3 vie for 2 trustee spots in Holley

By Kristina Gabalski, Correspondent Posted 5 June 2015 at 12:00 am

Water rates, public infrastructure, vacant homes among issues in June 16 village election

HOLLEY – Village residents head to the polls on June 16 to elect two members to the Village Board. Three candidates are running for the two trustee spots. Newcomer Sondra Knight and incumbents Stanley “Skip” Carpenter and Brian Sorochty will be on the ballot.

Carpenter is a lifelong resident and has many years of service to the Holley community. He served four years in the US Air Force and one year in the Army Reserves. He also was a Holley police officer and Holley’s Postmaster for 19 years.

He served three terms as Holley mayor and several terms as a trustee.

Skip Carpenter

“I am running for the position of trustee because our village faces numerous issues,” Carpenter said. “It is both challenging and rewarding to be part of a team that strives to make decisions based on the best interest of all residents.”

Carpenter notes a number of current important issues facing the village, which include the formation of an LDC.

“After many years, the village board finally formed a Land Development Corporation which means at long last we will acquire the ‘Diaz houses’ from the EPA,” he said. “These properties can now be sold and added to our tax rolls.”

He said the Village Board must come up with ideas to solve, “the financial problems we face without taxing the village out of existence.”

Water rates are another issue of concern. “We must reach out to a water authority entity and investigate the option of joining in order to reduce rates,” Carpenter said. “In my opinion our current rate of $6.10/1,000 gallons is unacceptable.”

Infrastructure is also a concern.

“We need to address the antiquated structures that are not visible to us as we go about our daily lives,” he said. “We must remember that some of these structures are decades old and are in need of repair and replacement.”

If re-elected, Carpenter says he would work for “… cheaper water rates, tax rate controls, improved sidewalks and roadways, continued beautification of the Canal Park and a plan to attract businesses to our Industrial Park.”

Carpenter said the best part of living in Holley is the small community atmosphere in a rural setting and having family and friends that live there also.

“I would appreciate the peoples’ vote for trustee and promise to keep the best interest of the Village of Holley first and foremost in my decision making if you decide to re-elect me,” Carpenter said.

Brian Sorochty

Brian Sorochty, who also serves as Holley’s deputy mayor, has eight years of experience on the Village Planning Board and has served the last two years on the Village Board, which he says provides him with a, “unique, valuable set of skills to bring to this position.”

He has lived in Holley most of his life and he and his wife are raising their family in the village. “We love being a part of this community,” he says. “I have been in my current profession, which is consulting engineering for civil, land development and natural gas engineering projects, for 25 years. This experience has taught me much about managing people, developing relationships, and operating a successful business.”

Sorochty said he is running for re-election because there is much more he would like to accomplish.

“I feel with my professional experience combined with the experience I have gained over the last two years in being a very active member of the board, that I can continue to be an integral part of affecting the changes that are needed in this community,” he said.

Issues of concern for the village include balancing the ever-increasing cost to operational efforts and a shrinking tax base with the continued need to maintain the expected level of services in the village and low taxes for village residents.

“More specifically, we have an aging infrastructure, particularly with respect to the water system and our sidewalks which will require planning and substantial funds to make the necessary improvements/repairs,” Sorochty said. “We also have an increasing need for our village Police Department which needs to be staffed and funded properly in order to be effective. We also have approximately 23 vacant homes, including eight that were affected by the Diaz incident from many years ago which are not on the tax rolls.”

If re-elected, Sorochty says he will continue to work with the recently created Village of Holley LDC to address vacant properties in the village and get them back on the market so they will eventually be occupied by families again. He would also like to “…work with our LDC and Village Board members to encourage developers to examine the re-use of the old Holley High School property,” he said.

Additionally, Sorochty said the water system and its rules and rates need to be analyzed and a long term plan devised to reduce water rates and have the ability to make the necessary improvements for the future needs and quality of public water.

He said he would “continue to work with the mayor, board and village staff to develop and manage a solid budget as well as develop a long term plan to address issues like our water and sidewalk infrastructure, the needs of our Police Department, and the general organizational structure of the village. Lastly, continue to pursue grants to assist with the above-mentioned goals and further the improvements to our community like what we have seen recently in the Village Square.”

Sorochty said the village is a beautiful and historic place to raise a family. “The services that are offered for your tax dollar and the people here make it a great place to live. We have great amenities here such as the canal, the Falls, and an abundance of trails which are great for hiking or biking,” he said.

Sorochty also notes that much as been accomplished during his two years on the board, accomplishments which he says were a true team effort amongst the board, village staff and supervisors, the Fire District, and the neighboring communities such as Albion, Murray and Clarendon.

“We have all worked together in a cooperative and collaborative way to make these

positive changes. Keeping this momentum going is what my main priority will be should I be re-elected this June,” he said.

Sondra Knight

Political newcomer Sondra Knight is running to “give people another choice. There is limited transparency in local government,” she said. “A lot of people don’t know they can be involved and do have a choice.”

Knight has two children, ages three and seven. She and her husband have lived in Holley for about one year. Knight grew up in Hamlin and graduated from Brockport Central High School.

She is very involved in volunteer activities locally, including the Cub Scouts in Holley, work at her church, especially with the pre-school class, and volunteering at the Ronald McDonald House. She is also starting to work in prison ministry.

“My biggest job is my kids, but I enjoy volunteer work and find it fulfilling,” Knight said. “I love helping people and working with little kids.”

Knight says she became interested in running for the Village Board after talking to people about what is going on in the village. She says a neighbor told her that two trustee seats are up for election this year.

She says issues of importance are the village Police Department and emergency services. “Having a police department is very beneficial,” she said.

Knight and her husband lost an infant to SIDS – a loss she says makes her appreciate police and emergency services.

“Knowing you have somebody right here is so important,” she explained.

She is also concerned about abandoned buildings and homes in the village as well as taxes.

“We have to make sure hard-earned tax money is spent appropriately,” Knight said.

The village has so much potential, she noted.

“I drive through and there is not too much to do. We have a beautiful waterfall and park. I have a strong, genuine care for the village and the people who live here.”

Knight said she likes living in Holley because of the “old-fashioned, small town feel,” which she would like to preserve. She also says she appreciates her friendly neighbors.

“A a trustee, I would be able to talk to people and see what ideas the people have and come to a suitable common solution,” Knight said. “I would be a voice for the people. The village belongs to everybody who lives here.”

Polls are open from noon to 9 p.m. on June 16 at the Village Clerk’s Office, 72 Public Square.