’ve lost a lot of businesses here and the Village Board takes a lot of heat for this, although it’s not the board’s fault.
“The village population has changed and we don’t have as many owners as we used to have. Now we have more renters,” he added. “The harborfront area attracts a lot of money, but, unfortunately, the boat owners don’t spend their money in the village. It’s like it’s two different worlds.
“I’m retired and have the time to do this and I think that’s important,” he said.
Smith, 61, is a Wilson native. He had worked for Pfeiffer Foods for 30 years, most recently as a quality control technician, when Pfeiffer closed in 2009.
He started a stargazing club in Wilson nine years ago and is a member of the Buffalo Astronomical Association.
The Wilson group meets at dusk the second Saturday of each month, May through October, at Krueger Park across from Lake Ontario. He is the current president of the Wilson Lions Club and an active member of Toastmasters International.
“We’ve lost the Wilson House Restaurant and now our pharmacy,” he said. “We have a comprehensive plan, which should help us make decisions in the future. We need to find a way to tie the boat harbor in with the village.
“And, the village has limited money, but it must save for future expenses,” he added. “I’ve been to board meetings and they do a fairly good job of trying to consider everything that goes into the budget. They look at the big picture.
“We must utilize our strengths and, at the same time, address our weaknesses and we can, and must, do this together,” he said.
Polls will be open from noon to 9 p.m. at Wilson Town Hall, 375 Lake St.
In Barker, incumbent Trustees Janice Rider and Kimberly Ruffini are unopposed as they seek second, two-year terms. Polls are open from noon to 9 p.m. in the Barker Village Hall board room, 8708 Main St.
And in Middleport, incumbent Trustees Thomas Conley and Dennis McAvoy also are running unopposed for two-year terms. Polls are open from noon to 9 p.m. at Village Hall, 24 Main St.
Elections are held in May in Youngstown and in June in Lewiston.