Town Supervisor Marilynn R. Allgeier and Village Mayor Jerry L. Dean are facing off for the Republican nomination for Mrs. Allgeier's job in Tuesday's primary.
Although Dean is the Democratic nominee and both candidates have minor-party lines to fall back on, the enrollment edge in the town is lopsided in favor of the GOP, so winning the Republican primary is usually tantamount to election. Wilson has 1,787 registered Republicans, nearly 48 percent of the town's voters. There are 1,159 Democrats, about 31 percent of the voter pool.
"Whoever gets this I don't think is going to have much trouble in November," Mrs. Allgeier said.
She is seeking her second two-year term as supervisor after 32 years as town clerk. Dean is in his third year as mayor of the village, after having served six years as a trustee.
The mayor's job pays $4,000 a year, while the supervisor's salary is $16,000. Asked if that contributes to his determination to seek the town job, Dean answered, "Sure it does."
The two officials haven't gotten along since Dean made a major issue out of the taxes charged to village residents in the 1999 town budget. Dean claimed that the town balanced its budget on the village's back, something Mrs. Allgeier resolutely denies.
The town raised the total of its general and highway taxes, but cut its water tax, producing a net tax cut outside the village. The village isn't part of the town water district and doesn't pay the town water tax. But this year, that meant village property owners didn't see the net tax cut; they were hit with an increase.
At one point, Dean agitated to have the village secede from the surrounding town and become a town unto itself. Dean said he discussed that idea with state officials, who said they wouldn't go along with the legislation needed. He also said he found a majority of village residents seemed to oppose the idea.
Dean, 57, is the grandson of Frank Campbell, who was town supervisor in the 1920s and postmaster until 1947. Dean has run Dean's Painting & Lawn Care for the last 10 years. A Wilson native, he lived elsewhere from 1970 to 1987 while working as the regional manager for a trucking company.
Mrs. Allgeier, 70, is the daughter of Howard Kayner, who was a Town Board member in the early 1950s and Niagara County treasurer from 1956 to 1965.