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DiCostanzo, Pazda vie for board

An interim Town Board member with Republican support in a GOP town and a longtime town planner depending on crossover votes will face off Tuesday for a full term on the Clarence Town Board.

Peter T. DiCostanzo, appointed to the board to fill the vacancy resulting from last year's election of Scott Bylewski as supervisor, is running for a four-year term against Timothy B. Pazda, a Democrat and town Planning Board member for five years.

Pazda has snagged the support of Bylewski, a fellow Democrat.

"I think he would do an excellent job," Bylewski said.

A self-employed contractor in home maintenance and repair, Pazda is running on the lines of the Democratic, Independence, Conservative and Working Families parties.

Combined, those lines account for 6,874 of the town's 20,892 registered voters.

DiCostanzo, a Republican, has won the endorsement of Kathleen Hallock, the retired Republican supervisor who remains a popular figure with Clarence residents.

DiCostanzo also has the support of GOP board members Bernard Kolber and Patrick Casilio.

Hallock said she was impressed by DiCostanzo's "sincere concern for the town."

DiCostanzo has the Republican line -- by itself 10,216 registered voters -- and line of the Taxpayers First Party, which has no registered voters in Clarence but is closely associated with the GOP.

Up for grabs are 3,552 "blanks," or those who are registered to vote but not affiliated with any political party.

Given Clarence's overwhelming GOP registration, Pazda acknowledges he can't win without Republican voters and said his campaign has focused on "voting for the person, not the party."

Bylewski easily won the supervisor's post, despite being a Democrat.

Pazda's main concern is keeping growth in tune with the historic, rural character of Clarence. As director of the Western New York region of the New York Planning Federation -- he said he would focus on making new construction, including commercial, fit the look of Clarence.

Although home building has slowed, he said it will continue to be an issue.

"There are more than 1,000 homes in some form of approval," Pazda said. "You think it's bad now. You haven't seen anything yet. We need to make the right land-use decisions."

Pazda ran unsuccessfully for Town Board in 2005 and 2007, and for the interim seat that went to DiCostanzo later last year.

DiCostanzo, a certified public accountant, said his campaign focuses on controlling costs when the nation's deepest recession in decades is bound to mean rocky years ahead even for Clarence, the county's wealthiest suburb.

Reductions, he said, are likely to be needed. He pointed to fire services, where spending totals about $4 million.

He said he and some volunteer firefighters already were discussing possible ways to contain costs, including delays in such purchases as fire trucks if possible.

"They are willing to work with us," he said of the volunteers.


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