New Hartford politics heating up as election approaches

3 Republicans plan run for board seat

Posted Jun 11, 2009 @ 06:31 PM
Last update Jun 11, 2009 @ 08:26 PM


After revelations that the town’s rainy day funds had dropped in value by more than $3 million since 2003, candidates for New Hartford office have been coming out of the woodwork.

Most recently, three people have announced they plan to run in a Republican primary in September for the Town Board’s First Ward seat.

Incumbent Robert Payne III’s opponents include James Messa, 37, a senior sales consultant at Cathedral Corp., and former New Hartford Councilman Don Backman, 56, owner of a computer service company.

Payne, who has his party’s endorsement for the First Ward seat, said he will continue to be committed to the success of the community.

“This administration has worked hard to maintain minimal tax increases from year to year (but) the past several years have made this very challenging with increased costs and reduction in revenue,” he said, referring to less sales tax revenue because of the sluggish economy.

“I and this board are dedicated to make sure we maintain our New Hartford quality of living and its financial standing,” he said.

Both Messa and Backman said they don’t like what they are seeing from the present New Hartford board.

“In my opinion, it is time for a positive change, and the status quo and old politics are not the solution that the residents deserve,” Messa said in an e-mailed statement.

He also pointed to ongoing problems that haven’t been fixed, such as storm water issues plaguing certain areas.

Backman said the town’s financial troubles were a top issue.

“Poor financial oversight, combined with reckless spending, have placed our community at risk,” he said in a statement. “I have always supported fiscal responsibility, open government and citizen participation in the process, and pledge to be available to listen to concerns.”

Backman held the seat from 1998 to 2006, when he was defeated by Payne.

Three candidates – Republicans Patrick Tyksinski and John Kalil and Democrat William Morris II – also are running for town supervisor, now that sitting supervisor Earle Reed has said he won’t run.

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