the north face outlet store Eight vie for four open seats on the North Tonawanda Common Council
All but one of North Tonawanda’s five aldermen positions are up for grabs in this year’s election, leaving eight candidates vying for the jobs. Glatz, the former Niagara County manager, isrunning on the Republican, Conservative and Green party lines. Though he is an Independent, Glatz lost the party’s nomination to his challenger despite an endorsement from the county’s Independence Party Committee back in June.
If the community votes to keep Glatz in office, he said he wants to continue his work with the city accountant and the city’s new budget committee by working to plan ahead for needed improvements and capital projects, making improvements to the city’s technological system and focusing on maintaining the city’s aging infrastructure.
“Technology is a huge thing that we’ve been talking about since I was here and supposedly they were talking about it before I came on,” he said. “The infrastructure, that’s always going to be an issue. They’re all kind of tied to budgeting.”
He also emphasized continuing efforts to make North Tonawanda more attractive to business. He commended the work that’s been done on Webster Street over the last couple of years, adding “we gotta start bringing Oliver Street in and that’s easier said than done.”
Glatz said his military background has given him experience in leadership and setting an example. Currently he sits on the board of directors for the Niagara Military Affairs Council and he’s also an American Legion member. Additionally, he’sworked in nursing home administration.
Challenging Glatz is newcomer Austin Tylec, the son of former Niagara County Legislator John Tylec.
“I’mlooking at North Tonawanda, and my friends are moving out and family members are moving out,” he said, adding that he’d like to continue living in the city long term and wants to contribute to making it a community where people are happy to live.
If elected, Tylec said his first goal would be to place a strong focus on making repairs to the city’s streets and sidewalks, an issue that became apparentwhen he was campaigning door to door, he said. Tylec has pushed the idea of creating a walkable city, andhe emphasized the importance of coming up with ways to make roads safe for everyone, including pedestrians and cyclists.
Another priority for Tylec would be enhancing transparency at city hallby making it easier for people to access information, making improvements to the city’s website and by creating more of a social media presence to keep residents informed and to provide a forum for “constructive criticism.” Like other candidates, Tylec also said he wants to keep momentum going in terms of business development moving outward from the downtown area.
“You don’t want piecemeal everything,” he said. “It works better when you start somewhere, you really build it up and then it starts this radial effect and the areas around it will do better.”Tylec is an architect with Clark Patterson Lee, which he said gives him the background needed to help the city make solid city planning decisions.
Incumbent Mark Berube was appointed to replace the late First Ward Alderman Phillip “Russ” Rizzo after he stepped down due to his ailing health at the beginning of this year. The long time committeeman and planning board member is running on the Republican, Conservative, Green and Independence party lines.
“I’ve always wanted to give back,” Berube said when asked what made him pursue public service.
He said his No. 1 priority would be working to repair and maintain the aging infrastructure, particularly in the First Ward, which contains many of the city’s oldest streets. He said another big focus for him is to keep the momentum on Oliver Street moving north into his ward, where most of the focus has been in the Second Ward.
“We’ve concentrated on downtown, Webster, I want to push that out into the First Ward from Wheatfield all the way up to Ward Road,” he said, adding that he also wants to continue making enhancements to the Gratwick waterfront.
The longtime business owner said that, in addition to his experience working with committees and both the city and county planning boards, his familiarity working with unions and managing a budget make him a solid candidate for the common council.
Berube has belonged to St. Paul’s United Church of Christ in Wheatfield for 50 years, where he has served three terms on the church’s council.
Challenging Berube is Sean Polen, who is running with support from the Democratic, Working Families, Women’s Equality and Reform parties. Polen said he decided to seek office because he was “sick of complaining about change and wanting to see new things done and it not being done.”
If elected, Polen’s would emphasize transparency and accessibility. He said he’d liketo implement a question and answer element to public meetings that is laid out in the city code. He said the current setup of only allowing acomment period during council meetings can make it difficult for residents to get answers to their questions.
“I want a question and answer period that is actually codified,so that it is maybe a little less time for (the council) to make their public statementsbut that the council members are required to give answers as best as they can,” he said. “And if it is not sufficient to what the people would find sufficient, they can leave their name with the city clerk/treasurer afterward and get a formal response within two days. I want that codified more than anything else.”
Healso said the city should take a cue from the North Tonawanda School Board, which recently decided to start filmingboardmeetings. Polen said he’d like to see the city film not only council budget meetings but also other board meetings and public hearings.
“I have seen hearings being held at 3 o’clock in the afternoon when no one can get tothem,” he said.
Polen said he has a long background working with severalarea churches, where he said he gained a good deal of experience inbringing different people to the table to work on issues. In the past, he has been a music teacher and is now the full time director of pastoral music at St. Christopher Roman Catholic Church. He’s also a long time member of the Abiding Savior Lutheran Church.
Now seeking her third term in office, Donna Braun hopes to continue working “to see the city move forward.” She’s running with support from the Republican, Conservative, Green and Independence parties.