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Tucker declares candidacy for re-election as mayor

Mayor Michael W. Tucker, a Republican, declared his candidacy for re-election Monday, while Democrats have so far failed to come up with anyone to oppose him.

The senior Democrat on the Common Council, Alderman Patrick W. Schrader, said he will run for re-election to his 4th Ward seat, not for mayor. He said he doesn't know of a Democrat who's ready to challenge Tucker.
Tucker said he's running on a record of having spurred development in downtown Lockport. He has presided over the construction of Ulrich City Centre on a Main Street site that was vacant for 30 years.

Also under construction is the Canal Street redevelopment, in which four 19th century buildings are to be turned into commercial space by Rochester businessman Ben Kendig.
Last year, the city reconstructed Main Street for $3.3 million and opened a new tourism center.
"We've kind of turned the city around in the last three-plus years," Tucker told The Buffalo News. "There's more excitement in the city."
Although his news release did not specifically mention the restoration of the 19th century Erie Canal locks -- the "Flight of Five" -- to working order, Tucker said he is not de-emphasizing that project, now estimated to cost as much as $14 million.
All the money spent on that so far has come from Albany and Washington, and Tucker heralded his accomplishments as a fiscal steward.
The city's accumulated surplus has grown on his watch, from $1.3 million when he took office in January 2004 to $1.76 million as of the end of last year.

Last year's general fund operating surplus of $395,107 was the best performance the city has had since 1995. The sewer fund operating surplus of $760,436 was the largest in at least 15 years.

The city's chronically money-losing water fund came within $1,392 of breaking even for the first time since 2002.
"Listen, this is not our money. It's the taxpayers' money, and the Common Council and I understand that the public wants necessary services while keeping the tax burden as low as possible," Tucker said.
The city reorganized the Youth Bureau and the Highways and Parks Department in the past two years in an effort to save money.
Tucker also responded to public objections over property reassessments last year by canceling them.
Also last year, the city foreclosed on Commerce Square, the former Harrison Radiator downtown plant, and is negotiating with a prospective buyer.
Long-standing hostilities between the Lockport Professional Firefighters Association and the city administration have not slackened, but Tucker and the Council decided to decrease minimum staffing levels on fire shifts to reduce overtime.
"Certainly we have a lot to do, but I want to keep up the positive momentum we have in the city," Tucker said.

e-mail: tprohaska@buffnews.com

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